Inquiring minds want to know what’s behind the scenes of writing a book, especially our favorites with the well-worn pages that have been turned thousands of times, slightly tattered covers that have been shoved in purses on the go or on our e-readers time and time again. It’s something we’ve all said: “maybe I’ll write a book one day.” But we usually talk ourselves out of it because it’s hard. I say this as someone who has done just that. Luckily, authors like Kerrigan Byrne are willing to share their secrets of writing with us, including the process, the characters and the stories.
We asked in our beloved Facebook group for our Byrne fans to post their questions about the process of writing, those delicious men, and those daring stories so that Ms. Byrne could tell us all we want to know. We are ever so grateful for her response and for your continuing support. As one of the administrators and founding members of the Historical Romance Book Club, we never thought this many people would be interested in our little group, much less best selling authors! And with that being said, let’s find out what kind of answers we’ve gotten from Kerrigan Byrne!
For someone who has never read your books, which would you recommend for a first read?
How did you get into writing? Did it stem from having an in-depth education in writing/literature? Was it a love of history?
I went to school for an English/History degree, but I never ended up finishing my bachelors. I’ve been trying to pinpoint for a while what the exact moment I “got into” writing is and it’s kind of hard! There are so many milestones like a first contract or the first time a book is put up independently. There’s a first workshop or conference. The first time you make a website. The first time a book is finished. The first time a book is started? Which, for me, was when I was in elementary and I began filling notebooks with handwritten nonsense. So I guess you could say I “got into” writing when I was maybe 8.
Haha! They are not even related. They went to prison together and found that they are similar ages and remarkably alike in appearance but no they are brothers in name only.
In the Victorian Rebels Series, Derek Perkins has done a fantastic job narrating the series for audiobook. Do you have a say or get to pick who narrates her stories? Do you get to hear them read samples from your books?
I am lucky enough to have picked Derek from back when I was a baby indie author and I’ve been able to keep him throughout my career and for that I am ULTRA thankful!
Why is there such a long break between your Business of Blood books?
Because I have to write 3 more books in between them. I’m working on my Victorian Rebel’s still, my Devil You Know series, and also a few other projects this year. It keeps my nose to the grindstone. So, unfortunately, there will be about a year wait between books. ☹
What made you choose the Victorian Era for your books?
I love Victorian history because it mirrors our present day in so many ways. While they were going through an industrial revolution, we are going through a digital one. Our world changes so much when these things happen and social, financial, and power shifts are a part of that. With so much upheaval, it’s always easy to find good conflict to write about. (and fun inventions!)
There’s a lot of trauma and heavy themes in some of your books. Are you expanding on today’s more open approach to mental health in your books as a way to get more people involved in mental health healing? Or is this a true picture of what life was like back then?
A little of both, I think. There are so many movements that began to pick up steam in the 1800s that seem to be so relevant to today. Women’s issues. Racial equality. The divide between the rich and the poor. Violence. Mental illness. War and how we treat our veterans. Immigrants and how they are treated in first world countries.
How old were you when you wrote your first book? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I was about 8 I think! I read the Chronicles of Narnia and started writing a book about a girl with a horse that could fly.
Do you have any rituals when you’re writing, like listening to specific music or a must-have cup of coffee?
I do listen to a ton of music while I write. I mostly listen to soundtracks like Game of Thrones, Pride and Prejudice, The Last of Us, and Mass Effect 3. There are some fabulous atmospheric tracks!
Who is your favorite author and what are some of your favorite books?
My 2 favorite authors are Christopher Moore and Cynthia St. Aubin. Because I write darker, I love to read humor. And no one makes me LOL like these two!
Which characters are you most proud of and why?
I would say I’m most proud of Alexandra and Piers in HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS. I put them through a lot and I loved to watch them come through it happier!
What kinds of things do you research when you write?
OMG, I could answer this question forever. I have the worst memory so I do a lot of duplicate research. There’s always fashion research. Looking up to see if words were invented yet. A great deal of legal research and ALWAYS maps. SO many maps.
Do you have a trope picked out and build the story from there or do you begin with the characters?
I begin with the characters or sometimes with a scene I really want to write and then build the entire book around that. Like with Morley in A DARK AND STORMY KNIGHT. I knew that I wanted to write the scene where a woman mistakes him for a male prostitute and offers to pay for him for the night. He’s been living like a monk for years, he’s overworked and heartbroken… So I just had to go with that and then work on the aftermath!
Which one of your leading ladies do you most identify with?
I would say I’m an amalgamation of all of them. I look like a few of them. I have a few of their flaws and a few of their good qualities. I would say I’m Mena or Imogen with a little bit of Francesca thrown in for spice!
Which leading hero has stayed with you the longest?
OH MAN. I would say that Christopher Argent is most in my thoughts. He’s just… the worst and the best. Out of all my heroes, I would say I love him most.
Where do you draw inspiration for writing some of your scenes that are darker and more gritty?
I read a lot of dark and gritty books. Thrillers and mysteries and a ton of paranormal. I would say I draw a lot of my inspiration from fantastic paranormal writers such as J.R. Ward and Karen Marie Moning.
Are you planning to continue writing any more contemporary romantic suspense books?
I am! I’m going to be pushing out more of the Shakespearean Suspense books as soon as I can!!
Kerrigan Byrne is the USA Today Bestselling and award winning author of a dozen novels in both the romance and mystery genre. Her latest Victorian Rebel release A DARK AND STORMY KNIGHT will be available spring of 2020.
She lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State with her dream boat husband.
When she’s not writing and researching, you’ll find her on the water kayaking, or on land eating, drinking, shopping, eating some more, and taking the dogs to play on the beach… or on her couch playing video games and watching way too much television.
Kerrigan loves to hear from her readers! To contact her or learn more about her books, please visit the links below.