Please welcome my special guest today, Keena Kincaid, whose book, Anam Cara, has recently been released by The Wild Rose Press.
Keena grew up on an Ohio farm slightly to the left of nowhere and learned to read by picking words out of an old history book that vividly recounted the past through short stories centered on children of the age: The Grecian slave boy. The girl from Pompeii. The knight’s squire in England. The stories stayed with her. After honing her writing skills as a newspaper reporter and editor, she switched to public relations and began writing fiction. When not working or writing romance, Keena regales her niece and nephews with stories of quick-thinking ladies, mathematically challenged knights, and ill-mannered dragons that chew with their mouths open.
Keena, thanks for joining us today!
Can you tell us a little about your book, Anam Cara?
Anam Cara is first and foremost a story of atonement and grace. Bran and Liza are bound by love, separated by betrayal, and trapped on the wheel of time by vows of redemption for a crime many would consider irredeemable.
Branwyn ap Owen (Bran) suffers a fate of his own making. His hell is to live again and again until he fulfills his vow to right an ancient wrong. Even worse, he remembers the past and his crime even as he sees the future. And he always remembers—and looks for—her.
Liza of Carlisle remembers nothing of the past or the vow trapping her in Bran’s repetitive cycle. Yet some aspects of her personality are constant. Still fiercely independent, she defies the conventions of 1161 society to live on her terms as a brewer and innkeeper. When Bran walks into her inn, their instant connection unnerves her. She fights the attraction, knowing instinctively that if she lets him, this wandering bard will forever change the life she loves.
In each previous life, Bran tried and failed to atone for his crimes. Determined to make this life the one in which he finally repairs the damage of his first betrayal, he uses the knowledge gained over a thousand years to woo and win her. Yet just when he has regained her heart, a fresh betrayal destroys his last hope for love.
How did the idea for the plot come about?
Originally, I sat down to write a medieval murder-mystery with Bran as the hero. However, I hiked Hadrian’s Wall one weekend and when I stopped for refreshments at this little place, I noticed the foundation stones looked suspiciously like Roman-cut limestone. I immediately wondered what stories the stones would tell, and the idea of a 2000-year-old pub came to mind. At that moment, Bran tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I’m here for her.”
“Who?” I asked.
“Her,” he said, gesturing.
That’s when Liza entered the story. Needless to say, the whole murder-mystery went by the wayside after that conversation.
I love sale stories (ok I am just nosy!!) so can you tell us about your road to publication - and your call story?
I was sitting in a coffee shop telling my best friend about Liza and Bran when an eavesdropping agent tapped me on the shoulder and said… OK. I’ll keep my daydream to myself. Like most writers, I learned how to query through trial and error. Marketing a book to an agent or editor requires a skill different from storytelling, but I eventually figured out how to best position ANAM CARA.
I was shaking with excitement when I got the email offer for a contract—then I got a second one a few days later! I weighed my options, and decided to go with The Wild Rose Press.
We are all about the love here, so please share your fave books, movies, TV shows or current fantasy squeeze (it's all in the line of research!)
Mmm…this is always tricky because my favorites tend to change with my moods. But here goes:
Movies: French Kiss and Lion in Winter (although A Knight’s Tale always sucks me in when it’s on TV)
Books: This varies, to be honest. I think I will always have Shakespeare, the Bible and the Oxford English Dictionary on my shelf. I also love Robin Hobb’s voice and have been reading a lot of Kresley Cole lately. My TBR pile is huge.
TV shows: My current must-see show is Mad Men on AMC. I just love the messy interpersonal relationships between the employees of Sterling Cooper. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer is one of my all-time favorites. Could those relationships have been any messier?
Fantasy squeeze: Methos from the Highlander series. He may not have been the sexiest man on the show, but he was the smartest, and I am a sucker for smart men. Plus, can you imagine the bedtime stories he could tell?
What are you working on now?
I am working on a two-book story that covers a plot by Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to assassinate her husband, Henry II, and rule as regent for her son. Crucial to her defeat are Aedan ap Owen (Bran’s brother whom we meet in ANAM CARA) and his sister, Amilia of Ravenglas. They are druids out of place in a modern world, but possess the power to save the kingdom. Such magic comes with a price, however, and only when love provides a ballast in their lives are they able to wield power without losing themselves to it. For Aedan and Amilia, finding and keeping love may turn out to be a matter of life and death.
How can readers keep up with your writing and books?
There are several ways reader can keep up with me. The easiest is probably through updates on my Web site: http://keenakincaid.com/ I’m also on Facebook and MySpace and post updates there. Or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask. I will always answer.