CataRomance is delighted to welcome brand new Harlequin Romance author Kandy Shepherd for a chat about picturesque coastal towns, gorgeous heroes and everything romance!
Welcome to CataRomance, Kandy! It’s lovely to have you here. Your debut novel for Harlequin Romance, The Summer They Never Forgot, was published earlier this year. Could you please tell us something about this book and how you got the original idea for it?
I’m thrilled to be visiting CataRomance. Thank you, Julie, for inviting me.
The Summer They Never Forgot is a deeply emotional, heart-warming story of rekindled love. My inspiration? I love reunion romances. I wanted to answer that eternal writer’s question of “what if?” What if you met up again with your first love from many years ago? Would the old sparks still be there? What would happen if you were given a second-chance at love?
Even though I have been happily married for many years I sometimes give a thought to what happened to that first, special love. (No, I haven’t been tempted to look him up on social media!)
Could you tell us something about your hero, Ben, and your heroine, Sandy?
Sandy and Ben first fell in love as teenagers on vacation. Twelve years go by until they meet again. A lot has happened in the interim and they’ve both been wounded, one way or another, and have barriers around their hearts. Old hurts, betrayals and misunderstandings stand in the way of this hero and heroine finding love the second time around. But they both so deserve to find happiness!
The Summer They Never Forgot is set in a coastal Australian town called Dolphin Bay. What were the challenges involved in creating a fictional town for your novel?
I thoroughly enjoy my power as an author to create a fictional town for my characters to inhabit! I can make it anything I want it to be to suit the needs of my story. That said, Dolphin Bay is inspired by some of the quaint towns, pristine beaches and untouched landscapes of the South Coast of New South Wales, about four hours drive south of Sydney. I have spent many happy vacations in the area and really love it. I hope I can transport readers to a beautiful, romantic setting.
What attracted you to writing category romance and to the Harlequin Romance line in particular?
I have read and enjoyed many wonderful category romances so it is a particular joy to write one of my own. I love the deeply emotional stories in the Harlequin Romance line. In these books, I really feel I am along for the journey when the hero and heroine overcome their differences to fall in love. I hope I’ve achieved that for my readers in The Summer They Never Forgot.
What are the challenges of writing category romances?
The biggest challenge is to make sure you, as a writer, deliver the kind of story readers expect from a particular line. I found I needed to keep strictly focused on the hero and heroine’s developing love story and not to get too distracted by secondary characters and themes.
What do you think account for the perennial popularity of romantic fiction?
I think a major reason is the happy-ever-after ending where a hero and heroine have overcome the challenges they’ve faced to fall in love and commit to each other with a happy future ahead of them.
What is a typical day for Kandy Shepherd like?
I’m usually woken by one (or all!) of my four kitties demanding breakfast—and I have to obey!
It’s only fairly recently that I’ve become a full-time author (I used to have a “day job” in magazines) and I really try to fit in some exercise in the morning to help mitigate a day spent mostly in front of the computer.
Of course I have a family to look after, too. A slow-cooker is a great thing to help get meals organized in advance. And I think of those trips up and down the stairs to the laundry room as much-needed exercise. I try not to nibble on too much chocolate or swig too much Diet Coke as I am writing but sometimes fail miserably!
My natural inclination is to work late into the night and the early hours of the morning, as that’s when I’m most creative. Sadly, the rest of the world doesn’t run on the same timetable. So I try to get to bed at a reasonable hour (and keep a notebook by the side of the bed in case inspiration strikes!)
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Persevere. The path to publication is littered with many rejections! But have faith in your unique voice and imagination. Find good critique partners you trust—I value mine like gold. But don’t get so caught up in trying to get published that you forget the joy of writing.
Who are your favourite authors?
I have so many favorite category authors going right back to when I started reading category as a girl, it’s difficult to single out just a few. My all-time favorite romance writer is Lavyrle Spencer and I like Nora Roberts. I also enjoy reading thrillers and suspense so there’s a long list of authors there, too.
What’s next for Kandy Shepherd?
I take readers back to Dolphin Bay in my next Harlequin Romance, The Tycoon and the Wedding Planner, out next month in July 2014!
Thank you for chatting to us, Kandy! If you want to find our more about Kandy and her books, visit her website at www.kandyshepherd.com. Kandy’s debut novel, The Summer They Never Forgot, is published by Harlequin Romance and available now.
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New to Our Site?CataRomance is the original website for fans of category romance. We love our category lines and look forward to wonderful new books each month. When it comes to novels, we know romance. We believe in love at first sight, ushy gushy feelings in the pit of our stomach and the power of three little words: I love you. You'll find reviews, excerpts and more. Enjoy.