Kay Lyons - Romance and Second Chances in Carolina Cove
Kay Lyons always wanted to be a writer, ever since the age of seven or eight when she copied the pictures out of a Charlie Brown book and rewrote the story because she didn’t like the plot. Through the years her stories have changed but one characteristic stayed true— they were all romances. Each and every one of her manuscripts included a love story. Published in 2005 with Harlequin Enterprises, Kay’s first release was a national bestseller. Kay has also been a HOLT Medallion, Book Buyers Best and RITA Award nominee. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Seashells and Wedding Bells.
Please give us a short introduction to what Seashells and Wedding Bells is about.
Seashells and Wedding Bells is about second chances for several of the characters. Hadley is an empty nester starting over after discovering her husband cheated on her, and trying to figure out her purpose now that the kids are in college etc. It depicts the hero's second chance at love, and it also has a surprise secret baby that enables a second chance at motherhood.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
Without too many details, personal experience played a part. I wrote the story to give Hadley and so many women like myself a happy ending. I look forward to the day I meet my Bryson but until then...
Tell us more about Hadley Masterson. What makes her tick?
Actually, Hadley struggles to know what makes her tick. She's been a wife to a successful doctor and a mom for so many years that she lost a lot of her identity along the way. During the course of the book (no spoilers!), she begins to figure things out and realizes she has what it takes to move forward with her life. She can be who she wants to be instead of the person life made her due to circumstances.
When did you decide to become a writer, and was there a specific moment where you suddenly realized that you have achieved that?
There was a "moment" and it occurred in first grade at the reading table. The teacher held up the book and read the illustrator's name and told us that person had drawn the pictures, but the author-- she had written the book. Despite my young age, it was a lightbulb moment and I turned to the girl next to me (Stephanie) and said, "That's what I'm going to do when I grow up." It happened in an instant but I remember like it was yesterday. (And trust me, it wasn't. That was a long, loooong time ago. LOL) But I've been writing ever since.
Why did you pick Carolina Cove as the backdrop for your story?
Carolina Cove is based on Kure Beach, NC. I lived in Wilmington, NC for three years and absolutely loved the area. I wanted to avoid any similarities of businesses/owners etc so I created a town and made it what I wanted, though if you're ever in Kure Beach I'm quite sure you'll see more than a few spots similar to those mentioned in the book.
What makes Bryson such a great love interest?
Oh, Bryson. LOL To me he is just a good man. Humble, hard-working, kind and caring, and gorgeous in the confidence he has in himself. Hadley needed someone very different from her ex. Someone secure in himself enough that he could encourage her to follow her heart.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this story?
One, at the time I still lived in Wilmington and would drive to the parking area facing the pier and Atlantic and sit in my car and type away. It was winter and the off-season, so parking was free and easy to find at the time, but with the sun in the windows, I could stay for hours and truly get the details of the story right, all while watching the fishermen atop the pier and the dolphins swimming by in front of me.
Two, the Babes. I had SO MUCH FUN writing their characters. Like the Golden Girls, they bicker and fuss but would be the first to be called to hide a body ;) I am extremely blessed to have such friends in my life so there's a few their personalities tied up in them as well.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Yes, but over the years I've learned to let them go and follow their lead. They make for the most interesting characters and fun twists.
This is book 2 of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
All of my books can be read as standalones, however, if a reader wants the full experience of H/H's friends and families, I recommend reading the series. I have three series to date which are set in Carolina Cove, and characters from earlier series are sometimes mentioned in the later ones. It makes for a fun, family-like atmosphere which is very apparent on the real-life island when the tourists are gone and it's just the locals.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I have to get the right names for my characters. I can't begin to write a word until the names feel right. It's weird but I can't just put an X and move on to figure it out later. The names have to be right and then I can move forward.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
My writing days are chaotic at best. I have several auto-immune issues I deal with as well as a bad back so rolling out of bed in the morning can get interesting when it comes to what hurts and how I function. lol, I generally set a generous deadline and work backward from it, striving to write the words needed to reach the goal on time. Since I'm an indie author, that means I also have to work on marketing, ads, promotions etc. It doesn't always help the stress level but I can't imagine doing anything else.
What are you working on right now?
I'm working on book five of this series titled Sea View and Something New. It features Sophia Shipley as well as her sister, Allie, as the first and secondary characters, and it introduces us to a slew of new people we haven't yet met.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Readers can find me online at kaylyonsauthor.com as well as on Facebook at Kay Lyons Author and Pinterest at Kay Lyons Author. I'm on TikTok as well but I haven't done much with it to date. I hope to change that in 2023. Or, they can email me at [email protected].