Author Interview: ‘The Thief and the Bastard’ by Kit McKinney

About the Book:

Claire has a secret – someone has stolen something very dear to her, and she has travelled from France to London to get it back. With a strange man named Jean by her side, she steals in order to survive, and to find what was taken from her. She is barely scraping by when she and Jean decide to steal from a more glamorous target – The Feather and the Wren. What she finds there, however, changes her life forever.

Duncan, a veteran-turned-entrepreneur, has a secret too – he is the bastard child of the licentious nobleman, The Duke of Argyll. Now, with the help of his friend and comrade-in-arms, Lord Thomas, he plans to find his family and take his place in society. That is, until a young French woman steals the only proof he has of his pedigree.

Thrust together by fate, Claire and Duncan find themselves battling with their attraction for one another. But can Claire help Duncan realise his destiny as an heir to the Argyll title? Can Duncan help Claire find what she is looking for? Can love help them find their way?

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’ve been writing since before I can remember. When I was a kid, my parents had a particularly disruptive divorce, and I found solace in books and daydreams. The more I read, the more I wrote, and when I was in middle school, I decided to write my first book. It took me ten years to write and finish my first book, and by the end of it, I was exhausted. 

Throughout that process, I found the world of romance novels. My mother had given me a regency romance novel when I started puberty to teach me about the birds and the bees, and I was absolutely fascinated. It took until I had gotten married, written a few failing high fantasy books, and had my own child that I realized I could write what I loved to read. 

So I wrote The Thief and the Bastard, and I have to say, I’m hooked all over again. It took me years to write novels before I got into romance, where The Thief and the Bastard took me a month. I was just so inspired and in love with the process of it, I couldn’t put my pen down. That, and I was on my maternity leave. I decided from there that I would make romance more than a guilty pleasure, and really let myself enjoy my writing in ways I never had before. 

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Where and when I write changes day to day, just as my life does. I wrote most of The Thief and the Bastard on my phone while I nursed my baby to sleep. The next book I wrote completely on my computer the few minutes I had between rocking her to sleep, and falling asleep myself. Now I make the time, and hope to continue that trend as I go back into the work force. For instance, this morning I wrote a scene while I made my baby eggs, and I’m writing this while she plays with blocks on the floor. Whatever happens, I’ll always find a way to squeeze a few words out a day. 

3: Where do your ideas come from?

If I am completely honest, my ideas come from daydreams. I don’t daydream a whole lot anymore, but when I do, it’s usually me trying to find the mood for a book. If I’m having a hard time writing, I’ll set my work down and just sit there and ‘watch’ it unfold in my head, then figure out how to describe it from there. 

With Silk Sheets and Dark London streets, I literally just sat down and wrote, not bothering to think of what the story would be, or where it would take me. Every new scene would flesh the world out for me, and from there I would figure out how I wanted the story to go. It took me until about chapter three to have an idea of the world and whether or not I wanted to make the story a series, and I’m really glad I stuck out with it. So far the first three books are finished, and I’m three-quarters of the way done with book four.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

It really depends on the story, but as I was taking a shot in the dark, The Thief and the Bastard really dragged me along behind it. I usually have a general idea of the story, such as major plot points, and sometimes a particular scene or two, but I find that the more structure I have, the harder it is for me to write something quality. I feel too beholden to my plans, and can’t let the conversations happen naturally.

Dialogue between characters really is what drives my stories. I’ll sit down with an idea for a scene in mind, and then as the characters talk, I’ll realize that what I had planned wouldn’t work, because these characters would never say ‘X’, or ‘Y’, so I write it how I think they would speak, and go from there. If that changes the story, then so be it.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

My books are historical romance, set in the Georgian era. I remember my first romance book, not really much what happened in it, but the fancy it bred in my heart at the idea of balls and bonnets. I have read contemporary, and I particularly like to read Scottish Highlander type stories, but for some reason when I sit down to write romance, I think historical London.

I think it might be the fact that the culture is so different from mine and that love feels a little forbidden in the time. Men could find themselves in affairs and understand their sexuality, but for a woman to know her own body was pretty taboo, which makes the whole thing that much more exciting. I’m not one to like things too risqué, so I think it scratches that adventurous part of me, the part of me that wants to be elegant and powerful and bad (in a good way, of course).

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

When I describe characters, I actually go through and try to find actors or models who look how I want my character to look, and use that as a base for my character’s face. Claire’s appearance is based off of a beautiful French actress, Emmanuelle Béart. Duncan was originally based off of Adrien Brody, a man that I particularly find very alluring, but I eventually switched the actor as I wanted to use Adrien Brody for another character. I eventually found a picture of a man named Tony Ward, who is a Lebanese-Italian fashion designer that is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know if he would act the part well, or really much about the man at all, but he certainly has a great face that I found inspiring.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I love to read, and sometimes when I have issues with writing, I’ll sit down and read to find inspiration. One of the authors that I found really fun and chill was Wendy Vella, who wrote a supernatural regency series that I absolutely devoured. I also read an author named Minerva Spencer, whose saucy scenes I thought were particularly well done. I really hope that I can one day write eroticism in such a compelling way. There’s a particular scene in her story Outrageous, where the main male character gets in a fight, and instead of focusing on the fight, he flexes for his lady, which I thought was both hilarious and sensual. Outside of historical romance, I used to read a lot of Sherrilyn Kenyon, and loved her supernatural series as well. I definitely think that I will do something historical and otherworldly for my next series. In fact, I already brainstormed characters and supernatural situations that I hope to explore when I finish this series. 

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Sillily enough, I am reading The Crown and the Sceptre by Tracy Borman, which is a history of British royalty. I am also reading A History of the British Isles by Kenneth Campbell and the entirety of the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle. That might give hints to where I want to take my next series, but I really wanted to know more about the era and culture that I am writing about, as American culture has never been particularly good at educating people on other’s cultures and history. I have found the history books very enlightening so far, though I’m still far from the time period I write in. And I have also been enraptured with the stories of Sherlock Holmes, as I have only ever seen adaptations of the work, and hope to learn how to ravel a web of mystery like Arthur Conan Doyle can.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I honestly don’t have a favorite book, though I feel like I should sometimes. Books are much like music to me, my favorite song and book is different almost everyday, depending on my mood and what is interesting that day. My favorite books in that past have been The Giver by Lois Lower, Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Outrageous by Minerva Spencer, but right now I’m looking for my next favorite book.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Write for yourself. I don’t ever plan to make money off my writing, but I want people to read it. I self published because it was a dream of mine, and I enjoy it, not because I want to make a career out of it. I will try my hardest to make the most out of writing, but at the end of the day, I will write whether or not I have an audience. I love writing because it helps me cope with my mental health issues and it enriches my life. I love writing like I love eating. It’s something to enjoy and do every single day. So I write for myself. Beyond that, do your research so you know what to expect. Things change all the time, and what might be true as I write this will be different when you start. From what I have read, having a back log is one of the best things for a writer, so work on getting things out, make the cover of a book you want to read, read blogs, and follow your favorite authors. There’s a lot of great information out there if you just look. And good luck!

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

You can find me at:

Facebook: Kit McKinney, Kit McKinney Fan Page

www.en-gb.facebook.com/people/Kit-McKinney/100079066089609

Twitter: @KitMcKinney4

Instagram: www.instagram.com/KitMcKinney4

Amazon page: www.amazon.co.uk/Kit-McKinney/e/B09YS7GBN9

About the Author:

Kit McKinney is a mother and author from San Antonio, Tx. She has been writing since she was in middle school, and fell in love with romance as a genre in her early teens. After graduating from Texas A&M and giving birth to her first child, she decided to commit herself to family, love, and happily ever afters. Happy reading.

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