A Chat with Beth Kendrick

beth-kendrickI don’t even remember when or where I first met my friend, Beth Kendrick.  I am thinking it was a tea at RWA’s annual conference, hosted by John Charles, the former RWA Librarian of the Year.  It may have been sooner.  I know I’d read her chick lit/women’s fiction books before I’d ever met her and loved her fresh, fun, flirty stories that always end happily, leaving you happy.

Over the years Beth and I have been able to meet up at conferences, and in Arizona (for tea again!  with John Charles!), and Hawaii, when she brought her mom and son out to play with us a year ago on Oahu.  We’ve spoken to librarians together and talked out plot problems and what makes an alpha an alpha.  And now my lovely friend has a brand new release, just out yesterday and I convinced her she had to come share here on my JaneBlog, to talk about Cure for the Common Breakup (which features a nice blurb by me on the front cover!)

Beth, let’s talk about the new book.  What led you to write this story?

Louis L’Amour wrote, “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” That quote has gotten me through some dark times in my own life, and it provided the first spark of inspiration for this story.

Those of you who read my last book, “The Week Before the Wedding”, may remember Summer Benson, Emily’s wild-child maid of honor. Summer was truly a gift from the writing gods– spontaneous, whip-smart, and hilarious, with an “I regret nothing!” attitude—and it was obvious that she needed her own book. I decided I’d brainstorm some brilliant ideas for her story…right after I went on vacation in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Of course, it turns out that writers’ brains never truly go on vacation. After three days of “not working” at the beach, I had an idea for the new book–and by miraculous coincidence, it was set on the Delaware shore!

This book goes out to every woman who’s had her heart broken and has rallied with her girlfriends to hold on to humor, hope, and faith that life will go on. That laughter will heal. That love—in all its many forms—will prevail. Oh, and also, there’s a ton of classic breakup songs and fancy beach houses and a swoon-worthy “designated rebound guy”.  Because, you know. Priorities.

Does music play a role in your writing process?  If so, do you create a special playlist for every book you write?

The town of Black Dog Bay has a bar called the Whinery, which, in accordance with the whole “bounce back from your breakup” theme, offers a playlist that includes every breakup song you could ever want. My Facebook fans helped to compile the list and there’s a little something for everyone, from country to pop to classic R&B. Here’s a sampling of what’s on tap:

“Divorce Song” by Liz Phair, “Fist City” by Loretta Lynn, “Breakin’ Dishes” by Rhianna, “Needle in a Haystack” by the Vevelettes, “Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)” by Travis Tritt, “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon, and the Iris DeMent classic “God Will Forgive You (But I Won’t)”. I tried to put in a little something for everyone!

Did you do a lot of research while writing this book?

I’m a research junkie; I love getting little peeks into other careers and lifestyles. For this book, I interviewed a flight attendant because it was important to me to depict Summer’s job as more than the cultural cliché we have of flight attendants. My “source” (aka my friend Kimberly), who’s been working at a major airline for over a decade, told fascinating stories about the places she’s been and the people she’s worked with, and she also added some great little details, like the fact that it really bothers her that uniform regulations require that she wear black pantyhose with navy skirts. You’re just not going to get that kind of information from a Google search.

Oh, and I also went to the Delaware shore for a week and hung out with my family, eating ice cream and boardwalk fries and sipping wine. All in the name of research. These are the sacrifices I make for my art!

Welcome to Black Dog Bay, a tiny seaside town in Delaware known as “the best place in America to bounce back from your breakup.” Home to the Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast, the Eat Your Heart Out bakery, and the Whinery bar, Black Dog Bay offers a haven for the suddenly single.
Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant.
Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’s the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn’t be kissing him. She definitely shouldn’t be falling in love.
After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything….

What are you working on next?

I just finished the first draft of “New Uses for Old Boyfriends”, which is also set in Black Dog Bay. (I’m never leaving the Whinery. Fact.) It’s about a recent divorcee who goes back to her hometown after her father dies…only to find financial disaster, a grieving mother in total denial, and a passel of ex-boyfriends—all with different agendas–awaiting her.

Name 3 books you hope to read soon:

“The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand (although I hear this will give me shark nightmares for weeks), and “Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink” by Kim Gruenenfelder

Title and author of the latest book you read?

Hands down, the best perk of being a writer is having other writers for friends. I just read volunteered (read: begged) to be a “beta reader” for my buddy Kresley Cole, who writes super dark and steamy paranormal romances. She caved and let me take a peek at a draft of her upcoming release, “Dark Skye” (to be published August 5) and OMG soooo good. I can’t wait to read the final version.

Name 5 words that fit your personality according to you.  And 5 words that fit your personality according to your best friend.

According to me: Resilient, positive, tenacious, dog-crazy, bubbly

According to my friend Chandra (bear in mind that my new book is dedicated to her, so she may be EVER SO SLIGHTLY BIASED): Smart, witty, tenacious, curious, loving

We both listed “tenacious”. Translation: Beth Kendrick is as stubborn as a mule.

Beth Kendrick is the author of ten women’s fiction novels, including Cure for the Common Breakup and Nearlyweds, which was made into a Hallmark Channel original movie. She grew up in New England, went to college in the Midwest, and headed to grad school in California, where she earned her PhD in psychology. She now lives in Arizona with two red rescue mutts. Her favorite breakup songs include One Trick Pony’s “The Bride” and Icona Pop’s “I Love It”.

For more information, please visit her website: www.BethKendrick.com or connect with her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BethKendrickBooks


Thank you, Beth, for sharing with us today, and readers, I have a special special Beth Kendrick giveaway that includes copies of some of Beth’s backlist, a Starbucks drink card, and lots of treats all tucked into a Jane Porter tote bag.  For a chance to win the Beth Prize, let me know how you would suggest getting over a bad break up, or a broken heart!  Contest ends Monday May 13th, with the winner announced Tuesday morning!

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