Author Interview: M.C. Kennedy
A Wolf's Rose, M.C. Kennedy's Christian YA fantasy novel, is officially out in the world! In honor of its release, I've joined M.C.'s blog tour (which I'll be sharing all about in just a moment)... In fact, I get to have her on for an exclusive (I love that word) author interview!
Without further ado, please welcome the lovely Miss Kennedy!
What first inspired you to write?
I’m the second of four kids, and I always had to do what my older brother was doing. When we were in elementary school, he started writing some short stories for a class. Being a dutiful mimicking sibling, I had to write a story, too. It was a dreadful story about a girl whose entire family died from scarlet fever, and she had to go to an orphanage. It was entitled “The Best Easter Ever.”
Though it was a terrible example of writing, the bug had bitten me hard. I realized how fun it was to tell stories, and I resolved to be an author one day. And the rest is history.
What are some of the driving forces behind you and your writing now?
Originally, my writing was just about having fun creating stories. I wrote a lot about horses and dogs in my early years. As I got older and more experienced, though, I started caring more about the themes in my stories. Fiction is such a powerful medium for portraying truth! I especially love the opportunities fantasy provides for depicting spiritual realities in a way “real world” stories just can’t do. I see writing as a ministry, a way for me to share what God has taught me in story form.
Can you name any authors who have inspired your voice in different ways? How can you see their influence in your writing?
J. R. R. Tolkien has without a doubt been the biggest influence on my writing. I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was nine, and though most of it went well over my head, I fell in love with Middle-Earth. I appreciate Tolkien’s beautiful, poetic writing style, but I even more so appreciate his ability to communicate spiritual truths through fantasy. His explanation of evil as being not the opposite of good but rather a corruption of good is central to many of my stories, especially A Wolf’s Rose.
What are some of your most favorite books/genres—to read and to write?
My two favorite genres to read are fantasy and historical fiction. It’s hard to find good, clean fantasy, so I’m mostly limited to Tolkien and Lewis. But there’s reams of good historical fiction out there! I really like Roseanna M. White and Tessa Afshar.
In terms of writing, I started off writing historical fiction, but I’ve come to realize that I despise research. I’ve found my niche in fantasy, where I can make up literally everything. It’s fantastic!
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I actually have quite a few hobbies. I love to read, but when I’m not doing that, I’ll be knitting, drawing, painting, cross-stitching, playing the piano, or going for a walk. (That’s when I have free time, anyway. It’s a different story during the school year.)
Looking back, what has changed for you as a writer—be it how you write or what you write about—over the last few years?
The biggest area I’ve grown in as a writer has been my ability to write a cohesive story. For a while, my stories would just ramble, not following any particular plot. They were fun to write, but it mostly just me playing with my imaginary friends. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been studying story theory and learning how to properly pace a story and make everything fit together.
In terms of what I write, I’ve definitely started writing on more mature themes. My first stories focused on sibling issues and bullies. Now I’m writing about depression and heartbreak and moral dilemmas that have no good answer. Basically, as I’ve grown, so has my writing.
Your debut novel, A Wolf’s Rose, just released June 3rd! What inspired this story?
I’ve always loved fairy tales and the myriad of retellings produced in the past few years. The Disney version of Beauty and the Beast (the cartoon) is a childhood favorite, and I’ve always wanted to do a retelling of it. I tried a historical fiction one, but it never went anywhere.
As I was researching names for a completely unrelated series, I came across the Irish name “Roisin” (pronounced RO-sheen). It means “little red rose.” “Hmm!” I thought to myself. “What if I did a retelling of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ naming the protagonist ‘Roisin’?” And then I found the word “cochall,” which is Irish for “hood.” “Hmm!!!” I thought to myself. “What if I blended ‘B&B’ with ‘Little Red Riding Hood’???”
And so A Wolf’s Rose was born.
What part of A Wolf’s Rose was the easiest to write, and which was the hardest? Where did you stumble and second-guess yourself?
The easiest was the beginning. It was so fun to set up the story and introduce all the characters!
The hardest was the second half of the book. I had everything built up to the Big Middle Moment, but it was difficult to maintain the pace and not end it too quickly, but also not drag it out. I had to delete a few scenes, create a few others that weren’t in my outline… It was stressful at some points.
What’s next for you writing-wise?
I’ve got big plans for the world of A Wolf’s Rose! This book is the first in The Feyfolk Trilogy, which is a sub series of The Chronicles of Rinnil. I’m planning three trilogies within this big series, with each trilogy focusing on a different race in the world. (The other two will be about the gnomes and the merkin, respectively.)
I’ve already started on the basic plans for the second book in The Feyfolk Trilogy. This one’s going to be a blend of “Robin Hood” and “Snow White.”
What does your writing process typically look like?
I’m a very scheduled, routine person, and my writing process definitely reflects that. I’ll start off with some preliminary thoughts, like “What if Red Riding Hood was a messenger with a magic ring? What if the bad guy wants that magic ring? What if he captures Red to get the ring?” And so on.
Following the starting questions, I’ll start creating the plot while also getting to know the characters. I’ll fill out those fun questionnaires and do interviews with them and all that jazz. This is probably my favorite part of the writing process.
From there, I’ll just keep building the outline until I basically have the first draft in outline form. Then I’ll start telling the story.
What do you want, most of all, for readers to take away from your writing?
I start off all my stories with a theme, some specific truth that the story will revolve around. For example, the theme of AWR is redemption and how we can’t earn it for ourselves. I want readers to take away the biblical truths presented in this fantasy world.
Have you ever endured any discouragement as an author? If so, what inspired you to persevere?
Oh, absolutely. I’ve tried publishing before (under a different name), and I had really high hopes for those books. They didn’t sell well at all, though; no one outside of my immediate family and close friends actually bought them. That was hard, because it felt in a way like a personal rejection. There have been several times when I’ve just wanted to give up writing.
But as I said earlier, I see writing as a ministry. It’s something God has called me to do, and He’s not going to let me give up on it. So I kept going. I love writing so much, and I’m learning to view it as a kind of worship. God’s given me the ability to write for a reason. I learn so much about Him and my relationship with Him as I write my stories, and I want to be able to share at least a little of that with my readers.
What are your greatest aspirations for your future, be it as a person or as a writer?
My biggest aspiration is to be a pastor’s wife, raise seven children, and have at least two dogs. But regardless of if that ever happens, I’ll be working in ministry. I’m currently involved in children’ s and youth ministry. My heart is especially in discipleship; believers need to know what they believe and what they need to do because of it!
As a writer, my biggest goal at the moment is to finish The Chronicles of Rinnil. I have so many plans that I’m excited to see on paper!
What has being a writer taught you?
Being a writer has taught me most of all the importance of persevering. Writing is not easy. It’s just not. The only way you can produce a decent work is if you work hard and keep working hard, even when you want to give up.
What inspired you to self-publish A Wolf’s Rose? Will you continue to self-publish, or do you have plans to traditionally publish one day?
I had actually hoped to have AWR traditionally published. I submitted it to a publisher, but it was sadly rejected. That was disappointing, but I was still determined to have this story see the light of the printed page. I’ve had experience with self-publishing through Amazon, so I just went back to that.
I still hope to be traditionally published one day, but I also really like the freedom and flexibility that comes with self-publishing. Given the current trajectory of my life, I’ll probably stick with self-publishing for a while.
What are your thoughts for other aspiring writers on writing and publishing?
Keep at it! No matter how things might be going for you, no matter how badly things might be falling apart, just keep going. Writing a story is hard work. It takes consistent effort and perseverance. But God has given you a talent for a reason, and He wants you to use it for Him. So write with all that you have, even when it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
about the book
Roshien Cochall has one goal: appear before the Gwyns and prove that she can move beyond the mistakes of her past. Nothing seems to move her closer to that goal, however, and she is left feeling stuck.
Lorcan Mactíre has been waiting patiently for nearly ten years to seize a cochall’s magic ring. Taking Roshien’s grandmother hostage, he lures Roshien to his fortress, confident that he will soon uncover the secret of her ring.
Is this Roshien’s opportunity for redemption? Can she somehow convince Lorcan to let her go—and maybe even take him with her? Or is this the beginning of her ultimate failure?
about the author
M. C. Kennedy is a self-proclaimed nerd with a deep love for the Lord and for fantasy. She enjoys nothing more than escaping from the real world into the realms of her imagination. When she's not rambling through fanciful forests, you can hunt her down at her website (mckennedyauthor.com), or her Facebook page (M. C. Kennedy, Author).
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Author Interview – Jane Mouttet (janemouttet.wordpress.com)
Author Interview – Ember (bookdragonparadise.wordpress.com)
Review – Jane Mouttet (janemouttet.wordpress.com)
M.C. is also giving away two EPIC prizes to anyone who enters her blog tour giveaway! First prize is a signed hardcover copy of A Wolf's Rose and two hand-painted peg dolls; and second prize is a paperback copy of A Wolf's Rose and a rose-shaped ring! Just click the button below to enter!
And don't forget to sign up for her newsletter to receive a companion short story!
I hope y'all enjoyed reading our interview as much as I enjoyed putting it together! Y'all make sure to stop by all the other blogs for more about A Wolf's Rose and its lovely author!