Today I am thrilled to welcome back the lovely Kendra Leigh Castle to the blog. Kendra’s latest release, Dark Highland Fire, is in stores now!
Welcome. Please tell us about your latest release, Dark Highland Fire.
Hi Jennifer, thanks for having me here today! My new release, Dark Highland Fire, is about a handsome, irresponsible playboy of a werewolf and the otherworldly blood-drinking demigoddess he ends up reluctantly responsible for. Gabriel MacInnes, some readers will remember, is the brother of the hero from my first book, Call of the Highland Moon. But apart from both being sexy as sin, Gabriel and big brother Gideon don’t have much in common! Where Gideon was the serious, responsible future Alpha of his Highland Scots pack, Gabriel owns a successful pub in Tobermory and spends his time enjoying good beer, good company, and the hordes of beautiful women who throw themselves at him. Everything changes, however, when he visits the family estate and is givien a dubious gift by the magical Stone of Destiny.
Rowan an Morgaine is a beautiful, dangerous demigoddess from the world beyond the Stone of Destiny. She’s brave, self-sufficient, and not particularly interested in being babysat by a bunch of overbearing wolf-shifters. But Rowan is also being hunted by a dragon prince whose family has destroyed her tribe and sent she and her brother into hiding on Earth, and among the MacInnes wolves is the safest place to be. She’s immediately drawn to Gabriel, the only MacInnes as stubborn and sarcastic as she is. But werewolves and blood-drinkers don’t tend to mix, and after their prior experience with the dragons, the MacInneses aren’t exactly inclined to trust any of the magical tribes of the otherworld, called the Drakkyn. Not to mention that Rowan must return to her world to lead what’s left of her tribe, and she’s sworn never to marry…never mind the gorgeous Wolf insisting she’s his mate.
With the dragons and their demonic allies closing in, Gabriel and Rowan find themselves irresistibly drawn to one another. But in some ways, they’re worlds apart…and there’s more to Rowan than meets the eye. Will Gabriel be able to convince the outspoken, flame-throwing temptress that they’re made for one another? Well…you’ll just have to read and find out!
What inspired the book?
I guess you could say a bunch of things inspired this book…I’m drawn to books and movies that are full of magic and fantasy, and my goal is always to tell a story as engrossing as one I’ve been engrossed in myself! I’ve loved Gabriel since I wrote him into Call of the Highland Moon, and the second book in the series was always going to be his. I’m a little stuck on the idea of big, playful werewolf with a brogue…Gabriel isn’t the world’s most responsible individual, but he’s also deeper than he lets on, and I wanted a heroine who could bring out the best in him. Of course, he’s a handful, so she was going to have to be incredibly strong to knock him on his butt! And Rowan, I have to say, was an absolute treat to write. I keep telling people, if I could pick a heroine to be, it would be Rowan. Her all-female (well, all but one anomaly of a brother) tribe was inspired in part by the Greek muses, beautiful, powerful women who are revered by the people of their world. And Rowan, I admit, has got a little X-Men inspiration in there too…I always wanted to be in the X-Men!
This is a sequel to Call of the Highland Moon, which I loved, by the way. Can you tell us more about that book?
Sure! Call of the Highland Moon is my first book (not just in the series, but ever!), and is about Gideon MacInnes, the future leader of his pack, and Carly Silver, a shy bookstore owner who thinks she’s taking in a wounded dog and winds up with something very different in her bed the following morning. Throw in a Northern New York snowstorm (something I have quite a bit of experience with), a bloodthirsty pack member willing to do anything to get his claws on the magical Stone of Destiny and the ruling position in the pack, and a mysterious, powerful third party who’s pulling the deadly strings, and you’ve got the basis of Call of the Highland Moon! Trapped in a snowstorm with a Scottish werewolf in the house…we should all be so lucky:-)
What type of research did you do for the series, if any?
Ugh, research. The reason I don’t write historicals, though I love reading them! In this case, though, I did enjoy learning about the Western Highlands. It was important to me to have a convincing backdrop to the stories, but oh, all of those beautiful pictures gave me some serious ideas for a vacation! Scotland is a gorgeous country, and I would love to visit it in person. I also, initially, did some research on the Stone of Destiny, which is an actual thing with a great deal of both history and mystery surrounding it. I certainly tweaked what I found; sadly, to my knowledge, the actual Stone is not a gateway to another world…but then again, we’re not sure that what’s sitting in Edinburgh really IS the Stone of Destiny, mwah hah hah. Er, sorry, my attempt at evil laughter:-) But the legends are fascinating, in any case. I didn’t have to do any research for the Northern New York setting in Call of the Highland Moon, at least…I grew up in the far, frozen reaches of the state. I like that I managed to give the area some love in that book…it’s very beautiful, and was a great place to grow up. But man, it snows a LOT.
Which of your characters is most like you?
I think most writers will tell you that every character we create has a little of us in them, good or bad. None of my characters are me, exactly, but they all have facets of my personality. Um, except maybe the flesh-eating daemon tribe. I kind of hope no one I know sees any similarities there! Other than that, my characters talk a lot, because I do and so enjoy writing dialogue. They’re fairly sarcastic, because my brain works that way. Lucien, the villain in Dark Highland Fire, could probably be accurately compared to me without my coffee in the morning. But they’re all their own people. Overall? I’m probably the most like Gideon, with a dash of Rowan thrown in there (depending on how may glasses of wine I’ve had).
What is your favorite thing about being a writer? Least favorite?
My favorite thing about being a writer is hearing from people who’ve read and enjoyed my stories, knowing that I’ve provided someone with the sort of enjoyable escape from reality that other authors have given me over the years. It’s so cool to know that my story has connected with someone. The greatest honor of all is being told I’ve been put on someone’s “keeper shelf.” I’ve got a keeper shelf, and my standards are pretty high, so that’s a total thrill! My least favorite things are the sleep deprivation and the occasional bout of writer’s block. The former is a fact of life when I’m deep into a book, because I have three young kids who keep me very busy while they’re awake. Night is the only time I can hear myself think! The latter doesn’t happen very often, thank God, but is agonizing when it does crop up, especially because even though this is my dream job, it’s still a job. Deadlines now take precedence over fickle muses!
What is next for you?
Next up is Bastian an Morgaine’s story, Wild Highland Magic. Rowan’s only brother has plenty of secrets, and Catriona MacInnes, who’s only just discovered that she belongs to an entire pack of Highland werewolves, is determined to find them all out. Of course, she has no idea what she’s getting herself into! That book will be out sometime this spring. Beyond that, I’m up to my ears in research for something new I’m working on, and I’ll be keeping everyone posted on that!
What would you like to ask my blog readers?
I like your character question, so I’ll go with that! What fictional character are YOU most like? Outside of my own characters, I’m going to go with Lizzie Bennett….girly, bookish, and smart-mouthed:-) I’ll be interested to hear your answers, and apart from that, I’ll be in to chat all day, so please say hi! I’ve got a copy of Dark Highland Fire to give away, and all you have to do is comment to be entered in the drawing!
Thanks again for having me here today, Jennifer 🙂
Kendra Leigh Castle lives in Maryland with her husband, three kids, two geriatric Pekingese, and one very large, very obnoxious Siberian cat. To visit her online, go to www.kendraleighcastle.com, where you can learn more about her books and sign up for her newsletter, if you’re so inclined. She also blogs regularly at www.wickedlyromantic.blogspot.com, and www.casablancaauthors.blogspot.com.
Thank you so much Kendra for the interview!
Readers, be sure to check back tomorrow as I post my review of Dark Highland Fire.
So, which fictional character are you most like?
As Kendra said, one lucky commenter will win a copy of Dark Highland Fire. I’ll announce the winner sometime tomorrow evening.