My name is K.M.Guerin, but you can call me K. I’m 24 years old, married 3 years to the love of my life, and a stay-at-home parent to a toddler. I was born and raised in Michigan, USA, and though I once dreamed of moving to Spain, Mexico, or Ireland, I ended up never leaving the state and living in one of the most dangerous cities in the country. It’s not all bad, though – we have a yearly car show, we’re trying to revitalize the city, there are lots of fairs in and around the area, and there are so many amazing farmer’s markets. It sounds strange, but I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Writing’s one of my many escapes from life, along with Skyrim (#kleptokitty #allyourshiniesarebelongtome). The closest I have ever been to being published was when two of my poems were printed within 6 months of each other – one in an anthology of young poets, and the other in the local newspaper. I was 12 years old at the time. Afterward, I put it on the back-burner for the longest time, though; between high school/college, moving away and then back home, marriage, being a parent, dealing with treatments for an immuno-neurological disease, etc, I just felt that I didn’t have the time or right to a hobby.
I love historical fiction, and history in general. I prefer to stay in the Middle Ages/medieval time periods (yes, I am a regular at the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly, MI; I’ve made my way to Hollygrove at least one weekend every season for the past 11 years), though I have been known to visit the late 17th century and beyond every once in a while. I love the Plantagenets/Tudors, some Stuarts, and I’ve been known to take an interest in the Valois, Bourbon, Medici, and Hapsburg fictions. I have a strange love for the Borgias, as well. I love Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir books like a dog loves peanut butter, and I’ve binge-watched every available episode of “The Tudors”, “The White Queen”, “Outlander” (someday I will find all of the books), and “Isabel”.
- I was raised in the country. How country? I lived next door to a New Holland tractor dealer.
- My spouse and my child saved my life.
- On a related note, I knew I would marry my spouse when I pulled into the driveway and saw a 1-ton GMC with a raised rear-end. I may be a redneck.
- I am part Hispanic.
- I love tattoos. I have 7 of them, and I’m planning on at least 7 more. Three of the ones I have are related to people – 2 memorial tattoos, and a correlating tattoo with my spouse (lyrics to ‘our song’).
- I love Alice and Wonderland. 4 of my tattoos are AiW-related; 3 of them are Cheshire Cat-themed (two Cats and the quote “We’re All Mad Here”). My house has a few Wonderland-themed pieces in it, and I plan on turning the outside into a Wonderland garden.
- I am addicted to Tim Horton’s Ice Cappuccinos, White Castle Cheeseburgers (no pickles, just mustard) and mozzarella sticks, and Mocha Chip Blizzards from Dairy Queen.
- One of my favorite memories growing up was going to Marine City, MI, and watching the freighters on the water. Later on, we moved to an area known for trains, and the sound of the horns lulled me to sleep every night.
- I am terrified of bridges, lightning, and sinkholes.
- If I make homemade pizza, I absolutely have to use Velveeta and raisins as toppings. It was a thing from when I was a small, picky child. I know it’s wrong, but it feels so right.
- I have a fortune in my phone case that says, “You will find an outlet for your creative genius and accomplish a great deal.” A few hours after I opened it, I accidentally stumbled across the premise for La Bastarda.
About the Book
I originally became interested in the Trastámaras when I was younger, mainly through Katherine of Aragon. She fascinated me, as in an era where women were set aside or often ignored, she refused to go quietly into the good night. It cost her everything – her titles, her daughter, her homes – but she wouldn’t give up. Of course, a natural progression from Katherine was to her mother, Isabel, and it didn’t take long for me to see exactly from where Katherine received her “Spanish pride”. From there, things just seemed to progress
, until I found myself staring at a million open Wikipedia pages with a planned 12-book series going, “Oh my lord, I have a problem”.
La Bastarda came about from one of those pages, as my main character Constanza is the daughter of Enrique, Duke of Trastámara, and an unknown woman. Around the time of her conception, I learned Enrique was quite probably in France, and things just seemed to fall into place for me. I’ve tried to make things as historically accurate as possible with limited sources (mainly because shows like CW’s “Reign” annoyed me to no end, and my spouse has dealt with me yelling at the TV about historically inaccurate costuming/behavior more than once). I have a love for parentheses, dashes, and similes. I dislike historical fiction characters with modern sensibilities, and I tried to write Constanza as submissive (she was not in a stable-enough place to be willful) but not subservient. I tried to write her father as a man who realizes his dreams, but at a personal cost – the crown for his trust and sanity.
I struggled for quite a while over whether to label it as Adult Historical Fiction or YA Historical Fiction, but I believe the young protagonist and her immortal struggles to find her place in the world plant this book firmly in the YA category. I believe that I wrote things in a way that seem black-and-white to the characters, but through little hints and such are revealed to the audience as shades of gray. How far will a woman go to keep her friends safe? Can a woman ever grow to fully love or hate her husband’s child? What actions justify the ending of a happy friendship?
What’s the worst that can happen? 😉