|PJ & Kris at RWA 2011|
Out of the Comfort Zone
My latest story, DECEPTION (link: http://kriskennedy.net/), was just released on the world last week, and I’m so excited! I’m also a bit terrified.
Without meaning to (but sort-of, kind of meaning to) this story pushed creative boundaries for me, and did so within some tight timelines.
DECEPTION is like my other books in some central ways: it’s a medieval, it has what I call ‘the good alpha’ hero (the guy strong and in charge, but confident enough in himself that a strong woman doesn’t frighten him), it’s got a strong, smart, determined heroine, and the sensual passion between the hero and heroine is strong, and that desire is central to shaping their relationship. :)
But it’s also different from the other stories. It’s not your typical medieval romance, with knights and sword fights and chases across the countryside. It’s more about con jobs. And dirty money. And the powerful men who want it, and what they'll do to get it.
And of course, the person who will risk everything to stop them.
Irishman Kier is a con man with a history of staggering successes and one truly awful failure. Now he's on a mission of revenge, and the men who betrayed him are about to pay. He’s set up an elaborate long con against some of the most powerful men in England. He’s planned everything: the bait to lure his targets out, the methods by which he’ll reel them in. He’s a professional schemer in every cell in his body, and thus, he’s planned for everything.
Except the appearance of the woman who can bring the whole thing crashing down around him.
Sophia is a woman who’s been pushed a little too far, a little too often, and now she’s pushing back. She intends to stop the powerful men who’ve shadowed her life. To do that, she needs proof of their evil deeds, which lie in the Darnly ledger. The ledger documents the corruptions of some of the most powerful men in England, and it has the potential for extortion on a grand scale.
In the king’s hands, it can ruin them.
Sophia intends to make sure that’s exactly what happens. Simple enough. Until, sneaking in to steal the ledger, she meets up with Kier. He wants the same thing she does, the Darnly ledger. She has no intention of giving it to him. He has no intention of letting her go until she does.
And neither is backing down.
It doesn’t help that they were once in love.
From the moment of their unexpected, explosive reunion, Sophia knows that Kier—her ex-lover, her outlaw lover, the man who stole her heart then threw it off a cliff five years ago—is up to no good. But when all her other options have been removed, when the only thing left to do is to walk away and accept defeat, Sophia plunges headlong into Kier’s dangerous schemes, determined to bring down the corrupt men who’ve ruined her life. One of whom, she’s quite sure, is Kier.
This whole set-up, from plot to characters, was so different from my other three. First of all, it was a reunion story, and I’ve never done one of those before. It was fun, and different.
Additionally, there were no knights (except a false one) and no chases across the countryside (although the story takes place during a very hot summer, and thus there are thunderstorms and, subsequently, wet tunics draped over a muscular body, and at one point, there is ice involved). And it’s not always clear which is the (metaphorical) dragon to be slain.
Usually, my stories are almost Errol Flynn-like adventures. I love that sort of drama; it’s a blast to write, and has built-in tension. But this one was different. I had to build tension differently. A reunion is different from a first-meet. Fleeing from danger is different from setting a trap. Hiding from the bad guys is not the same as putting yourself directly in their line of sight. Riding across the countryside is different from dressing for a gala affair. Pursuing a bad guy is fundamentally different from luring him in.
Instead of chases and armor and clarity about who the bad guy is, there’s planning and targeting and confounding people. There’s dressing in rich clothes to fool people and feigning distress when they discover the very thing you meant for them to see. There are men to trick and men to fight, there are offices to be broken into and rumors to start. There are tall ships with green sails and long, hot summer nights between two people who have dreamt of each other for five long years.
Hmmm...I guess that DECEPTION is not so different from the others, for all that the plot pushed me out of my comfort zone. In the end, it’s still one of mine. Strong passions, strong men and women, a dragon to slay, and people risking everything for all the right reasons: the person they love.
And I hope you love it!
Kris writes hot historical romances for Pocket Books, with a scorching self-published novella coming later in 2012. Visit her website for news, excerpts, to sign up for the newsletter, or to drop Kris a line! http://kriskennedy.net
How have you stepped out of your comfort zone? Kris is giving away a book to one randomly selected person leaving a comment on today's blog. (U.S./Canada only) Winner's choice of Deception or Defiant.