By Laia Feliu.
We are very happy to welcome Elle Kennedy to The Reading Corner to discuss her new release Bad Girl Reputation, out October 4th!
When former bad girl Genevieve West returns home for her mother’s funeral, she’s prepared to keep her distance from her ex-boyfriend, Evan Hartley. Their history is rife with turbulence. And passion. A heck of a lot of passion . . . which she’s trying desperately to forget.
But it’s impossible not to run into Evan in the small coastal town where they once ran wild. And the moment she sees her gorgeous ex again, it’s clear to Gen that Evan is still as unruly, sexy and irresistible as ever. This time around, however, she’s resolved to walk a new path. No more partying. No more foolish mistakes. Her plan is to temporarily remain in town to help her father run his business, but the second he finds somebody else, she’s out of there.
Evan has other ideas. He knows they can be good together, but he just has to convince Genevieve of that, even if it means turning over a new leaf himself. But can a bad reputation ever truly be shed? Do second chances really work? Genevieve and Evan are about to find out.
Hi Elle! Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I started reading your books a while ago, The Deal being my first and – until now – favourite one. I always love your characters and how you manage to blend rough edges and soft hearts perfectly.
Reading Bad Girl Reputation was such a joy. I felt the love Gen and Evan had for each other in my soul, and I also suffered with them along the way. Growth and self-improvement are such predominant themes in your book, and how these two characters evolve was inspiring. Did you know where the characters would end up in this evolution road, or did their new identities shape themselves in the writing process?
Writing Bad Girl Reputation was a joy too! Before I started, I had a general idea of where I wanted Evan and Genevieve to end up, but some aspects of their growth journey came to me while writing. For example, Evan deciding to be a “model citizen” by signing up for random volunteer gigs in order to better his bad boy, brawling self—that was just a fun plot point I threw in there, which ended up evolving into a larger part of the plot.
Genevieve and Evan, alongside Evan’s parents, have struggled in finding a good relationship with alcohol in the past. After a lot of work, they find their ways back to health. How important was it for you to show that “new beginnings are within your reach”, like you so wisely stated in your acknowledgements?
Very important. Second chances give someone the hope of starting over. Yes, sometimes it may take a few tries, but if someone truly wants a new start and you have it in your heart to forgive them, then it’s important to try to move past those old mistakes.
There were times where I got very frustrated with both for not seeing that a wonderful new chapter in their relationship was right before them. How do you think the trauma from the past affected their ability to not only trust each other, but trust themselves around the other one as well?
Trauma is something that can really stay with someone, so if you already have doubts about someone else, or about yourself, it can be super difficult to open yourself up to potential pain, ridicule, or rejection. Our natural instincts always run towards self-preservation, and I think this is the case for Genevieve in particular. She is so determined to have a fresh start as a healthy, evolved person that she is a bit blind to the changes Evan is also trying to implement.
Bad Girl Reputation, and its twin book – pun intended – Good Girl Complex, happen in Avalon Bay. What made you choose this scenery, was it the lifestyle, the chance to play around with parties and moments around a bonfire, or something else?
I love creating new worlds to set my books in, and coastal towns/beaches are my favorite places on earth. I think using my happy place for this setting really helped me become invested in this community and create something that would stay with me.
How did the themes of redemption, forgiveness and second changes become such important themes throughout the book? Where did the inspiration come from?
I like the concepts of redemption and forgiveness because they can be such a dividing thing. Sometimes people are rooting for a character to turn a new leaf, and sometimes they don’t think they’re deserving of it – and we see a lot of this in real life too. We often look at Happily-Ever-Afters as couples finding happiness with each other, but sometimes a HEA is living a better life and finding the happiness you deserve for yourself.
I must admit, I am a bit masochistic when it comes to love stories, and I don’t mind when a book ends in a slightly bad way – as long as the epilogue gives me that happy ever after. Did you ever consider ending the book with Evan and Gen taking different roads to become their best selves, or was it always clear they would end up together no matter what?
I knew from the very beginning they’d end up together – Evan was too lovesick in Good Girl Complex for Genevieve to reappear in his life and them not end up together. Plus, I don’t know if my readers or publisher would forgive me if the book ended with them going their separate ways LOL
What message do you hope your readers will take from your book?
That everyone deserves a chance to be better, and that all good things are worth fighting for. It’s sometimes a lot easier to give up and walk away, but the things that mean the most to you? 100% fight for it.
And lastly, where can people get their hands on Bad Girl Reputation?
Everywhere! But they can find a list of vendors by visiting my website www.ellekennedy.com
A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.
Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!
Elle’s Instagram: @ellekennedy33
Find more interviews here.
Leave a Reply