Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kendra Leigh Castle (Interview & Giveaway)

Today I have the wonderful pleasure of interviewing author Kendra Leigh Castle. Kendra is the author of a sensation paranormal romance that just released last month, Dark Awakening. You can catch my 4.5 wine glass review of it *HERE*

Hi Kendra! Thank you for joining us today at Reading Between the Wines, it’s a pleasure to have you! Can you please tell us about your latest novel and start to the Dark Dynasties series, Dark Awakening?
Hi, and thank you so much for having me here today! My new novel, Dark Awakening, is about Tynan MacGillivray, an enslaved cat-shifting vampire and prized hunter of an immortal queen, who goes on a quest to find a rare mortal who may be able to save the dynasty he serves from a violent gypsy curse. The woman he finds, Lily Quinn, is a lot more than he bargained for…and he ultimately finds himself torn between his loyalty to the queen who once saved him and love with a woman who could shake the world of night at its very foundations.

You've created a fantastical world of vampires originating from Goddesses, Fae and possibly even angels; what inspired it?
I was inspired, like I always am, by all the different supernatural creatures I was fascinated by as a kid. So I think the world of the Dark Dynasties has a bit of everything in it because I tend to like a bit of everything! I love throwing together various mythologies and seeing how they mix, and the idea of having each bloodline have a very distinct origin was really appealing to me. Right away you’ve got sort of a simmering mix of competing abilities and motives, all ready to explode. I always liked medieval romances, as well, and I think my vampire society has a very medieval feel to it. Lots of court intrigue, longstanding feuds, shifting alliances…good stuffJ

What kind of readers’ do you think Dark Awakening will appeal to and what do you think they will like best about this book?
Well, I think if you like your paranormals on the darker side (or if you’re just really into sexy vampires), Dark Awakening is well worth a look. Readers looking for a different take on vampire mythology should definitely check it out…these are definitely vamps with a twist! My hope, as far as what readers will like best, is that people will enjoy watching the evolution of the characters as they fall in love. The journey of the hero and heroine on their way to the Happily Ever After is, of course, the heart of the story…and Ty and Lily have a lot to get through before they can find it, both from outside and from within themselves. Ty, in particular, stole my heart. Nothing has ever come easy for him, and he’s so afraid that if he opens himself up he’ll lose what little he has. I like my heroes a little on the tormented side!

And thank you for that because I do too!
You also included werewolves into the mix of paranormal creatures with Lyra Black, the heroine of the next novel in the series, Midnight Reckoning; does this tie in at all with your past trilogy of the MacInnes Werewolves or is it totally separate?
No, the werewolves lurking at the periphery of the Dark Dynasties are quite different from the werewolves in my MacInnes trilogy, and totally unconnected. These werewolves have been banished from the cities and exist in tightly knit packs scattered throughout the country. The vampires hate them, and the werewolves have a culture that’s very much their own. Lyra herself is struggling to assume her rightful place in her pack, which is very male-dominated…but she can’t do it without help, even if it comes from a source most wolves would find unthinkable. I enjoyed starting from scratch for these werewolves…I love my MacInneses, but it’s always fun to go in a new direction!

Was there a character that was harder to write than others? If so, who and why?
Not really. They all take turns giving me fits! I suppose my heroes tend to come a little easier to me than my heroines…no clue why…but I settle into all of them as the story goes along. I will say that I struggled a little with Arsinöe at first. I wanted her to be a little sympathetic. She didn’t want to be. As usual, the character won, so I promise, you won’t like her!

How many novels are planned for the Dark Dynasties series?
I have four contracted so far, but I’ve got a lot of stories in mind right now, so hopefully we’ll just keep on going. That’s the great thing about creating such a big world. There are lots of places to play!

Now, can you tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I’m a thirty-four year old Navy wife and mother of three. I’m a complete animal person—two young Newfoundlands, one old Pekingese, and a lazy cat also live with me! We live in Southern Maryland right now, but I’m originally from Northern New York, up near the Canadian border. There are a lot of things I miss about New York, but the winters are not among them. It always feels weird not to have snow at the holidays, though! I started writing seriously because we got stationed way out in the Nevada desert, and I figured if I was ever going to give it a real shot, that was the time. I do have one manuscript that lives in my closet, my very first. It’s a fantasy romance. And it’s, um…pretty bad. In my barely existent spare time, I play Dragon Age as a butt-kicking elf mage, watch HGTV, and make small dents in my massive TBR pile. Life is good!

Are there any other genres or authors that are must reads for you?
I’m dying to read the next in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunters series! It comes out in September. And I’m already sad because I know I’ll tear through it and then be waiting for the next one. She’s amazing. In general, I tend to read paranormal and historical romance…I like to be completely taken out of the everyday I’m used to and swept away! I’m just starting to read some urban fantasy as well, and I love it.

Is there anything you must have in order to write?
Coffee. Lots of coffee! With three kids, I’m usually up late writing.

What is your favorite type of male to write about; alpha, brooding, charming, tortured, guy-next-door, etc?
Oh, that’s so hard! I’ve written all of these, and I love them all. I do love a hero who’s a little bit tortured, though, even if he’s charming. I think most of my heroes have this thread of torment, to varying degrees. It’s kind of mean, I guess, but I do save them!

If you could write with anyone who would that be and why?
JK Rowling. Her voice is so incredibly absorbing, and I love her imagination! But you know, she never gave my favorite character, Severus Snape, a woman who could love and redeem him. I could totally fix this for her. Do you hear me, JK? Let me write Snape a romance!

Yeah, JK, we want a HEA for Snape! J
Do you have a favorite character so far in the Dark Dynasties? If so, who and why?
I don’t have favorites, really. I love whoever I’m working on at the moment best, because they’re most present in my mind. I’m writing Damien right now, and if you’ve read Dark Awakening, you’ll understand when I say that he tends to be VERY present! But the characters are like kids. I love them all for who they are. Even the rotten onesJ

Midnight ReckoningAnd last but not least, what’s next for you? Do you have anything you’re working on now that you can share?
Well, I’m working on book 3 in the Dark Dynasties series at present, which will be out next July. As you mentioned, book 2, Midnight Reckoning, comes out in January. I’ll also be doing a couple of erotic paranormal romance novellas for Harlequin’s new digital Cravings line, which starts up this fall. The two I have planned are fairy tale themed with a modern twist, and I’m really excited to crank up the heat level with them! Those should be released early next year, I believe. There’s also one more Harlequin Nocturne in the pipeline, a werewolf story I had a lot of fun with. No release date as yet, but it’ll be on my website when there is one.

Oh, sounds exciting! Thank you again, Kendra, for stopping by! I look forward to reading more Dark Dynasties novels!
Thanks for having me over, and for enjoying Dark Awakening so much!

You can find Kendra and more of her wonderful novels on FaceBook, Twitter and on her Website! Buy Dark Awakening at The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble today!


Kendra is graciously giving away one signed copy of Dark Awakening to one lucky reader!

To enter, just leave a meaningful question or comment below for Kendra. Don't forget to leave your email address!

The giveaway will close at 11:59 pm on August 10th. One winner will then be chosen at random and contacted via email, the winner then has 48 hours to respond before a new one is chosen. Good luck!


  1. That was a great interview,,and I have read amazing reviews on your new book,,and it quickly went to my wishlist,,so I would love to win a signed copy ,,sign me up,,
    thanks for sharing

    westtexajen at gmail dot com

  2. Thanks for the interview!

    I've recently discovered Nalini, and I'm in love with both of her series. Very good stuff!! Have to agree with you there.

    And, oh man, a HEA for Snape. Or at least a lady to love in return. That sounds like good stuff.


  3. Dont enter me for the giveaway. Great interview! Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Jennifer, thanks! That's really REALLY nice to hear:)

    Danni, people kept telling me to read Nalini, and I was like "Yeah, I'll definitely get to it," for over a year. I was missing out! She's fantastic. She's also very nice. I know this because I met her during a serious fangirl moment at RWA. I meant to play it cool, but I'm, um, not sure coherent sentences came out of my mouth. I did try. Pretty sure she at least got my general theme of "Your writing is awesome!" As for Snape, I loooove him. He so needs a HEA!

    Vanessa, thanks!

  5. Your a new to me author and would love to give you a try! Great interview. Your books sound amazing and I have added them to my wish list! BTW, love the sexy covers too! Thanks for sharing a bit with us today!


  6. Great Interview! I love how Kendra loves Nalini Singh's Guild Hunters series, excellent choice! Also, having 2 young kids myself, I understand that dire need for coffee....I'm looking forward to the novella's too! More to add to the TBR lists!
    Thanks for the contest!
    Book Savvy Babe
    booksavvybabe at gmail dot com

  7. Hi Johanna! Thank you! And I'm glad you like the covers...they always seem to get a good reaction;)

    Hi Book Savvy Babe:) Ohhh, I am definitely a fan of the warm caffeinated beverage! I think it was kid number three that made me fully dependent. Thanks for putting me on your TBR!

  8. Great interview. I have read many good things about your book and I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  9. Hi Kendra. I enjoyed your interview. Your books sound wonderful. I like how you have more than one paranormal species in your books. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  10. Hi donnas and CrystalGB! Thanks for coming by:) Glad you like the sound of the books!

  11. Great interview! What was your first reaction to seeing your book covers and is there anything you would change about them if possible?


  12. This was an awesome interview!! Kendra, I haven't read any of your books yet. After reading the great review, I'm intrigued!!! I luv paranormal romance!!! Thank for the chance to win!!! :-)


  13. Hi Jeanette! My first reaction to seeing my cover was to send it to members of my family, call them, and then demand they share in my appreciation of it's awesomeness! Grand Central has done an amazing job with my covers...I feel very lucky. Wouldn't change a thing!

    jfort357, thank you SO much! The review here completely made my day:)

  14. World-building is really important in paranormal books for me and second to charactions with great personalities. It sounds like you have built an excellent world in your books because it's not just about vampires, but shape-shifters and more so that makes it exciting. I'm going to keep your book on my reading radar. Which do you find more challenging building the world or the characters?


  15. Great interview,It made me want to read your books even more. I've had them on my to read list and i so have been looking forward to reading some of your work:)
    Thanks for the chanc eto win one!

  16. Great interview! I really enjoyed it. And I think it's great that Kendra loves Nalini Singh's Guild Hunters series!
    Kendras books sound interesting and. Oh Yah, they are definitely on my TBR list!

  17. I love your answer about JK Rowling and Snape and I completely agree with you! Thank you for this giveaway! edysicecreamlover18ATgmailDOTcom

  18. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read your book. It sounds very good. Please enter me in contest.

  19. Hi Kendra,

    It was great getting to know you. I am always in the mood for a sexy paranormal romance story, and I am especially jazzed after reading Crystal's fabulous review. Dark Awakening looks like the start of a must-read series.

    gfc follower
    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  20. Thank you so much for all the kind comments, everyone! I'm really glad you enjoyed the interview:) And I'm really happy to make it onto some TBR lists!

    Na, thanks for the question. I find the world a little harder, mainly because it involves setting down a foundation that tends to grow as the book and series progresses, and there are a lot of things I have to remember so I'm consistent! Characters are just fun:)

    Krystal, yay, another Snape fan! He's one of my all time favorite characters. And I love the way Alan Rickman plays him;)

  21. Very nice interview and awesome giveaway. I havent read any of Kendra's books but the Dark Dynasties series sounds very interesting.

    I love the paranormal world that includes the mythological goddesses, angels, and all other supernatural beings into the story besides just vampires. Dont get me wrong, I love vampires but I love the mystery behind all the other supernatural characters as well.

    I look forward to checking out your books Kendra.

  22. Great interview.Kendra I have not had a chance to read any of your books yet.But Dark Awakening sounds really good.Love the covers too.You have any input with them?


  23. Very interesting interview - thanks for sharing! I've definitely added Dark Awakening to my TBR list and I'm looking forward to reading the start of the series!

    With writing and three kids I'm sure you don't have a lot of spare time, but do you have any hobbies?

    Thanks for the giveaway.
    kacbooks at hotmail dot com

  24. Hi
    Very nice interview!
    I'd like to read your book, if the giveaway is internationsl, please enter me in the contest.


  25. I appreciate the background you gave us of your work & of yourself. You are officially on my list of authors.


  26. I love finding fellow coffee fans. I always have to have coffee when working,aside from keeping me alert, it makes me happy :) Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview today and giveaway opportunity.


  27. I totally agree! I want Snape to have a HEA. thanks for the giveaway

  28. Nice post - thanks for sharing the interview.
    Kendra, I was wondering if you get to have a say in the making of the covers for your books?

    Thanks for hosting. I am an old follower. Please enter me.

  29. Hi. Your books sound really great. Although you are a new to me author, your books are definitely on my wish list now. I do love a great paranormal, especially thos with vampires and erotic paranormals, so your books sound great to me. And those covers are very nice.

    GFC follower: June M.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  30. I love PNR's and I really enjoy reading different authors takes on vampires. It's funny that I'm seeing this post now. I just went to Harry Potter Last night.

    rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com

  31. I enjoyed reading your interview. Loving your covers as well. :)
    I love series books and hearing you already contracted for 4 makes me very Happy indeed. This series is on my TRL. Thanks for sharing.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  32. Everything in it?! Oh, this sounds like fun! I like angels and I like vampires... but if you're going to give me a little of everything... I think that would always be a winner :)

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-soldier [at] yahoo [dot] com

  33. Hi Kendra, thank you for the giveaway! I had already added this book to my TBR list after reading the great review it received here at RBTW. It would be awesome to win!

    BtW, if JK ever does get with you about that Snape HEA book....Please, make sure it gets reviewed here!!!!

  34. I'm always looking for new authors to read, sounds good!

  35. Oh, wow! I was in the car all day today heading back to southern MD from Charlotte, NC (I was visiting my gramma with the kids and the two largest dogs, all of whom kept her entertained for a week) and didn't expect to find so many of you when I got back! So, um...hi!! *waving*

    Thank you all for saying nice things about the interview and the way my books sound! This release has been really exciting for me:) And now, on to the questions...

    elaing8, no, not really. The covers are sent to me for input, but I really don't get much say. Fortunately, I absolutely love the covers the Grand Central art department has done for me!

    Karen, I like to play Dragon Age on my PS3. Something about being able to immerse myself in a gorgeous, kick-butt warrior chick for a few hours makes me very happy. I also sing. Used to be in groups and things, but now it's just around the house and, you know, to torment the children;)

    Denise Z, all I can say is YEAH COFFEE!! It makes me happy too:)

    Carol L, it makes me very happy indeed too, trust me!

    Cherry, LOL, I like to think that my inability to keep a favorite sort of supernatural being for any length of time works to my advantage. They're all so...pretty;)

    And to all of you who are with me on the Snape love, you rock. I have a Slytherin scarf because of that man!

  36. I'm really into sexy vampires, and I'm proud to admit it. This book sounds like something I would love. I love myself a tortured guy. They just have to get a happily ever after. :)
    I am practically addicted to coffee. I wouldn't be awake now without it.
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    Lindadao2060 at yahoo dot com

  37. I really enjoyed the interview. Your books sounds like really good reads. They go to the top of m TBR list.

  38. what a great interview...i have read so many awesome reviews on your book that im so eager to get a copy for myself. I bet i would gobble it up and love every word of it.


  39. Hi Kendra! Thanks for stopping by and for the giveaway! I am loving the sound of your Dark Dynasties series as it seems like a great world to immerse in when reading the books. I also agree that Nalini Singh books are must reads! Though I just recently started her Guild Hunters series, I've read every book of her Psy-Changeling series and they're fantastic! Hope you get a chance to read them too if you haven't yet :)


  40. Great interview! I'm hoping there will be more than 4 books in this series!

    ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

  41. I enjoyed the interview and think Kendra's book sounds fascinating with all the different types of characters and a darker story.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  42. Linda, thanks! I do not function without coffee. It's really kind of sad:) And I, too, love a tortured man. Their HEAs are way more satisfying!

    winnie, I'm definitely going to read the Psy-Changeling series! Just have to set aside time. I'm thinking after this next deadline in September I'll dive in.

    Sheree, I'm hoping that too!

    Thank you all for coming by!

  43. Thanks for the fantastic interview and givaway! Congratulations on your new release, Kendra!!


  44. I just love it that despite the amount of vampire books on the market (never too many fir me)that writers can continue to amaze us with new and refreshingly different vamp worlds.
    I'm a follower on GFC-Lisa Richards


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  45. I'd love to know if there's any existing character in HP that she would pair Snape with?

    mk261274 at gmail dot com

  46. Really interesting interview and your books look really intriguing. My question is you said you started writing seriously because were stationed in the Nevada desert, but is that when you started having the dream of writing or was it a desire you had before then that you just hadn't pursued seriously?

    jennlovesed14 at gmail

  47. Great interview. I would love to read your book.

  48. VAMPIRES with a new twist!! I can't wait to read this! :)

  49. Hi Kendra, thanks for the interview. Looking forward to read your book Dark Awakening, and btw I'm with you about Professor Snape, my opinion about him change at the last of Harry Potter's book. He deserved his HEA ;-)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com

  50. Hi Kendra---great interview! I agree with you on the upstate NY winters, they are rough to get through. This time of year and fall make it a nice tradeoff though. Part of me really likes how Snape didn't have an HEA with a good woman. I think how it ended makes him a sympathetic character because it was really his love of Harry's mom that drove his entire existence. It makes it more poignant.

    Looking forward to the series! Great giveaway!

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  51. Hi Kendra, this is the first I have heard of your books...they sound like fantastic reads.

    I am one of the few that haven't read the HP series (go ahead and let me have it...I will eventually get there). I do agree with the previous poster about Nalini's series...they are terrific!

    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

  52. What a great interview!! I think it would be awesome to co-write with JK Rowling, and if she ever writes a romance for Severus Snape, I would definitely buy it!!
    Thanks for an awesome interview and giveaway:)
    jwitt33 at live dot com


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