1. What do you wish men understood about women?
Oh boy… this is an interesting question. There are long answers and short answers. I’m sure the men would prefer the short answers… so… Are men reading this? I’m going long with this one. Seriously, this question could be answered with bulleted points that women and men have heard countless times before, but really I think a meaningful answer lies with each particular woman. For me, I needed my husband to understand that although I was the parent who would be home with the children while he worked out of the house full time, that my work was no less valuable. Yes, I’m more flexible working from home, but the work still needs to get done. It doesn’t disappear. So every time I panic that I’m not going to meet a deadline and I run around the house yelling, “I have a deadline! I have to work on the weekend! You have to take the kids to lacrosse and swimming and I can’t do it!” He just looks at me and says, “Okay.” And it’s done. To me that is everything. Some women need flowers, some women need treasures, some women need sixteen phone calls a day from their husband…the key is for the man to know what his girlfriend or wife needs and find a way to give it to her.
2. Do you only work on one book at a time?
I work on multiple books at a time, but all are at different stages. And then at some point I have to stop progress on all of them except the one that has a hard deadline. I was given great advice once when I was writing a lot of nonfiction and had multiple fiction projects going at the same time. My friend Judy said, “You’re going to have to pick one and just finish it.” I wasn’t expecting to hear that as I felt inspired by all the different projects going at once. I never got “stuck.” But I’ve come to realize that to really delve into a book and reveal its heart and soul, I needed to let that book have total access to my brain, my creative centers. I still collect ideas for my other projects while one of them is predominant. I still gather research ideas, character traits and scenes that go into other books, but I’ve learned my work will go faster and be stronger when at a certain point I give over completely to just one project.
3. Who is your favorite fictional couple?
Wow… I think my all-time favorite couple is Harry and Sally from When Harry Met Sally. That movie—the dialogue and plot is perfection. I’m sure that has a lot to do with the actors who played Harry and Sally, but I just think that’s a brilliant romance that feels modern and fresh even though it’s… how old? It’s old, but boy does it stand the test of time. Literary couple… I really loved the story of Jacob and Marlena in Water for Elephants. That book has a special place in my heart because when I read it I knew for sure I could write historical fiction. Something about its structure, the back and forth of the plotlines and the mystery of the character’s lives over time just clarified my next writing project. And the love…I was mesmerized by Jacob and Marlena’s developing love.
4. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
This is very commercial, but it fits most situations when I feel hesitant to do something… Just Do It! I realize if the question was, “Should I drink all night?” that quote would not be as helpful to leading a productive life, but for me when I become reticent or worried, I find myself saying that and usually action is the best, next step in life. Or not. Sometimes that quote fits when I’m run ragged and I need to just sit a minute (I am working around having Multiple Sclerosis and my treatment is supposed to involve “rest and listening to my body!” Anyone with kids knows how silly that is.) and I feel as though it’s lazy to do such a thing and again, Just Do It! Comes to mind. Not very deep, but practical, for sure.
5. Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
I have daily goals, but they are different depending on what time of year it is and what stage my deadlined project is in. When writing first drafts I aim to write 1600 words a day. That’s easy for me to do in two hours time. Revision is tougher for me. Reworking and piecing together, ripping apart, developing, expanding, getting rid of—all of these tasks require slower, reasoned work that I find is much harder to assign a quantifiable amount of work to be done in a given day. I make sure when the kids are in school I write as though I had an office job with a boss who wants to see me in my chair at work. There are times I need to do errands or go to doctors appointments but I really try to keep that time for writing. But I also throw in exercise as it’s part of my MS course of treatment and it also is a form of meditation for me that works to solve plot and character issues as I write. I’ve learned to view that time as writing time as much as the hours at the keyboard. So, it depends. There’s no question that drafting, belting out 1600 words a day leads to the most satisfying sense of accomplishment—at least until I get to the stage of editing where everything is there and I’m messing with sentences, making them sound the way I want—that is extremely satisfying and leaves me feeling accomplishment. The middle—the ugly revision stage when I’m not sure where it’s going—feels the least productive, even though it’s the most important.
6. What do you like better, Twitter or Facebook? Why? I love, love, love Twitter. Facebook is awesome, but I was a late adopter to that and I feel a little like I’m in the carpool lane at my kids’ school on Facebook. I’m hyper aware of everything I write—should it be long, like a blog post? Should I write short and witty? Is anyone even seeing my post? But with Twitter, for me, there’s a larger sense of community even though I KNOW very few of my Twitter followers from my “face-to-face” life. It’s a strange thing, I realize. But I love the brevity, the lightness, the humor on Twitter. I feel like everyone’s more sensitive on Facebook. Again, that’s just my experience I think most people feel better about Facebook than me, but for some reason, Twitter is a fit. With all that said, I do like posting to my author page on Facebook—for obvious reasons, it doesn’t feel icky to talk about my books there!
7. What are you working on now?
I am working on a novella that will go into a book called, Holiday Bliss. It’s an anthology series—the series that launched Home Again and led to Return to Love—the novel I just launched. The heroine in the holiday story was introduced in Return to Love and will fall in love over the course of her own tale. I’m also finishing up books two and three in the Letter Series which started with The Last Letter—my first historical fiction endeavor.
Publication date July 2014
April and Hale Abercrombie’s love is tender and sweet. While he serves in Vietnam, their marriage is marked by trust and the belief that they will grow old together with a gaggle of grandchildren at their feet. But, their charmed marriage changes in the face of losing their newborn daughter.
On leave from his tour, Hale can barely wait to hold his wife and her help her heal. When he arrives, his embrace, his touch, and his love are as perfect as April remembered. Their reunion is passionate and their physical connection is strong and soothing. But, April’s heartache remains.
Hale stumbles through his attempts to prove to April that their future will be rich and full of wonder. His good-hearted, but take-charge approach causes her to retreat. Even in grief, April can see Hale’s earnestness, yet she finds solace in putting space between them. They must learn trust that real love will endure even in the face of all that has gone wrong.
Set on the beaches of the Outer Banks, Return to Love is the second book in the Endless Love series. Book one, Home Again, was named a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
*Please note, Book One (Home Again) in the series is a novella and is also available for reviewers*
Buy link for Home Again
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, Autumn 1970
Hale’s lungs were tight as he gripped his duffel in one hand and held his uniform over his shoulder with the other. He flew up the steps of the small fishing cottage that his wife was renting from the Shelby family and arrived on the wide porch. He had imagined the moment he’d see her so many times that he felt like he was performing a play. He dropped the duffel right there and knocked on the screen door. Why was he knocking? She knew he was coming. He threw the door open and walked into the small entry. It opened into the family room. He wiped his feet while he scanned the space. “April!”
His heart beat fast and heavy. Yes, he was home under difficult circumstances. Hale’s wife was having difficulty coping with the stillbirth of their daughter. He was worried for her and knew if his skipper granted hardship leave that things must be bad. Yet he was determined, sure as he had finally arrived at the Outer Banks, he was confident that he could make her well. He just needed to see her, to hold her, to tell her everything was going to be okay.
The Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight” was playing on the radio. The tune brought a smile to his face. He rushed down the hallway and poked his head into two bedrooms and a bathroom before finding the room April had been using. He tucked his naval uniform into the closet, went back to the kitchen, and turned off the radio, straining to hear any noise that might signal April’s location. He went back outside, inhaling the salty air.
Where was she? He leapt off the porch and crossed the gravelly lane called Beach Road stepping onto the sand, craning his neck to catch a glimpse of her. A seagull clipped Hale’s head as it landed off to the side then flipped a whitefish into its mouth. As far as he could see, the beach was empty, yet he thought he should walk it, search for April. He didn’t know which direction she would have walked, but he started out anyway.
Heading south, a flock of black birds escorted him from above. Scores of them moved together like one great wing flapping in the wind. The whoosh of their collective descent was punctuated by their coarse, throaty screams.
The sand worked into Hale’s shoes, each particle stabbing at the skin below his ankles. He pushed one shoe off and then the other, leaving them near a smattering of driftwood that had been pushed ashore by high tide. The birds dropped, their calls growing louder, drowning out the surf. One by one the black skimmers rained from the sky like bombs, their red beaks bright against the gray sky that had crept in with Hale’s arrival. Some of the birds landed in the shoals and poked and prodded at the sand.
He came upon the largest cluster of birds, the beige sand peeking out in small patches among the blackness, and his eye went to a different form, a woman sitting rod straight, motionless in the center of the black avian shroud. Her blonde hair whipped in the wind like the sea grass at his feet. Hale stopped. His heart thumped. April. He willed himself to breathe, to move toward her. He’d never seen such a sight, the way she seemed partly born of the sand, partly able to sprout wings and fly away.
“April!” he said, waving even though her back was to him.
She did not respond. He called again, his words turned back to him by the stiff ocean gales. He jogged toward her, weaving in between napping skimmers, hopping over those that were too busy eating to move out of his way.
When he had nearly reached April, he halted again. He suddenly felt nervous about his excitement; he felt her sadness as though they shared the same soul. He’d never seen such a stunning sight in his life. Her elegance was apparent even sitting on a beach, in the middle of birds. She turned her head slightly, her profile facing him. His stomach flipped. Oh my God, is she beautiful. The wind tossed her hair, making her appear as though she were posing for a magazine shoot.
Even from a distance, even from the side, he thought he could see the sparkle of her blue eyes. The way they were set, wide on her face, made it seem as though he saw something slightly different every time he looked at her, something more, something alluring, hypnotizing. Those eyes.
About the Author
Amazon Top-100 Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance.
Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.
For more information, visit www.kshoop.com. FACEBOOK-- KATHLEEN SHOOP https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kathleen-Shoop/359762600734147?focus_composer=true TWITTER-- @kathieshoop https://twitter.com/kathieshoop
Overall tour giveaway is 3 x $15/£10 Amazon Gift Cards plus 1 x recipe book (ties in with Return to Love) Renewal “Anytime” 10 Day Detox by Lisa Consiglio Ryan.