Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has
published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction
Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s
also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
Kelli’s writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to
Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing
exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
Look for more romances, horror stories, and an online
writing class coming later in 2018.
Her historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past, was
published in June of 2018. This full-length Gothic novel is set in the kingdom
of Hungary in 1723 and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense.
An Inside Look at… Redemption from a Dark Past
sharing a look at the making of my latest historical romance, Redemption from a Dark
I sit down to write an historical romance, I never know where (or when) my
story will take me. I’ve written romances set in the Old West, the Minnesota wilderness,
Colonial Pennsylvania, and Celtic Scotland. Redemption from a Dark Past takes place in
another unique locale, the Kingdom of Hungary.
me, the setting conjures up images of brooding castles perched on treacherous
mountaintops, tiny villages, medieval stone cities, vampires, and Prince Vlad. Although
the book does not take place in Transylvania specifically, this atypical
location appealed to me. It seemed like the perfect place for a Gothic novel
filled with secrets, danger, deception, and superstition.
enjoyed creating the cast of unusual characters and setting the stage for the
drama that’s about to unfold. Right from the start, we meet Lord Sebestyen
Adrik and learn that he’s a troubled hero who has hidden himself away in his
isolated castle. He’s depressed, guilt-ridden, has an unsavory reputation, and
is the subject of nasty rumors spread by superstitious villagers.
Katarina, is feisty, clever, and anything but superstitious. She dismisses
tales of evil spirits and ghosts, and doesn’t have time for old wives’ tales.
She’s ambitious and wants to leave her pathetic job on the goat farm for better
things. When she learns that she’s about to be forced into marriage to a much
older man, she jumps at the chance to be Lord Adrik’s companion—despite all the
terrifying stories she has been told. Katarina’s boldness and intelligence make
her the perfect person to free Sebestyen from his dark past.
I set about creating the mysterious Lord Adrik, I wanted to make him a flawed
and sympathetic hero. He has two physical ailments (one most romance heroes
never have) as well as several psychological scars. And as if they weren’t
enough problems, he also has a reputation as a murderer (among other
things). At the start of the book, he has just about given up on life and
any hope of being happy. By giving Sebestyen all this “baggage” I made him
vulnerable and provided him with lofty goals to reach.
wrote, I added layers of secrets, built suspense, and created numerous plot
twists and turns. Readers follow Katarina’s adventures and are not sure what—or
who—to believe. Can Magda the surly, gossiping cook be trusted? How did Lady
Adrik die? Is the castle really haunted? What happened to Lord Adrik’s previous
companions? Are the rumors about him true? Katarina is left alone with Sebestyen
every night, should she fear for her safety? Everyone says she should!
the course of the book, Katarina draws Sebestyen out of his shell, and just
when she thought she knew him, she uncovers a disturbing secret he’s been
hiding from her. Katarina tries to make sense of it all, while following her
everyone in this story is exactly what (or who) they seem to be, and this adds
another level of mystery and intrigue to the book. Combining all these elements
into a sensual, Gothic romance was a lot of fun, and I hope readers will enjoy
this trip into “the Dark Lord’s lair.”
from Redemption From a Dark Past
Sebestyen Adrik has an unsavory reputation as a madman, murderer… and worse.
Lonely and searching for love, he seeks the companionship of local young women,
hoping one of them will ease his torment and bring him the happiness he longs
for. Katarina is his last chance—but will she fear him like all the others? Or
is she the one who can lift his curse?
to avoid a forced marriage, Katarina agrees to become Lord Adrik’s latest
companion, despite the rumors she has heard about him. She discovers the “Dark
Lord’s” secret past and realizes he’s not the monster everyone thinks he is.
their love blossoms, she renews his passion for life—yet they cannot escape the
ghosts of the past.
a meeting of the nobility goes horribly wrong, Sebestyen’s world unravels, and
his enemies plot to destroy him. As all seems lost, a mysterious stranger
arrives at the castle. Sebestyen must decide if he is a friend or a foe…and if
he can find redemption in his love for Katarina, or lose her and everything
else that he holds dear.
Excerpt from Redemption From a Dark Past
winced as he propped his right leg on the padded footstool. He had a crackling
fire before him, his belly was full, he’d drunk almost an entire bottle of
wine, and yet he was not content.
girl had arrived. He had another chance to find happiness, but he didn’t dare
get his hopes up. She would probably be another sour disappointment like all
the others. Each failure drove a dagger deeper into his heart, and yet, he
why? Why did he put himself through the pain, the hurt, and the humiliation of
buying another companion? Perhaps it would be best if he accepted the fact that
he was cursed. He’d never be happy, never know love again.
watched the flames and sipped his red wine. The rumors about him had spread
throughout the countryside. Lukacs was right when he’d told him that the
villagers would not allow their daughters to come here, no matter what
enticements he offered. He’d almost given up, but then Lukacs had written with
the news that Katarina had volunteered to be his companion. Why? Surely she
knew the stories about him.
the tales circulating in the villages, he had never harmed any of the young
ladies who came to the castle. If anything, he was generous. He bought them new
clothes, fed them, and paid them well. He certainly wasn’t a rapist or a
drinker of virgin blood as he was portrayed in the stories.
am I the monster they say I am?” he wondered aloud.
stared at a painting on the far wall. Two boys in formal dress, one with light
blond wavy hair, the other with black hair, posed with a black and white dog.
He raised his glass in a silent toast to Tristan. The portrait was commissioned
when he’d been, what? Ten? And Tristan was nearly fifteen. Those were good
times, when life was easy.
he was all alone, trapped in this miserable castle and forced to suffer with
the boring duties he had inherited from his despicable father. It wasn’t fair.
He’d had different plans for his life, plans that included travelling, marrying
a woman he loved, and being happy. Instead, he sat here every night drinking
himself into a stupor, hating his life, hating his very existence.
closed his eyes and leaned back in the leather chair. Perhaps Katarina could
redeem him and lift his curse. If she did, she would earn riches beyond her
wildest dreams. If not, he would suffer bitter disappointment yet again. “Why
do I even try?” he whispered. “I’m doomed.”
Links for Redemption From a Dark
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