Author Spotlight: Kelly Hunter
Describe yourself in one word:
What is your background with regard to writing?
I have a science background, and my high-school English teacher once told me to save myself the embarrassment of trying to get any joy out of literary texts, so, erm… I’m self-taught. As my commas will attest.
When did you first begin writing with a view of embarking on a career as a published author?
When I was working outstation in Malaysia on a biological control program in conjunction with Australian and Malaysian governments. I had nothing to read! My (then) kindergarten son’s Chinese homework (words and colouring-in pictures!) didn’t count.
Tell us a little more about Sympathy for the Devil:
It’s the second book in the Jackson Brothers series, set in Brunswick Bay, Australia (the first book, The Honeymoon Trap, just received a Best Book of 2014 label from Publishers Weekly). The series revolves around three brothers who work together at the family marina, play together, fight between themselves, defend each other against all comers, and two of them once fell for the same girl.
There’s nothing quite like the rivalry that exists between brothers, but when a girl enters the mix it certainly spices things up. Where did the inspiration for this storyline come from?
Deep down in the bowels of the imagination. Truth? I wanted to explore the loyalty between two brothers and see if I could break it. What kind of betrayals would be unforgiveable and under what circumstances? Did I test the bond between brothers in this story? Yes. Break it? No. It was stronger than I thought.
What were the key challenges in writing Caleb and Bree’s story?
Keeping Caleb a Bad Boy! I had the cover – and, my, what a cover – but I also knew that my guy had very few of the regular alpha bad boy trappings. Did he have extreme wealth and/or power? Not really. A tragic backstory to explain his bad behaviour? Nope. Revenge to be going on with? Nada. My guy had a deep love for the ocean, a family who loved him, a woman he’d always wanted, and secrets. And maybe a burning desire for absolution. Bring on the panic! No, wait! Absolution. I can work with that…
What one character trait will most endear both Caleb and Bree to your readers?
I never know until readers tell me. So far readers are really responding to Caleb knowing exactly what he wants and going after it. I liked this too, in the writing of the story. And they like that Bree is successful in her chosen profession but that she’s also willing to re-examine her relationships with her family and with Caleb and learn from past mistakes.
What do you want readers to know about the romance genre?
That it’s wide, varied and wonderful. And that writing and reading romance makes me happy. I do like being happy.
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Tossing little paper boxes of sterile, half-frozen screw-worm flies out the door of a little twin engine aeroplane as it criss-crosses its way back and forth above a tropical jungle with all the finesse of a punch drunk crop duster. Now do you see why I love writing romance?
What’s next for you?
More stories. The final Jackson brother, Cutter, of course. The final story in the West Family series for Harlequin Sexy/Presents/Modern. A novella featuring a hardworking single mother whose friends buy her a bachelor/handyman for a week… that one’s got play-with-me-now written all over it. I’m also Executive Editor for Tule Publishing Group’s Holiday imprint, and working with authors to shape this line and deliver great stories pushes every last one of my creative buttons. Bearing in mind, of course, that I started with flies, frozen and sterile J
What book is currently on your nightstand?
Captive Prince Volume #3 by CS Pacat. Though it’s not on my nightstand, it’s on my Kindle. Australian author and a very good series.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Do you really need physics and advanced mathematics, Kelly? I don’t think so.
It’s almost Christmas (yes, already!), tell us: what are you hoping to find under the tree this year?
I don’t mind what’s under the tree, but around the tree I want family with me.
Favourite Christmas recipe?
My great grandmother’s Christmas Pudding recipe. Yes, the one with the entire 750ml bottle of OP rum. It has quite the reputation.
Favourite Christmas tradition?
The Christmas puppies on the tree. Our Christmas tree gets dressed with every stuffed teddy/puppy/koala my children have ever owned. They come out every Christmas to celebrate with us and it’s always a bittersweet pleasure to see them.
Share with us your biggest New Years Resolution for 2015:
A better work/play balance. Less alcohol, more exercise – although that’s one’s more of a vague hope…
Favourite travel experience?
I have SO MANY. I’ve been very lucky in that regard. And a lot of them show up in one form or another in my stories. Mind you, I was in Pitt St. Sydney the other day and saw a live rat, all by itself, perched on a little velvet stand out the front of a shop and with a little pile of seeds at his elbow and a handful of coins scattered in front of him. This little rat was begging… kinda begs at least an essay on ratdom and scavenging, don’t you think? I didn’t have to travel far from home at all in order to experience that one…
Number one thing to do on your bucket list:
Iron man (ed note—I did pose the question to Kelly as to whether she was referring to an Ironman race or Iron Man as in Robert Downey Jr and she assures me she’d never do an Ironman race!!!)
Milk, dark or white chocolate?
Red, white, bubbly?
All of them.
About the Author:
Australian born Kelly Hunter writes short contemporary romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon and even shorter contemporary romance for Tule Publishing Group and Penguin Australia. She’s won lots of awards, this year’s favourites are an Australian Romance Readers Award for favourite short category romance, and a Romance Writers of Australia R*BY award for short category romance. Why short category romance and not a bigger wordcount? Aside from a deep and abiding admiration for the shorter form, Kelly has a one-to-three-month book-writing attention span. If she ever learns to write faster or pay attention longer, she may write longer books.
Sympathy for the Devil
Caleb Jackson has a secret – as a reckless teen he seduced his big brother’s girl. The girl moved away, his brother moved on and Caleb tried and tried to forget it ever happened. Ten years later, Bree Tucker is back, more tempting than ever, and his big brother seems hell-bent on reeling her back into their lives.
Bree Tucker doesn’t want to take the Jackson photography job, even if every last one of them is as photogenic as sin. Caleb, in particular, is the kind of man a woman would happily lie, cheat and check her self-respect at the door for – she should know. But Caleb had only ever been responding to the lure of the forbidden. He’d never been seriously interested in her.