TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Kristen: I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I write in bursts –something I probably have to change. So if I’m into it, I’ll put down 60k in a month. If I’m not, I stare at the walls for days. Yeah, I’ll probably have to address that unevenness at some point. Lol. Other than that, I always write in my PJs. But don’t all writers do this?
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Kristen: Favorite writers, oh, wow, there are too many to list. My favorite genres, however, are romance and mystery. And of course anything paranormal in flavor.
As for influence. I’ve realized that the writers who have influenced me the most are the ones I first read when I discovered books. As a teenager, I read what was lying about the house, from Jackie Collins (yes, I know), Robert Ludlum, Jean M. Auel, and Hemingway, to C.S. Lewis and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Looking back on that, and comparing those books with what I write now -historical romances with suspense, mystery, and fantasy- I can see the seeds taking root. These are not my favorite writers, per say, but perhaps they had more time to sink into my subconscious.
The first author I picked up on my own was Anne Rice. The richness of her prose and depth of her characters are something that I admire greatly. And Diana Gabaldon’s, Outlander, with its wild mix of genres and incredible love story, outright got me into trying writing myself.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Kristen: I used to be a pure panster. But when I started adding mysteries into my stories, I needed to plot a bit. Now, I am somewhere in between. There is a plot in my head, like the framework of a house. The story flows around that. I may add a wing, tear down a wall or two, but I have a good idea of end design.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Kristen: Revisions! Lol. Revisions are that point in the process when everything feels like it’s tumbling down. Nothing is working the way I want it to, or the whole story is so large and twisted, it’s like wrestling with a twenty-foot anaconda.
TQ: Describe Firelight (Darkest London 1) in 140 characters or less.
Kristen: Oh boy, I’m absolutely terrible at summation. Let’s see… Firelight is: A Victorian gothic Beauty and the Beast tale in which a cursed man must choose to give up his soul in order to save the woman he loves.
TQ: What inspired you to write Firelight?
Believe it or not, Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. Lol. My daughter was watching that movie when I got the idea. But more deeply, the Norwegian tale that inspired B&B, West of the Moon and East of the Sun. In that tale, a polar bear claims a young maid as his bride and takes her off to his castle. At night, he becomes a man and joins her in bed, hidden by the dark. But when she accidentally burns him with candle wax in an attempt see his face, he is whisked off, and it is up to her to save him.
I loved the idea of this hidden identity. Could you love someone who hid his face from you? Someone everyone else thought an inhuman beast? To me, there is such great conflict to play with. Miranda and Archer must both learn to trust each other. And they must ignore logic and follow their instincts.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Firelight?
Kristen: When I started Firelight, there was the idea and the characters. They started talking immediately. But what era should the live in? If you are going to write a historical, I think it should resonate with readers of today in some way. For that reason, I chose the Victorian era. I think there is a huge parallel to that time and ours. They experienced a burst in technology just as we have –and all the issues that come with it! And like us, they were homebodies for the most part, but it was very important to keep up with the Jones.
However, I didn’t know much more than that about my chosen era. I had to start from the ground up. So research included learning as much as I could about the Victorians, London of the 1880s, English peerage, dress, slang, medical technology of the time –Archer is a surgeon- and everything in between.
TQ: Why did you set the novel in London, England?
Kristen: If I was going to go Victorian, then London was the natural setting. It was wonderfully atmospheric, haunting and haunted. Thick fog, cobble stone lanes, the sharp whistle of the Watch, and the mournful wail of foghorns…who could resist? :)
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Kristen: Diana Gabaldon has this wonderful classification for characters. The can be onions with many layers that you have to delve through, or nuts that are very hard to crack, or mushrooms that simply pop up fully-formed. In Firelight, most of my characters were mushrooms. Archer and Miranda were extremely easy for me to write because once they started talking, they never stopped. It was simply a matter of keeping up with them.
The hardest character to write was Billy Finger. Not because I didn’t get him as a character but because of his damn slang! Lol. I’d constantly have to stop, check slang dictionaries, find Victorian street slang that worked with what he was saying, and so forth. Hard, but also very fun.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Firelight?
Kristen: I don’t really have favorite scenes –I love them all! Heh. Ahem. What I like best, however, is Archer and Miranda’s verbal banter, which is much like foreplay for them. Watching them match wits and circle around each other was great fun for me.
Then again, there is this scene that includes a certain back alley wall… That scene was bloody hard to get right, and therefore all the more satisfying when I got it down the way I wanted it.
TQ: What's next?
Kristen: Up next is Moonglow, Daisy’s story, which includes a mad werewolf of London, and the lone werewolf who must save her, without turning mad as well. Then it is Winterblaze, which takes us deeper into this other, supernatural London and the organization that keeps all these hidden beasties in check.
I also have a short story coming out alongside Firelight. This is a companion piece to Firelight and features Miranda and Archer in the years they were apart.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Kristen: Thank you so much for having me! I really enjoyed the visit.
About Darkest London
FirelightDarkest London 1
Forever, February 1, 2012
Mass Market Paberback and eBook, 400 pages
Once the flames are ignited . . .
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.
They will burn for eternity . . .
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
Forever, February 1, 2012
After a fire consumes the Ellis family fortune, the beautiful and resourceful Miranda finds herself faced with an impossible dilemma: enter a life of petty crime or watch her family succumb to poverty. But once her fiancée learns of her descent into danger--and of the strange, new powers she's discovered --saving her family may come at the high price of her heart.
When Lord Benjamin Archer's one chance for redemption is destroyed by corrupt London antiquarian Hector Ellis, he vows to take what Ellis values most-his daughter Miranda. Forced to hide his face behind masks, Archer travels the world hoping to escape the curse that plagues him so that he can finally claim his prize.
But once Archer returns home to London, will it be revenge he seeks? Or will the flame-haired beauty ignite new, undeniable desires?
MoonglowDarkest London 2
Forever, August 1, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Once the seeds of desire are sown . . .
Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy's door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors . . .
Their growing passion knows no bounds . . .
Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.
Her current manuscript, FIRELIGHT, a gothic retelling of Beauty and the Beast set along the shadowy lanes of Victorian London, will be published by Grand Central Publishing in February of 2012.
What: One commenter will win a copy of Firelight (Darkest London 1) from Forever! US/Canada Only.
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
What is/are your favorite fairytale(s)?
Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
You may receive additional entries by:
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.
Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, February 3, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*