This morning, I'm chatting with Keena Kincaid. If you've read Keena's sexy paranormal romance novels, you know how much history influences her stories. So how did Keena take her love of history, formed when she was a child learning to read by picking out words in an old history book, and blend that love of history so skillfully with sexuality to create a historical romance novel with a paranormal difference?
Keena's love of history stayed with her from the age of four into college, where she studied history, and then medieval history in grad school. After college, she started as a newspaper reporter, then editor, and then migrated to a public relations firm. That's when she started writing fiction.
Let's see how she made the transition from business writing to penning sexy paranormal historical novels like Enthralled, which stars William of Ravenglas, in love with the most dangerous woman at court – the king’s mistress.
Book & Author Details
I know you'll probably want to read Keena's latest book after meeting her here today so here's the info you need:
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
You can catch Keena at her website or her other favorite web hangouts: Facebook, and Twitter.
If you want to email Keena, you can use this addy: keena at keenakincaid dot com.
Inquiring Minds Want To Know
Joan: Let's get this conversation rolling with a fun question to break the ice. Which celebrity is your guilty pleasure, the person you just have to read a gossip tidbit about? Why?
Keena Kincaid: It's sad, but Lindsay Lohan gets way too much of my attention at the moment. It's like watching a super slow-mo car/train wreck during which the train backs up and runs over the car again and again and again.
Joan: While we're talking about guilty pleasures, tell us if you have a fave TV show that you just can't stand to miss? What about it draws you in?
Keena Kincaid: There's always one or two that draws you in, isn't there? Right now Mad Men is my favorite, can't-miss TV show. I love the clothes, the political incorrectness and how it presents the era through a mix of historical and mythical details. Is there any other decade as legendary as the '60s? Plus, I used to work at an ad agency, and while we never had days quite like they do at Stirling Cooper Draper Pryce, some of the craziness you see on screen does happen in real agencies. Before Mad Men, it was Doctor Who, but I find the new doctor less compelling than David Tennant. Of course, everyone says your favorite doctor is your first one.
Joan: A lot of people say they're going to write a book one of these days, as if time were the only element required to complete the task. Of course, you and I know there's a lot more to it than that. Why don't you tell us how long you've been working at your craft and something about your first published book, the journey from the idea that you wanted to write a book to finally writing one for which you received a publishing contract.
Keena Kincaid: I don't really remember when I decided I wanted to write a book, but I do remember when I decided to actually write one. I wasn't working, and I finally ran out of the excuse of not having enough time to do it. It was stop and start for a few years, but eventually I really started working at it. Wrote two stories that were pretty good, found an agent on my second, but didn't sell either one. Then I was out of work again (seems to be a theme in my life) and decided to sell my house, put my belongings in storage and travel. I was writing a medieval murder-mystery, but while rambling through the England's north country, the story completely changed. The characters in Anam Cara truly just came to me. It was the easiest book I've written, and the first I sold.
Joan: Enthralled, the book about which we're talking today, was what number book for you? 1st, 3rd, 7th?
Keena Kincaid: No. 4 to be published.
Joan: Tell us something about the book from its inception to its birth. How did you come up with the title, and do you have a 1 sentence blurb, or log line, to tease readers? What do you think accounts for the popularity of your book?
Keena Kincaid: Midway through Ties That Bind, I realized that the external plot (Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine's attempt to murder her husband, Henry II, and rule as regent through her eldest son) was not going to be wrapped up in this book. However, Ties That Bind had two very strong secondary characters who were part of the opposition. So Enthralled is a sequel to Ties that tells William and Ami's story as they step forward to continue the fight against Eleanor's treachery. Readers also will be able to learn what happens with Aedan and Tess as they begin their marriage.
Anam Cara, Ties That Bind and Enthralled all revolve around siblings who are descendants of Druids. They possess fey magic that is out of place and dangerous in the medieval world. They must learn how to accept the responsibilities that come with that power.
The title refers to Eleanor's charisma, as well as the hold Ami has over William's heart.
The books' log line: "To claim her, he must abandon home, duty and honor – or reveal the secret of her Sidhe heritage and risk losing her forever to dark magic."
My popularity? I love the way that sounds, although I'm not sure if its accurate. Based on emails and notes from readers, though, what they like is the lushness of the world I've created and my characters. One reader described them as "staying with you long after you close the book." Another one, this one with a PhD in medieval history, said the story was wonderful and the history was accurate. That comment made me smile for days.
Joan: If they made a movie of this book, who would you cast to portray the characters?
Keena Kincaid: From your lips to Hollywood's ears! If that did happen, I'd leave the casting up to the experts, although I do like the idea of a blond Brendan Hines as William (but I wouldn't object to Josh Holloway in that role). As for Ami, she's be a bit harder to cast, but maybe Anna Paquin, Emily Blunt or Abbie Cornish.
Joan: What do you think distinguishes you from the other writers in your genre?
Keena Kincaid: I write lush, sexy historical paranormals. My main characters often have an extra ability, such as telekinesis or psychometry, but those abilities are more curse than blessing. I love larger-than-life heroes, and this genre lends itself perfectly to characters who are stronger, faster and more intense than average.
What also interests me as a writer and a reader is how the protagonist struggles with the dark side of whatever extra “gift” he or she possesses. I find it boring when heroes are just superhuman. But if the gift is also a curse, i.e., makes them capable of great deeds, but also isolates or weakens them in some way, I’m hooked. This comes through in my writing, and readers love a wounded hero.
Joan: We know this business is rife with rejection. Sometimes, it's hard to take. What keeps you going when you get rejected?
Keena Kincaid: The inability to do anything else well? A frightening blend of confidence and stubbornness? I'm not sure what keeps me going, to be honest. Rejection always hurts, and I still have moments of doubt so strong that I wonder if perhaps I should go to work at Starbucks instead. But something inside me just can't give up. Even when I've tried to stop writing, I can't.
Joan: What's your favorite "oh crap I got a rejection" food and/or drink to soothe the savaged ego?
Keena Kincaid: My rejection recovery regime:
Long walk. Tall glass of wine (Scotch if I'm really taking it hard.). Chat with friends, who assure me of my brilliance. Bubble bath and go back to work on the current WIP the next morning.
Joan: Who are your writing influences?
Keena Kincaid: Robin Hobb, Tolkien, Shakespeare. Probably many more but those are the ones that come first to mind.
Joan: What are you working on now?
Keena Kincaid: A story that I've dubbed the Yorkshire Gothic. It's not set in Yorkshire, but it's becoming more Gothic with each word. My hero lives under a curse and has vowed never to sire children, who would carry the curse into the next generation. Celibacy, as we all know, is the only certain way to prevent children. When he must marry Matilda to protect her and gain control of her lands, he begins searching for a way to undo the curse and uncovers a family secret that is even worse.
Joan: What's the best thing about writing?
Keena Kincaid: The best part is getting to tell others’ stories. Whether it’s a personality profile for a newspaper or the single, most important event in a fictional character’s life, I can tell a story that makes the person real for readers. That’s heady stuff – and fun.
Joan: What's the worst thing about writing?
Keena Kincaid: The worst part is how much time it can take to get the words from my head onto the page. And I never seem to get them exactly how I want them. I come frustratingly close, but it’s never perfect.
Joan: If there's someone in the audience who's interested in writing, what advice would you give them if they're just starting out?
Keena Kincaid: Enjoy yourself. I view writing like preaching, if you can do anything else, then by all means, do it. But if it’s a calling, then embrace it and enjoy what you do. The road to becoming published can be a long, tough and frustrating haul – and you may never make it – so embrace the journey and have fun.
Joan: What's the one thing no interviewer has ever asked you that you'd really like to talk about?
Keena Kincaid: No one ever asks about my mad pie-making skills. They are extraordinary. My family fights over the last spoonful.
Joan: Do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share or is there anything else you'd like to tell us about anything?
Keena Kincaid: Thanks so much for having me here. I've enjoyed our chat, and the coffee is wonderful. For more information about my books, check out my website. Also readers can email me or connect with me on Facebook.
Until next time, remember, a good book is a little vacation from the cares of life. Enjoy one today.