CLR: Give us the deets – genre(s), length of writing career, how long you’ve been writing – all the basics.
TK:I’ve been writing romance in multiple genres for a long time—most of my life, in fact!—but 2011 marked the launch of my career as a published author.
CLR: What made you choose romance?
TK: I started out writing young adult paranormal, but pretty quickly, I realized my favorite part to write was the love story. Once I’d completed my first four books, the King Series, I dipped my toes into adult contemporary romance and realized this was what I was meant to write.
CLR: How do you feel about female characters?
TK: I am passionate about writing female characters. I’m a woman, raised by strong women and the mother of three incredible daughters (and one amazing, perfect granddaughter!), so I can’t imagine not writing women.
CLR: What are the dos/don’ts of writing them for you?
TK: I have a strict policy about writing strong, realistic, flawed women. I won’t write women who depend on others to save them or to change their lives. It’s important to me that my women characters have courage, yet I also feel it’s imperative that they have a journey, a path to growth, that is part of the story.
CLR: Male characters, same question.
TK: When I wrote my paranormal romance, Undeniable, it was the first time I’d written from the male POV. I had so much fun that I couldn’t wait to do it again, and consequently, I almost always write dual POVs now. Men just have a different way of communicating and relating to each other.
CLR: What do you think about the “strong female character” trope in literature?
TK:I think of Scarlett O’Hara. Talk about a strong lady! Yet she is seldom seen as a likable, appealing character. Often, it seems, strength and relatability have been assumed to be mutually exclusive. Part of our job now as women authors is to change this perception.
CLR: Are there any special challenges to writing female characters in your genre?
TK: One of my favorite subgenres to write is sports romance. Not long ago, publishers believed that women wouldn’t read romances that involved football/baseball/hockey players, because they assumed women didn’t enjoy sports. Oh, how wrong they were! There’s a large and growing population of women who are crazy for sports romance—but while writing it, I have to walk a balance of creating female characters who are passionate about sports along with those who aren’t. I also try not to fall into stereotypes about women no matter what subgenres I’m writing. Traditionally, women in romances, be they contemporary or historical, tended to be needy and stupid in love. Often, women were depicted as manipulative, trying to trick or trap men into love and marriage. Happily, that’s changed—mostly. I don’t read or write romances with wimpy women.
CLR: What does your writing day look like?
TK: Every day is different! I’ve never been someone who sticks to a strict schedule . . . and with my husband’s calling (he’s a priest, a chaplain to the community) lending itself to a need for flexibility, I like to go with the flow. What is a given is that I work every day. When I’m in the middle of writing a book, I’ll usually make sure I have my laptop with me wherever I go. I try to write between 2500 and 7000 words a day, depending on the scene and my deadline.
CLR: Do you think the industry treats male and female writers differently?
TK: I don’t know many male authors, but my perception is that male authors are often seen as more serious than their female counterparts. However, in this new world of indie publishing, I think that’s changing rapidly.
CLR: What outside influences, if any, do you see having an impact on your writing?
TK: My family and their interests and experiences definitely influence my writing. My youngest daughter just graduated from an environmental college, and she is passionate about agricultural sustainability and protecting our environment. Consequently, many of my recent books have some element of that passion. Most of my books also include some of my kids’ real-life adventures!
CLR: Do you make a conscious effort to include feminist themes in your writing?
TK:I don’t think I do it deliberately—I don’t set out to say, in this story, the female lead is going to be a feminist. But because parts of me end up in each character, it would be odder if the women weren’t feminists. I find that often my female characters are discovering parts of themselves, journeying to a place of acceptance and strength.
CLR: What themes are your favorites to include in your writing?
TK: Personal growth and overcoming the past in order to enjoy the future are probably the ones most often found in my work.
CLR: What advice would you offer to new women authors coming up?
TK: Last year, at a conference, I happened to lead a round table about contemporary romance. I was shocked to my core when several of the younger women who are writing con rom claimed that they won’t write strong female characters. They prefer their women characters to be submissive and needy, or so they said. Careers are not needed. Now, as a woman who was a wife and homeschooling mom first and foremost, I have the utmost respect for that choice. But I also know that it’s imperative for us to present realistic, well-rounded women in our books, and most women do have careers. I love giving my characters common jobs with a twist . . .
CLR: What are you working on now?
TK: I’m getting ready to release my 75th book, The Anti-Cinderella Conquers the World. It’s the third book in The Anti-Cinderella Chronicles, which has been so much fun to write. Kyra is a non-traditional woman who marries into the British Royal Family—and you can just imagine what challenges she faces! I’m also writing on my fall release, Sway, which is the sixth Keeping Score book (football romance).
Author Bio: Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include new adult and adult contemporary romance; under the pen name Tamara Kendall, she writes paranormal romance, and under the pen name Tessa Kent, she writes erotic romance. Tawdra lives in central Florida with her husband, two sweet pups and too many cats. Assorted grown children and a perfect granddaughter live nearby. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.
You can learn more about Tawdra and her work at the links below:
I tap the cue ball; it misses and hits the table’s side. My boyfriend smiles, lines up the cue ball with the eight ball, hits it hard and sinks it. Darn. Another game down, but I think I’m getting better.
“Hey babe, I’m going to get another drink, want one?” he says with a smile.
“Sure. I’ll rack.”
He walks away from the table. The bar is some Houston hole in the wall. Pool tables, dart boards, hardwood surfaces that smell like mildew. The rain hasn’t let up for hours so we’re riding out the storm eating greasy burgers and drinking beer. He’s playing pool, I’m playing miss-the-ball.
I glance around the room and feel like I’m in a country music video. There’s a biker in the corner with long grey hair and a leather jacket. Two girls sitting at the counter; one in a camouflage crop top and the other in a leather fringe vest. The cowboy to our left has on a Stetson hat, Wranglers, and a pair of ostrich boots.
We play a few more games and I excuse myself to go to the restroom. It’s a typical dive bar facility. As I return, the cowboy looks up from his beer, whispers to me, “He’s gonna marry you one day.”
I’m taken aback by his words. The cowboy looked familiar. I can’t place his face, but I recognized his eyes and voice. The shape of his shoulders the curve of his cheek. I smile an awkward grin and continue back to the pool table. I turn around to look again, the cowboy is gone.
When the rain abates, we settle our tab and leave. My boyfriend drives me home; I’m exhausted and head straight to bed but have a fitful sleep. I’m haunted by the cowboy and his words until I place his face. I sit up with a start and pull out my journal. I know it was my deceased husband.
I write: “Life is full of coincidences, oddities, and strange occurrences. Sometimes, it’s easy to say that a random event is just that: random. Sometimes things happen that are so concurrent one has to stop and think about the design of life.”
The next morning, my husband’s cousin–his high school classmate, his close friend–receives a donor’s kidney. A young twenty-something crashed not more than two miles from the dive bar. The cousin coded on the table two times, but now the prognosis looks good.
That day, I know that my husband had been with his cousin, holding his hand, telling him it’s not time to go.
Fast forward three years. I have a dream about my husband. An odd dream. He was an interloper, unexpected, intruding on my subconscious. I wake and immediately fiddle with my engagement ring. I write in my journal: “He visited me while I slept.”
Since his passing five years earlier, my thoughts often returned to my husband; but he hadn’t appeared in my dreams since that night in the bar.
The next day, I receive a package from the cousin’s mother. It is August, the postmark reads December 15, 2008—four years and eight months earlier. I laugh to myself and put the shiny ornament away in a holiday storage box when I receive a phone call: the cousin passed the night before. He was 46 years old.
I close my eyes and think about his widow. A young mother, a young husband, a life cut too short. My journey is all too similar. I hold a picture of the two; dressed in football uniforms, sweat in their hair, flirting with the camera. Together then, as I know they are now.
Think what you will about coincidences, oddities, and strange occurrences. I know what happened that night at the bar, and I know why I received the ornament the day the cousin died.
Sometimes things happen that are so concurrent, one has to stop and think about the design of life.
Author Bio: Alison Nissen is a writer who does daily battle with dog hair and laundry. She has taught collegiate composition and literature classes for over a decade. Currently, she is the managing partner of 3 Dog Tales Productions, a full-service Ghostwriting, Editing, Coaching, and Publishing company.
The awesome Tawdra Kandle is part of a group of wonderful authors who are raising money to fight hunger. Their new anthology is up for pre-order, just in time for a little pre-season reading, and giving. Check out the particulars below.
Available for preorder now! Releasing next month. Twelve bestselling and award-winning authors each bring you a sexy night of romance, fun and a little magic. ‘Tis the season for falling for the right guy! Can a magical fruitcake be the special ingredient for falling in love?
**‘Tis the season for giving, too!**
20% of the proceeds will be donated to the hunger relief organization Feeding America
AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME!
Twelve bestselling and award-winning authors each bring you a sexy night of romance, fun and a little magic. ‘Tis the season for falling for the right guy! Can a magical fruitcake be the special ingredient for falling in love?
December 25: “Scrooge You” by MK Schiller
Christmas is nothing but a reminder of Eva’s tragic past. To make matters worse, her boyfriend invites his entire family over…so she goes into Scrooge mode. When three ghosts visit her, will she be able to remember the joy in her heart and the true meaning of Christmas?
December 26: “Unexpected Daddy” by Gemma Brocato
She let him go to pursue his dreams without telling him she was pregnant. Five years later, he’s back in town and her secret’s out. Can they get over past hurts to seize a future for their small family?
December 27: “The Meant to Be Girl” by Tawdra Kandle
When Ashley Webbar meets Zane Fletcher, it’s insta-lust, but she soon suspects he’s already smitten with someone else. Ashley is so busy matchmaking that she might miss out on her own happily-ever-after…if something doesn’t intervene first. This just might call for a Christmas miracle.
December 28: “For One Night Only” by Carrie Elks
When two strangers are stranded at a rest stop in the middle of Nowheresville—thank you, Mr. Bus Driver—they’re forced to spend the night together. But when morning comes, they both find themselves asking one question. Will they see each other again, or was their connection for one night only?
December 29: “Best Friends for the Night” by Alice Gaines
Every year, Steve has been cheering up his army buddy’s widow with popcorn and zany movies on the anniversary of her husband’s death. Will a little holiday magic make Steve and Hannah more than friends?
December 30: “Entwined” by Kristi Rose
Donovan survived combat, but can he survive being stranded over Christmas with the girl of his dreams? He swore he’d stay away from his best friend’s kid sister years ago, but after a helicopter crash, this sailor knows second chances don’t come around often. Loving Bailey would mean risking not only his friendship but his heart.
December 31: “Rekindled” by Stacy Finz
Branna and Drex are over…or at least they thought they were. But a little time trapped in an enclosed space with a magical fruitcake might just change that.
January 1: “New Year’s Negotiation” by Kate Allenton
When Detective Elizabeth Cross’s high school crush and star of her what-ifs shows up at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve ready to take her on a trip down memory lane, she’ll have to decide if this is a second chance at her happily ever after or the start of another broken heart.
January 2: “Playing House” by Kim Golden
Cassie Delk isn’t having the best holiday season. With her ex-husband about to get remarried, she’s not thrilled about still being single. The last thing she expects is for a second chance at love to turn up on her doorstep.
January 3: “Book of Love” by Cd Brennan
Nothing infuriates Melanie more than the one-armed, ex-army hunk who chucks her mail at her book shop door. When Nick delivers a special package at the end of the day, a blizzard strands them together, and the fruitcake delivery sparks magic between them instead. Melanie isn’t sure what she wants to give him—a piece of her mind or all of her heart.
January 4: “A Winter Wonderland” by Rebecca Hunter
Coming face to face with Jace after ten years is a reminder of everything Selena left behind when she moved from Delilah’s Cove. It’s even more dangerous when mixed with a little magic.
January 5: “Wild Honey” by Sarah Hegger
Two people who couldn’t be more different. One elevator, a dark and stormy night, and a magical, bourbon-laced fruitcake. What could go right?