During the first semester of her senior year at college, while studying British Literature at Oxford, Jillian Kent fell in love with England. It was at that time that she came to appreciate the rich imagery of romantic poetry and historical novels, including Jane Austen and all things Regency. Today, she enjoys digging deeper into the darker aspects of the Regency period, instilling a balance of light and dark into her books.

Jill, her husband, Randy, and their children, Katie and Meghan, are animal lovers, and critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.

What sparked your writing journey?

I’d read a lot and thought maybe someday I could write a book. I had no idea that it would take me so long. I started to study the craft in 1990 and finally got published in 2011. I know how to persevere. There is something magical about putting sentences together in a meaningful way that I find exciting.

How does your faith play into your work?

I live my faith and don’t think if I tried that I would be successful at camouflaging that fact even if I wrote vampire novels, although in my case it would have to be vampire comedy. I’m fascinated by how others approach their belief or disbelief in God. Why are they running to or from God? Why do they believe what they believe? Do they have faith as small as the mustard seed or do they declare themselves agnostic or atheist? And even for those of us who believe, we all face times of doubt, grief, and despair and wonder if God cares.

Let’s talk about your new book, Mystery of the Heart (Realms, January 2013). It’s the third in The Ravensmoore Chronicles series. Please tell us about it.

I love this book. Of course I like all my books but I think because this is the last in the series I have a special appreciation for it. I call it my Indiana Jones novel. It’s based in part on the legend of the Holy Lance, the lance that the Roman soldier used to pierce the side of Christ to be certain he was dead. The Bible doesn’t go into detail about this but it’s been very interesting to research and see why there is so much interest and speculation about this lance. Today, to the best of my knowledge based on extensive research, Austria, The Vatican, and Armenia believe they have pieces of the original Lance of Longinus or The Spear of Destiny as it is also known. Hitler was obsessed with the lance and there are thoughts that it resides in Antartica.

The novel centers around the youngest of Lord Ravensmoore sisters, Mercy, who wants to be a doctor like her big brother, but in the time of the regency that is an impossibility, or is it? : )  She meets Vincent St. Lyons, who is returning from a secret quest for the Prince Regent. Unfortunately for Mercy she’s washed up on the shore of Northumberland.

He stopped and turned to look at her, quirking a brow. “You

don’t know if you can trust me or not, but I guarantee you that

you can’t trust them.” He pointed down into the cove.

She sucked in a breath. Her heart hammered in her chest at

the sight of nearly a dozen ebony-skinned men performing some

kind of pagan dance with masks and movements that looked

uncivilized indeed. Several small boats decorated the shore, and

farther out she saw the ship.

I encourage you to stop by my website and read the first chapter of this book and the two that come prior to Mystery of the Heart. Although this is a series and you will pick up on important aspects of the novels if you read them in order, they certainly can be read as stand alone novels if readers find something appealing about one in particular. Of course I hope they are all read.

Detours in life can be frustrating—kind of like plot twists in the stories we write—but the outcome is often more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a recent “detour” in your life—or in one of your character’s lives—that taught you something?

A not so recent detour happened three years ago when my mother developed health problems and needed to move in with us. She’ll be 88 this month. It meant giving up my office and learning to live with another person in the house that needed my attention. I have two adult daughters. One is at home with us and the other is in missions with YWAM (Youth With A Mission). In fact I dedicated this book to YWAMers and to my daughter, Meghan. But back to detours. I’ve learned how to manage my full time job as a counselor, help my mom and daughter at home, take care of four critters, and write. That doesn’t mean I always manage it well, but I have learned to write without having my own space.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m trying to figure that out right now. I’m working up a new proposal for my agent and I’m thinking about dabbling in the world of self-publishing as well. There is so much happening in publishing that it’s all kind of mind-boggling and exciting too. I hope to get another regency series published via the traditional route and I hope to write some short stories. I would also like to write some non-fiction, something that provides hope and encouragement to others.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

I’m a pasta freak. Any kind of pasta with just about any kind of sauce. I’m not a true vegetarian but I prefer veggie foods over meat. Pizza is a staple. Coffee is a must. Chocolate is impossible to ignore.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

Ha, ha! Absolutely not! I am not musical. But I love to listen to music and have always wanted to play the tambourine. I’m in awe of those who can read music, sing, and play instruments. That seems like a different world of talent to me.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

I would be a Jackson Browne song, specifically, Doctor My Eyes.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

I’m the strong, female lead. But I want to be the mysterious woman behind the dark glasses. : )

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

I’m an animal lover. Always have been. I grew up on a farm with horses and learned how to ride when I was seven. We currently have one dog, Bandit, a Shizu, and 4 cats: Lucky, Snow, Yuma, and Holden. My dog Boo-Boo died a couple of years ago and I still miss him. He looked like a Bichon and was half brother to Bandit. My entire family are animal lovers and critters of one kind or another can always be found in my books.

Thanks, Jill! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

Thanks for having me, Kathy. It’s always fun to talk with book lovers and writers.

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For more information about Jill, visit her website. She also writes and organizes The Well Writer Column for Christian Fiction Online Magazine.

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