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Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Spotlight: Keena Kincaid

Meet Aedan ap Owen from TIES THAT BIND: Mad, bad and dangerous to know (with apologies to Lord Byron)

When I first started working on ANAM CARA, the prequel to TIES THAT BIND, Aedan wasn’t part of the story. Then one day he popped into a scene, complaining about the heat and the stink. After I got over my surprise that the hero had a younger brother, I decided Aedan would be accused of murder and sent to the dungeon, which would force the hero to stay in Carlisle long enough to fall in love with the heroine.

Silly me. That is so not how the story went.

Aedan not only refused to follow my plot, but also talked his way into being a major character. Nor would he let “The End” be the end. Instead, he began stalking me, demanding I write his story. In his opinion, I left his reputation in tatters at the close of ANAM CARA. And I needed to fix that.

As a descendant of druids, one of his magical abilities is the gift of words. He can talk anyone into anything—including this author.

Having been left in a monastery by his father (most likely sold to the canons), Aedan learned early how to get what he needed to survive, and then to get what he wanted. By the time we meet him, manipulating others is so ingrained into his nature he never once considers the moral implications.

He also is minstrel born. Music is both his curse and his salvation. He must play, but when he does, his regrets, hopes, joys, sorrows and anger are reflected in the music for anyone to hear. Fortunately, most people don’t pay close enough attention to understand what they hear.

Here's an excerpt of Aedan and his music from ANAM CARA:

As he waited in the lesser hall for his audience with the king, Aedan fumbled through the fingering of the chalumeau, setting his mind to the notes rather than his fate. Worry faded to the background as he concentrated on recreating the song that had almost pulled him from this world.

The tune idled in his mind, the sound pitch perfect in his imagining. He tested the reeds of the small pipe, blowing softly as he sought and found notes to match the ones in his head. He picked his way from note to note, until he'd replicated the song. It had been fuller, richer, more complex than his instrument could manage, but it was the beginning of his first composition.

Sitting on the floor, knees bent, he experimented with the pitch of the melody. He added a trill, surged toward the crescendo and slowed the beat to the rhythm of a dirge. With growing confidence, he played the tune again, adding his own swoops and flourishes until it swirled and dust motes danced like fairies at midsummer's twilight.

A shadow fell over him. The notes soured and faded as he looked up. Everything inside him went soft. "I wondered when I would see you." He let a corner of his mouth crook into a grin and swallowed nervously. Tess' answering smile was a fa├žade, but he pretended not to notice.

TIES THAT BIND isn't the easiest book I've ever written, but it's one of my favorites. I loved the challenge of taking a self-centered character who always gets what he wants, thwarting him at every turn, and then using the power of love to make him a better man.

Tomorrow: Meet Tess from TIES THAT BIND: the immovable heroine who resists Aedan’s unstoppable force

Keena Kincaid, the author of three historical romance novels with The Wild Rose Press, is blogging all week to celebrate the release of TIES THAT BIND, the second of her Druids of Duncarnoch series. On Friday, she’ll answer your questions about her characters, her books and herself. Everyone who submits a comment or a question will be entered into a drawing for one of five prizes: a 25 percent off coupon to The Wild Rose Press bookstore (2); a copy of TIES THAT BIND (2) and a set ANAM CARA and TIES THAT BIND (1).


Nancy G said...

I love Druids, and this one sounds very impressivie and interesting. I hope there will be more excerpts as the week goes on.

CathyP said...

Aedan sounds like a wonderfully complex character - and I love that he gets lost in his music!

Maggie Toussaint said...

How lovely, Keena. I'm so glad you let Aidan have his head and "write" his own story. It sounds marvelous!

Mona Risk said...

Keena, congratulations on Ties That Bind. I like that Aedam bad boy. Both books are going on my TBR list as soon as I received my Christmas gift. Santa has my leeter and my DH is shopping with me. I'll be here every day. Please keep reminding us.

Keena Kincaid said...

Yes, Nancy. There will be more excerpts (and if you want to OD on excerpts, I'm on a blog tour all this week, so if you google me, you should find more on Tess and Aedan.

Keena Kincaid said...

Thanks, CP. I think Aedan is wonderfully complex, too. ;-)

Keena Kincaid said...

Thanks, Maggie. I had no choice but to let Aedan have his way. The man is relentless.

Mona, I hope Santa and/or your DH comes through for you. There's one more in the Druids series, and I think I will miss these guys very much.

Skhye said...

This book sounds awesome, Keena! Druids... You can't beat 'em! I've got to get a copy. I'll wait until after the contests. ;) Happy holidays.

Huge prize: a cache of Time Guardian treasure. To enter, join me at:

Jane Richardson said...

Keena, you set yourself a real challenge with this character! It does sound like you've succeeded, though - I remember reading excerpts just before this was released and being very impressed. :) I also know how much research you've done, and the love you have for this field and its history, and your confidence and knowledge is reflected beautifully in your writing. Many congrats for your success, and I hope it carries on for you through 2010!

Jane x

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Keena,
Great excerpts. I haven't read anything on Druids, but you have certainly caught my interest.

Jane said...

Hi Keena,
Congrats on the new release. Who are some of your favorite romance authors?

booklover0226 said...

I look forward in starting this series.

My question is what do you think of book trailers? Do you think they help in book sales?

Tracey D

Keena Kincaid said...

Hi, Skhye! Druids are special, aren't they? I particularly like torturing my druids by putting them in a medieval setting, where using their gifts always adds an element of danger.

Keena Kincaid said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jane. Aedan has probably been my most challenging character. Not to create. He more or less jumped fully formed onto the page. What was tough was rehabilitating him. Thank God for Tess!

Keena Kincaid said...

Hi, Margaret. I'm glad I can interest you in druids. They are creatures of myth as much as dragons, which makes them so much fun to play with (IMO). If you read TTB, I hope I make you want to read more druids.

Keena Kincaid said...

Hi, Jane. Thanks for coming by. My favorite romance authors vary depending upon my mood, to be honest. I'm really enjoy Kresley Cole, right now, and I think I've read everything Gene Showalter has written. When I first started reading romance, I read a lot of Karen Robard (when she was still writing historicals) and Julie Garwood.

Keena Kincaid said...

Hi, booklover. Thanks for stopping by.

I do marketing communications in my day job, so this is probably more than you want to know. In my opinion, book trailers are the 2.0 version of the back-of-the-book blurb. They don't sell the book, but lure potential readers one step closer to the cash register. But unless you link directly from the trailer to the buy button, there's no way to determine its impact on sales.

Also, IMO, the challenge with trailers (besides making them if you're not techno-savvy) is driving potential readers to the site to see the trailer. If it takes too much time or money to make one, it might be better to concentrate your resources on driving readers directly to the book.

Dena said...

I've read a few books with Druids and liked them a lot. Your book sounds even better. I enjoyed meeting Aedan in your post and the excerpt Keena.

Keena Kincaid said...

Thank, Dena. I hope you enjoy the book.

Nina Johnson said...

I love the idea of Druids. It gives a good excuse to travel to do more research. Can I come along? I'll be a good helper. lol