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!
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
And 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!