Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Author Interview: MK Chester's Surrender to the Roman!

...and we're back with another installment of '5 Questions with. . .' Today, the fantabulous MK Chester, who writes historical romances - but not the kind you're used to. Forget Regency, Highlanders. . . her latest book, "Surrender to the Roman" takes us to ancient Rome with a yummy hero and a prickly heroine who isn't about to be walked on. Welcome, MK (and that's a lovely cover, btw)! And on with the interview.

Kristina: Do you have (or do you aspire to have!) a writing process?
MK: I endlessly aspire to have a writing process! Well, I guess I do have a process, I’m just a little weak in the “habit” area.  I’m a character-driven writer, so that means I usually have the people before I have the plot. I will do some first-person narrative writing for each main character so that I can get a feel for them, their time and place, and use Deb Dixon’s GMC charts to see if they have enough conflict and were it is. By that point, a storyline is typically falling into place for me. I’m also a pantzer, which can be treacherous, so I’ve committed myself to outlining three chapters ahead.  That usually gives me enough structure to forge ahead and enough fluidity to change directions organically.

Putting my butt in the chair? That’s another story…
Kristina: When the writing gets tough, where do you get going?

MK: When I hit a rough spot, I rely on a couple methods to pull me through. The first is that I rely on music. I’ll find music that represents the story, the characters, or the era, and immerse myself in it while I (attempt to) write.  I may also take some time away from the computer screen and watch movies or TV shows that are of the same genre to get that creativity back. If I find I’ve written myself into a corner, I may send out the WIP to one of a handful of trusted critique partners to see if I need a change of direction.  When all else fails, I’m not above disconnecting all together for a bit. Giving myself permission to walk away can be liberating.  That’s usually when inspiration will it in some random place and time, like when I’m playing with the puppies—or cleaning up after them.
Kristina: What are you listening to right now and does your listening choice influence your writing?
MK: Definitely! I love music and enjoyed studying it when I was younger.  While writing Surrender to the Roman, I listed to a lot of movie soundtracks, including Rome, Spartacus, 300, Gladiator, and Troy. I don’t have to have it to write, but like I said before, it helps get me un-stuck and stay focused when I’m not writing the most exciting parts of the story.    
Kristina: Coffee, tea, soda, hot cocoa w/ extra marshmallows  – what's your beverage of choice?
MK: Coffee in the morning…but aside from that, I’m not much of a drinker. 
Kristina: Tell us one interesting thing about this book or its characters that didn't make in 'between the covers'?
MK: The opening scene! Having done the research for how the Dacian War ended, it didn’t seem to be the “super exciting” page turner I had hoped, so I left parts of it out, hoping to piece together a more attention-grabbing start. It just didn’t work for my editor, and she pushed me to rewrite it to include more personal elements for the hero. I found that including the bits of history I’d left out allowed me to do that, and made for a deeper, more exciting start.

Book Blurb:

As the Romans storm the last stronghold of Dacia, Princess Ademeni awaits her fate. Taken as a slave, she is deposited into General Marcus Cordovis’s home as a gift.
Driven to avenge her family, Ademeni plots to kill her captor and escape. Though not the cruel victor she expects, Marcus keeps her too close to make escape easy—so close that Ademeni is soon tormented by an unbidden, traitorous attraction. In a moment of weakness, a passionate kiss almost undoes them both. 

But the handsome, widowed general has another surprise for Ademeni: a young daughter. Marcus dares ask Ademeni to help him bridge the gap between him and his little girl. And now, Ademeni is growing too fond of those she is supposed to despise. As Marcus prepares for the triumphal march and the opening of the gladiatorial games—where captives of her homeland will be sacrificed—Ademeni readies for her own battle between revenge and love.
Okay, readers, Surrender to the Roman is available now! Grab your copy at Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble