A Few Minutes With Kendra Leigh Castle e-interviewed by Martina Bexte (April, 2008)
Rounding out our special April showcase of Sourcebooks authors is Kendra Leigh Castle, who says that her romance career began by stealing her mother's romance novels, after which she inevitably progressed to writing her own. She brings a love of all things spooky and steamy to her writing, and firmly believes that creatures of the night deserve happily ever afters, too. A northern New York native, Kendra now lives in California with her husband, three children, and a menagerie of pets.
The first in a series, Call of the Highland Moon, begins the saga of modern day Clan MacInnes, with eldest son Gideon discovering his werewolf Pack's otherworldly origins. As he and his clan fight to protect the legendary Stone of Destiny, they confront new enemies and embrace allies as they renew their ties to the ancient tribes of the Drakkyn.
Q: Werewolves remain popular characters in paranormal romance - what makes your Highland werewolves and their mythology different from those depicted in other werewolf series available right now?
A: I think my premise, which involves a clan of Highland werewolves whose past is shrouded in mystery (even to themselves) guarding a legendary relic, is definitely different than anything else available right now. I had a lot of fun putting my own spin on the traditional werewolf abilities (the MacInnes Pack, for instance, can shift at any phase of the moon, and even in daylight, though the ease of the change still varies depending on the lunar cycle), but there's also a fantasy element to the Pack's backstory that I hope will capture readers' imaginations as much as it did mine! That's the fun of playing with a creature like a werewolf, really ... because they're mythical anyway, the sky is really the limit when you're building your own world for them. The possibilities are endless, a great thing for both writers and readers! For me, I knew I wanted Scottish werewolves, I happened to stumble across something about the Stone of Destiny in my research, my overactive imagination kicked in, and there was that wonderful 'click' that happens when you know you've found yourself a story.
Q: Did you base either Carly or Gideon on any favourite character prototypes - or did they spring from your imagination all on their own?
A: I never really think of prototypes when I'm fleshing out my characters. Usually, they just sort of show up in my imagination and start demanding attention! And even though I don't automatically know everything about them, I always know the core of who my heroes and heroines are right away. Gideon, for instance, is all rugged, dangerous alpha male on the outside, but he actually has a very strong sense of duty, honor, loyalty ... a real white knight. He's also hopeless at communicating with the opposite sex, sort of undone by his own alpha-ness, which I found really endearing about him. Carly, on the other hand, arrived looking very businesslike but with a twinkle in her eye. Her voice, that sharp sense of humor, was the first thing that really defined her for me. They might just be products of my imagination, but Carly and Gideon were a lot of fun to get to know!
Q: Your story is laced with crisp dialogue, humour and sizzling sensuality as Carly and Gideon get to know each other while stranded indoors by a fierce snowstorm - how did you maintain this balance?
A: Thanks for the compliments! Maybe it sounds too simple, but I really think the balance was right because of the chemistry between the characters. I'm very character-driven, and the romance is everything. I had so much fun just putting the two of them together and letting them have at it! Because of their personalities, Carly and Gideon ended up having this wonderful tension right from the beginning. They wanted one another, they were irritated by one another, and were enclosed in a fairly small space for enough time that there was absolutely no way they were going to keep their hands off of each other! Carly is also very verbal (much to Gideon's chagrin), so using their banter as an outlet for some of their attraction throughout the story felt really natural. Being a noted chatterer myself, dialogue is one of my great pleasures.
Q: What's next for the Clan MacInnes and their struggle to protect the Stone of Destiny?
A: I don't want to reveal too much to those who haven't read Call of the Highland Moon yet, but I will tell you that the Stone of Destiny brings the MacInneses a gift that's going to keep their hands very, very full, and that attracts some extremely dangeous attention. Gabriel, Gideon's playboy brother, is about to meet his match ... and she's not like anything he's ever encountered before (or anyone else on Earth, for that matter!) Dark Highland Fire will be an October release, and I hope readers who enjoyed Call of the Highland Moon will come along for the ride.
Q: Is there any one author, novel or paranormal series that has influenced the direction of your writing?
A: I've been reading romance forever, so there's definitely not just one! But I do think that Julie Garwood, with her historicals, is more responsible for my deciding to become a romance writer than anyone else. I grew up loving her funny, clutzy, brave heroines and the larger-than-life heroes who unwittingly fell in love with them. The stories were so wonderful that I always wanted more, and as I got older, I started to think maybe I could create that 'more.' The Secret, The Bride, The Prize ... those books have been my comfort food for, wow, at least fifteen years now, and I still re-read them periodically. They make me laugh, make me care about what happens to the characters, and above all, they touch my heart. It's my greatest hope that my books will make readers feel the same way.Find out more about Kendra Leigh Castle and her new series at KendraLeighCastle.com.
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