RYSHIA KENNIE: Dogs with Booties & Researching her Historical Novels

Sadly we will soon be saying goodbye to our Author in the Spotlight, Ryshia Kennie, although her spotlight page will always be available in our archives and posted in the sidebar. To give you a flavour of what has been going on, here are a few of the questions we asked about her book research in the AR Yahoo group. First, by way of introduction, Ryshia talks about her latest book:

My first book was a historical and "Ring of Desire" was to be too and then something happened, I think the medieval background was the perfect breeding ground for a little magic - and so was born the medieval paranormal.  Here's a blurb

Whispers of an ancient magic
drew them together …
In the medieval land of Hafne, a curse has swept through the land leaving it barren and without hope. As one of the chosen, Vala watches for signs of the prophecy and with it, the owner of a ring who is destined to fight by her side and drive away the darkness. The newly arrived Norman enemy is an unnecessary complication in Hafne—and in beautiful Vala's heart.
… An unspeakable evil fights
to keep them apart.
Giles arrives with his Norman men in time to rescue a mysterious woman from a watery death. Holding Vala in his arms, the stirrings of destiny and desire begin, binding him to a prophecy of which he surely wants no part—binding him to a search for his true origins and a fight to save his soul and hers.

On Research

Charisma Knight: How long did it take for you to research your historicals? I know you travel. Do you go to libraries when you travel to create that medieval setting, making readers feel as though they are in that time frame?

Ryshia: Libraries while I travel - now you have me intrigued, I've never done that however now that the seed is planted...  For medieval information I haunted local libraries and book stores for information on the era.  Getting the flavour of the medieval period was easy as I've always loved that time and so you could say I've done a lot of pre-research before the book even came into being.  Keeping readers in the period I felt was a matter of having the medieval period true and the facts accurate.  The leeway came when the Ancients and their magic was introduced.  For the keep that is central to the story while it doesn't match many of the castles and historic sites that I have seen on my travels, I did picture some of the ruins I had seen and rebuilt it based on both my imagination and the facts and superstitions of the time.

That's pretty much my research in a nutshell for "Ring of Desire" anyway, every book is different and I must admit that the medieval period was slightly more challenging than my first book where there were still people alive to interview.  :)

Sassy: How did interviewing people for your first book help? 

Ryshia: When I researched for my first book, it was a completely different experience.  "From the Dust" was set on the Canadian prairies during the Great Depression.  Besides books, I interviewed some people who had lived through the depression.  I started out with a book of interviews from a Canadian reporter, now out of print, but a surprise find at a garage sale.  And then I turned my attention to those around me.  I'm lucky to have a few generations of relatives alive and a couple of them had lived through the depression as young adults and they had friends who had done the same.  It was so much fun and I've never met so many spry ninety year olds!!  But what stories they told - and I can't believe how positively they looked back on such a black time.

Sassy: Do you have any favourite medieval research books, you'd like to share with us?

- The Dent Atlas of British History - Martin Gilbert (this book was awesome with giving a visual map as well as timelines for major events)
 It maps Britain from 50 BC to 1994 highlighting the politics of the day.  The maps aren't detailed but you get a good overall feel  of the time. 
- Between Pit and Pedestal Women in the Middle Ages, Marty Williams and Anne Echols - While it is not centered strictly in Britain and the eras range from 1100 to 1500, it does give a  fantastic overview of women, their place in society and how many belief systems that specifically affect women came into being. 

- 1066 The Year of the Conquest - David Howarth
- The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles - Translated and collated by Anne Savage
- Dark Justice A history of Punishment and Torture - Karen Farrington - a history of punishment through medieval to relatively modern times - with pics which is sometimes very helpful :)

- Oxford Concise Dictionary of English Etymology

On Writing

Sassy: Do you have a set writing schedule? Or a routine of perhaps, a daily word count? or X amount of writing hours?

Ryshia: My schedule - I don't stick to any word count. On the weekdays I write for about an hour every evening and on the weekends I devote the mornings usually about four hours to writing. The weekends have been invaluable as the habit is now there. I don't think I'd feel right if I didn't get up and write on Saturday or Sunday morning. I get up early so I beat the rest of the house and by the time the house is waking up I've already got a few hours done.

Sassy note: And non-writing related because I just had to share this very cute picture of Ryshia's dog: 

Awwwww! The winter outfit used for double digit sub zero days! 

Thank you, Ryshia for this inside look into your world.  Your pooch is adorable. :)

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  1. Nice interview :D
    Those books sure interesting, I'd love to do research

  2. Thank you Blodeuedd,

    I can imagine it's easy to get distracted when doing research on a subject you enjoy! But a lot of fun.



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