Why I’m Inspired to Write Historical Romances by Catherine Kean with giveaway

I’m often asked why I write historical romances—specifically, books set in the Middle Ages.  Quite simply, I love that historical era.  I adore castles and the romanticism of chivalry.  And, dare I say, I love bold, sexy, alpha male knights whose heroics make ladies swoon.

Is it any wonder that when my British husband and I married close to twenty years ago, our song was the theme to the movie Robin Hood; Prince of Thieves?  My heart still flutters when I hear Bryan Adams singing “Everything I Do, I Do it For You.”

My love of all things medieval began as a child, when I listened to fairy tales.  My dad, who is British, often took my sister and me to England during our summer vacations to visit relatives, and he took us to many historic sites.  We visited awe-inspiring churches built centuries ago, ruins of Roman baths, Stonehenge, The British Museum, old graveyards, and other places that left upon me a lasting impression of how fascinating the past can be.

After graduating from university, I further enriched that fascination through a one-year course with Sotheby’s auctioneers in London, England, where I studied silver, glass, porcelain, furniture, jewelry, paintings, and more from the Middle Ages through the 20thcentury.  It was an amazing year.

An added perk?  I met the tall, dark-haired, charming Brit who became my husband.  And yes, he loves castles, too.

When I started writing medieval romances, I wanted to bring the past I’d experienced to life in a way that was meaningful to me and hopefully other people, too.  To do that, I had to make my characters and story settings three-dimensional.  I needed vital emotional conflicts for my heroes and heroines to struggle to resolve.  I needed to know what foods were cooked, what the different social classes wore, what weapons were used, how a man trained to become a knight, and how wounds were treated.  More simply, I needed sounds, smells, tastes, and textures.  Easy peasy, right?

Um…  No.

I spent many, many hours doing research on the internet.  I brought armloads of books home from the library and jotted pages of notes.  I accumulated a small library of books on kings and armor and medieval recipes (one day, when I’m feeling really ambitious, I’m going to try making a few dishes).

I also bought CD’s of medieval-era music and listened to them while I cooked dinner.  One of the songs started out slowly and then sped up to a vibrant melody accented by drums.  I was captivated.  Immediately I had an idea for the opening chapters of Dance of Desire, a fast-paced, emotional story of a proper noblewoman desperate to save her younger brother who is imprisoned as a traitor and the “barbarian” sheriff she is coerced into marrying to help rescue her sibling.  Dance of Desire was my first novel published in paperback and it won numerous awards.  My daughter, in elementary school at the time, proudly announced to her teachers that her mom was “a published romance author.”

 

With each book I penned, my love of the Middle Ages grew.  A Knight’s Vengeance, my very first medieval that I wrote when my daughter was a baby (and I revised from start to finish about seven times, because I was still learning how to craft a book) had several secondary male characters who deserved to be heroes of their own books.  The idea of connected novels, all set in the fictional county of Moydenshire I’d created, took seed in my mind.  The Knight’s Series was born.  Originally published in paperback, the first four books will be available again as eBooks on Kindle (two are up now, the other two will follow later this year).  My goal for the next year is to write the fifth and final novel and to wrap up the series the way I always envisioned.  And then…  I already have ideas for more medievals.

                                                                                                                             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On trips back to England, my husband and I have taken my daughter sightseeing at some of the historic sites, including ones I visited with my father.  A few years ago we toured Warwick Castle, magnificent to this day.  One of my clearest memories is of standing in an interior room, putting my hand on the smooth stone wall, and just listening, to the voices of modern-day visitors drifting in from outside, but also to the ancient pulse that still seemed to flow within the stone.  It was an amazing moment that snatched my breath away.

When I sit down to write, I feel again that ancient pulse.  It inspires me.  It breathes new life into my words.  And the writer in me is happy.

Catherine is generously offering two (2) Kindle copies of  A Knight’s Vengeance ~ Bk.I and two (2) Kindle copies of A Knight’s Reward ~ Bk.II from her Knight’s series!  Ends @midnight est 3-29-12.

Award-winning author Catherine Kean has always loved tales of heroic knights and stubborn damsels. Her debut medieval historical romance, Dance of Desire, was the launch title of Medallion Press’s Sapphire Jewel Imprint. Dance of  Desire won two Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Best  Medieval in industry review magazine Affaire de Coeur’s 2006 Reader-Writers’ Poll, and finaled in four contests for published romance novelists.

 

Her other medieval romances have also garnered accolades.  Among them, My Lady’s Treasure won the historical category of the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Contest and finaled in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  A Knight’s Reward was a 2008 National Readers’ Choice Awards finalist.

Catherine also writes contemporary romances under the pseudonym Cate Lord.

 

When not writing, Catherine enjoys cooking, baking, browsing antique shops, shopping with her daughter, and gardening. Busy working on her next novel, she lives in Florida with her husband, daughter, and two spoiled cats.  For more details on her books and appearances, please visit her website

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This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Catherine,

    I’m so glad that I visited Manic Readers today and found out about your books. My love of knights started over 50 years ago when I was a child. Back in the days when there was NO TV I can remember my mother reading fairy tales of knights and maidens and my love affair began. In grade school I developed my love of the Knights of the Round Table and as adult had the wonderful opportunity to actual visit Winchester to see it myself.

    My husband is a Mason and a Knights Templar so that makes our reading and research all the more interesting! He is also a Master Stone mason so you know on our trip to England we definately made a trip to Stonehenge! The pictures he took were amazing and somehow we were lucky enough to be there when the son was just a the right angle to get some impressive shots – obviously he had his favorite blown up and the picture is hung proudly in our family room!

    I’m really looking forward to finding out more about your books. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of A Knight’s Vengence or A Knight’s Reward!

  2. Intriguing! Traveling to places I’d love to visit is impossible, but through books, like yours, I can see through your eyes. Thank you for a great blog post here!

  3. I like to read about those days too…very different from modern days!

  4. I so enjoyed reading about you, Catherine; what wonderful memories you have to share. Looking forward to learning more about your books, too.

  5. Hi, Jeanne! 🙂 How lovely to meet you! Sounds like you married your perfect hero. 🙂 I love the Knights of the Round Table too, and visiting Stonehenge was an amazing experience for me and my family. I’m sure your photos of that historic site are fabulous! Thanks for stopping by today.

  6. Hello, Jan! 🙂 That’s one of the wonderful things about books, isn’t it? They can transport you anywhere. I hope one day, you will be able to travel to the places on your “must visit” list. 🙂 Thanks so much for leaving a comment.

  7. Hi, Mary! You’re so right! The medieval era is VERY different from today. In so many ways, that’s a good thing! 🙂 I could never survive without a washing machine, shower, fridge, or coffee maker (and yes, I’m a wimp!) 🙂

  8. Hi, Karen! 🙂 It’s great to meet you. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by today.

  9. Hey Catherine 🙂

    I am also a lover of everything medieval. My soul just aches for it. All of your books sound wonderful and I love the covers. I will be looking for them. I don’t own an e-reader so please don’t enter me in the contest. I just wanted to let you know how happy I was to see someone who has such a passion for the medieval period as I do.

  10. *sigh* Is there anything better than a knight? I love the medieval age. There is something about that period that speaks to the very depths of my soul.
    Thank you, Catherine for a fantastic giveaway. Thank you, Manic Readers, for introducing me to an author I’ve heard of, but have never had the pleasure of reading.

  11. How neat, Catherine! One of the reasons I love to read is for that “getting away” experience, and reading about other times and places adds to that experience. I’m looking forward to reading about your knights!

  12. I like that you feel this ancient pulse when you write and how that inspires you. It’s very interesting and I’m glad you are able to write what you enjoy. I really think that will show in your stories. I realize a lot of my favorite fairy tales are set in Medieval times.

  13. This is clearly a good post, keep on doing the great work!

  14. Your books sound wonderful and I’m adding them to my wishlist. I’ve always loved historicals and especially medievals, they have always been my favorites.

  15. I am happy to know and looking forward to read the 5th book of your knight’s series.
    I felt like I was there with you when you described the experience in warwick castle.:)

  16. I really enjoy reading historical fiction that transports me to another time and place. And, books about medievil knights are the best! I envy your time spent in England.

  17. Lately Historical Fiction has become one of my favorite genres and a romance including medieval knights just puts topping on the cake!! I am keeping my fingers crossed for a win. 🙂

  18. I enjoyed reading your post and learning more about the inspiration and research for your books. They all sound very good.

  19. Hi, Leah! It’s great to meet you–a fellow lover of all things medieval . 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  20. Hello, Gemma! *Sigh* back atcha! 🙂 So good to know you love the medieval era, too.

  21. Hi, Fedora, Na S, Crispian, Eva S, tara, Joan O, Laura, and bn100! 🙂 Thanks to all of you for your kind words about my books. I appreciate your comments very much. And tara, I promise the fifth and final book in my Knight’s Series will be worth the wait. 😉

  22. Loved reading your post. I have always enjoyed reading medieval romances for the way they transport you into such a different time. However, I also enjoy contemporary and regency romances. Let’s face it, I just love reading.

  23. Hi, Catherine,

    Please add my name to the list of those who love to read
    about all those “knights in shining (and not so shining)
    armor”. In fact, one of my favorite “knightly” things is
    the musical “Camelot” with Burton, Andrews, and Goulet!

    Pat C.

  24. Hi, Carol! 🙂 It’s a pleasure to “meet” you! 🙂 Medieval romances sure do transport us to another, very different era. Can I share a secret? I love contemporaries and regencies, too, and I also read some Young Adult fiction. I think being a reader of lots of different genres is a good thing. 🙂

  25. Hi, Pat! 🙂 Oh, I love the musical CAMELOT, too! 🙂

  26. Congratulations to the winners of A KNIGHT’S VENGEANCE BK.I
    Tara and Jeanne Miro

    and the winners of A KNIGHT’S REWARD BKII
    Eva S. and Mary Hay.

    Y’all check your email please. Catherine has been given your information and you should be receiving your books from her soon!

    Thanks to everyone who visited and participated. Look forward to seeing y’all soon & often.

  27. Congrats to all!!

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