Since we’re all busy this holiday season, I’m going to pair up the 3QQs with the six authors who are signing at Saturday’s Turn the Page Bookstore event from noon – 2 pm.
Donna Kauffman is a seasoned veteran of Turn the Page signings and — judging by the lines, laughter and photos taken — a reader favorite. Kimberly Kincaid is a TTP rookie who’s thrilled to be part of the Holiday In Boonsboro event. Donna and Kimberly contributed to The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, which serves as a launching point for Kimberly’s new series. Donna’s also signing Pelican Point, the first of her Bachelors of Blueberry Cove series.
1. In Pelican Point, you leave behind all the sweet folks on Sugarberry Island, to bring us the Bachelors of Blueberry Cove. How hard was it to say goodbye to a fictional place you’ve known for years? And what can you tell us about Pelican Point? (yes, that’s 3 questions in one, but I cheat.)
It was hard to leave the gang behind on Sugarberry Island, but have no fear, I’ll be back again! It’s just a brief hiatus. (I can’t leave Alva alone too long, goodness knows what trouble she’d get up to!) I’ve spent a lot of time in Maine this past year and have been chomping at the bit to share my wee village of Blueberry Cove with readers. Set on the northern stretch of coast, it’s above the more toursity towns, so a close-knit community and one of the oldest in Maine, home to sixth and seventh generation fishermen, shipbuilders, lighthouse keepers… A little quirky, a lot of fun, with a rich history…and some pretty hot heroes! It’s been an exciting tapestry to weave. I hope everyone finds something to love there.
2. You blog a lot about pop culture shows like Dancing With the Stars, American Idol and Castle how did that start for you and what does it bring to your fiction writing?
It started as a fluke. I began blogging in the dark ages of the concept, as a way to connect readers to a “Day in the Life…” of a writer. Only our lives are just not that exciting. (I got up. I wrote. I ate. I wrote some more… ) So I was struggling to find other things to chat about and get a conversation going. Back then I wasn’t comfortable with putting my family up for conversational fodder, so I talked about books, movies, music, popular culture, things we all have connections to, but it was still hard to find a new topic Every. Single. Day. One morning, after a particularly shocking exit on American Idol the night before, I decided to make that my topic of the day.
Somehow I won the Google Search Lottery that day, as when anyone Googled the name of the surprise bootee, MY blog was the first thing that came up. To say I saw a slight traffic increase from post the day before about what I was going to make for dinner would possibly be the biggest understatement in recorded history. No fool I, the following week, though a more predictable episode of Idol, I posted about it again, and lo and behold, the numbers for that day were still huge. Driving traffic through my website and exposing new faces to my books was the point of the blog, so once a week, I continued to chat about Idol. It increased traffic and gave me one less day to agonize over what I was going to write about. Win-win!
When that show ended, readers begged to know what I was going to chat about next….and so it began. I tied in giveaways and such to the recaps, and the audience has grown to the point that now, many years later, I am a weekly contributor to USA Today, recapping various shows for them. (This season, it’s ABC’s Castle!) They put my name in the headline and plug my books every week to their millions of readers, and I get to watch and chat about a show I watch and chat about anyway – Best. Gig. Ever!
3. What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?
This is where I’m supposed to say the joy of giving, and peace on Earth, right? And, of course, I love giving presents. So much so, I can never wait until Christmas when I find just the right thing for the right person. But my very favorite thing about the holiday season is the Christmas lights. It was a big deal when I was a kid, my dad would drive me and my sisters around the neighborhoods, giving us a chance not only to look at lights, but to spend time and talk with him, and I did the same with my boys, who are grown now and still talk about “going light looking” every season. I hope they do the same with their kids. Pretty to look at, and some wonderful, wonderful memories. It’s a holiday two-fer!
Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance novels. She’s a strong believer in fiery yet flawed characters destined for a crash-course in falling in love– usually the hard way– and injects humor and poignancy along the way. Here are her 3 QQ plus 3 Quick Answers:
1. Your novella in The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap introduces readers to Pine Mountain, the setting of your 2014 releases. What can you tell us about Pine Mountain and the people who live there? (Bonus Q: and can you tell us a little about Sugar and Spice — your contribution to the book?)
Pine Mountain is a fictional resort town nestled in the (quite real) Blue Ridge Mountains. I am a sucker for “real” people in small-town settings finding extraordinary love. My heroes and heroines are all passionate about their careers and their families, even though those families rarely look traditional and some are even chosen families rather than blood ties. Everyone knows everyone else in Pine Mountain! Sugar and Spice introduces us to Lily Callahan, a cake caterer with her eye on the prize– the ten-thousand dollar prize in Pine Mountain’s Cookie Competition, that is. Of course, pastry chef Pete Mancuso wants the title, too. It’s just wanting each other that neither of them banks on!
2. Can you describe the journey — in three sentences — from aspiring author to published? And knowing what you know now what would you differently?
I sat down to write my first book four years ago with no experience and no guidance, and it was eye-opening to say the least! But I joined the Romance Writers of America and took some classes, then landed my fabulous agent a year later. I sold the Pine Mountain series last July, and that was when the whirlwind really started! But I wouldn’t trade a single rejection or deleted draft. Even the frustrations were lessons, and I’m glad to have had them all.
3. What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?
My favorite part of the holiday season is baking cookies, of course! I love to bake, especially with my daughters (ages 12, 9 and 6) We put on holiday music and take out the butter and eggs and flour and make a holy mess. It’s a ton of fun, and we end up with lots of cookies to gift to friends. I look forward to it all year.
Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.
And where else can you find Donna and Kimberly besides the signing? Check out Donna’s Facebook page as well as Kimberly’s. And you can follow them on Twitter: @DonnaKauffman and @KimberlyKincaid. Enjoy!