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Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Keena Kincaid

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned
~William Congreve

ENTHRALLED came about differently for me than any book I’ve written to date. Usually, my books start with a dream, a character chattering in my head or a “what if” idea that gets the imagination going.

This time, though, the story was born of necessity.

Midway through writing TIES THAT BIND, I realized that I couldn’t wrap up my external plot—Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine's attempt to murder her husband, King Henry II, and rule as regent through her eldest son—unless I wrote a 200,000-word book or pulled a Shakespeare and murdered everyone in Act III.

Fortunately, I had two secondary characters that were willing to fight against treason and a villain who was both chilling and sympathetic.

Historically speaking, the passion (both good and bad) between Henry and Eleanor is more assumed than fact. The historical record is thin, sometimes conflicting, and lacks detail. Much of the motivation, affection, disappointment and hatred that stretched over a 37-year marriage must be inferred.

We do know Eleanor:
·         Wed Henry of Anjou in 1152, months after her marriage with the French king was annulled. Henry was 10 or 11 years her junior.
·         Bore at least 8 children during the marriage. The youngest, John, was born in either 1166 or 1167 when she was approximately 45 years old.
·         Encouraged estrangement between father and sons, and led her sons in rebellion against their father in 1173.

From these facts, I created goal, conflict and motivation to develop a fully actualized, if fictionalized woman.

In ENTHRALLED, Eleanor is cold and calculating, yet understandable (I hope). At 44, her legendary beauty is fading, her husband is openly in love with another woman, and her children are no longer under her direct control. She’s standing at the edge of irrelevancy—and she doesn’t like the view.

Here’s our first glimpse of the queen:

“I begin to think you avoid me.”

William turned and acknowledged Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine with a small smile meant to charm. “Never. I merely keep gossip at bay.”

“And your back to the wall.” She surveyed his face for lies. “The minstrel has that habit.”

“All fighting men have that habit, and Aedan is as good with a sword as he is with a harp.”

Malice flashed through her dark eyes, igniting a burning chunk of worry in his gut. He had known since the day Aedan killed Lord Hexham that Eleanor would be murderous over the turn of events, just how murderous was the question.

“Are you enjoying Carlisle, my queen?”

“No. I expected the Earl of Carlisle to be dead.”

“He was not the traitor.”

“And Hexham was not the one I wanted dead.” Her fingernails dug into his wrist. “Walk with me.”

William took his queen’s arm and walked from the crush and thrum of the earl’s court into the chilly air of a spring night.

It had rained. The damp air kept the scents of mud and wood smoke low to the ground. The smells masked the stench from the moat and stables. Eleanor said nothing as he led her through the inner bailey, but small movements of her head told him she missed nothing, not the half-finished walk between the old and new sections of the castle or the sagging scaffolding that attracted the castle children like gulls. Quietly, he studied her, trying to gauge her temper, but the smooth lines of her face revealed nothing of her thoughts. Despite being beyond forty, she was still one of the most captivating women in Europe. Even Ami looked plain in comparison, until she smiled. Eleanor lacked Ami’s sparkle and warmth, and her honesty.

Keena Kincaid, the author of four romance novels set in 12th century England, will be at LASR all week talking about her newest novel, ENTHRALLED. Leave a comment on one of her blogs and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of her book at the end of the week. She’ll be giving away two ebooks and one signed print edition.
Her topics:
·         Today: Eleanor of Aquitaine
·         Tuesday: William of Ravenglas
·         Wednesday: Amilia of Ravenglas
·         Thursday: Magic and Marriage in the Middle Ages
·         Friday: The First Scene

Her books are available from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble online as well as anywhere ebooks are sold. You also can fan or friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and visit her blog, Typos and All.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Sounds great, Keena. You really make history come alive. Your William battles politics and danger with such aplomb. I admire your writing skill!

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Keena, thanks for sharing about Eleanor and Henry. Does that make her the first "cougar?" hehe

Nice excerpt. William appears to be in a pickle. Your Eleanor does not sound happy at the turn of events. I'm looking forward to reading the book and learning more about your characters.


Keena Kincaid said...

Hi, Maggie, thanks for coming by. William does his best, but he's got a formidable opponent in Eleanor.

Steph: Yes, she's definitely a cougar. Several times over. :-)

Mona Risk said...

Keena, I enjoyed reading your presentation of Queen Eleanor. No kidding they managed to have an annulment after eight children. How practical!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Keena,
Nice blog. Eight kids then he gives her the flick, doesn't seem very fair. Sounds like a great read.