The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Author Spolights Shirley Kennedy

Welcome Shirley, pull up a chair and grab a cup of coffee. Thanks for finding the time in your busy day to chat with us. I am honored to have known Shirley for a few years. We are in the same Romance Writers of America Chapter and find her insights into the business very helpful to say the least.

Do you do anything to get you into the zone to write?

Not really.  Writing is what I do, so I don't have to get in the mood for it.  When I get up in the morning, I make the coffee, put the dishes away from the dishwasher, feed the cats, drink coffee and read the newspaper.  While I'm doing this, I'm mulling over what I'm going to write today, so by the time I get to my computer, I'm ready to go, no writer's block ever. 
 Which authors inspire  your writing?

Phillipa Gregory inspires me the most.  I admire her impeccable research and her outstanding ability to bring  historical figures to life.  John Grisham is second.

 What is your favorite book, character and why?

It's almost a cliché to say my favorite book is Gone with the Wind and favorite character is Scarlet O'Hara, but it's true.  A close second are Herman Wouk's Winds of War and War and Remembrance.  (By the way, he's 96 and still alive!)  Currently I'm re-reading Through A Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen, a gem of a historical which packs more emotion per page than anything I've ever read.  She has a new book out:  Before Versailles,  which I can hardly wait to read.

Do you prefer to write erotic or sweet?

Sweet, but times have changed.  In those little traditional Regencies I used to write, I could get away with a couple of kisses and maybe a quick feel.  Not any more.  When my agent told me I'd better "ramp it up,"  I took her word for it and started writing steamier stuff, although not what you'd call erotica.    

Which famous person, living or dead,  are you drawn to?

I admire  Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the other brave women in the Suffragist movement who fought for women's right to vote. I'd like to think that if I lived back then, I'd be out there in my bonnet with my sign, marching, going on hunger strikes to get that precious right.  Can you imagine not being able to vote?  What's sad is, such is still the case in some parts of the world.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

     Doing what I'm doing now—selling my  books and counting the royalties (hopefully  ever-increasing).  Of course by then I would like to have sold a blockbuster best seller to Hollywood for a couple of million.  Chances aren't good, though.  Some upstart author named  Jane Austin has pretty much cornered the market for Regency movies.

Finish this sentence: I know I’ve made it when_______________?

That moment has come and gone.  It came when, after 7 years of trying, I got "The Call" from my agent telling me she'd sold my Regency to Ballantine.  Next to the births of my two children, that moment remains forever engraved in my memory.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Decide in which genre you want to write. Read every book you can lay your hands on in that genre.  Write your book, following  the editors' guidelines exactly.  Do not write "the book of your heart"  until you're an established author.

What do you see yourself writing in the future?

That's hard to say.  So far I've written in four different genres:  Regency romance, western romance, paranormal, and contemporary mystery.  I love writing in all of them, but my friends tell me Regency is my niche, so maybe I'll stick with that.

If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?

I would travel back in time so I could talk to my mother and tell her I finally sold a book.  Oops, I'm getting all teary-eyed, so I'd better move on.

What time of the day are you at your best to write?

Eight a.m., after coffee and the newspaper.

And now for something completely different

What was the most defining moment in your life?

On Oct. 5, 2000, at 2:05 in the afternoon, a surgeon looked me in the eye and said, "You have breast cancer."  I was Stage IIIA and had a 7cm tumor.  After 8 chemos and 35 radiations,  I am now an 11-year cancer survivor and grateful every day that I'm still here.

 Thank the good Lord for that, you are an inspiration to so many who battle that disease everyday.

Explain your perfect day.

Doing some writing—surfing the Net—talking with a friend on the phone—taking a walk—watching a Netflix (the British series, The Tudors, is my all-time favorite.)

What is the most decadent desert you can’t say no to?

The Carnival Cruise's "Warm Chocolate Melting Cake" is to die for.  I just found the recipe on-line.  OMG!  There goes the waistline!

What key words describe you best?


To learn more about Shirley Kennedy and her books you can find her at :

Here is her latest video on her new release Heartbreak Trail

Coming soon from Shirley Kennedy
 The Last of Lady Lansdown 
Published by Camel Press, Release Date June, 2012. 


  1. Lovely interview, Shirley. Romance is such a lovely genre to write in. There are so many possibilities. I loved your HEARTBREAK TRAIL and can't wait for your release in June.

  2. Great interview Shirley! Really enjoyed learning about you. And your trailer is really well done!