Welcome to day 2 of Women’s Fiction week at Romancing the Book. Today we’re excited to have Beth Kendrick with us.
Beth Kendrick is the author of The Week Before the Wedding, The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service, and Nearlyweds, which was turned into a Hallmark Channel original movie. She lives in Arizona with her two rescue dogs, but she loves to vacation at the Delaware shore, where she goes to Funland, eats boardwalk fries, and wishes that the Whinery really existed.
Welcome to Black Dog Bay, a tiny seaside town in Delaware known as “the best place in America to bounce back from your breakup.” Home to Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast, the Eat Your Heart Out bakery, and the Whinery bar, Black Dog Bay offers a haven for the suddenly single.
Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by considering accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant.
Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’s the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn’t be kissing him. She definitely shouldn’t be falling in love.
After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything…
Jen: Love all your covers—they really draw me in. Do you have any input in them?
Beth: My beloved editor always asks me for cover ideas. Sometimes the art department shares my vision, sometimes not. But let us just say that there is a good reason that the publisher’s art team gets paid to design the book’s cover while I get paid to write the content. Some of us—okay, one of us—are not especially gifted in the visual arts!
Jen: I believe The Week Before the Wedding and Cure for the Common Breakup are the only connected stories you’ve written so far, because Summer appears in both. Do you see a series in your future?
Beth: My next two books will both be set in the seaside town of Black Dog Bay, where Cure for the Common Breakup takes place. So readers will get to check in with a couple of recurring characters and locations, but they’ll all be stand-alone stories, so no need to read them in order.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character you’ve written?
Beth: This question is killing me. I have favorite characters in each one of my books (Mullet, the world’s most contrary mutt in The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service; Ryan Lassiter, ex-boyfriend extraordinaire in The Week Before the Wedding; Renee, the diabolical mother-in-law in Nearlyweds) but I have to admit that Summer Benson, the protagonist of Cure for the Common Breakup is my all-time favorite. She’s just a kamikaze, double-dare, drop-the-mic kind of woman and I loved every minute of writing her story.
Jen: How do you decide to be included in an anthology?
Beth: Oh, I decide nothing! The people at the publishing company call my agent, and then my agent calls me. But I always jump at the chance to participate because I love the collaborative aspects of it, both as a reader and a writer. Also, I can’t help myself from going off on a 3,000-word treatise whenever anyone asks me about dogs, Jane Austen, and/or “Grey’s Anatomy”. Actual and factual.
Jen: You write women’s fiction, so you obviously have a female readership. How do you feel about the idea of men reading your work?
Beth: I love the idea. I absolutely encourage communication and collaboration between men and women, and I think people should read stories that speak to them, regardless of packaging or societal expectations. One of my plotting partners/beta readers is a guy, and he gets some great work out of me. He always adds a fresh perspective or asks a question that pulls a whole scene together.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?
Beth: With my first book sale, I was too busy throwing up in the wastebasket and yelling, “No way! NO WAY!” to really celebrate properly. These days, I have settled down enough to actually enjoy myself and go out for chocolate cake and champagne. (And whenever my publisher sends me a hot-off-the-press copy of a brand new book, I dance around the house and show it off to my dogs, who are profoundly unimpressed.)