How Far Will You Go? -- Kris Kennedy

I mean in your reading, ladies!  Com’on . . .  :-)

Big thanks to Lila for having me by to help celebrate the release of THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED.  It’s going to be another sexy romp, and I can’t wait!

So, tell me, how long will you keep reading a book that isn’t grabbing you? (Bev, owner of The Season, gave me this idea when she did a blog on the topic.  The Season is a terrific site & blog that features upcoming historical–and contemporary  & paranormal–romances.)

So, how long will you read?

It was an interesting question. I started paying closer attention to not only how far I got, but why.  What was surprising was how long I kept reading even when I felt there was something missing.  It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition.  It’s much more nuanced than that, and that’s true for all readers.

Obviously, the elements that buy read-time vary from reader to reader, so I’ll just talk about the things that do it for me, as a reader.

I quickly realized it had nothing to with a favorite author or not.  I give new-to-me authors the same amount of read-time as my favorites: it’s all about the story in my hand.

Well-written, funny prose will carry me pretty far into a book, even if nothing is happening (i.e. the pace is slow).  But ‘well-written’ alone is insufficient—if it’s a slower-moving, more introspective piece, then I definitely need to be surprised at regular intervals and generally amused.   ‘Shocked’ won’t do it.  “Horrified’, ’worried’, or ‘outraged’ won’t do the job, because I don’t think these elements can happen frequently enough to grab my attention without going into overload.  I need to be smiling, or laughing, or charmed.  In other words, the narrator has to be someone I’d want to spend all that time with.

Witty dialogue and highly-charged  hero/heroine energy, with anticipatory sexual tension, yea, that’ll almost always get me at least as far as the middle of a book.  What can I say? I’m a cheap date. :-)

I like books that don’t takes themselves too seriously.

Given a choice between over-written (or overwrought) or cleaner, more simple prose, I keep reading ‘simple’ writing a lot longer than ‘overdone.’

I like when a story sets me up to care about a particular character’s current ‘problems’, before they go into extensive world-building.  I generally prefer the world-building to be inextricably intertwined with what the characters are doing right there and then.   (Caveat: That’s for a romance.  In straight historical fiction, I like bigger world-building, but of course, at some point, I still need to care deeply about characters.)

I like unpredictable.  (Again, there’s the ‘surprise’ element.  It’s really key!)   If I can predict exactly what’s coming, I set it down.   I don’t mean ‘predictable’ as to whether the boy gets the girl or not, because clearly, in a romance, we know the answer.   I mean that if I make a prediction about how some small event will play out within a scene, who will say what, what emotional angst will get played on, etc., and I’m right, well, that kinda stinks.  Reading stories is the one time I don’t want to be right.  :-)  I want my stories to surprise me with how they get to the thing I already know will happen.

Excellent writing and witty, surprising characters gets around these problems of predictability, because that’s where the surprises come in: HOW they get through the predictable features of the genre.

In my recent release, THE IRISH WARRIOR, the hero and heroine are doing the unexpected from the moment they step onto the ‘stage.’   The heroine is an accountant-minded wool merchant who come to Ireland to save her faltering business, and gets a lot more than she bargained for.  The hero is an alpha warrior with a sense of humor and serious Irish charm.  In this case, though, the wool merchant frees the warrior from prison, they take off across Ireland, running from the bad guys, hunting down dangerous military secrets, and falling in love.  Did I mention it’s super-sexy?  Super.  Sexy.  :-)

QUESTIONS: How about you?  What makes you keep reading, even if other elements are lacking?  What makes you stop reading, even if all the supposedly ‘good stuff’ is there?

One commenter will win a copy of their choice of my latest release THE IRISH WARRIOR , or my debut release, THE CONQUEROR (May, ‘09) both sexy, sweeping medieval adventures.  My next, DEFIANT ( , from Pocket Books, comes out April 26, 2011!

Kris  Kennedy writes sexy, adventure-filled medieval romances.  Visit the website  to sign-up for the newsletter, read excerpts, or drop Kris (  a line!  Her most recent release, THE IRISH WARRIOR, won RWA’s® prestigious Golden Heart® Award for Best Historical Romance.  It released June, 2010.   Read a sexy  excerpt here!  Her next book, DEFIANT releases from Pocket Books May 2011 , and is another sexy medieval adventure. 

Thanks so much for join our PRINCESS BLOG PARTY, Kris! She has generously opened up her giveaway WORLDWIDE!

To win Kris’s giveaway you must:

1. Answer Kris’s question(s) below in your comment.

2. You MUST be a follower/subscriber of Lila DiPasqua’s blog (through Google Friend Connect).

* Winner will be announced on SUNDAY–selected from a random commenter on this post.

NOTE: The more you comment on the posts during the month-long PRINCESS October Blog Party, the more points you earn toward winning a signed copy of the next in the sexy Fiery Tales series, THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED…plus SIGNED copies of Nora Roberts’ BLACK HILLS and Eloisa James’ A DUKE OF HER OWN! *Must* be a follower/subscriber (through GFC) to this blog to be eligible to win!


Ways to increase your odds of winning are found at the very bottom of this blog.