Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Interview: The Mark of the Tala (The Twelve Kingdoms #1) by Jeffe Kennedy

Published: May 27th, 2014


Queen Of The Unknown

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, heir to the kingdom. The youngest, the sweet beauty with her Prince Charming. No one says much about the middle princess, Andromeda. Andi, the other one.

Andi doesn't mind being invisible. She enjoys the company of her horse more than court, and she has a way of blending into the shadows. Until the day she meets a strange man riding, who keeps company with wolves and ravens, who rules a land of shapeshifters and demons. A country she'd thought was no more than legend--until he claims her as its queen.

In a moment everything changes: Her father, the wise king, becomes a warlord, suspicious and strategic. Whispers call her dead mother a traitor and a witch. Andi doesn't know if her own instincts can be trusted, as visions appear to her and her body begins to rebel.

For Andi, the time to learn her true nature has come. . .

Upcoming books in the trilogy are The Tears of the Rose and The Talon of the Hawk.

Thank you, Mrs. Jeffe Kennedy
1. How different is to write young adult romance from the adult ones and what is the most important aspect in such a romance?
I don’t really know because I’ve never written YA! For some reason, a few readers think that The Mark of the Tala is YA, but it’s definitely not. It’s considered adult fantasy. *Very* adult in places, if you catch my drift. J

2. I read your Workshop section of your site and I want to ask you: do love stories need sex scenes? What a sex scene brings to a romance story?
They don’t NEED them – the Twilight series is an amazing example of an intense love affair that remains totally chaste for a number of books – but I happen to always write them. Even if I’m trying not to, and I did think I wouldn’t when I started The Mark of the Tala, I end up going there. To me sex is a natural and joyful part of life. And especially in love relationships, physical intimacy is an important part of the developing affair. People reveal different parts of themselves during sex, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, too. Sex is really the closest we’re able to be to another person and there’s huge power in that.

3. What it takes to create a believable fantasy world and what else make a good fantasy story?
I think a believable fantasy world should be grounded in the same physical laws as the world we know and understand. While fantasy allows us to change some aspects – magic, shapeshifting, etc. – people, human nature, forces like gravity, all remain consistent. For me what makes a good fantasy story is being swept away into another world that I’d like to live in.

4. What kind of character is Andromeda? There are any similarities between her and the mythological Andromeda?
Ooh – you’re the first person to ask me that! My Andromeda starts out as someone who is self-effacing. She’s not confident and years of being treated as wrong or weird have led her to prefer not being noticed at all. Through the events of the book, she learns to take control of herself and her life. She finds an inner strength she didn’t know she had. The name “Andromeda” means to be mindful. It translates as “to think of man,” but we know that “man” in these cases refers to human nature. My heroine Andromeda has to learn her own nature and the nature of the people and races around her. The mythological Andromeda was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a monster – which is metaphorically what happens to my heroine also.

5. I saw that some readers disagree with certain aspects of the relationship between Andi and Rayfe. How difficult is to walk on such a thin line that can be misinterpreted and what are the risks of such misinterpretations? 
I think this goes directly towards her being a sacrifice. Andi, however, sacrifices herself to save her people. The ritual binding of her marriage to Rayfe is both magical and sexual. Their marriage is partially a political alliance and she reconciles herself to the reality of that. They have to be married – with full consummation of it – for the alliance to be real and lasting. This was a reality of many women’s lives for centuries and it’s true of the world Andi lives in. Rayfe doesn’t force her into sex, in my view. She agrees to the marriage, including sex, with her eyes open. She goes willingly, which is important to Rayfe also, and with a sense of her responsibility as a ruler. 

As for how difficult is it to walk this thin line? Clearly it’s very difficult! It’s a trigger topic for a lot of people. And I absolutely believe that everyone has a right to their feelings and should be able to express them. As the author, I was in Andi’s head, so I felt like she did not feel forced. It would have been different had she not already felt a deep attraction to Rayfe, who sees her when she’s invisible to everyone else. He values and cherishes her and she’s tremendously drawn to him. Maybe that’s part of why it was important to me to include the sex scenes between them, because she does enjoy the experience and the intimacy with him. In fact, they get that part right before they figure out the rest of their marriage. 

It’s an interesting question overall – what each of us would sacrifice or suffer and for what principle? That’s part of Andi’s journey as a person, to discover those things.

About the author:
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her fantasy BDSM romance, Petals and Thorns, originally published under the pen name Jennifer Paris, has won several reader awards. Sapphire, the first book in the Facets of Passion series, has placed first in multiple romance contests and the follow-up, Platinum, is climbing the charts. Her most recent works include three fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns, the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and the post-apocalyptic vampire erotica of the Blood Currency. 

She is currently working on Master of the Opera and The Twelve Kingdoms, a fantasy trilogy. 

Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com or every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog.


Unknown said...

I want read it!

Jeffe Kennedy said...

Thanks! I hope you enjoy!!