As part of the Blog Tour de Force, I’m happy to welcome historical romance author Kris Tualla to QAZ to tell us a little bit about her Norwegian heroes and her novel A Matter of Principle — and if you’re already intrigued you can read the first chapter online!
Tea? Check! On with the interview….
What is it about the historical romance genre that appeals to you?
KT: I like the escapism, to be transported out of my world — but into a world I can resonate with, as opposed to sci-fi or fantasy. I also like the relative simplicity of the times — when the conflict can’t be solved by merely making a cell phone call!
What is the strangest fact you’ve ever researched for your writing?
KT: Not strange, really, but obscure: where are there medieval monasteries along the coast of southern Norway? (Found ’em!)
Why is Norway the new Scotland, and who are these Hansen men?
KT: When I started writing novels in 2006, I wanted to go a different direction from the highly over-crowded “kilted warrior” market. Trust me — I totally understand the appeal of a man in a plaid. Still, I didn’t think the world needed another romance about one.
So who else is sexy? Vikings! Big, blond, buff, and beautiful, with oceanic eyes. But my Norwegian hero’s story takes place in the 1800’s. And it quickly grew to a trilogy, with the second book pulling my Nicolas Hansen to Norway to candidate for a reclaimed Norse throne!
I was driving past IKEA when I heard a hyped-up commercial on the radio: H&M was coming soon! “Hmm,” I thought. “These are both Scandinavian stores… I guess that’s the next big thing.”
And then it hit me. My hook. My brand. My big, blond, buff, beautiful heroes with oceanic eyes! Norwegian men are the next big thing.
“Norway is the new Scotland” was born. And so was the series: all of the heroes (and one heroine, so far) are Hansen men; different generations — on different continents — of the fictional Hansen family of Arendal, Norway.
Tell us about A Matter of Principle. What difficulties do Nicholas and Sydney Hansen face?
KT: What DON’T they face? Politics has always been dirty and fact-checking in the 1800’s was slow, if done at all. Innuendo, assumptions, gossip. All could be spun to sell newspapers! And grudges were acted out in the same way: An “accidental” fire. An accusation of witchcraft. A misunderstood death becomes an accusation of murder.
And the ultimate question Nicolas must face — is the risk to his family worth it?
Which of your characters would you least like to invite to dinner, and why?
KT: Devin Kilbourne. He was a coward. (Read A Woman of Choice to find out who he is — if I tell you it will give too much away!)
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
KT: Most find me on Facebook and either post to my wall or message me. Their comments are generally about loving a new brand of hero and agreeing that Norway IS the new Scotland!!
What would your ideal career be, if you couldn’t be an author?
KT: That’s hard to say — I’ve done teacher, mom, food service, travel agent, teacher again, and now author. I am so jazzed about my Hansens, learning SO much about promotion; writing, speaking, teaching, traveling… what could be better?
What question should I have asked you, but didn’t?
KT: “Is there any humor in your writing?” Heck, yeah! Especially in A Matter of Principle there are scenes where I used humor to diffuse tension and expand characterization. But I work humor in wherever I can for those two reasons. People are funny — even when they don’t mean to be!
So where can we catch up with all your work?
If you’re curious to learn more about Kris’ Hansen series, head on over to her website, where you’ll be able to read the first chapter of each novel. And a big thanks to Kris for stopping by!