At each stop, Ryshia will award one commenter an ebook copy of From the Dust, a historical romance set in Depression Era Saskatchewan. The grand prize for the tour will be an autographed copy of From the Dust, a book unique bookmark, and a Region 1 DVD of East of Borneo, a 1931 B&W movie.
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by Ryshia Kennie
Leading a scientific excursion into the Borneo rain forest is a life long dream for entomologist, Garrett Cole. But when her guide turns up dead and headless, her abilities are tested. As the dense foliage pushes her team further from the river, they are lost. Every shimmer of sound is a threat, and when a blonde haired, half-naked giant emerges from nowhere, she wants to run. But there are no options – she needs help.
Raised in the lush cradle of the Borneo jungle, Aidan is as unconventional as the fact that he has no last name. While the city is home, he returns to the jungle for peace and solitude. As a PI, how can he ignore the mystery this group and their dead guide poses? Leading them in a convoluted trek in a bid for answers he soon finds himself in a clash of wills with their alluring leader and answers that slide dangerously close to the tribe he loves.
In the jungle’s torrid heat they find unexpected solace in each others arms. But faced with death and betrayal, in a battle of wits that puts lives on the edge, can anyone be trusted?
1. What or who inspired you to start writing? I always loved books, paper and pens, and words. I remember my father did too and so did my grandfather. My grandfather was a voracious reader and fluent in three languages, and my father had a way of spinning words and phrases that made him in high demand whenever a school essay was due. As a child, my mother read endlessly to me and in grade school an English teacher read one of my earlier efforts and encouraged me to keep writing. So I suppose, in a way all of that combined to inspire me to write.
2. How did you come up with ideas for your books? It’s usually an event in life that triggers the story, not so much the plot but the opening line from where the story will take a life of its own. For my first book it was a family story of a long-ago, tragic death. For Fatal Intent it was a trip to Borneo and seeing a skull hanging from the rafters of an Iban longhouse and then hearing the tale of how it got there.
3. What components are necessary for the genre of this novel? Besides having engaging protagonists who can’t help but fall in love with each other despite every stumbling block to prevent this, you also need a threat and a great antagonist, possibly even likeable, that not only exacerbates or even is the threat, but makes the danger more palpable and makes you worry for the protagonists and ultimately cheer them on. And, of course, a resolution that ends with the protagonists happily in each other’s arms. With Garrett and Aidan, they were attracted to each other and resistant all at the same time. The situation, lost in the Borneo jungle combined with the murdered guide and the threat of further danger, was not conducive to romance and yet their attraction to each other wasn’t going away. Even I wondered at times how this romance was ever going to happen.
4. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans? My future plans are to keep writing romantic suspense, and set in places where I’ve often been and that I find every bit as intriguing as Fatal Intent’s Borneo. And I also write women’s fiction and have a couple of projects in various stages of completion.
5. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why? You know, I don’t think I’d want to be any of my characters. I don’t like what happens to them in order for them to get to the happy ever after. In fact I don’t know if I’d handle their predicaments as well as any of them do. I know that if I was lost in a jungle and faced with the gruesome death of my guide I wouldn’t be as calm as Garrett was. And as much as I find entomology a fascinating science, scrounging in molding vegetation for oversized insects isn’t my idea of great ways to make a living.
6. Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing? I belonged to a critique group a number of years ago. Their advise and encouragement, as well as seeing their talent and sharing their journey kept me going through the early years when publication seemed a long way off. The group has since dissolved but I still hear from some of them from time to time and it’s inspiring to know that they haven’t lost the dream that we held in common – writing full time.
7. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step? No one encouraged me to submit my work. Writing was something I did from the time I was in grade school. I submitted work as a teenager – poems and children’s stories. I received some encouraging rejections at the time but life and finding a career intersected and for a time over-shadowed the writing dream. It was a birthday, you know one of those ones that reminds you that you’re just not getting any younger, that really encouraged me to start submitting again. It was then that I realized that I could write in the margins for the rest of my life or I could get serious, put some time and sweat into writing, and start seriously submitting again. It was on that day that the beginning of my first completed and later, published book was born.
8. Do you outline your books or just start writing? I try to outline but I’ve discovered that other than a synopsis, after about chapter six the outline just isn’t working. So now I create what you might call a vague outline, nothing caste in stone and definitely not the whole book.
9. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books? Throughout my life I’ve had a wide range of hobbies or maybe more aptly named interests, and they’ve all influenced my writing in one way or another. Now writing, research and the business of writing takes a good chunk of time so other than reading and the sporadic game of golf and twinges of regret at my forgotten yoga practice, let’s say I used to have hobbies. Seriously, I love to travel and would call that a hobby. I think each of my books have been influenced by that love as I set many of my stories in various places in the world. I know traveling to Borneo definitely influenced my decision to set Fatal Intent there. Setting a story in a travel destination is a wonderful opportunity to go back in time and revisit the trip.
10. Do you have an all time favorite book? My all-time favourite book is Heidi not so much because of the story as it’s a children’s book and I haven’t read it in a very long time but because of the memories. The copy I have is an ancient – red cloth bound, no dust jacket, version. I got it for my ninth birthday and my mother had to scour the city to find it as Heidi had fallen off the publishing radar in those years and was basically out of print. Otherwise, I have a whole cluster of favourites that I’ll pick up and re-read from time to time.
11. What is your favorite reality show? Ack! I don’t even want to admit I watch reality shows – I don’t, I’m not going to – I’m closing my ears. Okay, I have to admit, I’m a sucker for Sister Wives – don’t ask me why, maybe because it’s so far from any norm I can relate to. And I watch nineteen kids and counting. When Survivor first started I loved it – I have to admit that was my favourite reality television show, through the first seasons anyway.
12. If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles? If Jodie Foster were a bit younger – I’d pick her for Garrett. As for picking someone that would fit today as far as age etc. for either of my characters, you know I can walk by an entertainment magazine in the grocery store and nine out of ten times I couldn’t tell you who the actor on the cover might be. So, I suppose based on that I probably shouldn’t pick the leads. Although I’d definitely want a say in the ultimate choice. Wait, what am I saying? Who cares who would play the leads. Film version…my book – what a dream.
Aidan moved vines back, exposing his face. They only had to look in his direction.
He was so close he could have reached out and touched her. She was delicate, out of place here in the midst of this wilderness. Her skin, even beneath the sweat and exertion-stained flush, was fair. She wasn’t built to be here, she was too slight to survive, too weak, too . . .
She glanced up. A frown immediately seared her face.
“Who the hell are you?” she snarled.
He bit back a smile. She should have screamed. She hadn’t. All tiny limbs and fragile beauty, and yet she attacked first.
He let his gaze rove over the group, refusing to be corralled by her attack.
One of the men looked panicked, the others seriously stressed. He shifted his spear to his other hand and waited, taking the warrior advantage of time and observation. The silent often learned much about their enemy.
“Put that down.” She gestured to his spear.
His fingers loosened for a millisecond before gripping the spear tighter. Was she out of her mind? Green, innocent, and totally forest-illiterate, but she was feisty.
Feisty? She was seething, hot, absolutely pissed—about what, he wasn’t sure. Her anger didn’t make much sense. Nothing about this afternoon made much sense.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ryshia Kennie is the author of two published romances. From the Dust, is a romance set during the Great Depression. Her second book, Ring of Desire, was set against a backdrop of magic and mystery, in medieval England. An award winning author, her recent novels now focus on suspense and women’s fiction – always with a hint or even a dollop, of romance. The Canadian prairies are home where she lives with her husband and one opinionated Irish Terrier.
Visit her website at http://www.ryshiakennie.com.
Author blog: ryshia.blogspot.com
Author on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ryshia.kennie
Author on Twitter: twitter.com/ryshia
Author at Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1400598.Ryshia_Kennie