If you love fantasy and romance, you can’t go wrong with the Twelve Kingdoms novels of Jeffe Kennedy, which combine richly imagined magic with witty, sensuous romance plots. The heroines are powerful and smart, with strong friendships and alliances with other women. The first of Jeffe’s novels set in the Twelve Kingdoms, The Mark of the Tala, begins a multi-book saga of magic, wars, and romance. Her latest, The Shift of the Tide, tells of the shapeshifter, Zynda. In a quest to save her people, Zynda seeks to achieve Final Form as a dragon. This goal is directly in conflict with a normal human life—and love.
I caught up with Jeffe to talk about the series, her unique heroines, female friendships, and more.
The Shift in the Tide marks the latest installment in an epic series. What are your feelings, looking back on this rich and complex story? Did any of the turns it took come as a surprise to you?
So, actually… Yes! The turns the story took came as so much of a surprise that it turns out that The Shift of the Tide is not the ending to this series after all. When I started the book, I fully expected it to be the ending, but there was so many layers to tie up that I simply couldn’t do it. So I know there will be at least one more book, and—let’s be honest—probably two more. The next book will be The Arrows of the Heart. In addition, I’m doing a high fantasy spinoff trilogy in this world for Rebel Base Books, The Lost Princess Chronicles. The first book, Princess of Dasnaria, will be out in June. By the time the third book is out, it’s going to dovetail with the timeline in this series. I’m more of a gardener (in George R.R. Martin’s parlance) than an architect, so I have a good feeling that everything will bloom at the same time. If it works out, it should be quite the show!
Each of your heroines is different—in terms of their personality as well as talents. Zynda gives us insight into the magic of the Tala and the siren allure of shapeshifting. Can you talk about the elements she brings to the series?
Zynda turned out to be super fun to write. These books are first person point of view (POV), so each is—as you say—time spent in a very different heroine’s head. Zynda is the first time I’ve written in the POV of one of the Tala. This race of shapeshifters and magical beings has always been viewed from the outside before, so I wondered how writing this book would go. Zynda is wild and free at her most basic level. Not…