Interview with Jeffe Kennedy, Author of The Mark of Tala


[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good afternoon, Jeffe!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Jeffe Kennedy] Writer, scientist, woman, hedonist, enthusiast

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Mark of the Tala?

[Jeffe Kennedy] Besides the official blurb? (which is here:

It’s a story that plays with fairy tale tropes and explores what the life of the middle princess is like. Not the most beautiful, not the eldest, but the one who serves as a footnote in the stories. The stepping stone between her sisters. My middle princess, Andi, has spent her life being unseen, until she discovers a frightening legacy that’s hers alone. It’s about her journey to take control of her own life and be something more than an invisible nobody.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Jeffe Kennedy] My FAVORITE scenes are all spoilery…but here’s a very good one.

            Then he was tugging me toward the fireplace and the white fur rug in front of it. He sat me in a chair and began working the laces of my boot, his shining black head bent over the task. Soon he’d have all my clothes off and would be inside me. No going back. I scanned the room, not really looking for escape. Just to settle myself. The fire blazed with welcome warmth and the fur looked soft.

            “What has white fur that’s this big?”

            Rayfe glanced up, dark-blue eyes glinting. “To the north are great white bears. Lethal hunters.”

            More stories come to life. He slipped the boots off my feet and smiled that wicked half smile at me. “I wouldn’t lie to you, Andromeda.”  He stood, urging me to my feet, and swept his free hand over my hair. “Would you help me with my boots?”

           I understood the hesitation in his voice when I knelt at his feet to pick one-handed at the wet knots. Though he’d performed the same service for me, I felt oddly subservient. The image of the long-ago foreign queen slipped through my mind, forever kneeling at the throne of her conqueror while her people glared at her with accusation and pity.

            “I wonder what you’re thinking about,” Rayfe mused. “Not about the bears of the north, I think.”

            “Perhaps I am. Or about lethal hunters in general.”

            “Is that how you see me?”

            I looked up to see that he’d leaned forward, tails of hair that escaped from the knot at his nape falling around his sharp cheekbones.

            “Trying to choose the right words?” He sounded amused and I remembered Ursula teasing me the same way, standing in the exercise yard a lifetime ago. I could see the echoes and layers around him, just as I’d seen around her that day.

            “I see the wolf in you. And the raptor. I see—” him dead in the snow, surrounded by a circle of crimson blood. I willed the image away.

            “What do you see?” he urged, curiously intent.

            I shrugged, abruptly self-conscious. “Dreams and visions. It’s of no matter.”

            “Visions were one of Salena’s gifts. If they are yours, too, you’ll have to learn to wield this ability.”

            I stared at his boots, the black scuffed and worn. “What about shape-changing?”

            “That, too. Have you ever?”

            “No.” I shook my head, confirming it to myself. “But I feel…”

            “Most learn as children,” he told me in a gentle tone. “And even for the most experienced, it’s far more difficult to accomplish away from Annfwn. I’ll teach you that, too.”

            “But not tonight. My mind and heart can only stretch so far, so fast.”

            He slipped his fingers under my chin and raised it, brushing my lips with a kiss so sweet my heart turned over in my chest.

            “No. Not tonight,” he murmured.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Jeffe Kennedy] The ending! I had a visceral feeling for how Andi would use her newfound gifts to solve the problems and I knew the final scene, but it took me a long time to figure out how to get there. I ended up stopping about 8,000 words shy of what I thought it should be, though the book was finished. Then I went back and revised from the beginning and, the second time through, suddenly (and thankfully!), I understood how it would all work out.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Jeffe Kennedy] My book book!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Jeffe Kennedy] Glass of wine *cough*, snow globe with a cover of The Mark of Tala in it and my tea pot warmer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Jeffe Kennedy] Ooh, interesting question. Maybe Tina Fey. She’s so smart and ballsy – I would love to walk a day in her shoes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Jeffe Kennedy] I’m going to pick the ability to heal. I seem to know a lot of people lately dealing with terrible, chronic and progressive health conditions. I would heal as many of them as I could in that week.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Jeffe Kennedy] I’ve been re-reading JD Robb’s IN DEATH series, which is one of my all-time favorites. I also just picked up a copy of Helen Kay Dimon’s MERCY and am loving it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jeffe Kennedy] I’m on Twitter more than is healthy for one human being, so that’s the easiest way – @jeffekennedy – and I skitter through Facebook a fair amount – I also blog fairly regularly on my website and people can sign up for my newsletter there, too!



The Mark of the Tala

The Twelve Kingdoms Trilogy

Book One

Jeffe Kennedy

Release Date May 27

Available on Amazon

Book Description:

Queen Of The Unknown

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, heir to the kingdom. The youngest, the sweet beauty with her Prince Charming. No one says much about the middle princess, Andromeda. Andi, the other one.

Andi doesn’t mind being invisible. She enjoys the company of her horse more than court, and she has a way of blending into the shadows. Until the day she meets a strange man riding, who keeps company with wolves and ravens, who rules a land of shapeshifters and demons. A country she’d thought was no more than legend–until he claims her as its queen.

In a moment everything changes: Her father, the wise king, becomes a warlord, suspicious and strategic. Whispers call her dead mother a traitor and a witch. Andi doesn’t know if her own instincts can be trusted, as visions appear to her and her body begins to rebel.

For Andi, the time to learn her true nature has come. . .

Upcoming books in the trilogy are The Tears of the Rose and The Talon of the Hawk.

About the Author:

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her fantasy BDSM romance, Petals and Thorns, originally published under the pen name Jennifer Paris, has won several reader awards. Sapphire, the first book in the Facets of Passion series, has placed first in multiple romance contests and the follow-up, Platinum, is climbing the charts. Her most recent works include three fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns, the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and the post-apocalyptic vampire erotica of the Blood Currency.

She is currently working on Master of the Opera and The Twelve Kingdoms, a fantasy trilogy.

Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Jeffe can be found online at her website: or every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog.