Posts tagged with: Interview

Kandy Shepherd’s Unforgettable Summer

Kandy 4I’m so delighted today to bring to the lair my good friend, the lovely Kandy Shepherd.

Kandy and I have shared a long writing journey together. When I plucked up the courage to join my very first writing group, Kandy was a member. I was immediately impressed both with the wonderful stories she wrote and also with her great work ethic. I still am!

Way back in the late 1990s when we met (yes, we ARE going back that far), Kandy was targeting Harlequin Mills and Boon as her preferred publishers. Many years and much writing success later, she’s now released her very first Harlequin Romance THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT.

THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT is gaining some wonderful reviews, including a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews, who said, “Shepherd’s love story is heartfelt and has the potential to reach the hearts of lovers across the globe. The main characters are perfect as a pair and the setting of New South Wales is described so beautifully, readers will almost feel the sand between their toes.”

 Here’s the blurb:

It started with a summer kiss… 

Kandy 3Sandy Adams is on her way to an interview, but when she sees a signpost for Dolphin Bay she decides to take a detour down memory lane…. 

Ben Morgan has had his share of heartache. But when a ghost from his youth catches his eye memories of their last summer together come flooding back. 

Everything has changed in the past twelve years, and still they’re right back where they started, facing a second chance they deserve…together.

You can find out more about Kandy and her books on her website: http://kandyshepherd.com/

Kandy, welcome to the Bandita lair! Congratulations on the release of THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT, your first romance with Harlequin. I’m so excited about this book. Can you tell us about this story?

Thank you, Anna, it’s wonderful to be back in the lair with the wonderful Banditas! I’m particularly excited to be talking about this story with you because you were there (when we both lived in the same city!) when I first thought of the story and wrote the initial chapters. It got put aside while I worked on other books but the characters of Sandy Adam and Ben Morgan in THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT never let go and I always wanted to finish their story.

Kandy 1THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT is a very emotional, deeply romantic story of rekindled love between Sandy and Ben who first fell in love as teenagers. Twelve years go by between their first youthful kiss and the first time they kiss when they meet again. A lot has happened in the interim and Ben, in particular, is scarred—both physically and emotionally. Old hurts, betrayals, misunderstandings and deeply-entrenched barriers guarding their hearts mean these two really have to work for their happy-ever-after ending! I thoroughly enjoyed getting them there. In Romance shorthand, I call it my Beauty and the Beast Reunion Story!

Lovely! I always wanted to see how that story panned out. What were the inspirations behind this book?

Have you ever found yourself wondering about your first love—your lost love—maybe from many years ago? What would it be like to meet him or her again? Would you do things differently if you got a second chance? Would the old spark still be there?

I give Sandy and Ben just that opportunity when they meet up again in the coastal town of Dolphin Bay—the place where they first fell in love on summer vacation. Dolphin Bay is a fictional town but it is inspired by one of my favourite parts of Australia, the south coast of New South Wales about four hours drive from Sydney. There you’ll find quaint towns, beautiful pristine beaches and unspoiled bushland. I have spent many idyllic holidays there and hope to spend more in the future. Sun, surf, white sand, blue skies, freedom—it’s the perfect setting for both Sandy and Ben’s fleeting, youthful romance—and perhaps a more mature love that can last a lifetime.

Kandy 2(Little did I know as I was writing the setting I loved that it fell into the new genre of “coastal romance”!)

What is coming up for Kandy Shepherd?

I’m delighted there will be a return to Dolphin Bay in July 2014 with the release of my second book for Harlequin Mills & Boon, THE TYCOON AND THE WEDDING PLANNER. We meet Kate Parker as a secondary character in THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT and the second book is her story of finding love when she least expects it. It’s another emotional, romantic story that I really loved writing.

You’ve had such an interesting writing career. I’d love you to share your writing journey with us.

Like you, Anna, I always wanted to be a writer—and I was always attracted to romance. I had my first short stories published in women’s magazines when I was age twenty-one. Then I got distracted by a wonderful career in magazines, in both Australia and the UK. But the dream to write fiction never went away and I kept on writing in the time I could squeeze in between work and family commitments. Eventually I was published by Berkley Sensation with my two award-winning romantic comedies LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD and HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. Then I got intrigued by the brave new world of self-publishing and, to my surprise and delight, my sensual romance THE CASTAWAY BRIDE became an Amazon best seller.

kandy 5Way back when I was very first trying to get published, I targeted Harlequin Mills & Boon in London—as many aspiring Australian romance writers did. That dream never went away and I was thrilled when THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT was accepted for the Harlequin Romance line.

Right now I’m concentrating on writing for Harlequin, which I am really enjoying. But I see myself as a “hybrid” writer balancing a career with traditionally published stories and self-published ones.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Persevere, persevere, persevere! Writing with the aim of publication isn’t for the faint-hearted or thin-skinned. Find critique partners you respect and trust—that has been very important for me. That said, you also need to have faith in your own voice and unique ideas. Keep alive the joy of writing—we write because we love it and should never lose sight of that!

Feel-good contemporary romance is definitely the soupe du jour with readers. Have you any thoughts on the rise and rise of this particular element of the romance genre?

I think readers being able to easily recognise and identify with characters, situations and settings has a lot to do with the appeal of contemporary romance. The people seem real, are relevant to everyday life and the settings are familiar.

BanditBootyKandy, do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita Buddies to get the conversation going?

I love reunion romances and the idea of second chance at love. I also enjoy books set near the water, there’s something so appealing about a coastal or harbor setting. What about you—do you enjoy reunion romance? Do you ever wonder what would happen if you met up with someone from your past? Do you enjoy coastal settings? I have three signed copies of THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT (international) to give away to people leaving a comment.

Wow, that’s very generous, Kandy. Thank you. Get commenting, people!

 

The Importance of Being Miranda Neville

I’m always delighted to host the sparkling Miranda Neville in the lair – not only because she’s darn good company and a wonderful guest, but also because it means she’s got another one of her wonderful books for me to read. Even better, today’s book THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED launches a new series based around some art-loving and very scandalous aristocrats.

This story is already creating great buzz around Romancelandia – for example, RT Book Reviews called it “deliciously wicked” and Publishers Weekly chose this book as one of their top 10 romances of the Fall.

Here’s the blurb:

The rules of society don’t apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love….


Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress’s cousin, easily the least proper woman he’s ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble…
 


Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had.  Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke…while Thomas discovers there’s a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.

You can read an except of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED on Miranda’s website.

Miranda, absolutely lovely to have you back again! You’re a favorite in the lair.

Thanks, Anna. A day with the Bandits is always a highlight of any blog tour.

Congratulations on THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED which is out TODAY!  Can you tell us about this story?

This is the tale of two people who instantly fancy each other like mad but appear to be totally unsuited. Thomas, Duke of Castleton is an aggressively conventional man. He wants to marry an heiress, both because that’s what dukes do (amazingly they aren’t that anxious to wed courtesans and governesses) and because he’s suffering a temporary cash flow problem. His designated heiress is staying in London with her Cousin Caro, a wild widow on the edge of financial ruin. Neither is at all pleased by their mutual attraction. Gradually Thomas learns to loosen up and Caro leans to appreciate a reliable guy. I have to let myself gush a little about Thomas. Against his better judgment he lets Caro lead him into doing all sorts of naughty things–and thoroughly enjoys himself. But he never loses his inner compass and in my humble opinion is just adorable: the kind of guy we should all have as a husband (as well as being incredibly hawt).

What were the inspirations behind this book?

My previous books were set in the late Regency. I wanted to go back to the aftermath of the French Revolution, which had huge repercussions on English life and politics. The transitional period between Georgian and Regency is also a bit socially looser and the ground hasn’t been covered so extensively in historical romance. Also, I love the clothes. The 1790s are about big hair and big hats, giving way to the high-waisted look that came over from France. Caro favors particularly skimpy examples of the new styles. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED is set in 1800, a date I picked because of a specific historical event that’s coming up in book two of the series.

I notice your latest series, The Wild Quartet, is built around art collectors. I love that theme. Can you tell us a little bit about the forthcoming books?

It’s a bit complicated to explain (evidently I have no understanding of High Concept). Four young men met at Oxford and were thrown out of the university. They went on a tear around England the Continent, gaining bad reputations and worse habits. Caro’s first husband, Robert, was one of the four and the others are the heroes of the next three books. But The Wild Quartet isn’t a happy group-of-friends series. Their relationships are complex and not always cordial and the resolution of their issues is part of the story arc as they grow up and find their heroines.

One of the things that drew the quartet together was an interest in art. The eighteenth century nobility had an unquenchable lust for art and antiquities which spread to the middle classes. All sort of aesthetic theories were bandied about and London was full of artists. Caro keeps a kind of salon for young artists and you can imagine what her stuffy duke thinks of that! Robert gave her a Titian for a wedding present and she has it stashed away to hide it from her creditors. Thomas is more of a horse and dog man when it comes to paintings.

Horse and dog man? Love it! What’s next for The Wild Quartet?

Art will play a part in subsequent books, not so much in the second book of the series, AN IDEAL SCOUNDREL. I won’t say much about it because it’s not quite finished–it’s due in about ten minutes. It features Caro’s heiress cousin Anne and Marcus Lithgow, who shows himself to be a very bad boy in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED.

Any chance of your art collectors and the bibliophiles from your marvellous Burgundy Club series crossing paths?

Not unless we meet them as children! If I can find a role for him, I may introduce Lord Hugo Hartley, an elderly connoisseur who has appeared in several of my books.

A treat for readers, a delicious novella appeared in October to launch this series. Can you tell us about THE SECOND SEDUCTION OF A LADY?

Set seven years earlier, the novella introduces Caro when she’s falling in love with Robert (who later dies). But the story is about Robert’s guardian Max Quinton and the woman he loved and lost. Eleanor dumped him when she learned he’d taken part in a bet over her with friends, but when they meet again by chance, Max is determined not to let her get away again. This is my first shot at the reunited lovers trope, but it won’t be my last.

I’m intrigued to know whether you see any particular trends in historical romance at the moment (apart from luscious, romantic covers!).

I think it’s a very exciting time to be writing historical romance. Scandalous, sinful, seductive Regency dukes aren’t going away (neither would I wish them to!) but we’re seeing more variety. Although nineteenth-century England and Scotland are still the most popular settings, we’re seeing more characters from different classes and greater scope for quirky stories and characters. While the self-publishing movement hasn’t yet affected historicals as much as it has some other subgenres, I feel a kind of buoyancy and sense of possibility among authors, a willingness to experiment. I’d be very curious to know if other writers agree–and if readers are finding and enjoying new kinds of stories.

I had so much fun researching the art background to this book. Surfing the internet for paintings is my idea of a good time. (Visiting museums with Anna Campbell is even more fun, but darn it she lives too far away!) What kind of art do you enjoy? Do you have favorite artists or art galleries?

Ah, Miranda, I still have fond memories of the guards at the National Gallery of Art wanting to throw us out because we were being too naughty. Too long since we’ve done that!

OK, everyone, Miranda has very kindly offered TWO prizes today (international). Print editions of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED and THE SECOND SEDUCTION OF A LADY. Yum! Get commenting!

Kylie Scott in the Flesh!

Today I’m delighted to introduce a good friend and very talented writer Kylie Scott who is going to tell us all about her brilliant debut novel FLESH, from Momentum Books, the digital division of Pan MacMillan Australia. The book is available worldwide – here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Flesh-ebook/dp/B0095ELMTA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347513187&sr=1-1&keywords=Flesh+Kylie+Scott

FLESH, described on Kylie’s website as a M/F/M post-apocalyptic erotic romance (hmm, seems we’re not in Kansas anymore, guys!) is selling its little socks off – even if the socks do occasionally contain rotted bits of feet. Yeah, it’s a zombie novel!

Reviews have been pretty nice too. To give you an example, Rosie at Fangtastic Books says, “FLESH is a fast paced thriller, a stunningly sensual feast and a funny, tragic, horrifying emotional journey in a world torn apart. It’s erotic, it’s got zombies, and it’s fun.”

I first encountered Kylie’s wonderful writing when she came to a workshop at my house on writing deep point of view. A critique was part of the training and I was immediately blown away by Kylie’s prose, not to mention her dab hand with a hot scene. These people fleeing the zombie apocalypse sure know how to keep warm! I wasn’t at all surprised when shortly after the workshop, Kylie contacted me to say she’d found a publisher.

You can find out more about Kylie on her website: http://www.kylie-scott.com/
 
Kylie, welcome to the lair! Congratulations on the release of your debut, FLESH. Can you tell us about this story?
Thank you so much for letting me visit, ladies!

FLESH is the story of Ali, Daniel and Finn. Ali has been hiding in an attic since civilisation collapsed eight weeks ago. When the plague struck her neighbours turned into mindless, hungry, homicidal maniacs. Daniel has been a loner his entire life. Then the world empties and he realises that being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Finn is a former cop who is desperate for companionship, and willing to do anything it takes to protect the survivors around him.

When the three cross paths they band together; sparks fly, romance blooms in the wasteland and Ali, Daniel and Finn bend to their very human needs in the ruins of civilisation. Lust, love and trust all come under fire in Flesh as the three battle to survive, hunted through the suburban wastelands.

What were the inspirations behind this book?

I’ve always been fascinated by what life would be like if society went to pot. No more law and order. No more electricity. What on earth would we do without the internet? Scary times indeed. Also, I was keen to try my hand at writing a ménage but I felt I needed a situation where a loving, long-term relationship involving three people was a viable alternative. Creating a deficit of women fit my evil plans to perfection.

As for the Zombies…there’s a very real chance my big brother exposed me to too many B-grade films back in the 80’s. He worked in a video shop and was always bringing home crazy horror and action/adventure movies. Things like EVIL DEAD and Romero’s LIVING DEAD series, plus tons of futuristic titles starring Arnie or Van Damme or the like. It couldn’t have been healthy for an impressionable young mind.

Zombies seem to be a rising force in genre fiction. Any thoughts?

There’s certainly a lot of fans coming out of the closet (or dark, dank underground tombs, as it were). I’m not sure what the popularity of reducing people to slobbering, mindless creatures in pursuit of their next meal says about the collective unconscious. Writing wise, Zombies make a great threat. They’re always lurking out there, waiting for you to mess up so they can snack on your innards. They lack the grace and glamour of vampires, and they’re not as cool and sexy as werewolves. Zombies are grittier and nastier. They’re walking death and decay in all its gory glory. Maybe they’re a testament to our will to survive and to have hope for a better future. Or maybe it’s just time for body bits to start dropping off…

We love call stories in the lair. Can you give us yours?

Aah, Momentum. I love them so. I’d already had one offer and was still waiting on a response from New York when I decided to submit to them. Their energy and originality when it came to engaging with their audience on Twitter and FaceBook really appealed to me. I submitted as part of their regular Momentum Monday and the next morning Anne Treasure asked for the full. A week later Joel Naoum offered me a contract. It was hugely exciting. Their enthusiasm for my story was wonderful. It was wildly exciting. 

What’s next for you?

I have a short story coming out 1st November also with Momentum. It’s called ROOM WITH A VIEW and is set in the same Post-Zombie-Apocalypse world as FLESH but features different characters. The story is part of the HOT DOWN UNDER short story series. 14 Australian romance writers publishing erotic short stories with Australia’s first ever digital imprint. How neat is that?

Very neat! Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write about what you love. Be brave!

Great advice. Do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita Buddies to get conversation going?

 My Post-Zombie-Apocalypse plan involves boarding up the house and hunkering down with the collected works of Jane Austen and tins of home brand spaghetti until everything calms down. Got a plan? Share it with me in the comments for a chance to win a copy of FLESH…

You heard it hear first, folks! Comment today to be in the draw for a digital copy of FLESH! Good luck!