Today I’m welcoming romance author Kiley Dunbar to my blog. I’m so excited to have been able to interview Kiley. To be honest, I interviewed her a while back, but then life took over and I didn’t have a chance to post this until now. Sorry, Kiley!
Kiley Dunbar is a Scottish author living in Northern England with her family. She writes romantic novels set in beautiful places for Hera Books. She’s a Christmas addict and loves to travel and is always on the lookout for her next dream destination.
One Winter’s Night is Kiley’s latest novel.
It’s autumn in beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon and Kelsey Anderson is enjoying her new life in her adopted town. Her Shakespearean tour guide days behind her, she’s now opened her own photography studio and loved up with boyfriend Jonathan – even if a long-distance relationship is sometimes lonely.
When best friend Mirren Imrie moves down from Scotland, Kelsey is delighted to have her friend at her side – and as the nights turn colder, Mirren throws herself into dating, until she finds herself growing closer to sexy journalist, Adrian Armadale. But when Mirren uncovers a long-buried scandal while working at the local newspaper, her big scoop might throw Kelsey’s – and Jonathan’s – life upside down. Will she choose her career over her friends’ happiness?
And when Jonathan returns from America and discovers the secrets Mirren has uncovered about his family, it throws his relationship with Kelsey onto shaky ground. Can they find their way back to love, before it becomes the winter of their discontent?
A romantic, funny and feelgood read that will make you smile from ear to ear. Fans of Milly Johnson, Heidi Swain and Holly Martin will fall in love with this cosy winter read!
Tell me about your new book, what is it about?
Hi! Thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog!
My new book (out 16th September 2020) is called One Winter’s Night. It’s the sequel to my debut novel, One Summer’s Night, but can be read as a standalone story.
One Winter’s Night follows Kelsey Anderson trying to set up her own photography studio and navigating a long distance relationship, and Mirren, her best friend, making the resignation speech of the century and starting over in Stratford-upon-Avon with Kelsey. Only problem is Mirren’s swearing off men, her life is a mess, and there’s a particularly gorgeous news reporter who appears to be falling for her but can he be trusted? There’s a bit of cosy mystery too and, in keeping with the Shakespearean theme, an errant son, some mistaken identities, and lots of romance.
How do you motivate yourself to write a Christmas novel when it’s not Christmas time?
Hah, that’s never a problem for me. I’m one of those Christmas obsessives who reads festive romcoms and watches snowy Hallmark movies all year round. I love writing all the little wintry details and the whole mood of December. One Winter’s Night takes place across autumn and winter and into springtime so I’ve ever so slightly dialled down the Christmas feels in this one (compared to Christmas at Frozen Falls which I set in Lapland over Christmas week) but only slightly. It’s still very Christmassy!
What is your writing ritual? Do you write every day or just when the mood strikes?
I have to fit writing in around looking after the kids and lecturing at Manchester Writing School (where I teach classes on writing romantic fiction) so writing gets squeezed into weekends and evenings and any half hour I can grab during the day.
Your settings are a big part of your novels. How do you ensure they feel true to life? Are they all places you’ve lived or visited?
So far I’ve set books in Stratford-upon-Avon, Lapland, Plockton in the West Highlands of Scotland, and I’m writing a new one set in a bookshop in Clovelly, Devon. They’re places I’ve visited or lived in and I like to take the real place and reimagine it, adding traditions or secret spots that aren’t there in real life but hopefully the charm and magic of the place is still there in my story.
When you start writing a new book, what comes first: the plot or the characters?
The setting comes first and that helps me work out what it is about the character that means they need to visit this place. What’s missing from their life that they can only find here? Then the plot starts to appear.
Are you a planner or a pantser or somewhere in between?
I’m a full-on planner. When I pitch a novel I have the whole thing worked out already down to chapter by chapter detail. It always changes once I start writing but to have the confidence to begin I need to have the plan in front of me.
How do you create compelling characters?
I like real characters with realistic problems, flaws and quirks. I give them families that feel real and I don’t worry too much about the main characters being ‘likeable’. I’d rather they were human.
I like to make my heroes a little bit magical though. They’re all absolute dream men; modern, kind, understanding, super talented and very, very hot!
If you could pick one song to represent your latest book, what would it be?
One Winter’s Night didn’t have a soundtrack of its own when I was writing it, but there’s plenty music in the book. For example, Jonathan and Kelsey return to the café where they first met. It’s Christmas Eve and they drink hot chocolates while Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ plays on the café radio. They’re goofing off and so in love with each other, it’s a lovely festive moment. That’s where they cook up a plan to make a Christmas dash to Scotland!
Thanks so much for chatting with me, I enjoyed every second! Love, Kiley, x
One Winter’s Night by Kiley Dunbar (Hera Books, September 2020) on pre-order now:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3haiHwO (paperbacks and ebooks)