Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interview with Kendra Leigh Castle and Giveaway - January 12, 2012

Please welcome Kendra Leigh Castle to The Qwillery. Kendra's most recent novel is Midnight Reckoning (Dark Dynasties 2), which was published on January 1, 2012.

TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Kendra:  My funky quirk is that all of my books have soundtracks…but I can’t listen to music while I write. I love it for inspiration, but I’m terrible at writing with any amount of noise. The weird thing is, I did write one book, RENEGADE ANGEL, that seemed to require that I listen to music all the time while writing. It was fabulous, and I haven’t been able to pull it off since…so it was a fluke, but a nice one. Music blocks out all of the other noise around here!

TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Kendra:  I’m definitely a pantser! Well, with maybe a dash of plotter thrown in for good measure. I do like to have my bearings in a very basic sense. Someone once told me my process was “organic”, which is a really flattering way to describe what I would normally just call “a mess”. Every book is an adventure for me…I keep discovering things I didn’t know about my characters right up until the end, and the plot always turns in directions I don’t expect. I don’t actually like knowing everything that’s going to happen! Outlines are the bane of my existence…and I never end up following them anyway.

TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kendra:  Time constraints. I tend to work on a pretty tight schedule anymore, and since I have a young family, wrenches get thrown into the works all the time. I always manage to pull it off, but by the end of each book I am extremely zombie-fied. Ratty stained pajamas, moaning and shuffling, red, vacant eyes…it’s not pretty. Having both a writing career and a nice family life sometimes means I’m up obscenely late. Especially if I’ve gotten stuck…which is the second most challenging thing about writing. Smashing through a block can be rough!

TQ: What inspired you to write the Dark Dynasties series?

Kendra:  I had a few different story pieces I’d been saving up/kicking around/mostly ignoring, and then an interesting but of inspiration came along that managed to pull everything together. That’s the way it usually happens with me! I just need that one piece to set off a chain reaction. In this case, the catalyst was a History Channel documentary on Cleopatra’s sister Arsinöe, which I watched in the basement when I was supposed to be working out (oops). I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, and I never knew that Cleopatra had assassinated her younger sister in order to secure the throne for herself. It was a long and interesting story, and I thought (as all good paranormal authors do), “Hey, I what if she didn’t die and became a vampire instead?” Sparks flew. Several brain cells fried, leaving the faint scent of burning in the basement air. Vampire Arsinöe connected to dynasties connected to cool bloodline tattoos connected to that hot cat-shifter hero I hadn’t been able to figure out a story for yet…and the Dark Dynasties were born!

TQ: What sort of research did you do to create your mythology?

Kendra:  Most of the research I did was on vampire lore from around the world. It helped me to ground some of the dynasties in pre-existing mythology, though I won’t pretend that my finished mythology has much more than a nodding acquaintance with what I researched! Creating a world out of thin air is really part of the fun for me.

TQ: Describe Midnight Reckoning (Dark Dynasties 2) in 140 characters or less.

Kendra:  An enslaved cat vamp hunts, and falls for, a powerful innocent who will change the world of night forever…if she survives.

TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Midnight Reckoning?

Kendra:  I think my favorite scene is quite early on in the book, when Jaden shows up at Lyra’s door unannounced. There’s so much tension between the two of them every time they get anywhere near one another, and at this point, the sparks are still making them bristle…especially Lyra. She’s so stunned to open her door and find him, of all people, a cat vamp who has just waltzed into a town full of werewolves to return something to her. And Jaden tries so hard to play it cool. I can just picture their faces every time I read the scene, and it makes me smile every time.

TQ: In Midnight Reckoning, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Kendra:  I want to say that Lyra was the easiest character for me this time around, which is unusual. Generally, the heroes are much easier for me. And Jaden was wonderful to write, but I got such a kick out of Lyra from the start. She came to life for me very quickly, and is probably one of my favorite heroines I’ve written. I don’t think any of the characters gave me fits, though it did take me a while to get a good handle on Lyra’s cousin and rival, Eric Black.

TQ: Who is/are your favorite character or characters from the Dark Dynasties series?

Kendra:  I can’t pick! It sounds like a cop out, but I’m always in love with whatever characters I’m working on because I’m spending so much time with them. They all get their turns at being favorites, though, which seems fair to me.

TQ: What's next?

Kendra:  I’ve got a lot coming up! This past year has been the busiest of my writing career to date. In March, I’ll have a novella available through Harlequin Nocturne’s digital-only Cravings line. That’s called REFLECTED DESIRE, and features the slave in the magic mirror as the hero. In July, I’ll have a novella in the Harlequin anthology VACATION WITH A VAMPIRE, which will be out in print and digital. That story is about Justin, the vampire king from my book RENEGADE ANGEL (Nocturne, 9/10). Then in August, the third Dark Dynasties book, SHADOW RISING, arrives. I’m very excited to share Damien Tremaine’s story with my readers! He’s my mouthy assassin, and I had a great time writing him.

TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Kendra:  Thank you so much for having me! If anyone has any questions, I’ll be around all day to answer them.

About Dark Dynasties

Midnight Reckoning
Dark Dynasties 2
Forever (January 1, 2012)
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages

Two separate worlds . . .
One passion that binds them

Wild and passionate by nature, Lyra Black is not just any werewolf. She's the future leader of the powerful pack of the Thorn-if she can stay alive long enough to inherit the title.

One of the Cait Sith bloodline of vampire cat-shifters, Jaden Harrison has no interest in the wars plaguing the world of night. But when he rescues Lyra from a violent attack, they're both captured by an insatiable desire that threatens to overwhelm them and bind them together for eternity . . . just as ancient enemies prepare to strike. And when they do, the Thorn and the Cait Sith-and Lyra and Jaden's love-may never recover from the deadly blow . . .

Dark Awakening
Dark Dynasties 1
Forever (July 1, 2011)
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages

Enter the world of the Dark Dynasties . . .

For centuries, shapeshifting vampire Tynan MacGillivray has prowled the night as an outcast, valued only for his ferocious hunting skills. When a feud among the immortals escalates into all-out war, he is ordered by his ruthless queen to locate a Seer-a human woman with a special gift-who can secure victory for their clan. Ty's search leads him to a quiet New England town, but once he has the Seer in his grasp, her touch awakens within him a hunger like he's never known . . .

Lily Quinn has always been different. Since childhood, she's had vivid nightmares and an eerie sixth sense. When a sexy, silver-eyed stranger demands her help, Lily plunges into a new world of danger and sensuality. With Ty, she discovers sizzling passions she cannot deny and powers she cannot control. Soon, it is clear that Lily is much more than a Seer-she holds the key to ancient secrets and unthinkable destruction. But will a vampire's vow of eternal protection stop these evil forces . . . or unleash her dark destiny?

Other books by Kendra Leigh Castle

MacInnes Werewolves Trilogy (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Renegade Angel (Harlequin)

About Kendra

Kendra Leigh Castle is the author of the MacInnes Werewolves trilogy (Sourcebooks), the 2011 RITA finalist RENEGADE ANGEL (Harlequin Nocturne), and the Dark Dynasties series (Forever). She lives in Southern Maryland with her husband, three children, and menagerie of pets. You can find her on facebook, twitter, or at

Kendra's Links


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a signed copy of Midnight Reckoning (Dark Dynasties 2) from Kendra!

HowOn January 12, 2012 only: Ask Kendra a question.


From January 12, 2012 through January 19, 2012:  leave a comment answering the following question:

Who or what is your favorite type of shifter? 

Please remember - if you don't ask Kendra a question (1/12/12 only) or answer the question (1/12 - 1/19/12) your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, January 19, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. Thanks for an awesome interview! I've always wanted to read this series and this interview has strengthened my resolve :)

    For Kendra,

    you mentioned each book having a sound track... what would be an example of a song that you'd pick for this latest book?

    +1 GRC: erin
    +1 question/comment

  2. Hi Erin! I really hope you enjoy the series if you decide to pick it up:)

    A song I listened to a lot for MIDNIGHT RECKONING was "Howlin' for You" by the Black Keys. Such a great song! And very appropriate;)

  3. Thanks for the interview! It was great. My favorite shifter is a bear-cat shifter named Bo Novikov from Shelley Laurenston's shifter series.

    +1 follower
    +1 question/comment
    +1 tweeted!/SeverusSnape87/status/157510705392791554

  4. I love bird shifters. A couple of years ago, I read a novel with a bird shifter secondary character and I fell in love with him!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. Hey K33p3rofViolence! Hmm, I think I may have to read that...sounds awesome:)

    booklover0226, I don't think I've ever read a bird shifter. That could be really cool!

  6. I would like to know how many books the dark dysnatie will count in total.

    thanks you a lot for this great interview

    +1gfc: isabelle frisch or miki


  7. My favorite type of shiter is a wereleopard.

    +1 comment
    +1 I'm a gfc follower.

  8. Thanks for the interview. I have yet to begin this series but I know I'll love it!
    GFC as Victoria Sloboda


  9. Awesome interview. I have a question. How many bags of Cheetos were comsumed during the writing of this book? How do you get rid of the orange stain off your key pad?

  10. I'm fond of wolf shifters because I like their loyalty and protectiveness. I know there are tons of shifters out there and I'm hoping to meet more this year.

    GFC follower

  11. Hi! Nice interview, I was looking for Dark Awakening since its release but now I know I don't have any choice with your second release!
    Who or what is your favorite type of shifter?
    I love the typical werewolf kind of shifter, even more if the wolf is a big, bad monster! Love the claws and the fur!
    Thanks for this giveaway!

    GFC: Proserpine
    I tweet:!/PCravingBooks/status/157525358936199168


  12. Thanks for the interview and giveaway! I think I'll always have a soft spot for werewolves, although I like Shelly Laurenston's shifters as well.

    +1 Follwer
    +1 Comment
    +1 Tweeted (!/RebeLovesBooks/status/157528496606945280)


  13. I would have to go with wolf shifters. I have always loved them. Great interview! I haven't read this series but I am adding to my ever growing list. Thanks for the chance.

    I am a follower
    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  14. Love the Dark Dynasties' covers.

    Any kind of cat shifter would be my favorite especially Curran from the kate Daniels series.

    GFC Anne38

  15. Hi miki! I'm contracted for four books, but my hope is to keep going for quite a while longer!

    Stephanie, very cool:)

    Victoria, thanks!

    Donna, LOL! I'm very careful with my keyboard. No orange stains here! As to how many bags of Cheetos I consumed...a lady never tells;)

    Na, I agree, those are some of my favorite things about wolf shifters!

    Hi Prosperine! Another vote for the wolves! Gotta love hot blooded shifters:)

    Rebe, you and K33p3rofViolence have convinced me I need to read Shelley Laurenston! Thanks for coming by:)

  16. Hi Kendra! You'd find this funny. I bought Dark Awakening in summer and read during my trip to South Carolina. In three separate contests I had won three additional copies (one signed from Bittenbybooks) so, to spread the word I gave my bought copy to one friend, kept the signed one for me and the two others to two separate friends!

    +1 Follower
    + Tweeted/facebooked:!/RaonaidLuckwell/status/157536300096962560

    My Favorite shifter would have to be dragon shifter! I love it!

  17. Sariah, thank you!

    Anne, thanks so much...I couldn't be happier with these covers. My eleven-year-old daughter saw the new one and was all, "Ooh, it's so PURPLE!" Fortunately, she's not yet into the enduring appeal of the man chest;)

  18. [+1] Q - Who or what is your favorite type of shifter?

    A - My favourites tends to change from time to time. And for some reason I've always come back to wolves :)

    [+1] Twitted about your giveaway at:!/cherrymischivus/status/157537678806622208

    Shared at Facebook:

    [+1] GFC follower.

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-darkward [at] yahoo [dot] com

  19. Hey Raonaid! Wow, apparently fate really really REALLY wanted you to read my book! I'm glad it stopped before they started stuffing copies in your mailbox/windows/chimney! Thanks for passing the cat vamps around, it's much appreciated:) Hope you enjoyed the read! And I'm a big fan of dragon shifters too...YUM.

  20. Cherry, I think the enduring appeal of wolves has a lot to do with their inherent qualities: loyal, fierce, hot-blooded creatures who form strong bonds. What's not to love? Thanks for being here!

  21. I love shifters but not in the normal way. Not into animals but my shifters can blend into their surroundings, or become one with the people, or animal they need to in order to be safe or survive.

  22. After reading the Sookie Stackhouse series, my favorite shifter is a werewolf. Of course they don't consider themselves as shifters. I hope they don't eat me by saying that ;)
    GFC: Arianne Cruz
    email: cruz042 at

  23. Thank you for the great interview. I can relate to not being able to listen to music when writing, I can't when reading. Too distracting. My fave shifters would probably be large cats but I love all shifters.
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower: June M.
    +1 Tweet:!/JuneAnnM/status/157599834692534272

  24. forgot email address: manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  25. My favorite type of shifter is the Jaguar. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom
    GFC Krystal Larso

  26. Awesome interview and even better giveaway!! Thanks for both:)
    My favorite shifter is the werepanther! Very sleek and sexy:)

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweet:!/jwitt33/status/157614200624136192

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  27. Kendra - when was the first time you remember ever seeing or reading about a shapeshifter, vampire or werewolf?

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted:!/DianeSallans/status/157619156957667330

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  28. Great interview. I'd pick a dragon shifter as my favorite. After that it's a black panther, yum.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower

  29. Thanks for an awesome interview! My favorite type of shifter is a coyote, but i love shapeshifter werewolf to. Thanks for giveaway!!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 facebook
    filiafantasy at gmail dot com

  30. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I love werewolves as shifters. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest.

  31. Question for Kendra:
    What are you reading right now or what was the last book you read?

    Read and loved the first in the series and I simply can not wait to get my hands on Midnight Reckoning! I think I'm really going to like Lyra and Jaden sounds just too cute for words:) I really hope your series goes beyond the contracted four books.

    My favorite type of shifter?
    That would be the big cats or more specifically panthers. Why? Because I think it's sexy when a cat shifter purrs and I love the sexy sleekness of a panther:)

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower of The Qwillery
    +1 Tweeted:!/yadkny/status/157639659311214592

  32. My favorite shifter right now is a cat shifter of any type. Sounds like a great book!
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  33. TWBookmiss, that's a very cool concept!

    Arianne, LOL! Love your name...the heroine of Dark Dynasties #3, SHADOW RISING, is named Ariane:)

    June, I hate to admit it, but...i'm easily distracted in general. My family teases me about my susceptibility to shiny objects:)

    Krystal, I LOVE jaguars!

    Julie W, the panther is one of my favorite big cats. I actually picture the Cait Sith of my books as smaller panthers.

    Di, I'm not sure! I think I was pretty young, since I definitely remember having vampire barbies. They wore very gauzy clothes that I fashioned out of sheer scarves, and slept in shoeboxes:) Yeah...I was a weird kid!

    Barbara E, excellent choices!

    Filia, first vote for a coyote, nice! I used to see real ones occasionally when we lived in Nevada. Smaller than I imagined, but dangerous:)

    Tore, thanks for entering!

    yadkny, thank you!! I'm so glad you loved the first book. And I'm very hopeful that the series will keep on rolling after book 4. I have lots of ideas:) Also, yay for purring men!! As to your question, the last book I read was actully not a romance. It's "French Lessons" by Ellen Sussman. I enjoyed it...believe it or not, my dad picked it up in an airport to read while on a business trip, as he's been to Paris a bunch of times and loves it. He passed it off to me because he liked it, and I did enjoy it. Would have liked a happier ending (though it was happy for a couple of the characters), but it was quite well written.

    Debby, all of you cat shifter lovers are making me happy:) It's the purring, I swear. You can't beat it!

  34. My favorite kind of shifter is any sort of cat shifter, mostly because I like kitties. And also because they aren't used as often as werewolves.

    +1 follower

    Sara M
    sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

  35. Great interview.

    What do you find to be the hardest part of the writing process?

    My favorite type of shifter are the large cats.

    -tweet -!/DonnaS1/status/157670567779106816
    -blog -

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  36. I love all shifters cats,bear,coyote,bird etc but my favorite of all are the wolves .Shifters are my favorite paranormals to read I cant get enough.
    I follow gfc
    wanda f
    via email
    posted to my blog

  37. Hoping I've got the time right. I'm at GMT+8 & it's 13th Jan for me.

    My fav shifter is a dragon shifter. I so love dragons!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted!/LindaThum/status/157701819559190528

  38. Awesome interview! I became a fan of yours after seeing you on blogs bout 6 months ago or so then i purchased your first book. so cant wait for MR

    As for my favorite shifter...that would be a wolf they draw me ....maybe its the alpha in them just not sure.

    GFC: Lindsey Hutchison


  39. Big Cats & Wolves are my favorite shifters. All that power.

    GFC: Mary Preston


  40. Sara, I love kitties too! I have one myself, though...he's sort of big and lazy. Not exactly inspirational material.

    donnas, the most difficult part of the writing process is figuring out how to kickstart a stalled story. You know, you're writing along, and then BAM, everything comes to a screeching halt and you have no idea where to go. For me, this usually means I have to go back and either rework something important or (ugh) delete the previous scene and go in a different direction.

    wanda f, yay, another wolf lover!

    Linda, I love dragons too. All that fire-breathing power:)

    Lindsey, hi! I'm really glad you're enjoying my writing:) And that you found me on facebook! It's always nice to see familiar faces on my blog stops:)

    marybelle, totally agree, those are awesome:)

    Thanks so much to everyone for coming by to hang out!!

  41. lovely interview! this sounds like a series I would love, so I must put it on my wishlist!

    As for shifters....nothing compares to wolves!

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  42. A werewolf is my favorite type of shifter.

    I follow this blog.

    Thanks for the giveaway.


  43. I think my favorite type of shifter is the classic werewolf. Vampires and werewolves really started my love of the paranormal.

    GFC: ML

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  44. My fav. shifter is Quinn the lion shifter from Charlaine Harris's Southern Vamp series. I really wanted more Quinn in that series, hopefully HBO will bring him in :)

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted-!/joleneallcock/status/158083534379155457


  45. Thanks for the great interview. My favorite shifters are big cat shifters.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweet!/beckerjo/status/158332215170826240

    beckerjo at verizon dot net

  46. I love shifters, period. Although I do love wolf shifters quite a bit.

    +1 mention on facebook ->

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    You can contact me at

  47. HI, Kendra:
    your books look amazing and I love the idea of a vampire shifter. you don't see many of those around!
    I love so many shifters that I can't pick a favorite, but wolf and big cat shifters are my favorite type. As a whole, I love Lora Leigh's Breeds. I haven't really met one I didn't like. At this moment, I'm very partial to Justice Lawe, a lion shifter, form Lora's latest book. He gives me the shivers!
    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com
    +1 gfc as MJB
    +1 comment

  48. I'm partial to were shifters, but have an open mind for others.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC Andrea I

    +1 tweeted!/lillieblue613/status


  49. Great interview! I can totally relate to the part about being a pantser... :D

    I'm bummed I missed this post when it first went up, but then, I wouldn't have known what to ask! I'm indecisive like that... Which is why it's tough for me to pick a favourite shifter.

    Like most people, I think werewolves are popular for a reason. I also don't think I read enough shifter stories to easily imagine other types... Hope I'm in?


  50. GREAT interview and giveaway! My favorite shifter is any large cat/feline...lion, tiger, jag, etc.

    GFC/email follower

  51. Thank you for the fantastic interview and post! I can not wait to read Midnight Reckoning! Well I can, but don't want to! My favorite type of shifter is wolf. I like them all but for some reason, I prefer the wolves!