Today is such an exciting day, first, because this post is a part of a blog tour for Kellyn Roth’s latest novel. And even more exciting, today is the launch day of said book, the third in The Chronicles of Alice & Ivy, called At Her Fingertips! I actually got a chance to read this book a few weeks ago, and for anyone of you who enjoy historical fiction (especially high society British historical fiction and Jane Austen-esque books), you should get your hands on it! If you missed it, here’s my review of At Her Fingertips.
She’s willing to do anything to follow her plan.
Debutante Alice Knight is ready for her first social season in London. She’s determined to impress society and her mother with an affluent match, at last escaping her past and embracing a future of her own making.
Peter Strauss, an American reporter visiting England, isn’t exactly what Alice had in mind. However, his friendship proves invaluable as Alice faces the challenges of her debut. Almost immediately, she attracts the attention of a well-born gentleman—perfect save for the simple fact that he’s not a Christian.
The life she longs for is finally at her fingertips, but between her own heart and the convictions of her faith, she isn’t sure she ought to grasp it.
Now, I was honored to be able to interview Kellyn a bit ago, and we talked about At Her Fingertips, writing, and even composers!
VH: Congratulations on the upcoming release of the 3rd book in The Chronicles of Ivy and Alice, At Her Fingertips! What were the main influences behind your writing this series?
KR: Hi there! Thank you so much for interviewing me—and for your congratulations!
Well, it varies a bit book by book. At the beginning, I started writing historical romance and women’s largely due to imitating my top three favorite female authors at the time—Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and Gene Stratton-Porter.
However, as time went on, I followed various different threads for inspiration. The main novel that inspired portions of my rewrite of At Her Fingertips was actually The Tenant of Wildfell Hall!
VH: The first two books in this series follow Alice and Ivy from childhood. How did you work with writing the same characters through different ages? Was it difficult to keep the same personality throughout the different stages of their lives?
KR: It is a little difficult, but I love the challenge—and I further love finding out how different characters work at different stages in their life. It greatly helps to be a studier of human nature. I’ve seen a lot of children grow up, and I always make note of how they do it. It’s vitally important to understand how various life experiences grow and shape people. In the end, though, I find it more delightful than anything!
VH: Unlike many novels in this genre, At Her Fingertips is set in the late 1800s and not the Regency era (yay for books that break the mold!) What made you choose this time period?
KR: Yes, Regency does seem to hog the market a bit, I suppose! But I’ve read novels in just about every era, so I wouldn’t say it’s entirely universal.
I prefer the Victorian era for some types of stories because it was a different, more restricting and yet simultaneously more shifting, time. World events began to effect English society in a way they never had. Innovation became commonplace—the factories continued rising and the small villages continued becoming towns and then cities … Anyways, there was a lot to unwrap.
So that’s part of the reason I prefer the Victorian era, but honestly, when I started writing the book, it was more because I’d chosen the Edwardian era (e.g. the early 1900s) for these characters’ children … and so I was stuck in 1880 no matter how I looked at it. 😉
VH: Now for the hard question … who is your favorite character in At Her Fingertips? Who do you connect most with? (Sorry for the cruel question – I’ll make sure none of them hear your answer. 🙂 )
KR: PETER! I don’t even consider that a cruel question, actually. He’s my favorite. I’m not very like him, though some small things about him now remind me of my fiancé. However, he’s such a sweetheart (yes, I did mean that as a comparison—Matthew is sweet but certainly not nearly that sweet!), and a great deal more emotional than either of us. I think the fact that Peter is very different for me actually makes me like him more!
VH: What did your writing process look like for At Her Fingertips? Did you always know which direction you wanted to go with the series and already had this book planned out, or did you have major overhauls of the plot after the first draft?
KR: I made some small overhauls, but the general arc of the series had long been set in stone. The things that I could change were quite small, little scenes that did not long effect the final stories. I always have to think through a great deal more about Ivy’s books than Alice’s, as Ivy’s plots are nowhere near as laid out as Alice’s.
VH: Now onto writing in general … what’s your best tip for avoiding burnout and/or discouragement?
KR: Just keep writing! It’s sort of like Dory’s advice in Finding Nemo. You have to persevere. However, it is important to take regular rest—don’t expect to write tons of words every day of the week. Have days off! It’s vital. And, sometimes, take a vacation from writing—don’t just stick to the writing equivalent of a 9 to 5 weekday job without any off times! Give yourself Christmas and holidays and suchlike, even if those aren’t actually on Christmas and holidays and suchlike.
However, do know that sometimes you will have to write when you don’t want to, when you have no motivation, etc. And it’s vital to be able to do that!
VH: What genres do you typically write in? Are there any you stay away from, and if so, do you think you’ll explore those down the road?
KR: I almost always write Christian historical women’s fiction and romance. However, I have written, in the past, fantasy, sci-fi, and a couple related genres as well as children’s fiction. Some day I’d like to explore children’s fiction a little more, though I don’t know if I’ll ever return to more speculative fiction titles.
VH: What is the hardest part about writing for you?
KR: Editing! I really struggle with it. I don’t like the process. By the time I finish the first draft, I’m done. The fact that editing takes me a lot longer for writing also makes me less the enthusiastic. And yet it must be done.
VH: How do you balance writing/editing/working/hobbies/family life on a day-to-day basis (and sleeping and eating, too?)
KR: It’s very difficult. Right now, as I prepare for my wedding on top of finishing up two different day jobs on top of my virtual assistant work … I don’t do much else. Thankfully, my main hobby (music) has been indefinitely paused as my dad recovers from a hip surgery. I’ve never had time for family except in that they naturally flow around me, and I don’t sleep or eat because I am a vampire. 😉 More seriously though, I just fit it in when I can. So in that way, it works out. However, I’m looking forward to a time when I can more thoroughly focus on what I need to be doing while also having some free time. My plan is to actually follow a schedule at that point! So that’ll be fun.
VH: What do you hope readers will gain from reading your novels?
KR: I always have different themes, but I’m aware that some readers may not pick up on them. Authors can’t predict how readers react to their books … only God can do that. I’m often confused as to how He uses my novels, but also thankful.
At Her Fingertips features a number of themes, including a lot revolving around what marriage and love really is, what it looks like to be both sensible and insensible when choosing a future spouse, and themes of bravery vs. cowardice. Oh, and being vulnerable. And …
Basically, little bits and pieces of messages tend to show up in all my books, just like in real life. I can never quite control all of them!
VH: And bonus question, because I have to know: is Peter related to the Strauss family who wrote all of those lovely waltzes? (And I also saw you’re a fellow music theory nerd, so I couldn’t resist. 🙂 )
KR: No, though they could technically be related since he has German blood. (I mean, the musical Strauss family were Austrian, but it’s that same area of Europe, so *coughs* who knows?) I’m sure, way back when I named him, I was somewhat influenced by the composers, but that’s not at all what I meant to do.
I’m sure Peter is 100% down for naming his firstborn son Johann Baptist, but I’m not sure his wife would approve.
Thanks so much to Kellyn for that lovely interview! She’s also running a giveaway during this blog tour, so check out the info here. (Heads up: you could get free books!!)
Link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cbb544c918/?
Blog Tour Schedule:
Wednesday, July 14th
Introduction Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Review // Hannah E.M. @ Precious Book Stacks
Thursday, July 15th
Introducing Alice // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Interview with Gibson Ashfield // SawyerMarie @ SundropGirls
Review // Kristina Hall, Author
Friday, July 16th
Introducing … Love Interests!? // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Interview with Ivy Knight // Grace A. Johnson @ Gabbing with Grace
Review // Jenavieve Rose @ Living Outside the Lines
Saturday, July 17th
Launch Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Review // Loretta Marchize @ Just Writing
Interview // Vanessa Hall
Sunday, July 18th
Themes // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Interview with Alice Knight // Katja L. @ Little Blossoms for Jesus
Monday, July 19th
Siblings // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Guest Post // Andrea Cox @ Writing To Inspire
Review // Tara Savanna @ Tower in the Plains
Interview with Nettie Jameson // Ryana Lynn @ Life of Heritage Corner
Tuesday, July 20th
Mothers // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Character Spotlight with Peter Strauss // Abigail Kay Harris @ Read Review Rejoice
Wednesday, July 21st
Wrapup Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Review // Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up in Writing
Saturday, July 24th
Giveaway Wrapup // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Kellyn Roth is a Christian historical women’s fiction & romance author from North-Eastern Oregon who has independently published multiple novels, the most notable being The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series. You should definitely call her Kell.
Kell lives on family-owned property outside an unmemorable but historical town with her parents, two little brothers, arbitrary cat, precious border collies, a dozen cows, and lots of chickens. She also possesses a classic, vintage aesthetic which does not at all speak to her country girl side, but such is life.
When not writing, Kell likes to blog, teach writing to her various students, have day jobs which allow her to keep her car properly insured, and spend lavish amounts of money on Dairy Queen french fries. She also likes to talk about Keira Knightley and her own books way too much.