Why Romance? Did you choose this genre or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
I’m a voracious reader across all genres of popular fiction as well as literary fiction. But I’ve always enjoyed both romance novels and novels that contain a strong element of romance. When I started writing short stories they were romances and I went from there.
2) Is there a romance author, living or dead, who inspires you particularly?
I admire the work of so many romance authors it’s difficult to single one out. I love retired American author, LaVyrle Spencer, for her intensely emotional stories. I’m also a fan of Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz.
I recently enjoyed Jilly Cooper’s most recent book and remembered again how much I love her novels which always include compelling romances along with her other storylines. Humor and animal characters are very appealing to me. I write fun, feel-good fiction and there is inevitably a dog or a cat somewhere in my stories!
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects.
My latest story is my indie-published contemporary romance, The Castaway Bride, which is only available as an e-book. It’s a fun, sexy read about a runaway bride shipwrecked on a tropical island with a hot, hunky stranger.
My most recent traditionally published book is Home Is Where the Bark Is, a contemporary romance published in trade paperback by Berkley Sensation, an imprint of Penguin New York. It’s a story of romance, mystery and dogs set in a doggy day care in San Francisco. It’s a follow up book to my first Berkley title, Love is a Four-Legged Word, but both books can be read independently.
I am working on several projects at the moment but am just about to release a back-list title, Something About Joe, a contemporary romance originally published by a small, independent publisher. I’m working on the final tweaking before uploading to on-line retailers.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published?
I live in Australia and my goal was to be published by a major New York publisher—that made for a long, fraught path to publication.
I was published first in romance by a small Australian publisher but then years of near-hits and rejections followed. I also detoured into chick lit and my timing was terrible!
I could not get an agent interested in Love is a Four-Legged Word so I bravely sent it off myself to Berkley (you know what they say about the odds of being picked up from the “slush pile”). When I got “the call” from my editor (well, it was actually an email) I was jumping around the room with my teenage daughter so excited I was scarcely coherent. After the sale, I found a very good agent. But getting published is just the start of it!
5) What’s your opinion about this Ebook revolution? Would you consider the indie route?
I took a while to get hooked on Ebooks but now I am a rabid convert. I love the instant gratification of clicking and buying, the ease of reading on an Ereader, and the simplicity of storage (I have way too many books for the size of my house). For mass-market fiction they are definitely the way of the future. That said, I think that the future of print books is healthy too—sometimes only a paper book will do.
If you’d asked me even six months ago was the indie route for me, I would have said “no”. However I attended the Romance Writers of America national convention in New York last year and caught up in the buzz about indie. I decided to put a toe in the indie-publishing waters with my contemporary romance, The Castaway Bride, a story I had written before I was published by Berkley. I did it as an experiment and to keep my name in front of readers between traditionally published books.
To my surprise and ongoing delight, The Castaway Bride became an Amazon best-seller, and featured in The Wall Street Journal’s reader recommendations for big-selling self-published fiction. I’ve had wonderful feedback from readers.
I would like my career to continue with both traditionally and indie-published books.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use Social media a lot to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
Distraction? I am so easily distracted by social media! Yes, authors are expected to do their own promotion via social media. And yes, it is a time sink that can distract from writing time. However, I don’t see social media as a chore. I love interacting with readers and other social media users. We don’t just talk about books. My “day job” is as a magazine editor and, as a journalist, I have a healthy curiosity about other peoples’ lives—a curiosity that is more than satisfied by social media! And I have certainly reached new readers.
Info about the author:
Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction. She balances a career as a women’s magazine editor with writing award-winning romantic fiction.
Kandy lives in a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband, daughter and a menagerie of four-legged friends.
She believes in love-at-first-sight and real-life romance—they worked for her!
Visit Kandy at her website http://www.kandyshepherd.com
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below: