Inkwell Guest: Shannon Kennedy
Today, another guest! Please welcome Shannon Kennedy!
I write under two names, one for my mainstream western romances and another for my realistic or paranormal teen fiction. The kids around the family riding stable tease me and say I like them better because I use my “real” name for their books. One of my young adult novels won the Emerald City Opener which was quite an honor and I’m actually the contest chair for the Greater Seattle RWA chapter that puts on the contest and the Emerald City Writers Conference this year. So, why do I write western romances and young adult?
As a child, I loved to dream away the days in an old cherry tree on my family’s pony farm and frequently read books in the branches. When we visited my grandparents in Seattle, my grandfather introduced me to Louis L’Amour westerns and I absolutely adored the cowboys who rode through those pages. They fascinated me nearly as much as John Wayne did in his movies. So, when I began writing, it seemed like horses would gallop, trot and walk into my books. Today, those books are considered “westerns,” and I still like my cowboys and the women who love them. Oh, and you can’t go wrong with a great horse!
Meanwhile, my grandmother taught me to love romance – we used to walk from her house in Ballard to the nearest branch of the King County Library and check out as many books as we could carry home. I use a derivative of her name for my own romances – I know she’d love it. She always encouraged me to believe in my dreams. And so even if she’s not around to be the queen of pithy comments – they were better than her pot roast at Sunday dinners – Josie Malone still rides or should it be writes on!
Yesterday was terrific. My third mainstream western romance, A Woman’s Place came out from BookStrand and it already received its first review – a 5/5 from a reader. Here goes – Trailing a serial killer, Homicide Detective Beth Chambers finds herself thrust into 1888 Washington Territory where she encounters injured Rad Morgan, a town marshal who believes A Woman’s Place is behind her man. Now, Beth must save Rad’s life, apprehend the killer, and prove herself capable as a law officer.
As for writing young adult novels, I spend a lot of time with teens both at the family riding stable and as a substitute middle/high school teacher. I love hearing what they think and say – the books seemed to come about naturally out of both those venues. And of course, it’s always easy to find “beta” readers at the barn or the schools who are happy to tell me when I make a mistake and need to rewrite, sort of a “turnabout is fair play,” time.
I’m delighted that the Stewart Falls Cheerleaders found a home with Black Opal Publishing. I have a terrific cover and my own real puppy is on it. I still don’t know how we got him to hold still for the picture – he’s a whirling, horse-chasing, sister-puppy –attacking, cat-romping fellow at the best of times. But I have to admit that when he’s sleeping, he’s downright adorable. He loved our snow in January, but he does think that the cones I use to teach the kids to steer their horses are actually made for puppies.
The Stewart Falls Cheerleaders are about a cheer squad at a private high school in western Washington, because “Sometimes, you have to be your own cheerleader.” And these books have a special place in my heart – I think I have a new “fave.” In the series, selected girls overcome problems that life hurls at them.
The start of the series is Throw Away Teen. It’s the story of one of those girls, B.J. Larson. She grew up in foster care, bouncing from home to home since she was a toddler and now she’s in my fictional town of Stewart Falls, Washington living with an older couple, Liz and Ted Driscoll. As B.J. says, they’re different – kind of what she always thought grandparents would be like, only nice. And Ted even gives her a puppy that she names, Guard-dog. Still, it doesn’t matter what anyone tells her, she knows she’s passing through and will soon be back in the group home or on the streets of Seattle.
The second book, Asking For It is about dating violence. The flyer of the squad, Sarah Flynn thinks she’s found the boy of her dreams, only to discover she’s living in a nightmare. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t seem to please him. When she disagrees with him, it grows harder and harder to explain her constant injuries. Will she even survive to Homecoming, much less the end of football season? Can she get out of this relationship alive?
I have two different websites so if you like cowboys and western romances, pop in for a visit at www.josiemalone.com or if you’re ready to go to Stewart Falls, see me at www.shannonkennedybooks.com
Either way, it was good to meet you!
As a child, I loved to dream away the days in an old cherry tree on my family’s pony farm. In my imagination, the tree became a beautiful Arabian stallion, a medieval castle and even a pirate ship. I got in trouble for making my bratty little sisters walk the plank, but hey, they never broke any bones. On rainy days, I headed for my fort in the hayloft. While the rain thudded on the cedar shingled roof, I read books, eventually trading Carolyn Keene for Georgette Heyer.
Today, I live on the family ranch in the Cascade foothills of Washington state in what was once a summer vacation cabin. It’s been modernized and even has indoor plumbing – woo-hoo! I share it with my two cats or maybe, they share it with me. I still read a lot. The walls are lined with bookshelves and my favorite shopping trip is to Barnes & Noble at the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood.
I usually write at night once the barn chores are done, after a long day on the ranch. Some days are longer and harder than others, but I still write from 8PM to 2AM every day or is it night? As a substitute school teacher, I love the summer break but I’m just as busy, since that’s when we do horse day-camp during the week and trail rides, lessons and leasing on weekends.
And now back to the book I’m writing! Hope you enjoy reading it!