This “Meet the Character Day” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each “Behind the Scenes” blog, I talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. The “Meet the Character Day” blogs are fun chats with the heroes and heroines from my romances. Warning: blogs may contain spoilers.
Today we’re chatting with Katarina, the heroine in Redemption from a Dark Past, a Gothic historical romance from Kelli A. Wilkins. Let’s see what’s on her mind…
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
Before the book started, my life was pretty miserable. I was working on a goat farm in a tiny village in Hungary, and I was terribly lonely. When I was a child, my “employers” took me out of an orphanage and brought me to work for them in exchange for food and shelter.
Unlike most of the young women in my village, I always wanted more for myself. I wanted to explore new places, have adventures, and fall in love. I’m happy to say that Kelli made all those wonderful things come true for me.
Describe yourself in four words.
Clever. Headstrong. Independent. Fearless.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’ve always liked the fact that I’m clever. I’ve been told that I “think like a man” and most other women always thought I was too smart for my own good. I’m proud of the fact that I can (and do) think for myself. I’m also brave and headstrong, which are also uncommon qualities in women from my village. All these traits came in handy once Kelli started writing about me and my adventures in Lord Adrik’s castle.
What do you like least about yourself?
I was always ashamed that I couldn’t read or write. Even though most people from the lower classes (men and women) can’t, I felt that I should know how. Being uneducated made me feel stupid, and I thought that I was missing out on a lot of things.
When I met Lord Adrik, I’d spend hours looking at the books in his library, wondering what stories and adventures were locked away inside them. Now I can read and write, and I even play three musical instruments.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
Well… this is a bit personal, but in the book, Kelli wrote a scene where I was bathing and Lord Adrik came into the bath and… Let’s just say, he showed me the ecstasy a woman feels when making love. I thought it was strange at first, but after receiving Lord Adrik’s affections, I was quite pleased!
Kelli also wrote a few other strange happenings in the book. One night, I chased down the ghost haunting the castle, and on another night I followed Lord Adrik into a strange room and discovered one of his deepest secrets. Kelli says that Redemption from a Dark Past is a romance blended with mystery and suspense, and she’s right.
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
I don’t really argue much with her. After writing 20 romances, Kelli knows what she’s doing. Although I’ll admit, at times I was concerned with how the book would end and what would happen to me. The story has lots of twists and turns, but Lord Adrik and I trusted that Kelli would make everything work out just fine in the end.
What is your greatest fear?
I don’t have many fears, but I suppose I share one with just about everyone—I worry about losing the people I love. Life is very short and I think everyone should enjoy the time they have here with the people they love the most.
What makes you happy? What’s your favorite thing to do?
I love spending the day with Lord Adrik. We go riding, attend concerts, and take long walks. When we’re not together, I’m happy painting, playing music, tending to a garden, and reading.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I would rewrite the part of the story where Lord Adrik and I have to attend a meeting at Count Varady’s estate. That’s where I encountered a group of fancy noblewomen who were very nasty to me. Lord Adrik also had a lot of troubles there, and basically, everything fell apart. If I had my way, I’d change the book so that we never went there at all.
But as Kelli reminds me, all that bad stuff had to take place so the story could develop and other important things could happen. I know she’s right, because if I changed that scene, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bothers you the most? Why?
There were a few characters who bothered me. Mr. and Mrs. Gurka, the owners of the goat farm, were always mean to me. They also tried to arrange for me to marry a horrible man named Oleg. And then there was Baron Radych—he plotted against Lord Adrik and tried to kill me. I’m happy to say that Kelli made sure he didn’t bother anyone again.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Kelli asked me to tell readers that she is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories. She just released two new mysteries: More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel.
She says readers can visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.
I can’t wait to read all of her historical romances. I want to see what other interesting characters she has written about and follow their adventures.
Anything else you would like to add? What’s next for you?
Well, I don’t want to give away anything from the book, but Lord Adrik and I are expecting our first child soon. I’m very excited about that.
Thank you for letting me chat here today. I hope everyone reads Redemption from a Dark Past and all of Kelli’s other romances. If you missed any blog in this series, you can catch up here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog
Here is the book summary, an exclusive excerpt, and links.
Redemption from a Dark Past
Lord Sebestyen Adrik has an unsavory reputation as a madman, murderer… and worse. Lonely and searching for love, he seeks the companionship of local young women, hoping one of them will ease his torment and bring him the happiness he longs for. Katarina is his last chance—but will she fear him like all the others? Or is she the one who can lift his curse?
Desperate to avoid a forced marriage, Katarina agrees to become Lord Adrik’s latest companion, despite the rumors she has heard about him. She discovers the “Dark Lord’s” secret past and realizes he’s not the monster everyone thinks he is.
As their love blossoms, she renews his passion for life—yet they cannot escape the ghosts of the past.
When a meeting of the nobility goes horribly wrong, Sebestyen’s world unravels, and his enemies plot to destroy him. As all seems lost, a mysterious stranger arrives at the castle. Sebestyen must decide if he is a friend or a foe…and if he can find redemption in his love for Katarina, or lose her and everything else that he holds dear.
An exclusive excerpt:
He glanced at her. “What would you say if I told you the castle is haunted?”
He held his breath and scanned Katarina’s face to gauge her reaction. Why in heaven’s name of all the nights, did this have to happen? He was getting along perfectly with Katarina. They had been in the throes of a passionate embrace. Then this happened, shattering their mood. Of course, that’s why it happened now. He was kissing Katarina. And she had decided to ruin his enjoyment.
“Haunted? You don’t believe that, do you?”
“Yes.” He motioned for her to stand. There would be no more kissing tonight. There would be no more anything tonight.
“How do you know?” she asked as she stood. “Someone—a person—knocked on the door.”
“No, it was the ghost. It’s happened before.” He rose from the settee and picked up his cane.
“The same knocking?”
“Knocking? It was more like pounding, angry pounding. The castle is haunted. Doors slam in the middle of the night. Things move around on their own. If that’s not proof of the place being haunted, then what is?” He walked to the sideboard and poured himself a drink. “Care for one?”
“No thank you. I’d rather hear about this ghost. Who is it?”
He sipped his drink. “I don’t wish to discuss it.” He hated being sharp with her, but now was not the time to get into a long story. Katarina didn’t need to know that his dead wife was haunting him, trying to drive him mad and into his grave.
“Fine, then. I want to meet this ghost,” Katarina said as she crossed the room.
“What are you doing?” He dashed to the door and blocked her way. “Don’t open it.”
“Why not? What’s going to happen?”
“I don’t know, but you shouldn’t go out there. It’s not safe. Let’s sit here and have a drink.”
“Don’t you want to look? What if someone has broken into the castle? What if the front door is open, or—”
“It’s not. I locked it. I always check all the doors and windows in the castle, every night. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night and check them to make certain they’re secure,” he said in a rush.
Too late, he realized how strange and panicked his words sounded. He walked back to the sideboard. As he picked up his glass, he noticed his hand was shaking. Why couldn’t anything ever work out for him? Now that Katarina knew the castle was haunted, she’d leave him, just like all the others.
Katarina bent down next to the keyhole.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Looking. There’s nothing out there.” She straightened up. “If there was a ghost, I wanted to see it.” She stepped to his side. “Why would a ghost knock? What does it want?”
“I don’t know,” he lied. “Can we please pretend it never happened? If we talk about it, it might come back.”
“It comes back?”
“Yes, sometimes.” He didn’t want to admit that on several occasions the ghost had banged on the door every ten minutes, until he was nearly driven out of his mind. On those nights, he drank until he passed out, too afraid to open the door and go upstairs. Who knew what horrors would await him?
Katarina frowned. “If it’s a ghost—”
“If? You don’t believe in them?”
“No. Why should I? I’ve never seen one. I may be a simple peasant girl, but I don’t believe in superstitious nonsense. Until this ghost does something I can see, I refuse to be afraid of it.”
She was quiet for a second. “And if this is a ghost and it wants in, why doesn’t it turn into a fog or a mist and float in through the keyhole? Why would it knock if it could do that? A door can’t stop it if it truly is a spirit.”
A chill ran down his back. “Dear God, I never thought of that.” Now he’d never feel safe from it. “Don’t talk like that,” he admonished.
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Read reviews here: kelliwilkins.com/redemption-from-a-dark-past
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her non-fiction tale, “The Dog That Wouldn’t Bark” recently appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog anthology.
She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.
In January 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.
Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.