A few months back, I interviewed author Nadine Keels on net novella The Movement of Crowns. Now, she's back on KSR talking about the sequel, The Movement of Rings, and her clean romance, Love Unfeigned.
1. Why did you decide to write more about the other side of the story in Rings?
For most of the decade+ that The Movement of Crowns was in my head, I didn't plan on making it a series, and the first book can indeed stand alone. Then on a spring afternoon in 2013, while I was arranging books on my shelf at home--(yes, folks, I still read paper and hardbacks!)--the thought of the "other side" of the Crowns story and a new protagonist came to me, pretty much all at once. That had never happened to me before with any of my books, and I knew I had to write a sequel, the first sequel I would ever write. This new side of the Crowns story came with a sense of risk for me. Not a bad risk, or even a frightening one, but still a step outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes we have unconscious veils in our minds, veils separating us from what we think we won't, can't, shouldn't, or don't deserve to know, discover, or understand. This may sound strange, but I had a feeling like that about the Mundayne empire. Princess Constance from Crowns had been to Munda, and I, the author, hadn't. I knew Constance had more knowledge about that country than I did, and I was initially content to let it remain so. However, when the "other side" of the story came to me, it was like a veil was lifting, like, "Wait a minute. I can know and understand the Mundayne people more, can't I? What will happen if I risk stepping over onto their soil?" After all, the "other side" of a story, of history, isn't the "other" side to the people who are there, living life on that side. So, out came The Movement of Rings.
2. Why is the holy year in Munda every 124 years? Does that have any particular significance?
The "24" represents the completion of a "day": the completion of an era or season. With that, I needed a cycle of years long enough so that not every Mundayne generation would see The Year of Donpoerh, to represent its rareness, its distinct value to the Mundayne people. Hence, the cycle is 124 years.
3. You write about a greedy king who loves his servant, Naona. Why did you choose to make her feelings for him as they were, when many others would've gone the opposite way?
The human heart is complex, oftentimes with care and concern, contempt and resentment, and a plethora of like and differing emotions and convictions all coexisting in a jumble. Naona is a woman who's been placed in a situation that would take a complex toll on any human being's heart, and my goal was to add some of that complexity to Naona's feelings, even in all that she says, and perhaps more importantly, what she doesn't say.
4. Will we ever hear about the futures of either Naona or Princess Constance?
Yes! In the final book of the Crowns series, The Movement of Kings.
5. Of all people Naona could've wanted to learn from, it was the apothecary. Why that profession?
There was something about seeing that little man scurrying across the imperial estate's grounds with a mysterious liquid bubbling in a bottle. Naona's had an eye for and a bent toward mischief for her whole life, and she wouldn't have been able to resist pestering the apothecary about his mystery bubbles. Where was he going with that bottle? Why was he in such a hurry? It was Naona's draw to the little man that drew her into his profession.
6. What was the inspiration behind Love Unfeigned?
On a major note, I was inspired by my conviction that imperfect people can, should, and do experience perfect love. On a minor note, I was driven by my years of longing to one day publish a book with a lot of RED on the cover, red being my favorite color for the passion it represents. For the first time, I designed a book cover before I had a story or plot to go along with it. I only had a title, ideas for the cover, and a desire to write about love. Once I finished designing the cover, the story began to take form, drawn from over twelve chronicled dreams, unrelated story bits with plots too incomplete to even be called "short stories," and little nuggets from my personal history. What I weaved together from all of that became Love Unfeigned.
7. Why amnesia? As a reader, it reminds me of a metaphor for love outlasting anything, and making trauma easier to handle. Is that how you meant it to convey to the readers?
Isaiah's and Lorraine's characters are based most heavily on characters in a story bit of mine called If You Remember, which places emphasis on the power and importance of remembering, and remembering on purpose--not necessarily because something forced you to forget, but because it's time to make the choice to recall. The journey of love is full of choices: the easy ones, the difficult ones, the ones we make without even thinking, the ones we ponder on for years before making a move. Love IS. It's everywhere, and in its purest sense, it never dies. Yet, even in that, Lorraine has to make choices concerning whether she's going to opt-in to what IS or not.
8. Have you written or do you plan to write about Lorraine and Isaiah's life together?
I haven't decided. I would be totally fine with letting Lorraine and Isaiah be, but if more about them calls to be told, and I hear the call, I'll write more.
9. From your posts I can tell church is a big part of your life. Is it that intense love of God that makes you instill it in your characters, and how do you think it comes across to people who might not believe that pick up your books?
I write what I know, and since I've known God ever since I can remember, He naturally ends up in my writing. Not everyone has the same beliefs, but I imagine that most people believe in something, making belief itself a universal theme. For instance, I don't believe in Santa Claus. I don't believe there's a man who really circles the globe on Christmas Eve, leaving presents for folks who celebrate Christmas, and I wouldn't teach my children to believe it, but I love movies like Miracle on 34th Street and The Santa Clause, when little Susan comes to believe Mr. Kringle is who he professed to be and Scott Calvin comes to believe in himself. I can get with that. Besides, when a story is good enough, I think people who aren't keen on all the story's themes or topics can still love the story. I tend not to enjoy stories with any "spooky" aspects to them, but I enjoyed every single page of Jane Eyre, one of my favorite novels. I can't think of a sport that bores me more than baseball, but I enjoyed every single minute of A League of Their Own.
10. The characters are very real. Do you, as their creator, ever wonder yourself about how they lived or what becomes of them after you've finished writing the book?
Oh, indeed. I do it with all of my fiction. I suppose this might have happened to the characters, or that might have happened, or what if this or that is happening to them right now? However, it's all just supposition. The only time my thoughts about what happened to my characters has turned into more than supposition was with my Crowns story, which accordingly became more than one book.
Find Nadine Keels online via: