Friday, 21 November 2014

An Interview with Jeffe Kennedy

Next week The Tears of the Rose will release, the second book in Jeffe Kennedy's Twelve Kingdoms series. I managed to have a chat with Jeffe about The Tears of the Rose and the series in general.

Sullivan: Welcome to Pearls Cast Before A McPig. The second book in your Twelve Kingdoms series will release next week. What can you tell about this series to people who don't know it yet?

Jeffe: Hmm. It's a fantasy trilogy about three princesses, the daughters of the High King, each more beautiful than the last.
The first book, THE MARK OF THE TALA, was about the middle princess and the second one, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE, is about the youngest and most beautiful.

Sullivan: In THE MARK OF THE TALA all three sisters were introduced, and let's be honest: Ami was a bit spoiled. was it difficult to write her as the lead character in book two?

Jeffe: Yes, I worried quite a bit about whether Ami would be too unlikable for readers to stick with. But it was also important to me not to flinch away from who she was and "nice her up" before she could get there on her own

Sullivan: I can tell you, you did a great job in my opinion.

Jeffe: yay! thank you!
It helped that I felt like it wasn't entirely her fault that she was so spoiled. No one had ever expected much more of her.

Sullivan: When you started on book one, did you already have the whole story arc lined out, or did it evolve while you wrote?

Jeffe: I'm really bad at pre-plotting, so mostly it evolved as I went.
I did have "sketches" of the next two books after I finished book one, with a general idea of how things would go. But when I started book one, I didn't know how it would end. Or that it would end the way it did, though after a time I suspected...

Sullivan: Do you use writing diaries or schedules to keep track of events?

Jeffe: Events in the stories? Not so much. I keep spreadsheets with the chapters, to track their length and the beats like the Act climaxes. Sometimes I note the major events of the chapter. I sometimes keep a big story board, but I don't do that for every book. It seems to vary for each story and I'm not sure why.

Sullivan: Could people read these books as standalones? Not that I understand why someone would: They're so good you need to read them all, I think..

Jeffe: Aww - that's lovely of you to say. I've seen several readers comment that they started with book 2 and felt fine about it. They understood what was going on and thought it read fine as a standalone. Of course, they also said they planned to go back and read book 1... so you might have a point!

Sullivan: About the three sisters: What struck me was how real their relationship felt. You really got the sibling rivalry and hierarchy. How did you decide to write them that way?

Jeffe: It's a misnomer to say I "decide" things. Really I just follow the story. When I started the first book, I wrote it around a dream I had. I was trapped in a castle and some kind of monster was outside hunting me. People kept going out to kill it and ended up getting killed instead. My sister (in the dream - I don't have one in real life) was telling me that she'd protect me and she and her husband wouldn't let the monster have me.

So I knew that my heroine would have a sister. Also, I wanted to write about the classical fairy tale structure with the three princesses. I'd always been fascinated by those stories and wondered what that would be like. How did the eldest feel about the youngest being the most beautiful? How did the middle princess feel about being the one who barely got any story time?

Sullivan: Evil question: Do you have a favorite among the three sisters? And which one was the hardest to write?

Jeffe: Ha! Like children, they're each my favorites, for different reasons and at different times. Each represents a different face of myself. Amelia took a lot of thought to write, because I wanted to handle the redemption of the unlikable heroine in the best way I could. But the most difficult to write was Ursula. I didn't expect that going in. She was really difficult to bring around, very hardheaded. And Ursula's book, THE TALON OF THE HAWK, finally finished at 131,000 words - much longer than the other two.

Sullivan: Any chance there will be more than three books in this series? Any extra stories in this world you want to tell?

Jeffe: Oh yes! I just put together a proposal for my publisher to do three more books! Book four would be Dafne's book and I have a juicy story for her. I really hope I get to write it because it's starting to tug at me. I'm really interested in what I came up with for books five and six, too. Then I have a concept for a third set of three. That would be ideal, if I got to do all nine.

Sullivan: I will send positive vibes to help make it happen. That would be so awesome.

Jeffe: All vibes are welcome - thank you!!

Sullivan: Last question: Any chance there will be a pig in the next book(s)?

Jeffe: Ha! I should have seen that one coming. THE TALON OF THE HAWK does not have pigs, though there IS a boar.
There are, however, zombies!
Just for you.

Sullivan: Yay!

Jeffe: Okay, not just for you, because the story needed it, but I knew you'd be happy

Sullivan: You made my day! :-D

Jeffe: hee, I thought that would!
Slow zombies though. and kind of horrifying

Sullivan: Slow zombies are the best!

Jeffe: I think so! after all, they ARE dead.

Sullivan: So everyone: buy these books. Not just for the zombies, but because the books are absolutely awesome.


The Tears of the Rose (The Twelve Kingdoms #2)
by Jeffe Kennedy

Three sisters. Motherless daughters of the high king. The eldest is the warrior-woman heir; the middle child is shy and full of witchy intuition; and the youngest, Princess Amelia, she is as beautiful as the sun and just as generous.

Ami met her Prince Charming and went away to his castle on the stormy sea-cliffs—and that should have been her happily ever after. Instead, her husband lies dead and a war rages. Her middle sister has been taken into a demon land, turned into a stranger. The priests and her father are revealing secrets and telling lies. And a power is rising in Ami, too, a power she hardly recognizes, to wield her beauty as a weapon, and her charm as a tool to deceive…

Amelia has never had to be anything but good and sweet and kind and lovely. But the chess game for the Twelve Kingdoms has swept her up in it, and she must make a gambit of her own. Can the prettiest princess become a pawn—or a queen?

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Jeffe Kennedy said...

Thanks for the interview - was fun to revisit! :-)

Blodeuedd said...

I sooo need to read book 1..

And wait, you put in zombies? C is always telling me to read more about them ;)

Jeffe Kennedy said...

Zombies are in book 3 - so you have time to catch up! :-)

miki said...

^^ If you get to write book 4-6 ( and then 7 to 9) you could still add a pig somewhere to make Sullivan Happy^^

i haven't started this series yet as i prefer to read trilogy back to back usually ( hate cliffhanger) but it has been highly recommended to me here so one day for sure^^ ( and please no cliffhanger at teh end of book 3 i would still read book 4 without one^^)

Jeffe Kennedy said...

I'll tell you what - if I get to write books 4-6, then I will add a pig, just for Sullivan.

And book 3 is already written - so I can promise with absolute certainty that it does NOT end on a cliffhanger. It ties everything up that I could!

miki said...

Thank you a lot^^