Jen: Today we welcome Kirsten S. Blacketer to Romancing the Book. Kirsten, will you share a short bio with us?
Kirsten: Stick her in the middle of a chaotic home with two children, a hyperactive dog, and a camouflage wearing husband, and she can cook and clean with the best of them. But when the sun goes down and the children are nestled in bed fast asleep, she tucks away her pots and broom and like Cinderella she transforms.
Her characters creep forth from the dark recesses of her mind taking their places in the castles and forests built from her words. No simpering heroines linger there with forlorn gazes turned to the horizon, waiting for their Prince Charming. They straighten their spine, arming themselves with blade and bow, prepared to do their part in defense of their honor and destiny. She breathes life into the women she believes our ancestors to be, showing how they lived and loved with passion and grace.
Never bored by the tales still left to tell, she battles the ever sarcastic muse in her quest for romance.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Kirsten: A Shadow’s Kiss is the second book in my Shadow Guardians Series. I introduced both Alexander and Madeline in the first book, An Irresistible Shadow. While their book is a stand alone, it helps if you read An Irresistible Shadow first. I couldn’t write the first book and not the second. They interconnect, but I don’t want to give too much away. Spoilers, darling. *grins*
Both the books are Medieval romances and set in the same universe, around the same time. They go hand in hand. I got the idea for the series when I was fifteen. I had actually written a few of the scenes when I was in high school. I didn’t write the book until I was almost thirty years old. Yeah, the idea lingered in the back of my mind for a long time before I had the courage to write the novel in completion. But I’m so glad I did so I could share the story with all you wonderful readers.
Here’s a short excerpt:
“I am merely a possession to be bartered and traded.” She sighed. “Evelyn was right. Tis not fair.” She wiggled against him, trying to find a more comfortable seat.
“Madeline,” he groaned. “Do not do that.”
“What?” she asked innocently, glancing at his face. He had drawn his lower lip between his teeth, his eyes had drifted closed. She released his shirt and touched his unshaven cheek. The rough prickle of new beard scratched her palm.
“Cease your torture, lass,” he said, his voice hoarse and breaking.
“Am I hurting you?” she shifted again, bracing her hand on his thigh. His hand tightened, gripping her waist tightly.
“Stop. Moving.” He grounded out the words.
“I do not mean to hurt you,” she said sympathetic. She truly had no idea what she was doing to cause him pain.
“If you would stop your wiggling,” he rasped out.
She pulled away from him in an effort to give him some space. Madeline slipped, nearly tumbling from his arms when he caught her, his palm cradling her breast. She felt the heat of his hand through the fabric of her gown. A knot formed in the pit of her stomach, twisting and pulling, threatening to tear her apart. She gasped, grasping his plaid to steady herself again. As soon as she settled, his hand released her, resuming its grip on her side.
“My apologies, my lady,” he said as their mount climbed the hill toward the keep. Madeline could see Angus and Heather ahead of them, but far enough their words were a whisper on the breeze.
“Twas my fault I nearly fell,” she said, the heat rising in her cheeks.
“I meant for…” He coughed, unable to finish the sentence.
“Oh, that, well,” she stammered, her face enflamed. The darkness hid her embarrassment, but it also emboldened her. “I must admit, I liked it.”
Alexander said nothing, but his fingertips digging into her side belied his reaction. She felt daring in the moonlight.
“Did you like it as well?” she whispered, her gaze fixed on his face. He bit his lip again. A familiar tingle shot down her spine, landing in the pit of her stomach.
“My lady, twas naught but an accident,” he replied stiffly. “It will not happen again.”
She leaned closer to him, curling against his warm body. “Your touch warms me the way strong wine does. Making me feel weak and helpless and happy, all at once. I cannot help but want more.” She reached her hand up to caress his face again. “Would you kiss me again, Alexander?”
She felt his breathing quicken. His heart beat louder beneath her cheek, and his jaw twitched beneath her touch. “You want it as much as I do,” she said, feeling wicked and wanton. She had wanted him for so long, to have him so close now and not take a chance seemed wrong.
“I do,” he whispered so softly she almost missed his confession.
“Then I am yours.” Her breath hitched when he glanced at her, his eyes as dark as the skies above them.
“I cannot,” he replied, regret evident in his tone.
“You can,” she pleaded. Her body ached for his touch, her lips burned for his kiss. For two years she pined for him, forcing herself to be content for the chance of seeing him around the keep. Ever since he kissed her, she knew he wanted her with as much passion as she desired him. Her fingertips journeyed into the soft curls at the nape of his neck, twisting them. “Please, Alexander.”
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Kirsten: I am a mix of both. I start out just writing a scene inspired from a photograph, a character idea, a quote, or even a single word. I’ll write a few scenes like this featuring the same characters and then I realize, oh my gosh, I need to plot now. I start to tie all the threads together and weave a feasible plot using the characters and setting I’ve created. Sometimes the characters cooperate, but most of the time I end up just listening to whatever the characters tell me…or wherever they lead me. I never fight them, that only leads to a lot of edits down the road. Normally the character knows exactly what he or she is doing, so I listen. Boy, do I sound crazy.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Kirsten: Romantic, tension filled. (That was the hardest question!)
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Kirsten: If I don’t have a notebook handy, I put the ideas in my phone. Failing the access to my phone, I will write it on any available surface. I have written story ideas on paper towels and scraps of newspaper. I get ideas at the strangest times. Sometimes if I tell someone the idea, it cements it in my mind and I’m able to remember it easier.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Kirsten: I write romance exclusively. I would love to write an action/adventure novel for my Dad, and my heart is begging to write a mystery story…Sherlock Holmes/Agatha Christie style.
I’ll never write horror. It’s just not something I have an interest in writing. I love suspense and thrilling stories, but horror, both gore and psychological, are way outside of my comfort zone. I don’t often read that genre, unless my friends who write horror ask me to beta read for them. NEVER do that at night right before bed time. *shivers*
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Kirsten: Actually writing is the most challenging part of writing for me. I am the world’s most accomplished procrastinator. I can find fifty things to do instead of writing. Forcing myself to sit in the chair and write is the hardest part for me.
The easiest aspect of writing…coming up with ideas. I get at least ten ideas for new stories every day. I write a lot of them down hoping I will write them at some point, but there are many ideas that never leave that stage and will wither away in that notebook. Isn’t that sad?
The most rewarding part of writing is interacting with people who have read my stories. I love meeting readers and hearing their thoughts. Networking with other fans of romance is the most exciting part of my job as an author.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Kirsten: What free time? I’m a mom, a military spouse, a writer, and an editor. I don’t get a lot of time to myself. When I do get moments of peace, I like to read romance and shoujo manga as well as binge watch Netflix. I also volunteer in the community theatre and as the Cub Scout leader for my son’s pack. *wipes brow*
Jen: What’s next for you?
Kirsten: I’m working on a trilogy of novellas set in Victorian England. The first book, Jewel of Winter, will be releasing at the end of April. I’m currently writing the second and third instalment. So they’re keeping me busy at the moment.