Today is the day! It’s my turn on the Keren Hughes Blog tour, and I am so much more than impressed with this woman. Right from the get-go Keren has impressed me with her positive attitude and her immense drive for success. So when I was asked to participate in this blog tour, I was all too happy to oblige! I’ll paste all the links for Keren’s work, her numerous social networking sites, and the rafflecopter link at the end of this blog. For now, enjoy the interview!
What inspired you to write Nothing Like The First Time?
I was inspired by a song of the same name by Lady Antebellum. It got me thinking about first loves and how I still love mine to this very day—I think I always will too. He made a lasting impression on me, for sure.
Do you have a specific writing style?
No, I honestly don’t think I do. I tend to get inspired by songs I hear—music plays a HUGE part in my writing process, as it has done my life. I then think about what I could possibly write that reader would enjoy and what events from real life I can infuse in my writing.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I guess you could say because it’s about first loves and second chances, that it’s about finding love wherever you can. Love comes along when you least expect it, but it leaves the same way too. In the story, I made Grey and Carly have to overcome some events that are real life inspired, hoping that people would understand that when life throws you lemons, you should make lemonade. Sometimes, you have to overcome a lot, but the love you find at the end of it is worth your time and the heartache.
Are any of the experiences in Nothing Like The First Time based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes. I won’t name specific events, otherwise I would have to label this question a ‘Spoiler Alert’. That being said, yes, many of the events that occurred in the book are events that happened to me. I guess you could say that 99% of them weren’t fictional, although I made Carly and Grey deal with them in ways I wish I had been able to, for some of them. For others, they dealt with them exactly how I did.
There is one experience that I am fortunate I did not go through, but my best friend did and another close friend did too, so I drew on their experience to help me.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I would say that every book I read influences me in some way or another. No, this is not a ‘cop out’ answer, it’s the truth. I have been a reader for as long as I can remember and I have been a book reviewer for nearly 3 years. So I have read a good many books and each and every one of those, whether good or bad, influenced me. They help shape me into the author I am.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Natalie Hancock. She is an amazing author and an even better friend. When I write something, all I have to do is text her “Nat, have you got time to read something for me?” and she drops whatever she is doing in order to help me. She helps me make things sound better, she helps me by leaving lovely little comments in my MS that are there just to make me laugh. She never tries to make me rip things out of my book,just helps me to shape them and make them better.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished two amazing books. An ARC of Queen of Someday by Sherry Ficklin which left me picking pieces of my jaw off the floor and an ARC of Tortured by Kate Giivans—her debut novel and it is FANTASTIC.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Kate Givans. Her debut novel Tortured is everything I wish I could have written. It’s such a passionate book. It touched my heart and I ended it in floods of tears.
Are you currently working on anything?
My current WIP is called Ready To Love Again. I can’t tell you much, but I can say this; it is a story of how after the suicide of her husband, a young woman must discover whether she is ready to love again.
Name one person that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There are so many more than one. I would feel bad naming names. There is NOT just one person because everyone that’s helped me along the way has done it in a different way. My readers help me by leaving reviews and by getting me on the Amazon Best-Seller lists.
But if I had to scale it down, I would name 2 people; Natalie Hancock and Ruth Philips.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a damn thing!! I love that book with all my heart and soul. I was going through the break-up of a seven year relationship at the time of writing NLTFT and I poured my grief into writing. That is what helped shape my characters. Carly is based on me and Grey is a composite of several of my exes, including the most recent one.
How did your interest in writing originate?
As a child, I used to read Point Horror books such as The Boyfriend by RL Stine. I decided at 15 to write my own Point Horror book and I called it The Angel of Death. Then at 16, I wrote my second book, Skye’s Secret. I always loved reading and was passionate about writing.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is where I want to say yes and no!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The research for my newest WIP is a bit daunting. I can’t really explain further. Sorry
Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh wow! Hardest question ever!!! I adore a lot of authors and am in awe of so many people that put their hearts on the line to write a novel that may find success or may flop—if you have a dream to write, you should write.
Who designed the covers?
For my books? Wicked By Design did the cover for my YA Paranormal Romance, Stolen. And Redbird Designs did the cover for NLTFT.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part wasn’t while writing, it was the submission to my publishers. It was the most nail-biting, nerve-wracking experience EVER! I had butterflies in my stomach and could barely contain the nerves as I waited for them to give me a yes or no.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Every book I write is a learning curve. I learn how to be a better author. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that although I’m writing for the readers, I am mainly writing for myself and it is always my book and I do things my way, even if some people don’t think that I should have done this that or the other.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you want to write, then write. Always follow your dreams. When you’ve written your book, don’t be scared of rejection from publishers. I only submitted to 2 publishers and they both offered me a contract within a day of each other. If it can happen to me then what are you waiting for?
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! Thank you for buying my book, for reading my book, for leaving a review. Thank you for the part you play in my life.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing Nothing Like The First Time to life?
I had to research something specific that I had no knowledge of. I decided it had to be part of the book, therefore the research was worth it. I can’t say more than that really otherwise it would spoil things for people who haven’t read my book yet.
What genre do you consider Nothing Like The First Time?
NA Contemporary Romance.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
I will be totally honest, even if this makes you all laugh. I had writers block as it came to writing my first sex scene. I had NEVER even attempted a sex scene before and I kept procrastinating. The trouble with that was, I couldn’t progress further in my story. So I put on an old song by Another Level called Freak Me. That song got the ideas flowing and I wrote the first sex scene then handed it off to my friend, an erotica author called Natalie Hancock. She told me it was awesome so I overcame my writer’s block thanks to her.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Honest answer? No! If I try to plan anything out, I get writer’s block. I work best if I just sit and let it come to me.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Yes. At the time of writing Stolen, I loved it. Now, I hate it. Well, hate is a strong word, but I do dislike it. I am convinced I will never write YA again, nor will I write Paranormal again.
What is your favourite theme/genre to write about?
I think I have found my home with NA Contemporary Romance. The words flow easier, the ideas come more naturally.
And that’s it for my portion of the blog tour. You’ll find all the places you can follow Keren, at the end of this blog.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/kerentshughes?ref=hl
Facebook Book Page – Stolen: https://www.facebook.com/StolenByKerenHughes
Facebook Author Profile: https://www.facebook.com/keren.hughes.92
Facebook Review Page: https://www.facebook.com/GothicAngelBookReviews
Keren Hughes Blog: http://www.findingresult.com/?dn=wordpreess.com&pid=9PO844006
Nothing Like the First Time – Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20411538-nothing-like-the-first-time