Embracing Romance is thrilled to welcome back the queen of medieval romance–Kathryn Le Veque. She’s been all over the place lately, interviews and features, and recently moved into her dream house.
KATHRYN LE VEQUE is an Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Historical Fiction. She has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES and on USA TODAY’s HEA blog.
“This author… genius…!” ~ Ind’Tale Magazine
In October 2014, Kathryn was the 31st MOST READ author on Amazon. She is extremely prolific with over 50 published novels and 37 #1 Hot New Releases in Medieval Historical Romance since May 2012. When new readers see how many novels she has published, the inevitable question is…
“She writes so many novels! Are they any good?” The answer is… YES!!
Welcome to Medieval England – hard-core, battle-scarred, power-driven alpha knights of the highest Norman order and the women who love them. Like High Middle Ages action and romance? Welcome to the Le Veque Medieval Machine.
Hello, everyone!! So happy and grateful to be here again. This is one of my favorite spots to visit!!
For new fans, give us a little history about your writing career, Kathryn. When did the writing bug bite? What did you do with your first story, stash or publish?
The writing bug bit really early for me – I was 13 years old when I wrote my first story. And I stashed it! I was so proud of it but it was really just mine to read. I still have it, in fact, but it’s still only mine to read. The story is good but the writing is, well, what a 13 year old would write. I continued to write all through high school and college, and on into my young adult years when I was pregnant with my kids. But the first book I seriously wrote on a second-hand computer I purchased was THE WOLFE, which is my best-seller today. It’s very long, and very detailed (think EPIC) and readers just love it… and I’m so glad!
In celebration of Valentine’s Day (tomorrow), share the couple you admire most in your stories, how did they meet and fall in love? Can you provide a short excerpt, something that shows that sizzling chemistry between them?
I would love to share that! Of course, every author thinks each book they write/each couple they create/ has something special, something sizzling. For me, it’s more about emotions than physical – the couple really has to connect emotionally because the relationships I write about are more than just physical lust. There’s a real ‘connection’. It’s hard to choose which of my couples (I have 45 published novels!) would be the ‘hottest’, but I’m going to go with a novel entitled TO THE LADY BORN. This is a backlist novel, published in 2012, but it seriously has one of the greatest connections of any of my couples. My heroine, Amalie de Vere, has been seriously abused by an enemy knight when she meets the hero. The hero, Weston de Royans, spends a good deal of time trying to woo her even though he is technically her jailor, but she resists him. He’s very pious, very moral, and very rigid in his beliefs of right and wrong. Amalie has a very dark secret that she is sure will turn him against her so as he tries to woo her, she struggles to resist him. She doesn’t want him to know the truth. Finally, she commits herself to a convent and he catches her one day in the garden, unaware. He really doesn’t understand why she had run from him, but in this scene, it comes to a head. I just love this scene – it’s one of my very favorites and if you read the book and come to understand the characters, I’m sure you will love it, too. Let’s peek in:
“Amalie, I must say something,” he finally said, watching her look up at him with her beautiful green eyes. He met her gaze, praying he wouldn’t send her running back into the nunnery with what he was about to say. “I know what happened with Sorrell. I know what he did to you.”
She stared at him and he could see her cheeks reddening. “I told you what he did.”
He shook his head. “You did not tell me everything,” his voice was a whisper. “I know about the rape. I know it was because of the rape that you tried to kill yourself. So many times I asked you why and you would not tell me, but now I know. I just wanted to say how sorry I am that he did that. I am so sorry you had to go through that horrible ordeal.”
By this time, her eyes were beginning to water. As he watched, she turned away from him and broke down into soft sobs. Weston knew he had to say everything he needed to say, and say it quickly, before he lost her completely. He was afraid she would run back into the nunnery and he would never see her again.
“What I am trying to say is that it does not matter to me that you are compromised,” he said quickly, softly. “I know you believe yourself an undesirable marriage prospect and that is why you committed yourself to the nunnery, but I am here to tell you that I would be deeply honored if you would accept my proposal of marriage. I could think of no greater privilege that to become your husband, Ammy. Perhaps the lure of working in the garden and wearing woolen underwear is a greater attraction to you, but I pray that you will at least consider marriage to me as an alternative.”
She was looking at him by now, astonishment on her face. But the tears were still flowing, dripping off her chin, as the big eyes fixed on him, holding him captive within their vibrant gaze. After a small eternity of staring at him, she simply shook her head in bafflement.
“Oh… Weston,” she breathed. “Why would you do this?”
He shrugged, feeling somewhat uncomfortable. But now was the time for truth. “Because I cannot forget about you no matter how hard I try,” he whispered. “Your spirit and your beauty have marked me and I know in my heart that I cannot go on without you. Committing yourself to this convent has crushed me, Ammy. I have come every day to ask you to marry me and every day you have sent me away. I love your courage, your humor, your kindness and your compassion. You are a rare woman and I would never find another like you if I lived to be one hundred. I know that you do not love me but perhaps you will in time. I only ask for that opportunity. Please do not send me away again.”
She sat frozen as he finished his sentence. He didn’t think her eyes could get any bigger, her expression any more shocked, but it did.
“You… you love me?” she gasped.
He nodded without hesitation. “I do.”
He watched a myriad of emotions run across her face, from shock to disbelief to joy. He was particularly focused on the joy and thought, perhaps, that there might be a chance. But she suddenly closed her eyes and put her dirty hands to her ears.
“Nay,” she shook her head violently. “Do not say such things. You will regret it.”
His brow furrowed, concerned. “I will never regret it, not ever.”
She began to sob loudly. “Aye, you will. Go away, Weston; go away and never come back.”
He wasn’t about to leave; he reached out and grasped her arm to steady her. “I will not go away and I will never regret loving you. Why do you say such things?”
She was growing louder and more animated. Yanking her arm from his grasp, she tossed the cucumber basket aside and rose to her knees. Weston watched, shocked, as she pulled tight her apron and surcoat around her torso to display her gently swollen belly.
“Because of this,” she wept painfully. “Weston, I did not try to kill myself because the commander raped me; I tried to kill myself because of the child he implanted in my womb. The worst night of my life resulted in a baby and I was determined to die rather than live with the shame. But you stopped me; again and again, you stopped me without truly knowing how it was affecting my life. When my attempts at suicide failed, I did the only thing I could do; I committed myself to the nunnery. You wanted to know everything, Weston; now you know and now you will leave and never look back.”
… what does Weston do? You’ll need to read the book to find out!
Your epic tales are as much about the history as they are about relationships and love, what is your favorite part of writing a book, research, character development, love scenes, action sequences, or everything? Why?
I really love researching my novels and I really love outlining them, creating characters and names and places. That’s so much fun. I think I love this initial creative part before I even type the first word of the book because it satisfies some deep need in me to create a world that readers can get lost in. That’s why I read a book – to lose myself in it, to be transported into another world or time. It’s my job to create that world for my readers and I love generating a world that no one has lived in until I put my characters in it. It’s mine; it belongs to me, and then I share it with my readers – and they become a part of it, too. I’m not sure I can describe my passion for creating more than that because the fact that my readers become a part of my world bonds us, as an author to a reader. That’s a wonderful bond!
Favorite moment in history?
I’m really fond of the reign of Richard I and the transition to his brother, John I. That’s not a moment so much as a few decades. There was so much turbulence during that time and, as we know, the Magna Carta in 1215 was Ground Zero for our modern governmental structure – a land ruled by the people, for the people. Well, it was really by the barons and for the barons, but at least we were moving in the right direction.
You continue to gain recognition as a bestselling author, your popularity is growing, and we see your name all over the place (interviews and features)—give us some insight on how you achieved success.
Thank you so much for mentioning this. Actually, it’s a never-ending process of being proactive, of contacting the right people who you can share your story with and who, in turn, will share it with others. I am a firm believer in establishing trusting relationships with people. I’m a firm believer in asking for help and, in turn, helping others. I have so many wonderful author friends and I think my success reflects on them, and vise verse – readers who read me will see that I have done collections with other authors and, in turn, read those authors. I work very hard at establishing mutually beneficial relationships with people who have the ear of the industry by reaching out to them and offering to write articles or share my story – that’s really all there is to it. Certainly, I’ve had people contact me directly and I never say no to an interview or a blog spot, because it’s all about word of mouth. This is an ever-changing industry and you need to be gracious, adaptable, and savvy.
We know you love old films, give us your top three.
- It’s Love I’m After (Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland) 1937. Utter comedy joy!
- The Thing (from another world). Kenneth Tobey 1951. Pure campy Sci-Fi.
- Our Blushing Brides (Joan Crawford) 1930. Pre-code fabulousness!!
I could go on and on, but these are three I love!
You recently bought your dream house—describe your new office or writing spot. What three things do you keep closest when writing?
My new office! It’s dark wood-paneled and looks like an English pub. Oh, the stories I’ll write in that office! The three things I keep closest to me when writing are:
- My spiral notebooks – I have two – that I use for jotting down ideas/notes/whatever. I’m never without those notebooks
- My tall plastic glass of sparkling water. I’m a water drinker!
- I play meditation music when I’m writing heavily. I can’t function without it!
Do you have a playlist?
Not really – see #3 under Dream Home – I have Pandora and play Zen music. My husband says it sounds like a Buddist temple when I’m on a deadline!
If you could be a contestant on any game show, what would it be? Why?
Probably Jeopardy – because I can usually get a lot of the answers right! I am a Master of Useless Information.
What’s on your bucket list?
To spend a month in England going to every single castle I can find. To go to Egypt someday and visit the pyramids. To watch one of my books on the big screen.
What projects are you working on right now?
The Lords of Thunder series – a trilogy about three brothers during the turmoil between Simon de Montfort and Henry III. The first book in the series, THE THUNDER LORD, will be released on February 8. It was a lot of fun writing that book and right now, I’m working on Book Two, THE THUNDER WARRIOR.
The Thunder Lord released on February 8 on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and Barnes and Noble.
Here’s the blurb:
1258 A.D. – As Henry III spends most of his time in France and focused on his French favorites, powerful English barons including Simon de Montfort begin to form an allegiance against him. Rising to power in this dark and uncertain time is the House of de Shera; headed by Gallus de Shera, Earl of Coventry and Lord Marshal of Worcestershire, Gallus is flanked by his brothers Maximus and Tiberius, forming an unbreakable circle of strength that cannot be broken. All know and fear the mighty de Shera brothers. When Gallus de Shera is pressured to enter into a marital contract with the eldest daughter of Hugh Bigod, another powerful warlord, he balks at the suggestion but is resigned to the fact that he has little choice, as the mighty Bigod family would make strong family relations. But before the contract can take place, a fortuitous moment in time sees him rescue a Welsh daughter of royal blood. The Lady Jeniver Tacey ferch Gaerwen is the daughter of kings and Gallus is instantly entranced with the raven-haired lass. When Jeniver’s father is mortally wounded, he begs Gallus to marry his daughter. Unable to refused a dying man’s request, Gallus accepts. Although he knows he must face Hugh Bigod at some point over the fact that he is no longer an eligible bachelor, he has no remorse – all he can focus on is his new bride, and a powerful love story is born. Join Gallus and Jeniver as they embark on a new life together, where the English barons would see their marriage torn apart even as they rebel against Henry III. It is an epic journey of politics, betrayal, hatred, and ultimately a timeless passion between Gallus and Jeniver in this exciting first book of a three-book trilogy.
Thank you Kathryn!!!