This week on the Small town Romance Guest Author series, I’m so happy to be talking to USA Today bestselling author, Kimberly Lang, author of the Magnolia Beach series. Next Monday, I’ll be giving away an eBook copy Kimberly’s Something to Prove, so don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the contest.
The fictional town of Magnolia Beach is in Alabama, right where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf. In order, there’s Something to Prove, which is the giveaway book. Then comes Everything at Last. More Than Anything, will be out in December. There’s even a fun prequel novella to the series called One Little Thing . Each book stands alone, though, so you don’t have to read them in order.
Let me say right away that I love your covers! I drove through and stopped in that area last summer and absolutely loved it. Reading these books will be like going back on a holiday visit.
What attracted you to the small town romance genre?
Small towns come pre-loaded with all kinds of conflict. Everyone knows everyone already, so dirt and secrets aren’t very well hidden, and the past is never really in the past. These people know your family, too, probably back several generations. So every character interaction, no matter how quick or trivial, has multiple layers, which builds a richer story, and every action ripples through the community, which creates a more immersive experience. It’s fun!
It certainly sounds like fun. How much has your own life influences your writing?
I’m a Southern girl, born and bred, and I tend to wallow in my Southerness whenever possible with great joy and abandonment. The Magnolia Beach books give me the chance to write about all the things I love (and sometimes hate) about the South — the people, the food, the weather, even the stereotypes…. This is my home and these are my people, so it feels true and authentic as I write, which makes it both easier and a real joy. Because these books are emotionally close to home, I think more of my own experiences and feelings end up in the books.
How would you describe your writing process?
A really hot mess, which no one should ever try to replicate if they value their sanity. But I do manage to get books out of it, so I just deal with the hot mess with good humor.
Where do you get your story ideas?
I have no idea. My brain is such a mish-mash of 80’s song lyrics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer quotes, John Donne poetry, old phone numbers, and random trivia that I’m surprised anything ever bubbles to the top. But I usually get a flash of a situation that intrigues me, and I’ll build a book around it. More Than Anything started with the idea of a guy stranded on a boat, unable to operate it, and the heroine rescuing him. I once wrote an entire book just because I thought the line Note to self: never prepay your honeymoon would be a great opener. And you wondered why I consider my process a hot mess…
It sounds like it works for you. What themes does your most recent book explore?
Recently, my books have skewed heavily towards the heroine and her journey. They have pasts and secrets, and they need heroes who not only accept that, but also really like that complexity, which, in turn, allows the heroines to unpack that baggage. Theme-wise, they’re stories of acceptance, letting go, and moving forward without apology for who they once were because it made them who they are now. I like strong heroines.
So do I. Can we expect more books in your current series?
Magnolia Beach seems to have a large population of hot, sexy, single Alpha males, so… yeah.
So tell us, what do you read? Do you read different genres when you’re writing vs not writing?
I actually read a lot of historical romances — especially hot Regency and Scottish ones. Since I don’t write in that genre, it’s total escapism, and that’s the purpose of reading, right? I try not to read contemporary romance while I’m writing, but there’s just so many good books out there, it’s hard.
What makes you laugh?
Puns, animals being derpy, acerbic satire, and my family (because they’re deeply weird)
Do you watch any reality TV?
Only two: So You Think You Can Dance (because I used to dance) and RuPaul’s Drag Race (I so want to learn how to do drag queen makeup). I am proud to say I’ve never seen a single episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and am not entirely sure why I’d want to keep up with them.
I’m with you there. So, coffee or tea?
ALL THE TEA. Please and thank you.
And finally – wine , whisky or beer?
Mostly white wine, but I love a shot of Fireball Whiskey in the evenings.
Remember to enter the contest for Something to Prove by leaving a comment for Kimberly below. That’s all you have to do.
Next week our guest author Sara Daniel, author of the Bad boys of Regret Hollow series. Join us then. It should be fun.