Hi, everyone! We missed a Thursday with my vacation, but we're back today with historical romance author, Kris Tualla, who will be telling us about her historical novels, Loving the Norseman and Loving the Knight. I'm excited to bring her to you, and I think you'll love the books!
Kris, briefly take us on the journey with you – when did you start writing, did you start in the genre you’re published in now, what hurdles did you have to overcome, etc?
KT: I was on vacation with my husband in 2006 and reading Diana Gabaldon's "Outlandish Companion" where she mentions that the best way to learn to write a book is to write one. I turned to my dear husband and said, "I think I'll try writing an historical romance novel." He said, "Okay." My life - and his - have not been the same since!
Laugh! I think many of us can echo that remark. Everything changes when you start writing. So, obviously you write in the historical romance genre. Is that your favorite genre to read?
KT: I cut my reading teeth on "Gone With the Wind" in eighth grade - and have loved complex historical romances ever since! Now I read a variety of genres because I feel I can learn more about writing that way.
Alrighty, tell us what titles hungry readers can find by you.
KT: Nicolas & Sydney:
"A Woman of Choice"
"A Prince of Norway"
"A Matter of Principle"
Currently Available :
Just released on September 12th are the prequels:
"Loving the Norseman" - Rydar & Grier
"Loving the Knight" - Eryndal & Andrew
Of the books you have published, do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?
KT: For currently published, I would have to say A Matter of Principle because it's the culmination of a trilogy. I LOVE the man that Nicolas Hansen finally becomes.
Please tell us about anything coming down the pipe next.
KT: Coming in 2012 --
Brander & Regin:
"A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery"
"A Discreet Gentleman of Matrimony"
"A Discreet Gentleman of Consequence"
Sounds exciting! Particularly the last one. With those mentioned, let's talk about your coming releases. Tell usabout your plot development? How did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?
KT: You may have seen my tagline "Norway is the new Scotland." I came up with it after receiving so many rejections because my heroes are Norse, not Scots. So I wrote the prequel "Loving the Norseman" and set it on the northernmost coast of Scotland as a sop to those who didn't know what to do with an American-Norwegian setting.
Of course, the hero is Norse! This story is about the reestablishment of the Hansen family following the Black Death.
And assuming the publisher would want another Scottish setting for the next book, I took a beloved secondary character, Lord Andrew Drummond, and made him the hero in the sequel. "Loving the Knight" is the only Hansen book (so far) where the heroine is the Hansen.
I absolutely love family sagas. And that setting sounds fascinating -- lots of strife and heartache following the Plague.
What’s one thing about your hero that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book? A secret dream, an embarrassing habit, an episode from childhood.
KT: Let's talk about Rydar, from "Loving the Norseman." His father dragged the family off to Greenland when he was about ten years old. Rydar grew to be six-foot-six and he was hungry all the time; I could see him gambling for food from others in the dying Norse settlement. His mother would have killed him if she knew, but of course he shared some of his winnings with his family. He was a good guy. Just a starving adolescent male!
Aww! So very like our modern teens. I shudder to think what my two boys will do when they hit that age.
Back to heroes! All heroes are unforgettable in one way or another. What’s one thing about Ryder that makes your heart go pitter-pat?
KT: Rydar's intelligence. He's so frustrated because he doesn't speak Scots English and he sounds like an idiot in Scotland. But when he speak Norse, the heroine Grier is entranced by the fluidity and rhythm of his language. That and his pale green eyes.
If your hero doesn’t have a pet in your novel, what kind of pet would best suit his personality?
KT: No pets, just dying settlement/post-plague survival. But if he had the luxury, it would be something unusual, like a wolf. Rydar is a hunter as well.
Well no romance is complete without a heroine. Let's talk about Eryn from "Loving the Knight". She's pretty powerful! Everybody has flaws. Sometimes they are endearing, other times they are annoying. What is her greatest fault?
KT: I thought I'd met stubborn women before, but she really has it locked down. She has reasons, of course, but when those reasons fall away she just can't let go.
Without giving away details that might spoil the story for those who have not read it, could you tell us the one strength Eryn provides to her hero, Andrew?
KT: Eryn offers Andrew the one thing SHE wants most - a family - and that salvages his.
If one of your heroines was your daughter – what advice would you give her upon meeting your hero?
KT: Let's go with Grier in "Loving the Norseman" - Don't be afraid to explore an untried path.
How very true -- very sound advice all the way around! If we peek in on your hero and heroine’s lives ten years from now, can you give us a glimpse of what we’d see?
KT: Well - Nicolas visits Rydar and Grier's graves in "A Prince of Norway" so we know how that turns out. So let's look at Eryn and Drew from "Loving the Knight": Still holding the Bell estate for William (now 19). Lands bequeathed to Andrew by the Scottish King David II provides them a steady income. 5 children. Extremely happy, of course!
Of course! It wouldn't be romance, but beyond that, two well-paired people just wouldn't drift.
Since we've talked about them so much, let's give the readers some teasers!
Loving The Knight (Cover Blurb)
Lady Eryndal Bell is a fraud. A bastard orphan, she has claimed the Bell estate in the aftermath of the Black Death. When Lord Andrew Drummond, courtier to King David II, arrives Eryn hides her treasonous deception from the knight, despite his passionate proposal. After Drew discovers her lies, will he convince the king to spare her life? And will either one move beyond their stubborn pride and painful pasts to salvage love ~ before it's too late?
Loving The Norseman(Cover Blurb)
Grier MacInnes buried three fiancés in the Black Death; soon she'll be replaced by her cousin's teen bride as Lady of Durness Castle. After two decades in Greenland, Rydar Hansen is desperate to return to Norway and reclaim his inheritance ~ if he still has one. Thrown together by a North Sea storm, they don't speak the same language. But apart from each other, they have no future.
Okay. Shew! I confess a secret passion for the Norse. Shh! Let's go back to you, Kris. What’s been the greatest contributing factor to achieving the goals you’ve accomplished?
KT: I never looked back. This has been my new career since the day I started writing. I took it seriously, even if those around me thought it was "cute." So many people start and quit. I didn't quit. I'm still learning. I'm still striving.
Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
KT: I read and re-read all of Kathleen Woodiwiss's first several books. She was a brilliant plotter. Two decades later, I discovered Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. I was privileged to sit under her instruction at a conference early in my career, and we kept in touch. At the Historical Novel Society Conference this June she told me she was "so proud" of me. That's the best compliment ever!
That is an amazing compliment -- congrats! Many writers describe themselves as "character" or "plot" writers. Which are you?
KT: My characters come to me first. Once I know who they are, I have to figure out at what point in their life the story begins. Then I have to figure out the story. When I start the book - and I write from start to finish in a straight line - I know where we begin, where we end, and most of what happens in between. As we go, they reveal more of themselves.
Well, I can't wait to read more from you. In the meantime, where can we find you? (Website, blog, twitter, etc.)
Links to my blog, Facebook and twitter are there. I also have location photos and story-related commentary from my trip to Norway this summer!
If you have a newsletter, how can we sign up?
KT: I don't have a newsletter, but I do have my HOT HANSENS/COOL STUFF monthly give-aways! Sign up is on my home page.
Did you hear that folks -- GIVE AWAYS! Quick, run to her website and figure out how they work!!
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us, Kris?
KT: All books in The Hansen Series are available at Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. Norway is the new Scotland!
Thank you so much for being with us here on From The Muse, Kris! Best of luck and please come back when you have new releases! We'd love to hear from you again.