Please join me in welcoming debut author, Kris Kennedy to Title Magic. Wife, mother, psychotherapist and romance writer Kris Kennedy has been writing romances for seven years, with some time off for sleepless behavior following their birth of her son. She, husband, son, and dog live in the Pacific Northwest, where mountains abound. (So does rain.) She writes hot, sweeping historicals, and firmly believes every woman deserves to take care of herself with a good book. She’s working on writing some for you now. You can visit her at www.kriskennedy.net. Kris is also a double Golden Heart finalist as well.
Q: Thanks for taking the time out to stop by, Kris. We’re very glad to have you. The ladies here at Title Magic would like to know what you like to read. Can you give us some of your favorite titles?
KK: I am SUPER happy to join the illustrious group of AT finalists as a guest blogger! Thanks for having me!
Like most readers, and certainly most romance readers, I would read the phone book if needed. But I love sweeping books with a dangerous feel. I am a sucker for good dialogue. And I really need a good pace, w/ things changing. I don't much care WHAT changes--character conflict, plot twists, new information, etc, but I need constant shifts.
But I guess, in the end, I love being transported, so I'll read anything that does that. Historicals, though, hold my heart.
Oh, and I read craft books. Devour them. And the historiy books. You know, the awfully expensive ones. Love ‘em. My husband will look over slowly while we're laying in bed, and I have some huge, hard-back book pressing creases into my chest, with a title like "England Under The Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1216,” and he'll just shake his head at me.
Q: Wow, great answer! I’m a sucker for something that will transport me as well – especially historicals. And I absolutely LOVE those big, expensive scholarly historical books too! Now, do you prefer alphas to betas?
KK: Wheesh! Tough question! I love 'em both. :-) I think a determined man is incredibly sexy. I love men who know what they want and go and get it. But I don't necessarily like them knocking other people out of the way as they go. I love great intensity bound by great restraint. Men who want something BAD but are willing to hold themselves in check for a good reason (respect for the heroine, a larger goal, morals, etc).
Q: Sounds like my kind of man! What do you do when you're not writing? (i.e. quilting, spelunking, skydiving…)
KK: All of the above. In fact, I am sending this via my Blackberry, from a cave set deep in the Cascade wilderness . . . Kidding! What I really like to do is spend time w/ my son and family, and write. And read. How totally boring, I know!
Okay, I like to camp, and hike, too. And I like to sit with my girlfriends around a fire pit under the stars, and drink wine. 'Course, I DO more than that. I am a psychotherapist, and do consulting to help other clinicians work with self-harming women. I also do a kickboxing training.
Q: Well, I know for certain that spending time with the family isn’t boring. As a writer, those occasions are very rare, so we all treasure them. You recently made a first sale. Congrats! Can you tell us who the book was sold to, and give us a little bit more about the book?
KK: Ah, the thing I'm worst at--selling myself. And 2nd worst at--blurbing.
John Scognamiglio at Kensington bought the book, which is a medieval (yea! We need more medievals!), set in England during a time known as The Anarchy, mid 12th century. I do have a little blurby thing, and a fun excerpt, at my website: www.kriskennedy.net.
Q: Wow! Must have been very exciting. And yes, I’m in agreement that we definitely need more medievals! What was your journey like from aspiring author to that first sale? Or the highlights of the journey?
KK: Does Pink Eye count as a highlight? LOL My son had pink eye and I was holding a warm compress to his eye when my agent called w/ the news. And all I could think was, "Am I spreading Pink Eye germs onto the phone?"
So, I held the compress to my writhing son, 'ohhh-ed" and "ahhh-ed' with my agent, & tried to get out an environmentally-sound cleaner so I could wipe down the phone before someone else touched it and got infected.
Q: In your case, I’d definitely say Pink Eye counted! What will the book be called? We're aware Kensington didn't like the title you originally had and you'd asked people to vote on suggestions on your website. How did that end up? Have you agreed on a title yet?
KK: I love that so many girls who came to vote!! I got the most wonderful suggestions. In the end, my editor suggested The Conqueror, b/c the hero in it is so strong a character. He's majorly alpha, but the kind-of alpha who keep setting his own goals aside to rescue a woman who so obviously needs rescuing. Twice! Even when there's a kingdom at stake. :-)
Q: I think your editor chose a wonderful title, very fitting for the book. Clearly you have the magic, since you're a double GH finalist. Can you put your finger on what actually sold that particular manuscript?
KK: LOL. I don't know about magic. What I do believe in is persistence. I believe that persistence, with a modicum of talent, will persevere every time.
Does that make me determined, with a modicum of talent? ;-)
I don't know exactly what it was that 'sold' this book. It’s a book with that sweeping feel (I hope!) very sensual, and will hopefully totally transport the reader and make her sigh. :-)
I'll say this, too: I think Kensington is doing a great thing with their Debut Author program. The books sell for less money, which is designed to entice new readers to take a chance on a new author. So, you're looking at a book that *sounds* good, by an author you never heard of. Are you going to plunk down $7 or 8$ on it? Maybe. Maybe not. Are you going to plunk down $3.99 or $4.99? Almost certainly.
Q: I do agree with you about the debut author program at Kensington – and about persistence. So many times you hear authors say that, and it’s completely true. Although I still think there’s a magic touch in there somewhere. Come on, two Golden Heart finals AND a contract?! How long from first submission to first sale? Did you send the manuscript out yourself, or try to find an agent first? What speedbumps on the road to publication should a first-timer look out for? It doesn't get any easier, does it? (I think we all know the answer to this last question!)
KK: LOL--I seriously doubt it gets any easier, although I'm still so new to the process that I wouldn't venture to say for sure. Here's what I DO know--the world is saturated with books. And potential readers have lots of demands on their time & money. So I'm focused on promotion to a startling degree. Of course I'm working on writing a fabulously sensual, riveting second (and third, and fourth, etc) book. But I have already submitted a marketing plan to my editor, and have spent hours planning where/how much to spend on ads, contests, review sites. etc etc.
Q: Very smart move on the marketing. Perhaps you’ll stop back by at a later date and blog about marketing and promoting? *hint, hint* When will the book be released?
KK: I’d love to comeback and chat about marketing! The book is due out in Spring, 2009. I haven't yet got a release date, but I have remarked on how much I'd love an April or May release. And we all know about the power of love . . . . :-)
Q: Very sneaky tactics on the release date. Fingers crossed it’ll fall on one of those months!
It’s been a pleasure to have you with us today, Kris. Are there any last words you’d like to say to the readers?
KK: If anyone has made it this far through my blather, I'd love to hear from YOU! What makes you buy a book? Beyond genre, what makes you plunk down money? What kind of experience are you looking for? And what gives it to you?