By Laia Feliu.
We are very happy to welcome Kerry Winfrey to The Reading Corner to discuss her upcoming romance “Just Another Love Song”, out August 2nd!
Two high school sweethearts get a second chance at their perfect ending in this charming new romance by Kerry Winfrey, author of Very Sincerely Yours.
Once upon a time, Sandy Macintosh thought she would have her happily ever after with her high school sweetheart, Hank Tillman. Sandy wanted to be an artist, Hank was the only boy in town who seemed destined for bigger things, and they both had dreams to escape town together. But when Sandy’s plans fell through, she stayed in their small town in Ohio while Hank went off to Boston to follow his dreams to be a musician, with the promise to stay together. Only that plan fell through, too.
Fifteen years later, Sandy runs a successful greenhouse while helping her parents with their bed and breakfast. Everything is perfect…
Hi Kerry! Firstly, thank you so much for your time. As a big fan of romance books, I loved your book and devoured it in just one day! Your characters and Baileyville were extremely charming and heartwarming.
“Just Another Love Song” happens in a beautiful small town with lots of amazing characters and events, it reminded me so much of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. Was Baileyville and its fair inspired by a favourite place of yours? If not, where did the inspiration come from?
Yes, Baileyville is based on my own hometown in the middle of Ohio! We have a yearly street fair that’s very much like Baileyville’s—although I took some liberties and changed a few things around for the sake of the story. Stars Hollow is the quintessential fictional small town, and I’ve always loved how they have so many town events that provide a quirky and charming backdrop to the show. My hometown has its share of fun seasonal events, so I decided to fictionalize it and turn it into my perfect small town for the book.
One of my favourite tropes is second chance romance and you’ve done it in such a funny and amazing way. If you could only pick one romance trope to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oooh, that’s a great question! My favorite trope is Just One Bed, specifically when the couple gets snowed in. I’ll read any book about two people getting snowed in.
One of the things that affects Sandy’s life the most is the fact that she never got to leave Baileyville as a young woman like she wanted to. I believe this allowed her to become an amazing business owner and be creative with her future. How do you think Sandy’s life would have been had she left and followed through with her plans?
I definitely think that Sandy’s life turned out the way it was supposed to. Even if she’d left home when she planned, she still would’ve run into roadblocks and maybe she would’ve had to pivot for entirely different reasons. It just took her a while to realize that one mistake doesn’t have to define her.
I often wonder what happens after I finish a book I really enjoyed, what do you think Hank, Sandy, Henry and their new baby are up to?
I think they’re enjoying life in their cabin, preparing for another Baileyville Street Fair as Hank writes new songs!
How do you come up with interesting characters? And how do you get to know those characters well enough to write a great story about them?
I’m a person who gets obsessed with a lot of things, so I tend to give my characters my own obsessions. Whether that makes them interesting to other people is up for debate, but it does help me get interested in them! Typically, I write a lot of scenes that go nowhere and don’t end up in the final book, but they help me get to know the characters and see how they interact. And it helps that I write romance, so it’s important that the two main characters play off of one another. I tend to think, “What characteristics could this person have that would make them a good partner—or a challenging partner—for the main character?”
Sandy loves painting and Hank turned his passion for music into his career. Do these interests come from your personal experience, or did you choose them based on the characters?
I really wish I was more artistic, but my creative talent doesn’t extend to painting! I wanted to give Sandy a creative talent that I don’t have—after all, not all of my characters can be writers like me. I love country music, so that’s why Hank is a country musician. Specifically I love 90s country music, so I made that part of Sandy and Hank’s connection.
What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?
The main thing I wanted to communicate with Just Another Love Song is that it’s never too late to change your life, or go after what you want, or decide you want something else. Sandy is 33, which isn’t old at all, but so often romances (many of mine included!) feature people in their twenties, and it can start to feel like your life is set in stone by the time you turn 30. But there’s so much life left, and so many chances to make a change if you want to. And as with all my books, I want my readers to feel warmth and hope when they read it. I always want my books to provide a cozy escape from real life, hopefully with a few laughs along the way.
Are there any books within the genre or with similar messages to “Just Another Love Song” you could recommend?
I love Louise Miller’s books, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living and The Late Bloomers’ Club. They’re both set in a small town and are incredibly charming.
And last but not least, where can everyone get their hands on this amazing story?
You can order Just Another Love Song wherever you buy books, and find your preferred retailer right here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/669038/just-another-love-song-by-kerry-winfrey/
Kerry Winfrey is the author of the romantic comedies WAITING FOR TOM HANKS and NOT LIKE THE MOVIES, both published by Berkley. Her next book, VERY SINCERELY YOURS, will be out in 2021. She’s also the author of the YA novels LOVE AND OTHER ALIEN EXPERIENCES and THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT, both from Feiwel and Friends. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely baking a pie or watching far, far too many romantic comedies. She lives with her family in the middle of Ohio.
Kerry’s Instagram: @kerrywinfrey
Kerry’s Website: http://www.kerrywinfrey.com
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