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* Skye Warren: Author Override
* Narrator Lorelei King: Interview
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* Carolyn Crane: Author Override | UTC Review
* J.T. Geissinger: Interview | UTC Review
* Men and Women of the Military Giveaway Hop
* Keri Arthur: Interview | UTC Reviews

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Author Override: Kendra Leigh Castle

Author Override is the place where authors take the reins and take you on a journey into their world. Some may allow you into their private writing dens. Others may take you along with them on research trips or interviews. Whatever the case may be, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because here you’ll get an in-depth look into an author’s musings.

Dark Inspiration
By Kendra Leigh Castle 

One thing I've noticed through all the books I've written is that every one of my characters has come together a little differently. Some arrive almost fully formed, others I have to put together piece by piece. All required some inspiration to really bring them to life, though...and lucky for me, I'm inspired by all sorts of random things! In my new book SHADOW RISING, which is the third in my Dark Dynasties series, I drew from some interesting places to get Damien Tremaine, the hero. If you're curious, here's a bit of the story behind how he came to be.

Damien, has been with me since the first book in the series. Originally intended to be a character who wouldn't live to see Book 2, Damien arrived in his big debut scene (where he tries to kill the heroine—he is an assassin) and immediately began showing off his particular blend of genteel manners and a razor sharp tongue. Impeccably dressed in khaki pants and an oxford shirt, his topcoat neatly folded on a chair, he was a hired killer with style...and I immediately knew there was more to him. I also knew, fairly quickly, that I was never going to be able to kill him off. He was one of those rare characters (for me, anyway) who arrives seemingly whole out of thin air, without much effort on my part. All I had to do was watch him and discover what made him tick.

The biggest inspiration for Damien was pretty obvious from the get-go. I knew where he'd come from. See, I have always loved rogues in historical romance. Clever, debauched, and almost unredeemable, they're some of my favorite characters. Damien, born the youngest son of a British nobleman in the late 1700s, was made from that mold. He's disgraced and unrepentantly disgraceful. After stumbling into low class vampdom as a cat-shifting Cait Sith, Damien escaped near-certain slavery to the Ptolemy dynasty and instead joined the secretive House of Shadows. He eventually became a Shade, a master thief and assassin, and never looked back. Now, his services are in demand by the very highblood vampires who would have spat on him.

 I knew Damien didn't look like a typical "bad boy" character. He was a rich noble. He's stylish, more GQ than leather-clad angsty vampire. I always like to have a visual inspiration for my characters, and I knew pretty quickly who Damien would look like. Chris Evans, with his boy-next-door looks, sandy brown hair, and wicked smirk (not to mention that slightly cocked eyebrow thing he does that's just so...naughty) was perfect. And I must say, I enjoyed having him up on my office bulletin board while I worked on the book. Now, skills-wise, I also had a reference for how he moved—Ezio Auditore da Firenze from the Assassin's Creed games. I know, I know...it's a game. But those are some graceful, deadly, good-looking pixels. And finally, music junkie that I am, I ended up with a theme song for Damien's romance with Ariane, the beautiful, innocent Grigori he falls for against all his better judgment. That would be Rise Above 1 by Reeve Carney and Bono, from Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. It's a gorgeous song, and suited their story perfectly. I played it a lot as I was writing the book!

So there you have it, the bits and pieces that came together to make Damien Tremaine. There's more to him, of course...but you'll have to read the book to see just what more there is! I will say that he's one of my favorite heroes so far.

Thanks so much to Annie for having me here today! I have a signed copy of SHADOW RISING to give away, so be sure to leave me a comment! I'll be here to chat all day. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about the book, the series, or writing in general, but let me ask you:  
what do you find inspiring?

 Kendra Leigh Castle is the author of the Dark Dynasties series, as well as several other paranormal romances. She lives in Maryland with her husband, three kids, and menagerie of pets. Kendra can be found at www.kendraleighcastle.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

You heard her! Kendra is graciously giving away a signed copy of SHADOW RISING. Open to all. Good luck!
Ancient Secrets, Dark Passions...

As one of the Grigori, a noble vampire dynasty shrouded in mystery, Ariane has spent her life hidden away in the desert. Like all of her kind, she is a watcher, fated to observe, forbidden to act. Yet when her best friend, Sammael, vanishes, she defies all rules and flees her safe haven to bring him home.

A shape-shifting assassin for the House of Shadows, Damien Tremaine is hired to locate Sammael. His hunt for the wayward Grigori leads him to Ariane, the rogue vamp who stands between him and his bounty. Damien never lets emotion interfere with his work, but a single touch from the sexy, beguiling vampire shatters his self-control. Drawn together by their common goal, what begins as an alliance of necessity soon becomes one of desire. But when the secret at the dark heart of the Grigori comes to light, Damien and Ariane must make a choice that could bind them eternally...or tear them—and everything they care about—apart.

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Kassandra said...

I work with children ages birth to 3 years of age and am constantly amazed by what they accomplish on a daily basis. I think we forget just how complex the most mundane of skills can be and just how much it takes to learn them. To be apart of these children's lives and to help them grow into the amazing individuals I know each can become is very awe inspiring to me.


myromancelandia said...

The most awe inspiring person and moment are when I saw little children with cancer fight their disease. It was an honor to fight beside them. Their will of steel to live. It was such an amazing inspiring moment and their are real life inspiration for me.


Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Good morning everyone!

Kassandra, as a parent of three kids, I completely agree. Children are very inspiring!

myromancelandia, wow, I can't imagine. Inspirational and also heartbreaking...I wish children never had to go through such things.

Tanya said...

The most inspiring person I know is my mom who raised 3 kid alone after becoming a widow at only 30 years old.


BlackwaterMama said...

My inspiration are the military. As a daughter of a WWII purple heart veteran and the mother of an Iraq purple heart veteran, I am amazed by the young men and women willing to sacrifice to help keep our freedom.

Kaylyn D. said...

I am going to say I'm inspired by my sister. She is deaf. She is such an amazing person. Being deaf to her isn't a hardship but just part of who she is. She is headed to College in a week.... crap now I feel old lol

sienny said...

hmm.. this is difficult, cause i found many thing inspiring.

Becki Wyer said...

I'm inspired by anyone who can rise above their circumstances and make life better for themselves and others around them.
rmwyer at shaw dot ca

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Tanya, that is an AMAZINGLY tough job...I'd be inspired too!

BlackwaterMama, you have every reason to be proud. I'm a Navy wife, and am constantly awed by the dedication of the men and women in the military.

Kaylyn, awesome! And trust me, finding things that make you feel old happens with increasing frequency as you get into your
30s. I was a teen in the mid-90s. My children have no idea what Grunge is. And I have to keep explaining about how different the internet was then. *hangs head* OLD.

sienny, no worries, there is a LOT to be inspired by out there!

Becki, me too, definitely.

powerse said...

survivors and those who are challenged and do their best to face each challenge...


*yadkny* said...

My mom is my inspiration for having raised 8 kids and still managed to stay sane.

Lona said...

My bathtub, is what inspires me, lol. Thx for giveaway.

Betty Hamilton said...

The Olympics inspire me. The athletes dedicate themselves to their sports for hours and hours each week and do that for 4 years before they can aspire to their goals!

Mina said...

The most inspiring people I have ever met are my parents! Now that I have my own kids, I understand them and appreciate the way they raised me a.d the sacrifices they have made, even more!

RachaelM said...

My eight year old son inspires me. He is so loving and full of life. He reminds me on a daily basis what life should be about and to just let go and enjoy the simple things. He makes me a better person.

Maria D. said...

Great post! I'm inspired by a lot of different things, watching my parents and how they are with each other and my nieces and nephews, watching my friends when we go out and by how they are with their kids too. Mostly I'm just inspired by watching other people, sometimes listening to music or watching a movie inspires me. Reading a great romance also inspires me to keep hope and love alive. Thanks for the giveaway!

Carol L. said...

My greatest inspiration was when my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Osteo-sarcoma--bone cancer at seven and a half. Eleven months this child was hospitalized enduring 5 chemos a day. Her right shoulder was replaced with a Titanium implant. Yet she never wavered. Oh, I'd cry into the towels in the bathroom because this little peanut had the courage I didn't. She's 25 today and is healthy as can be. My hero. :) My inspiration.
I have definitely got to read and catch up with this series. I love this cover. Thanks so much for the opportunity.
Carol L.
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Lisa Cox said...

Nature inspires me. We recently moved to a rural area of Missouri. It is amazing just being able to look out my window and see deer and wild turkeys roaming our backyard. And all the birds, and their different songs! And of course, the funny antics of my pet chickens.

karla@BookAddict said...

My brother inspires me, he has brain immaturity due to lack of oxigen at birth and has had lots of things to struggle with since he was born but know he´s 28 and he´s about to get his degree, so yeah he inspires me

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

powerse, I totally agree:)

yadkny, LOL, I've gained a new appreciation for my mom since having kids of my own. I don't know how any of us stay sane.

Lona, oh, ME TOO, I love a nice quiet bath...especially because I rarely get alone time! Great place to think.

Betty, yes, watching them has been incredible! They sacrifice a lot to be the best.

Mina, that's one of the cool things about becoming a parent...really helps you to understand and appreciate your own parents. My mom laughs a lot because I finally "get it":)

RachaelM, that's SO sweet! I don't know what I would do without my kiddos either.

Maria, I'm with you...you never know where inspiration is going to come from! All you have to do is be open to it.

Carol, WOW, I'm so glad she came through all of that! What a fighter. That's awesome. Thanks for sharing...I have a lot of respect for the both of you.

Lisa, That's lovely and YOU HAVE PET CHICKENS?? I WANT PET CHICKENS! Was I yelling there? Um, sorry. I would love to have a couple of hens. Fresh eggs, and they're fun to watch. I'm a country girl myself, so I totally get where you're coming from!

karla, that's awesome. I'm always so impressed with people as strong as your brother. And it sounds like he has great support in you!

Laurie said...

Coffee! My kids, they keep me hopping! I have friends who had breast cancer and seeing what they faced with a positive attitude and humor is inspiring!

June M. said...

There are many things that inspire me, but I guess what inspires me the most are children/young adults who do not allow medical conditions to hold them back. I have 2 nieces and 1 nephew who have Epilepsy. My nephew had it soon after birth, and very severe seizures that threatened his life. After a few years, we were able to take him off meds and as of now, no more seizures. But we are having to keep an eye out because he is almost 12 and puberty can cause them to return. My nieces (his sisters) both have epilepsy too. Various seizures (one with dizziness, headaches, and Grand Mal seizures, the other has the "absent" seizures almost constantly) However, they do not allow this to stop them from doing anything they want, leading their lives the way they want.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Cindy said...

I've been very lucky to have people who believed in me and it motivated me to do my best.
My mom inspires me; she's so strong and capable. NO one can believe she's 74. I want to be just like her when I grow up.
Thanks for the opportunity to win an autographed book. I absolutely love this series.
ctrim at wi dot rr dot com

Lissette Martinez said...

This was really interesting. Hmm what's inspiring for me? First, my inspiration are my parents, I want to become a better person and learn from their mistakes. Both are great persons, who have fought alone to be able to have a career. I'm so glad I have their support, my grandparents just couldn't afford the college studies, but they managed to get through all the obstacles and to be a professional. Therefore, I hope to graduate in two years of college.

Lissette_125 AT hotmail DOT com

Barbara E. said...

What I find inspiring are those who take care of their families, work hard, and despite hardships and set backs, don't give up on living the best life they can. It's always inspiring to see people with disabilities that do more than people without any flaws - there is a gentleman at work who has two prosthetic legs and only one arm and he holds down a good job and even races in Ironman triathlons.

Timitra said...

There are so many things that inspire me-books, my family, movies, tv shows, music, people I meet...just life on a hold is very inspiring!

Julianne Keller said...

Life itself. Everyday is a gift that should be lived to the fullest. Everything can inspire someone to do something great or something for themselves. Life gives you dreams, dreams gives you hope, hope gives you life.
I'd love to read this books.
Congrats on the new release Kendra.
luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com

marybelle said...

First & foremost it would be my family. A strong unit of support & love.

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Laurie, LOL, I'm not sure I would be a functional being without coffee at this point in my life:)

June, that is DEFINITELY inspiring! It's amazing what you can do when you refuse to be held back.

Cindy, I want to be like my mom too! No one ever thinks she's almost 60. That's something I hope holds for me:)

Lissette, that's awesome, and I wish you the best of luck!

Barbara, strength of spirit is always inspiring to me as well.

Timitra, well said!

Julianne, I completely agree.

marybelle, I draw lots of inspiration from my family too:)

Thanks so much for being here, everyone!!

Marlene Breakfield said...

I find my mother inspiring. My mother went back to school after raising 4 children and got a certificate to teach. She is still teaching at 71.

Kerry said...

My mom is very inspiring - raising 3 kids in 3 different decades, single at a late age, caring for both sick parents and still smiles and treats everyone as if they are special. She inspires me.

Filia Oktarina said...

My mom was the most inspiring people i know, raising 4 children and open restaurant :)

Dawn said...

Im inspired everyday by the people who put their lives on the line for us. Fire fighters, Police men and women, army, navy. It amazes me when I think about what they go through for all of us to live in a better world.


Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I find my kids very inspiring. While both are super intelligent people who could have done anything with their lives and made boat loads of money, one is a dedicated teacher and the other has taken over a family business while being mister mom so his equally intelligent wife could complete law school

Ntzee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ntzee said...

Life itself is inspiring! Live.Laugh.Love =)

andie said...

There are so many things that inspire me! Other people, music. I am obsessed with the unknown and the overlooked.When there's something that people don't expect of me to achieve, I go and achieve it just to show that I CAN do it.

Andrea K.