Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our eleventh official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.
We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented multi-genre author. Please join me in welcoming Kathryn Troy to ILRB! 🙂
Marie Lavender: Hello, Kathryn. Please have a seat.
Author Kathryn Troy: Hi, Marie!
Marie: Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!
I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.
Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…
Kathryn: My day job is as a professional historian and adjunct professor. I’m also trained as a pastry chef. I love genre fiction, and I love writing genre fiction – I use up all my free time doing it.
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Kathryn: I have a loving husband and two cute kids – one boy and one girl.
Marie: That’s wonderful!
Let’s try something else, okay?
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Kathryn: Like a full house – I lived with my parents, my grandparents, two siblings, and a rotation of cousins and aunts and uncles.
Marie: Wow…I thought five people crammed under one roof was crowded! (Laughs.) But I’m sure you’re all still close-knit.
Do you have any hobbies, Kathryn? What do you enjoy doing?
Kathryn: I think of writing as my hobby, since I find time to do it rather than clocking in for it, although I probably spend more hours writing each week than I do on anything else. Aside from that, I enjoy traveling as far and as often as possible. Favorites so far are France, Germany, and Hawaii. Next up: China.
And what is your greatest dream?
Kathryn: To fill my passport up with stamps and need a second book.
Marie: Sounds like a plan! 😉
Let’s try another question.
Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?
Kathryn: My first love is my still love – my husband Andy. We met as college freshmen, have been together 17 years, and are about to celebrate 13 years of marriage.
Marie: Yay! 😀 Congratulations!
(Sighs.) I love romance…
Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Kathryn: I have no idea what my childhood dream was – I changed my mind too often. But I’m a fairly content person. My only aspirations at the moment are to see more of this planet.
Marie: That I can understand! 😀 I’d like to do more traveling as well…
So, who is your role model, Kathryn?
Kathryn: Xena Warrior Princess. I’m not joking.
Marie: All right.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Kathryn: I can’t answer that. What if they read this?
And what is your deepest desire?
Kathryn: Can I get a clone that does the dishes just the way I like them done? If it could fold laundry too, that’d be great. Really, I just need the maid from The Jetsons.
Marie: (Covers her ears.) No…now I’ll have that theme playing in my head the rest of the day! (Laughs.)
Let’s try a different question.
What is your greatest fear?
Kathryn: That my clone will be prettier than me. Just kidding! 😉
My biggest fear is probably that my kids will grow up in a post-Columbine, post-Newtown, post-Stoneman school system that did nothing to keep them safe.
Marie: I agree. The situation is rather terrifying…
Let’s do something else.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.
A lifetime supply of bug-killer.
2-ply toilet paper
The Infinity Gauntlet
Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters. 🙂
We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Asenath Hayes. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
Kathryn: Asenath Hayes is a young archaeologist, orphaned at a young age and fairly independent, even if she’s a little dysfunctional.
Marie: And what are Asenath’s greatest strengths?
Kathryn: She’s intelligent and rational, but also very generous with others.
Marie: Great! 😀
And her weaknesses?
Kathryn: She’s a generally anxious person, grappling with some not-so-great life choices.
Marie: I’m sure some of us can relate to that…
Let’s try something fun, shall we?
What are her favorite foods?
Kathryn: Anything her roommate Ravi makes – including pork vindaloo and butter chicken.
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Kathryn: She doesn’t realize what a good friend she is to others, or how self-sacrificing she is for those she cares about.
Marie: How admirable!
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Kathryn: She’s flawed, sure, but I don’t give people any real reason to dislike her.
Now that we have a real taste of Asenath, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.
What first gave you the idea for Curse of the Amber?
Kathryn: I was reading Anne Rice’s The Mummy, and I felt that some of the storytelling elements were a bit flat. I love the concept of man-out-of-time stories, but I’m not always satisfied by them. I wanted to do something that would be satisfying, unique, and a bit on the darker side.
It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😉
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like, Kathryn? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Kathryn: I plot things out, even if it’s just mentally, getting all the major plot points in order and answering some questions of internal logic. I like to know the trajectory, and then go back for the details and polish later. I also did a lot of research for this book, but like I said, I’m a professional historian. I could’ve written a book about bog bodies and ancient Egypt with the amount of reading I did. I chose to write fiction instead.
I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Curse of the Amber or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Kathryn: It’s hard to find the right balance between something that is new, something fresh and original, and something that is clearly categorized and defined. If an agent or editor can’t easily peg the book as belonging to one genre or another, they can’t sell it, no matter how good your prose is. It can be hard to be mindful of the publishing market and marketing strategies while also creating a story. But it’s all about perspective. I’d rather write stories that I want to read, and worry about who else likes it later. It takes away some of the stress of writing to serve a particular audience or literary trend, and the end product tends to be better as a result.
Marie: I agree!
It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Curse of the Amber appears to be… ♥
A curse, a resurrection, and a centuries old witch hell bent on revenge.
Quintus is a dutiful son and soldier, sent to Britannia to improve his marriage prospects and ensure the Druids never rise again. Roman soldiers destroyed the last Druid stronghold in a battle of blood and fire. So, he never expects to be sacrificed to their sacred bog, trapped forever by the gods below.
Two thousand years later, Asenath Hayes discovers the most well-preserved body in history. And the last thing she needs is for him to wake up.
As the young archaeologist delves into Druidic rituals to grasp why Quintus was offered to a Welsh bog and then resurrected, she is forced to complete her research with the “missing” body, dodge her ex-lover and mentor with his own agenda, and keep her gorgeous new houseguest under wraps.
But, smitten with her as he seems, Quintus says he wants to go home.
Asenath is drawn to Quintus by the secrets they share, even if it scares her. As Asenath is pulled deeper into the mysteries of the bog, she must risk everything to keep him from hell’s cold grasp as she uncovers forbidden rites, awakened deities, and an attraction that transcends the ages.
Here’s a peek at the story…
The sun seems to have forgotten Wales. I didn’t think there was any place on Earth that could make me long to be in Egypt again, but I couldn’t escape the memories that flooded me. I shivered in the absence of the Valley’s merciless heat, where for summers on end its oppressive dryness sucked the life out of my lips and baked my skin into hardened, sand-beaten clay. That dryness had followed Ramesses, Amenhotep, Aken-aten, and his son beyond the world’s suffering down to their resting place, and kept the divine kings ready in the dark, empty stillness.
But the day’s oppression had always faded with the sun. The perfection of those nights on the Eastern Bank, at our host Hani’s home — that was what I missed. Invigorated by the fresh, life-giving breeze off the Nile’s surface and snuggled between my parents under thin woven blankets was a warmth I knew I would never feel again. The cold and damp of Britain, once the stronghold of the Druids, was relentless. The gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach grew, and the thought I’d pushed away more than once made itself more insistent.
This was a mistake. I shouldn’t be here.
My fingertips numbed to the statuette in my hand, a solid representation of the wet chill in the air. Its faceless form was as alien to me as the bog in which I crouched. The shape of the stone fetish was at least interesting, a long, slender column with a severe “V” etched into it. It held more promise than the dozens of thin rings fashioned out of iron, bronze, and even gold, heaped together in a tangle, the clay pottery, now in shards, and scraps of linen that appeared to be tossed desperately into the bog as a last-ditch effort to avoid Roman destruction. But I couldn’t enjoy it for what it was. It was inscrutable, too disconnected from anything familiar. Its primitive, obscure expression reminded me of my own cold thoughts, and as I squeezed the chilled stone in my hand, I doubted if I would discover anything that had once been warm — made of flesh and blood. We were as deep down as the famous bog bodies had been, more so in certain places, and still we had nothing, or rather no one, to show for it.
I lifted my head, trying to shake off my melancholy and averting my eyes from the stone carving that would not reveal its secrets to me. I was too low down to inhale even a whiff of air that wasn’t saturated with the grassy pungency of the bog wall. From my vantage point, huddled low in a deep, man-hewn pit, the sodden depression of the bog appeared even more overgrown on all sides. Birch trees poked out of humble clusters of willows, red-speckled buckthorn, and mountain ash. Except for these trees skirting its outermost edges, the sunken area was wide and open. The cauldron bog retained its secluded atmosphere, despite being carved into a series of waterlogged cavities.
My somber mood deepened when I saw my advisor approach. Up until then I’d been successful at avoiding him. I deliberately didn’t linger, and always found a reason to visit another pit when the one we were in suddenly emptied of other researchers. I’d resisted the wrenching feeling in my gut too long, but as our excavation wound down, it was impossible to ignore, with nowhere for my thoughts to hide — there was nothing left of what used to be my life.
“How’s it going?” Alex asked, and knelt beside me.
“Fine,” I answered, not bothering to look up from the peat I was brushing off of a link of iron rings sunken into the over-saturated soil.
After a long, awkward silence, he said, “It’s okay, you know.”
“If you don’t…if we don’t find one.”
I swallowed hard. The only place for my rising fury to go was back down.
“I just don’t want you to think that this whole thing was a waste—”
“A waste?” I shot back. “I’ve got enough to keep me occupied for the next decade, thank you.” It was true, but that didn’t make the prospect of studying human sacrifice sans a human sound any better. Nothing would tell us as much about the Druids as human remains that had, willingly or otherwise, undergone their practices. It may have been more than anyone else expected, but the bar had been set impossibly high. A human discovery might have been the only way to exceed my father’s own discoveries in the Valley of the Kings and earn the same level of respect in my own right.
“All right, all right,” Alex said, contrite. “I didn’t come over here to upset you.”
“Then why are you here?” There was more bite in my voice than I meant, but he had that amused eyebrow raised again, the one that made my anger meaningless and painted me as a silly, wide-eyed novice with dreams of finding the next Tut.
“I thought you might need a refill.” He offered me a cup of coffee.
A gruff ‘thank you’ was all I could manage. My brain had reached maximum capacity for caffeine, but it went down easy. Milk and two sugars, just the way I liked it. Damn.
Sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to find out what happens. 😀
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3LKz6w
Publisher link: http://smarturl.it/CurseCO
Add it to Goodreads or BookBub: http://smarturl.it/CurseGoodReads
We’ll be sure to get a copy of this time travel/fantasy romance! ♥♥♥
About Kathryn Troy
I’m an historian by day, a novelist and baker by night. I like to write what I read – fantasy, romantic fantasy, gothic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, horror, and weird fiction.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Kathryn Troy, here are some author links…
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kathryn-Troy/e/B06XNJNH7Z
Once again, I want to thank Kathryn Troy, the brilliant author of this fantasy romance with a time travel angle, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥