Featured Author Interview: C.D. McKenna
This post has been a few months in the making, but it is finally here! I had an opportunity to catch up with the fantastic C.D. McKenna to chat about her upcoming book, The Blood of the Lion, book 1 of The Vorelian Sage, and get to learn a little more about this awesome author. Read on to hear C.D.'s story.
What inspired you to start writing?
Oh my. I can remember writing as young as I can remember. As soon as I could pick up a pen, I was writing stories. Whether they were any good is a different story. I just have always been captivated by this world of storytelling. To be able to create and tell a story that could capture someone has always been amazing to me. I love storytelling and believe that it is a way to give my soul a voice.
How has writing changed your life?
Writing is empowering and humbling. It allows me to analyze and reflect on emotions that would otherwise be stored away in some wild file cabinet of my brain. Writing has given me an extremely powerful perspective on life and people, as well as an appreciation for storytelling itself. This isn’t just a form of entertainment, this is a way to connect with people on a fundamental level.
Tell me about your upcoming book:
Ah yes, the book! So, the book is a high fantasy with a dark twist. I have created an entire world, including a polytheistic religion, which will continue to be shared as the story progresses by each book. There is also an underworld, which is correctly called the Soul Realm, although many Vorelians simply refer to it as the underworld. There is a magic system created, which is built off the basic concepts of energy; Energy Harvesters are my ‘magicians,’ so to speak. It is a multiple POV story (3 characters) that takes place in two different countries in the first book. I wanted to expound on varying aspects of the human mind, so this pushed me to create 3 characters (either that or I can just say I am crazy). I delve into the concept of fate and the question: Can we control our destiny or are we born into a fate decided before birth? This is symbolized by the prophecy that begins to unravel. I also delve into some psychological elements and large ethical concepts that will continue to grow as the saga progresses.
So, let’s talk blurb!
“A twisted prophecy. A Demon King with blood on his hands and a dark secret. A woman destined to belong to the dead but with a wicked sacrifice. The first Dragon Rider in nearly eight centuries… and everybody wants him. War is on the horizon. A new Empire rises.”
What inspired you to write this book?
I think it is safe to say that this world has exploded and it was never completely planned. The world has just continued to grow bigger and at this point, I’m strapped in the passenger seat along for the ride. I have always wanted to write something ‘big,’ and what that means is I have always created these large ideas whenever I wrote. Well, I was in a pretty low writing slump for about 6 months. It was the longest I had ever gone without writing, but I had walked away from the passion because I had been previously working on a story I didn’t like and felt like I was going nowhere. Then the pandemic hit and I lost my job for about 5 weeks. In March 2020, I suddenly had ALL this free time and was no longer in my EMT class or work. I sat down the first week of that shut down to watch the live-action Lion King and I don’t think I was 20 minutes in before I was hit by a figurative semi-truck of imagination. The entire story started with one character. Morei. I saw a son born into a throne and loving parents but destined to do wrong because of a prophecy that has altered his path in a tragic event. Obviously, this creates a fundamental question of fate and whether one can alter their destiny. Morei was the original idea of this book, and before I knew it, I had giant canvases in front of me and was mapping out my first two countries. It has only continued to grow.
Who are your biggest writing inspirations?
Stephen King. Hands down. Not because he’s simply a master storyteller, but because of his evolution and coping with rejection after rejection in his younger years. That is such a powerful reflection of who he is and how passionate he was and is about his work. Against the odds of the world, he continued to listen to the voice of his soul and write, and I think we can all benefit from that, in both a writing and personal sense.
What non-writing accomplishment are you most proud of?
This one is fun. To be transparent, I am fascinated with the medical and psychology fields. When I was 16, I watched a server in a restaurant I worked at drop from a grand mal seizure. To this day, I can still see his eyes on me as I stood there, frozen in this fight or flight response. I was completely helpless and that memory haunted me for a long time. When I graduated from my university, I signed up for an EMT class in August 2019. I wanted the mental and physical training in dealing with life-threatening situations because I never wanted to be in a situation where I felt helpless again. So, I took the course and became nationally registered, which was the hardest test I’ve ever taken. A few months after I passed the exam, I was actually at work (I was still a server in the restaurant industry) when a coworker dropped from a grand mal seizure. I was there and instructed another coworker about what was happening and what to do because I could see the same look in his eyes that were in mine all those years ago- that sense of helplessness and fear. I stayed with the coworker all through the arrival of the EMTs while he slowly came around and continued to reassure him that everything was going to be alright when he began to become aware of his surroundings. That single moment has stayed with me as crystal clear as if it happened yesterday. These are moments that define us and I feel proud to have been able to be there to help this coworker when he needed it.
How do you take your coffee?
OOOO this is dependent on the day. I love an iced Americano with a good splash of cream, but I also love both my hot and iced lattes. Hot Americanos are generally my go-tos in the winter mornings and then I follow it midday with a hot latte. Obviously, I flavor my coffee with either a vanilla creamer or if it’s Starbucks, I like to mix my syrups and do some modifications to the drink (I’m THAT customer LOL).
Vampires or Werewolves?
Vampires. Although I do love werewolves. Vampires resemble an intimacy that I think is lost in the day-to-day madness of our world. Vampires, to me, reflect the fine line between lust and love. They resemble (as do werewolves) our inner ‘demon’ and how that can alter our character. That, in itself, is sexy.
Horror or rom-com?
Horror all the way. I LOVE the idea of pushing someone to their lowest and most fearful place. That is a powerful moment for a character, I believe. Fear is a powerful tool to determining just really who someone is and from a psychological perspective, that is fascinating.
Ebooks, hardcovers, audiobooks, or paperbacks?
As an avid book collector (or hoarder, depending on how you want to put it), I love physical copies of books. More importantly, hardcovers. I love the dust jackets, the largeness, and just about everything when it comes to a hardcover. They are simply gorgeous.
Music or podcasts?
Music all the way. Music is so powerful to me and I use it to write. Music allows me to tap into a creative side of me that can be difficult to reach sometimes in the chaos of everyday life. Music is another form of storytelling. There are layers of storytelling in music, resembled by the instrumental, lyrics, and even the tone of the singer’s voice. Podcasts are super interesting though, don’t get me wrong, but if I had to choose one, music all the way.
How do you write? (computer, dictate, longhand…?)
I make notes in a notebook or binder and type on a laptop. I love typing out my work. Not only can I write in a fun font, but I can also alter texts immediately. I spent years writing by hand when I was younger and the number of times I had to erase and go back was maddening. Not only that, it drove me crazy with the paper marks from the eraser so I started writing in pen. You can imagine how much I tried NOT to make mistakes in my stories. I love handwriting things because to me, there is a strange connection that happens between the story and me, so I had to find a happy medium and I found it. Type the story, handwrite the notes, plot, outline, ANYTHING else that I wanted. So far, it’s worked and I get to use fun colors.
Where / when do you do your best writing?
I call it ‘the throne,’ which is simply the corner of my couch. It is my favorite spot to write. The perfect time of day for me is in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee. Get my music going, a blanket, and on my ‘throne,’ and I became a writing maniac. However, I can write almost anywhere if I start writing in the mornings. It is my strongest writing time and I think that’s because I haven’t let my mind get clogged down by the noises of the world yet.
Do you prefer your romance novels sweet or steamy?
I like the steamy kind. I think it’s safe to say the reader gets a little of that in The Blood of the Lion. Heated and raw are intoxicating to me. It resembles a lack of control and vulnerability that is otherwise untouched in other situations. Don’t get me wrong though I am a sucker for a good sweet romance… I’ll just leave it there ;)
Thank you so much Chelsea for letting us get to know you :) I am so excited for the release of your upcoming book, The Blood of the Lion, coming in the winter of 2022.
Get in touch with C. D. McKenna:
Regina Grimm is the author of erotic fairytales, written for the uninhibited readers 18+. Check out her books - Snow White and the Wicked Curse: Chapter 1, Snow White and the Vicious Curse: Chapter 2, Snow White and the Seven Thieves: Chapter 3, and the final chapter, Snow White and the Poisoned Apple. Prefer to read the whole story at once? Grab your copy of Snow: The Complete Erotic Series now !