April 13, 2012

Interview with Romance Author, Shirley Kennedy!

Welcome back for Week 3 of Getting Published! In this series, if you haven’t been following, I’m interviewing published authors in order to discover their secrets to getting noticed.
Today we have Shirley Kennedy, author of Heartbreak Trail, Who Killed Rudy Rio?, Selfless Sister and many more.

Shirley, what was your road to publication like? 
When I started writing, I read someplace that it took the average writer seven years to get published.  Maybe that was a self-fulfilling prophesy, but that’s exactly how long it took—seven years!
How many manuscripts did you complete before you became a published author?
Four.  My first, a little scuba-diving romance called Dive Down to Heaven, still awaits the light of day.  Maybe I’ll self publish it on Kindle.  On second thought, maybe I won’t, thus sparing the world a painful experience.
(Preference) Digital books or print?
Up until Amazon Kindle, I would have said print, by far.  Now my western romance, Heartbreak Trail, has been making phenomenal sales through the Kindle Select program, so I’ve changed my mind.
Do you see any down sides to self-publishing?
Yes and no.  Back in the day, “self published” carried a huge stigma.  Not anymore.  In fact, I’ve just self published one of my old books, and it’s doing okay.  The problem is, anybody and her sister can self publish these days, without any regard to grammar, syntax, spelling, and all that makes a good book.  There’s a lot of trash out there, and that’s not fair to readers.
And one more thing:  Those who self publish will never have the thrill of getting “The Call,” that truly unforgettable moment when an agent or editor calls to tell you that you’ve sold your first book.
What do you think of the rumor claiming in as little as three years, paper will be obsolete?
Really?  I honestly don’t know.  Right now, I read books on my Kindle, but I’m also reading print books.  If I were to guess, I’d say the two formats will co-exist for a long, long time.
Do you have some advice for both published and unpubbed writers out there?
Yes. Before you sit down to type that first “Chapter One,” read and study everything you can get your hands on about writing.  Two books I found invaluable were:  Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, and How to Write A Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey.  If, before I started to write, I had read these and similar books, I might not have needed seven long years to get published!

You can find Shirley at her website, www.shirleykennedy.com
And you can purchase her books here:
The Last of lady Lansdown, Camel Press, will be released May 1st, both in print and e-book form. Unlike the "sweet" Regencies I used to write, Lady Lansdown is larger and more adult.  The paperback can be pre-ordered on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Last-Lady-Lansdown-Shirley-Kennedy/dp/1603818189/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334081111&sr=8-1

Heartbreak Trail, a wagon train romance, has remained on Amazon's Kindle History best seller list for several months.  Find it at

The London Belle, originally published by Signet is now available on Amazon Kindle.  http://www.amazon.com/The-London-Belle-ebook/dp/B007RSGZPW/ref=sr_1_2?m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&ie=UTF8&qid=1334081722&sr=1-2

In fact, all my old Signet Regencies will soon be available on Kindle.

Who Killed Rudy Rio? is a fast-paced female P.I. mystery available on Kindle for (such a bargain!) $.99.

And by the way, I have just sold a paranormal romance to Inkspell Publishing.  Titled Deadly Gamble, it will be released in October, 2012.  It’s about a haunted casino in Las Vegas and promises to be a fun read.

Congratulations, Shirley, on your upcoming release and thanks for stopping by! I hope this week's interview has given you a little more insight into the publishing world. Next week, come back to check out sci-fi author, Cara Michaels!


  1. Sorry I don't have chocloate to leave. I just wanted to say great interview. I also recommend the book by James N. Frey. It's one of the few books on writing that I actually read cover to cover.

  2. Great advice! Thanks for the comment. I'll be sure to add it to my resources page.


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