It's my pleasure to welcome Kandy Shepherd to the blog today. A former magazine editor, Kandy left that life behind to join her family (both two and four legged) on a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia and write heartwarming romance novels. When I picked up a copy of Kandy's debut novel, Love is a Four-Legged Word, in 2009 it quickly became evident that we shared a common love of two things: dogs and romance. Kandy joins us today to chat about another debut of sorts; her first book for the Harlequin Romance line. I've just finished The Summer They Never Forgot and enjoyed it immensely. It's a heartwarming, deeply romantic story of second chances written with the expertise that I've come to expect from Kandy Shepherd.
Thanks for joining us today, Kandy. Take it away!
In love with the beach
I don’t know why I find the beachside such an ideal setting for romance. Is it because the rhythm of the waves is meant to echo the human heartbeat? Or because people are often scantily clothed at the beach? Maybe we’re simply more relaxed in close proximity to golden sands and blue water?
|Courtesy of Tourisme Tahiti|
Who can forget that classic scene in From Here to Eternity where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr make passionate love in the breaking waves on a secluded Hawaiian beach? Sigh! However, according to a small survey I conducted (where the respondents shall remain nameless!) the soggy reality of making love on the beach doesn’t always meet the fantasy. Sand in uncomfortable places. The sting of saltwater. Sunburn. Fear of discovery, etcetera, etcetera. Maybe such scenes are better kept as fantasy!
I have spent many happy vacations in that part of the world and love the quaint towns, unspoiled bushland and, most of all, the pristine beaches with their white sand and aquamarine waters. In true Aussie style, kangaroos abound in that area—they even come down to the beach to play in the waves. There are dolphins, too. It’s on one of those beaches that I first saw dolphins surfing. The fun they were having was nothing on my delight in watching them frolic!
So you can imagine what fun I had creating the town of Dolphin Bay, putting all the things I loved best about that area into the one fictional place. One early review of the book says the setting “is described so beautifully, readers will almost feel the sand between their toes”.
It’s in this setting that my hero and heroine Ben and Sandy fall in love as teenagers. To them, it’s more than a vacation romance and they never quite forget that first love. Twelve years pass by until Ben and Sandy meet again and, in the interim, they’ve both been wounded by life. Old hurts, betrayals and misunderstandings stand in the way of their reunion. But they’re so perfect for each other! Again that beachside setting starts to weave its magic on them as they find their way back to each other’s hearts. (Though, because this is a sweet romance, there aren’t any torrid encounters in the surf, From Here to Eternity style!)
I’m glad this deeply romantic and emotional story was released in February. This month of romance is also a month of extreme weather in both hemispheres. Readers in chilly winter and those in steamy summer might enjoy the chance to escape to perfect beach weather in the pages of my book!
What’s your dream vacation—beach, lake, mountain, or somewhere quite different? Have you found romance on vacation? I’d leave to hear about it!
Kandy is giving a mass market paperback copy of The Summer they Never Forgot to two randomly chosen people who leave a comment on today's blog. (open internationally) You must post a comment before 11:00pm EST, February 12, 2014 to be eligible for the giveaway.