Why I Wrote Until The Knight Comes

Sue-Ellen here…

Hi Tarts,

As mentioned last week, my publisher has kindly re-released Until The Knight Comes as a $3.99 e-book in their new Forever Yours digital line.

So I’ve been dusting the book a bit, letting you know it’s available at a great low price (if you have an e-reader, of course).

And because beating the promo drum isn’t my cuppa, I thought I’d share some background history on the book with you.

That seems do-able and fun.

A good way to let you know about the e-release and the book, without hitting you over the head with a promo-hammer.

Last week we enjoyed a fun Highland Quiz Night to celebrate the re-e-release of Until The Knight Comes.  And there were giveaways.

I’ve also been promising to tell you why I wrote the book.

You’ve already seen and heard about the Bastard Stone, a lovely rock formation I saw while hill-walking in Scotland..

.. It was happening upon this special place that inspired a very important thread in the story, Clan MacKenzie’s Bastard Stone.

But only one hero would suit the tale.

And he is why Devil In A Kilt is at the top of this post.

The hero of Until The Knight Comes is a hero I burned to write ever since I wrote ‘The End’ for Devil In A Kilt.  

He is Kenneth MacKenzie, bastard son of the villain in Devil In A Kilt.

I fell in love with Kenneth’s father when writing Devil In A Kilt

Also named Kenneth, he was Duncan MacKenzie’s twin brother.  And he was evil to the bone.  A murderer, as well.  He was also wickedly dashing and full of charm.  (when he wished to be, of course) 

Handsome, hot, and seductive, women couldn’t resist him.  Except dear Linnet, Duncan’s heroine.

Here’s a mini excerpt of their first meeting..

Linnet Meets Kenneth-the-Villain of Devil In A Kilt

This is their first meeting and takes place in a wood.  Linnet is lost and worried when Kenneth appears.  Also please note, Linnet has second sight. (noted to avoid confusion at a certain point in the mini-scene)

     Linnet spotted Duncan in the green shadows where the footpath reentered the wood.  Her relief upon seeing him was so great her knees almost gave out on her.  The rapid pounding of her heart took on another meaning, too, for never had her husband appeared more handsome.

Minus his black mail and permanent scowl, and with the MacKenzie plaid slung proudly over his shoulder, he stole her breath.  Faith, he was even smiling at her.

Then he left the cover of the trees and came toward her.

She saw her mistake at once.  This man wasn’t Duncan.

Still smiling, and still heartstoppingly handsome, much more so than her battle-worn and grim-faced husband could ever hope to be, but evil to the core.

His true nature was frighteningly apparent because, now that he’d stepped into the sunlight, she clearly saw a disturbing greenish-black glow shimmer all around his body before it flared and disappeared.

A chill sped down her spine.  She’d seen that shade only once before and had hoped never to see it again.

Unlike the darkness of despair she’d glimpsed once or twice about her husband, the dark marring Kenneth’s beauty was the mark of an evil man.

A murderer. 

He came closer then, made her a gallant bow.  “Kenneth MacKenzie, at your service,” he said with a silky tone and a knowing smile that didn’t quite touch the dark of his eyes.  “And you can only be Lady Linnet?  I was told my brother had married a healer, but no one informed me of your beauty.”

***

The scene continues – readers familiar with Devil In A Kilt may recall that Linnet challenges Kenneth to allow her to pass unmolested.  She wins the ‘challenge’ and with a villain’s ‘honor,’ Kenneth lets her go. 

These were his parting words to her as she hastened away…

     “Do not think you’ve seen the last of me, lady.  I like a woman with fire in her blood,” he called after her.  “Aye, lass, we shall meet again.  Be certain of it.”

***

I could share lots of other Kenneth-the-villain scenes from Devil In A Kilt.

But space won’t allow me.

Readers who loved Devil In A Kilt will surely remember Kenneth.  And maybe they’ll understand why I fell under his spell.

I really did.

And so much so that he haunted me for years.

I would’ve loved giving Kenneth-the-villain his own story.  My readers probably know that I love redemption tales.  I sometimes do let the bad guys become heroes in later stories.

But that wasn’t possible with Kenneth-the-villain.

He died at the end of Devil In A Kilt.

Actually, it was dear Sir M who slew him.

And so, my writerly hands were tied.  I could not bring dashing Kenneth back from the dead and make him a hero in his own book.

But!

I could give him a bastard son of the same name and make the son a hero.

Kenneth (the bastard son) first appeared as a secondary character in Only For A Knight..

You can learn more about Only For A Knight here.

I loved introducing the ‘new’ Kenneth to my MacKenzie series.  This Kenneth was every bit as dashing and handsome as his villainous father from Devil In A Kilt.

But he was a good guy.

And I soon found that letting him be a secondary in Only For A Knight wasn’t enough.

And, honestly, I still burned to revisit his father, the original Kenneth.

That was impossible, as noted above.  And so a new story had to be written.

A tale that would star Kenneth the son and also let me tell a bit more about his father, Kenneth the Devil In A Kilt villain.

Until the Knight Comes is that book.

So you see, this one is very special to me.  It has one of my all-time favorite heroes (Kenneth the son) and allowed me to revisit a character who haunted me since the writing of Devil In A Kilt, (Kenneth the villain).

I truly believe story characters exist out there somewhere.  Hovering always, in the ether, in the writer’s mind and dreams.

Kenneth the villain of Devil In A Kilt makes a good case for such things as he certainly kept after me for years until I broke down and ‘redeemed’ him as best I could.

Through his bastard son, Kenneth, in Until The Knight Comes.  I like to think both Kenneths are happy now.  And as in the way of book characters after the tales have been told, they are probably all gathered round the high table at Duncan’s Eilean Creag, making merry even as we speak.

I hope so, anyway.

Look for more Until The Knight Comes trivia next week.  (incl. the promised setting photos, pictures I’ve made in Scotland of places that inspired me and found their way into this story)  

To learn about Until The Knight Comes, click here.  (the book’s info page on my website)

To purchase the new $3.99 Forever Yours e-book edition of Until The Knight Comes, click here

And don’t forget, the new e-book edition has bonus content…

Have you met Catriona MacDonald?  Catriona’s Cameron hero, James?

If not, there’s an excerpt of their book, Sins of a Highland Devil, included in the new e-edition of Until The Knight Comes.

You can learn about Catriona MacDonald and James Cameron here (their book’s page on my website) 

So that’s it, Tarts.

A wee glimpse behind the curtain at Until The Knight Comes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering that Kenneth the villian in Devil In A Kilt had a really good side, too.  Without him, after all, I never would’ve written his son’s story.

And I’m so glad I did.

Didn’t know book characters were that real, did you?

Or maybe you did, as it takes just as much whimsy and imagination to read and enjoy a book as to write one.

Have a great evening!

18 Comments

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18 responses to “Why I Wrote Until The Knight Comes

  1. Mary Morgan

    Good Afternoon Sue-Ellen and Tarts! :)

    Oh Sue-Ellen, I’m laughing so, since I was just telling my dear friend how very real book characters are for us writers. They become friend and foe– loving, laughing and making us angry. I made the mistake recently of letting my mind drift to a particular scene I had written earlier in the day. This was right before bedtime…BIG mistake! They stayed with me all night long!

    I loved hearing about Kenneth (the villian), and when I read that particular excerpt with Linnet again, I got chills. Thank you so much for sharing. I always love hearing about the “extras” in a story.

    • Ha ha ha, Mary.. they ARE real, aren’t they? No one can tell me otherwise. I also love to think they are all pals ‘off the page.’ The good guys and the bad. Like actors can be friends off-stage. In my mind, they all gather at Duncan’s high table at night and have a rip-roaring good time. ;)

  2. Carol L.

    Sue Ellen, I still think about Duncan :) One of my favorite characters who you brought to life for me. When I can connect with a character and become emotionally involved I know I’ve found a brilliant story teller. :) And even though Kenneth was as evil as they come there was something about him that did indeed pull me towards him. Crazy I know.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    • Bless you for loving Duncan so much, Carol. I certainly love him, too. And he will definitely ride again. I have five contracted books in a new series to write first, but then I’ll be ready to revisit my MacKenzies. (in a series about Sir M’s children) So we’ll see him again. As I said to Mary above, to my mind, Duncan, Sir M, the two Kenneths, and all of them, are having a grand time on ‘holiday’ at Eilean Creag these days. ;)

      I’m so glad you understood why Kenneth appealed to me. There’s just something about him.

  3. Good post Sue-Ellen. You know that I believe book characters are real. I have been telling you for several years now that I believe Devorgilla sits up in your tower and directs some of the stories to her satisfaction. :) Devorgilla and your stories are a real which came first the chicken or the egg. Which came first Devorgilla or the stories.

    • You’re so funny, Kathy. Devorgilla or the stories. H’mmm… I’m thinking we’ll never know for sure. She definitely holds sway in my turret, that’s certain. I do not cross her. Wouldn’t dare.

  4. Kathy Luehrs

    I love all the insights and when characters are in more than one book – of course you have to maintain that character and not change anything about them – I hate when authors do that

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the background on this book, Kathy. I agree – it’s fun to get a glimpse behind the pages of books we love. And I REALLY agree about keeping characters in, well, character. I can’t imagine writing Duncan, for instance, without letting his temper get the better of him now and then. Or Sir M without his sage words, or how he loves to get Duncan going. Ahhh! I just saw that they agree with you, too. They’re sitting at Duncan’s high table and just clinked ale cups upon reading your comment. ;)

  5. You know I fell in love with this story and Kenneth. I also did some drumming of my own about the new re-release on my Facebook page. ;)

    When reading the bit about Linnet entering the woods in Devil In A Kilt I immediately saw in my mind the picture you used to have on your website of a forest that you had taken and that it was a forest like that you imagined in your mind when writing that part.

    I love when you take us behind the scenes. To me, it brings me closer to the characters, if that is even possible to feel closer to them once I turn that last page. :)

    • I know you loved this book, Leah. Thanks so much. Likewise the mention on your FB page. That was good of you.

      And you made me smile to remember the photo of the Scottish wood on my earlier website. I returned there (in my mind) again and again as I wrote that scene.

      I, too, love seeing an author’s inspiration when I enjoy her work. I have more photos to share of some really neat places in Scotland that inspired this book. I’ll post them next week. And some other neat triivia about the writing of this one.

  6. Lexi

    Redemption through the son. Fitting in more than one way.
    I enjoyed reading how this snowballed and you ended up with a great character! Thanks for sharing Sue-Ellen!

    • (((HUGS))) to you, Lexi. I’m so glad you enjoyed the backstory. I love both Kenneths. The bad one does indeed find a ‘good place’ in his son’s story. They both do. This one was very close to my heart, for the above-noted reason. Kenneth (the villain) really did stay with me all down the years after I wrote Devil In A Kilt. I simply had to ‘redeem’ him. Kenneth the son was the best possible way. And he, in turn, ‘redeemed’ his heroine, Mariota.

  7. Now I have the need……the need to read!!!!! Yep I want to go back and re-read the series. Excuse my hokey Top Gun reference above lol. Thanks for the back story I always love getting a behind the cover look at books.
    Z

  8. Ivy

    Thanks so much for sharing that, Sue-Ellen. Love these “behind the scene” looks at books. It is a shame he died….Adore dashing bad guys.
    Like Rutger Hauer in that medieval movie, Rose something? Hang now I can’t recall the title.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the “behind the scene” glimpse into this book, Ivy. Agree with you about bad boys. Devil In A Kilt was my first book and I never intended (or dreamed) that a whole series would come of it. Had I known, I would’ve kept Kenneth the Villain among the living. (so I could someday give him a book of his own, redeeming him then) But what’s done is done. As is, I think his bastard son, Kenneth, did him proud.

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