Chat & Giveaway With Kristen Callihan

OK. You’ve had to be living under a rock to miss my gushing over Firelight, the new HR/PNR by Kristen Callihan. I loved this book so much that I contacted Kristen the very night that I finished it, begging asking her to visit the blog.  She graciously agreed.
Jen: Let me start out by saying how much I truly loved Firelight.

Kristen: I’m so glad! Thank you! 🙂

Jen: What drew you to a Beauty & the Beast type of story?

Kristen: Honestly? I was trying to come up with a story while my daughter was watching Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. LOL. But as I sat there, I started to wonder, what if this beast was cursed not to become an animal, but to lose his soul? And what if Beauty wasn’t this helpless victim but a woman with her own curse? A bunch of ‘what ifs’, and one hour later, I had my story hammered out.

Jen: Archer is such a compelling character. How would you describe him to new readers and how would he describe himself?

Kristen: I would describe Archer as intelligent, compassionate, and strong, but so very hurt by life that he’s walled himself in.

Archer would tell you that he does not describe himself. In fact, the very thought of it has made him flee the room. Wait, he’s returned to inform me that he did not “flee” the room but quit the room because he no longer wished to discuss such feminine notions, and would I please use the proper vocabulary to describe his actions. Ahem. Right then.

Jen: There is so much mystery throughout the story about the way he looks. How do you manage to make a man sexy and swoon-worthy without describing what he looks like?

Kristen: Well I’m very happy to know he came off as swoon-worthy. 🙂

Early on, I had this fear of, how will the reader find this guy hot if he’s hiding behind masks? But then I realized that was rather the point. Miranda, and the reader by extension, had to fall in love with what’s on the inside first. Then it became quite simple: show what is inside Archer. The man he truly is. Which is what most people fall in love with anyway. So I showed that he was strong and brave, yet vulnerable and hurt, that he was devoted and kind to Miranda, and willing to lay down his life to save her. And above all, that he has a razor-sharp wit. Because what woman doesn’t love that?
Jen: It takes a special heroine to be able to look beyond the mask to see the real man. Let’s talk a little about Miranda.

Kristen: Let’s! 🙂 I loved writing her. She was so pragmatic and loyal. I knew she would be the perfect foil for Archer because he would never be able to scare her away. She’d simply tell him to get over himself. Lol. But I also knew there needed to be a reason for her fearlessness. With her power, I’d say she has good justification to rush headlong into danger.

Jen: In the book, she wields a supernatural power. Do you think you’ll ever attempt to ferret out the origin of her gift or is it just one of those things that simply is what it is?

Kristen: Yes, the origin of her gift will be revealed in Moonglow. Miranda and Archer appear in Moonglow, but not it the vein of typical romance couple’s appearances, in which they are all smiles and producing broods of children. I didn’t want to do that to them, because I think it diminishes the couple when that occurs –not the children, but the lack of their original spark (g). So they return with a purpose. And things will be explained. 😉
Jen: What is your favorite scene in the book and why?

Kristen: Hmm… I don’t think I have one favorite. But my favorite bits are the verbal sparring between Archer and Miranda. They totally took over when it came to dialogue. Right from the start, I always knew what they were going to say to each other. As for a snip, let’s see… Here is one that I particularly liked. This is after Archer has been injured while defending Miranda and they’ve had…ahem, quite the heated encounter against a brick wall.

“Good God, you’re bleeding like a skinned cat.”

“Really, Miranda, you are the most colorful speaker at times.” A smile ghosted over his lips. Sparring with her apparently restored his good humor. Or perhaps it was easier for him to brush away what they had done, she thought with a flush. But when she reached for him, he swatted her hand.

Her fingers clenched her skirt. “This is unfair. You can save my life, assault me in an alleyway– ”

“Assault, was it?”

“Just look at you! It’s a wonder you are even sitting upright.”

“How odd. My definition of ‘assault’ must be in error.”

“You are not made of iron, you know. You should have alerted me of your injury at once. You could have bled to death! What were you thinking?”

His mouth twitched. “I’m going to assume that was a rhetorical question.”

Jen: I am kind of partial to the actually scene IN the alleyway. Wow. (**moving on**) In addition to Firelight, you’ve released a prequel novella, Ember. Do you think people should read it before or after Firelight?

Kristen: Good question. Ember is the story of what happened in the time between when Miranda and Archer first meet in Firelight to when they get married three years later. It is intended to be a companion piece to Firelight, so in that regard, you can read it either before or after. If you read it before, you will hopefully want to know what happens when Miranda and Archer have their reunion. If you read it after, you will hopefully understand Miranda and Archer a little bit better, especially Miranda, as this is about her days of thievery and forging a friendship with Billy Finger –cockney pimp and most excellently natty dresser (his words).

My favorite part about it, however, is that I got to include a love scene from Archer’s point of view. Something I couldn’t really do in Firelight because of that pesky word count limit my publisher held me to.

Jen: There is already very high praise for Firelight, including a nod as a RT Top Pick. And it’s your debut novel! Was the road to publication a smooth one or were there alot of bumps along the way?
Kristen: Most definitely bumpy. My agent, Kristin Nelson, spoke a bit about this on her blog. But in short, no one wanted Firelight when we first went out on submission with it. I was told various things such as, readers weren’t into Gothic stories, they hated Miranda, they hated Archer, etc. Which goes to show that reading is such a subjective thing. But the main problem was that it didn’t fit into a neat category. This is disconcerting to publishers because it makes it harder to market the story.

There was one editor, however, who did want it. Only I had to change Miranda’s point of view. Initially, Miranda’s scenes were in first person and Archer’s in third. This, I found out, was a big no-no in romance. So I spent a few months revising. Almost a year after going on submission, Firelight sold to that editor.

Because of this, the praise means very much to me. But in the end, it is simply gravy. That people get to read the story is what’s key.

Jen: I can’t let you go without asking about what you have planned for the future of the series. Talk to me about Moonglow and tell me there are more books planned after that as well.

Kristen: Moonglow is Daisy’s story. Daisy is Miranda’s slightly naughty and irreverent sister. Newly widowed, she is set to experience the pleasures of life that her repressive husband withheld from her. This all goes to pot, however, when she draws the attention of a mad werewolf, and the only one who can save her is another werewolf –the equally naughty and irreverent Ian Ranulf. Unfortunately for Ian, the more he interacts with other werewolves, the more likely it is that he too will go mad. If Firelight is about trusting love despite all logic, Moonglow is about love helping you to become the best version of yourself.

After Moonglow, is Winterblaze, Winston and Poppy’s story. And then I am under contract for a fourth book featuring characters introduced in Moonglow. With each book, we learn more about this other London. The one filled with supernatural beings, including werewolves –obviously- but also such beasties as Ghosts in the Machines, who are body thieves with clockwork hearts that keep them enslaved to their creator, and the organization that keeps them all in check.

Jen: Thank you so much for taking the time to visit the blog and answer my questions. And I wish you great success with all the Darkest London books!

Kristen: Thank you so much for asking me! I enjoyed visiting!

If you haven’t read Firelight, here is your chance! We’re giving away a copy (US only.) Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  Another very big thanks to Kristen for answering my questions today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments

  1. I’ve heard so many great things about this one–I’ve got it on my list! 😀 Love the cover, too.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!
    Enjoy,
    TBQ

  2. This is another book I’ve been stalking through blogs. I’ve read more than a few reviews for this book and it looks great. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  3. You never steer me wrong. Adding to my TBR list!

  4. Yes, this book has been getting raves, and I can’t wait to read it! It’s on my wishlist!
    Awesome interview – I’ve been following Kristen on her tour, and am enjoying it very much!
    Thank you for the giveaway chance!

    Gena Robertson
    robertsongena@hotmail.com

  5. I’ve been seeing great reviews for this one. Definitely adding to my TBR list.

  6. Hi Jen,

    I would like to thank you for or introducing me to a new author. I also want to thank you for such an enjoyable interview and for giving us all a chance to read an excerpt of “Firelight”. Historical romance is my weakness and I really enjoyed this excerpt.

    I absolutely adore and appreciate a good love story. I’m literally champing at the bit to read this story as it contains everything that I like in a book, i.e. passion, danger, intrigue and romance. I love to be swept away to another time and place where people lived, loved, and were finding their way to each other.

    I love the front cover art work, it’s extremely eye-catching and very sensual.

  7. Christina Kit. says:

    thanks for the great giveaway! and for the excerpt!

  8. Great interview. I think this book sounds wonderful. Love the cover! Thanks for the chance.

  9. That little bit from the book makes me want more. Sounds like a great read!

  10. I love Beauty and the Beast type stories! This sounds like an awesome read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  11. This has been on wishlist for a while now. Can’t wait to read it because I’ve got to see what happens between Archer and Miranda. Thanks for the giveaway.

    e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

  12. I love Beauty and the Beast stories 😀

  13. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites, so this definitely caught my eye. Thanks for the review and interview.

  14. Oh, I can’t wait until Moonglow comes out. It sounds like it is going to be an awesome addition to the story.

  15. Sounds like an awesome read!!! Added to my wishlist!
    Thanks!
    -Amber
    goodblinknpark@yahoo.com

  16. I sooo want to read Firelight!!! Good things are being said about this story and I’ve got to read it! Thanks for the great giveaway!!!

    yadkny@hotmail.com

  17. I want this book!

  18. sounds awesome! i cant wait to read it! definitely one im adding to my wishlist. thank you!

  19. Great interview! The books sound very good.

  20. I’ve heard great things about this book. It’s already on my TBR list.

    Thanks foe the contest

  21. I cannot wait to read this. Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. Sounds good, thanks for hosting this giveaway. I’m always on the lookout for new authors to add to my collection.

    Vikki @ V’s book life

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