TBB: Welcome, Kris! Thanks for joining us. Let's start out with your latest news. Please share.
KK: The latest happy news is that Defiant has released, and got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.
TBB: How awesome! Congrats on that. For those who aren't familiar with your work can you tell us a little history? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
KK: I think, deep-down, I’ve always considered myself a writer, even if I was at a phase of my life where I wasn’t writing too much. Or at all. :) But I used to write as a kid, crazy stories about my friends and me, and I’d lose myself for hours doing that. And of course, I was a voracious reader. So I’ve always felt connected in some deep, abiding way to stories.
Then, the moment I started writing again, staying up until 3am, thinking of Story when I should have been thinking Work, then I knew I was back in the game. :)
TBB: Thinking back, can your recall your first reaction when you found out that you were going to be published?
KK: Hmmm….first reaction. Well, it was to continue applying the hot compress to my young son’s pink eye. I was sitting on the couch with him when my agent called with the news that Kensington had made a 2-book offer. I was excited, of course, but as I “oohh-ed” and “ahhh-ed” and discussed the particulars with my agent, the back of my mind was attending to thing like, “Careful, you might be spreading pink eye germs onto the phone.” (fwiw, I rely on the back of my mind to get my through a great many tight spots.)
TBB: LOL. Your germ spreading thought sounds exactly like something I'd be thinking! Great story, Kris. How did you come up with the title for this book?
KK: That was my editor! We went through several different title ideas. My swiftly developed, somewhat lame, title was The King’s Protector, but that was just a placeholder title to send it out to editors with. In my mind, it was always ‘The Jamie Story” (which drove one my critique partner’s nuts.
TBB: Wow! I can never work on a book that doesn't have a set title. It is kind of like having a baby with no name to me. But I like what your editor came up with here. How did you come up with the idea for this book?
KK: The story-behind-the-story started as much more of a Robin Hood story, and morphed as it went. Radically.
The first hard kernel of an idea about the story was that of a woman being taken somewhere she did not want to go. It had a rather Robin Hood-esque feel, except for a few details: the hero was the one taking her where she didn’t want to go, and the heroine was the Robin Hood-esque character.
Defiant today bears very little resemblance to this, but I still see that story down there in the creative ‘well,’ so to speak. :-)
TBB: What is up next for Kris?
KK: I’m working on another medieval right now. I’m currently working on another hot medieval, about a con man and a bankrupt silk merchant (well, unless this story morphs throughout the writing like Defiant did).
TBB: I'm sure it will be great either way. Do you have any advice for other writers hoping to achieve your level of success?
KK: Of course I have advice! It’s two-fold, and they’re equally important.
1) Focus on being a great storyteller, not a great writer.
2) Treat it like a craft, not a career. You can make a career out of it, but at its heart, it’s a craft. Always remember you’re becoming a craftsman. That requires discipline, and persistence, and change.
TBB: Great advice, Kris. So true. Sometimes we let the business of being an author get in the way of the business of being a writer. What does your family think of your writing?
KK: My family is phenomenally supportive. They understand when I feel cramped and crazy with time and deadlines, and when the story isn’t cooperating, they accept how that can affect my mood. There’s no way I could have happily been successful at this if it weren’t for their support.
TBB: Awe. I love a supportive family. Thanks so much for joining us today and for the giveaway. Please come back again soon.
KK: Thank-you so much for having me by today, Kerri!! I hope anyone who picks up Defiant loves it. Here's a little taste for you.
A very questionable and reluctant hero has just lost track of the man he’s been sent to recover for King John. He’s also run into a mysterious and beautiful woman lurking in the shadows, and knows she’s up to no good. Our reluctant hero has just decided upon his plan of action—keep the enigmatic woman with him, track down his quarry, and dispatch the men who took him. Now all he had to do was figure out what to do with the woman.
It was a plan. That it was also improvised and risky mattered naught: he’d spent his entire life doing and being just that.
And, he decided, looking down, he would use his bided time to learn what he could from the dark-cloaked waif before he rendered her at best not a nuisance, at worst, bound and gagged.
He tugged her back into the shadows. “It means I want an answer. Why do you want the priest? Who sent you for him?”
“Me?” She turned, her pale face angry. “Why do those men want him, that is the question of better asking.”
“I do not care ‘of better asking.’ I want an answer.”
She ploughed forward, like he was dirt beneath her anger. “These squinty-eyes are carting him away right now. You ought to care. Why do you want him? Mayhap we can start there, on our want of answers. Indeed, this is the sort of question I like better.”
“He has something I want.”
His swift, honest reply brought her up short. She blinked, long lashes sweeping down over her eyes. He followed her glance down. The tips of battered shoes poked out from beneath the hem of her skirts. She looked up.
“Does he now?” Her pale cheeks were flushed. “That is no answer. Of course he has something you desire; why else seek him? It is why I am after him as well. He has many things I want. I am desperate for these things.”
“What sorts of things?”
“Baubles. A length of scarlet. Contracts he was witness to. Trunks of coin and relics from the Holy Land.”
She’d mentioned many things, none of which were the things Father Peter was being hunted for. Which was very interesting, seeing as she’d named just about everything else under the sun.
“Tell yourself whatever brings you comfort,” she finished, turning back to the High, “and let us be about it. Please. Or they shall escape.”
A rumble of thunder rolled through the sky. He folded his fingers around the underside of her arm, just above her elbow.
“Mistress, I do not tell myself things to bring comfort.” He pulled her so close she had to bend her neck back to peer into his eyes. “I care naught for comfort, or for you. You may not realize this, but I’ve shown great restraint thus far. You are lying to me, yet telling me nothing at all. That is difficult to do. I am impressed. And aggravated.” Her breath came out a little shorter and faster. “So try a good lie, and we can ‘be about it.’”
“He is my uncle,” she said swiftly.
“Father Peter of London is your uncle,” he echoed, realizing he sounded incredulous. Because he was incredulous.
“As much as.”
“Which means not at all. Do you know what your ‘uncle’ has done?”
“Angered your king.”
He saw her swallow. “Everyone angers your silly, stupid king. Silly, dangerous, killing king. Perhaps those men are from the king himself,” she added ominously.
“Perhaps,” he said, almost regretfully. “But ’ware, woman, for I am made of worse.”
Color receded from her face like a tide going out. She jerked on her arm and he opened his fingers. She stumbled backward, breathing hard. The thoughts tumbling through her mind might as well have been carved on the swinging tavern sign above her head: Danger. Run.
And yet, she’d known he was about danger when she enlisted his help. She might not realize he was from King John—‘silly, dangerous, killing king’ was a grave understatement—but she knew he wasn’t there to save her ‘uncle.’ She’d taken a chance and trusted him.
A regrettable error in judgment.
He placed a gloved hand on the door, just above her head, and pushed it open.
Want More Kris?
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