Cover of First of Her KindLadies and Gentlemen, today I have the great pleasure of interviewing K.L. Schwengel, author of the novella Blood Tells All, which is included in the anthology Witch Hunt: of the Blood, and the newly released novel, First of Her Kind. Today we’ll be talking a little bit about the main characters in the new book, First of Her Kind.

Welcome to my blog, Ms. Schwengel. Where are you visiting from?

 I was born and raised in southeast Wisconsin and still live there.

How long have you been writing?

 I’ve literally been writing my entire life. I suffer from Chronic Rewriteritis, however, and found it very difficult to even actually finish anything. I didn’t begin pursuing it seriously again until about five years ago. My love of the written word stems from having a librarian as a mother, and a dreamer as a father. I also have an over-active imagination. I’m afraid if I didn’t write, I’d have a problem dealing with all the voices in my head. 😉

Since you’re currently promoting the book First of Her Kind, please tell us a little something about it.

 First of Her Kind started when a single line popped in my head. I had no real idea where the story would take me or even who the characters really were. When I look back at that first draft — wow! what a journey. It really grew into something from its humble beginnings, and became a story about coming to terms with who we really are.

What was the line?

 “There was nothing for it, in another turn of the glass, Meriol would be dead.”

How many POV’s do you use? Which is the primary protagonist?  How about the antagonist?

 There are three POV’s I use. Ciara, Bolin, and Donovan. Ciara is pretty much the primary protagonist in this book. In the second book, we’ll see Bolin filling that role a bit more, I think. Donovan is the antagonist of the group.

How do you keep your characters from becoming carbon copies of each other or of yourself?

 I don’t find it that difficult to keep characters distinct. They each have their own voice, their own mannerisms — I try to find one thing about each of them that is totally different than the rest. And I usually have a very good mental image of each character, how they talk, what they look like. They become very real to me so it’s easy to keep them distinct.

How much of yourself do you see in Ciara? Do you model her after yourself, or perhaps someone you admire? Do you share certain personality traits or tastes?

 I actually think there’s more of me in Bolin and Donovan, although Ciara is a bit stubborn and sometimes doesn’t take a great deal of thought before opening her mouth. There are some folks who would say those traits are mine as well. I didn’t consciously model her after anyone in particular, but I’m sure there are bits and pieces of her from several women I know.  In the beginning she came off rather whiny and unsympathetic. We sat down and had a talk about that and things worked out much better.

You mentioned that First of Her Kind is a story about coming to terms with who we really are. What is it that Ciara needs to face about herself? Is it a burden to her, or a triumph?

 For now it’s a burden. A huge burden. Ciara possesses two types of magic that are completely opposed to one another. She’d love to just ignore that fact and live in complete denial. Unfortunately, that’s just not in the cards. So, not only does she have to come to grips with the darker, more unpredictable power she possesses, but she also has to deal with the fact that her life will never be her own because of it.

When Ciara comes up against challenges or set-backs, does she respond the same way you do?

 In some ways. But she’s been pretty sheltered and starts out very naïve. That made her a little challenging to write because there were times I would have handled the situation differently. I had to really get into her skin and try to think like her, which in some cases was very foreign territory for me.

Is she naïve because those around her intentionally kept her that way, or is it merely because of an oversight or lack of exposure to the real world?

Lack of exposure to the real world. She grew up as the daughter of a healer. When her mother died, she went to live with her aunt, also a healer. They traveled rarely, except to the local villages, and her world was very small. Mainly because her aunt had no clue how to deal with Ciara’s other power.

How about Donovan? Is your personal Hyde lurking in his personality somewhere?

Oh yes! I love writing bad guys. I guess I have a soft spot for them. Is that bad of me? And there is definitely more of me in Donovan than Ciara.

I don’t think loving to write villains makes you bad. 🙂 I find them fascinating myself. What is Donovan’s driving ambition?

World domination. He wants ultimate power, and we all know what they say about that.

What is Donovan’s most loathsome characteristic?

I think his most loathsome trait is basically just his cold, self-interest. He really doesn’t care who he hurts to get what he wants.

What happened in his past to make him the self-centered cad he is today?

I don’t know that anything really happened to make him that way. I’m not a believer in the adage that all people are born basically good. Donovan was never good. He was always dark, always arrogant, always hungry for power. There’s a little bit more than that, but I don’t want to give anything away. 🙂

It sounds like Ciara is definitely going to have her hands full contending with an enemy like Donovan! Thanks so much for stopping by today to give us a sneak peek into First of Her Kind. I look forward to visiting more stops on your blog tour.

You can Visit Ms. Schwengel on her blog, her Goodreads page, Facebook or Twitter If you’d like to purchase First of Her Kind, here’s where you can find it.

SmashWords (ebook)

Amazon (ebook)

Amazon (paperback)

Barnes & Noble (paperback)

Ms. Schwengel is visiting several blogs this week. You can read other interviews and guest posts at any of these blogs

J. A. Campbell 

Madeline Dyer

Mara Valderran

J. Keller Ford

There & Draft Again

Kate Johnston

Katherine Lowry Logan

Alison Strachan

Kourtney Heintz

Leila Gaskin

Krista Walsh

Madeline Dyer

Raewyn Hewitt

Kaitlin Branch

Michelle Proulx