In Your Next Beach Read, we want to introduce you to a new author every day in June in the hopes that you’ll find the next book you want to take with you to the beach, the pool, or the comforts of air conditioning.
Today’s author is Kerry Evelyn, author of Love On The Edge.
What’s your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
Kerry Evelyn. I grew up on the SouthCoast of Massachusetts in the college town of Dartmouth. I moved to Orlando 17 years ago to live in the sunshine.
How long have you been writing? How did you start?
I’ve been writing my whole life. I had work published in high school publications and wrote for the school newspaper and became co-editor-in-chief my junior-senior year. I always thought I would go into journalism, but it was too heart-wrenching for me. I wrote feature articles for my college paper, and took a children’s writing course when I graduated. Teaching elementary school gave me a ton of opportunities to make up stories and curriculum, and for a while it was enough. In 2015, I decided to finally write that novel I’d always aspired to create. I had not idea how to start, so I went to the OCLS Writers Conference and classes at the Writer’s Atelier. There, I found a whole world of support, encouragement, and friendship. I found the team that would help me publish my book, and I found that tribe I didn’t know I was missing.
Who are some of your influences?
Way too many to list! I read a wide variety of fiction, so I have favorites in every genre. Definitely L. M. Montgomery, because her characters are realistic, timeless, and interesting. Mariah Stewart, who connects characters in each book to other series and stories, deepening the readers immersion into the world and keeping you coming back for more. Anabelle Bryant, Caro Carson, Wynter Daniels, Nancy Herkness, Catherine Kean, and Kat Mizera who round out all their characters – including secondary and tertiary – in such a way that makes them unforgettable. Tasha Alexander, Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig, who craft intricate storylines that keep me turning the pages, and my local author friends – Valerie Willis, Racquel Henry, Arielle Haughee, Paige Lavoie, Kristin Durfee, Megan Fuentes, L.e. Perez, A.L. Awtrey, Angelique Bochnak, and Kim Plasket, who write and publish incredible stories and make it look so easy! And more! I’m so blessed to know so many of these authors personally and work with them!
What is your book about?
Lanie Owens has just survived a horrific attack by a stalker. Her grandfather, a retired army colonel, drives her to a resort in Maine where she can heal in peace while the authorities track down the man who almost killed her. To Lanie’s dismay, he hires a bodyguard to protect her. Lanie’s nightmares are debilitating, but giving up control of her life is unacceptable.
Army Ranger Matt Saunders knows all about nightmares. He’s spent the last year recovering from an injury he sustained during his last tour and the hellish events that caused it. Anxious to prove that he is fit to go back overseas, he accepts the bodyguard job. The resort is everything they imagined – tranquil, safe, and a place to heal. Gradually, they open up to each other and realize they have a lot in common – except their future plans. When a resort video goes viral, Lanie’s stalker knows just where to find her. Can they battle their personal demons in time to come together to fight the very real threat coming to destroy her?
Where did you get the idea?
I was interviewing an Army friend as I wrote a totally different book – I was 30,000 words into a WW2 historical romance, and I got stuck with some military-related things. He told me what I was imagining would never and could never happen, and why don’t I use my story-telling skills to write a book he could give his wife to read, one that would convey how it was easier to die for her “over there” than live for her “over here.”
You can’t forget words like that. For months, they haunted me while I tried to fix my doomed historical, until finally I brain-dumped them and everything else that had popped up in my head. Characters began talking to me. Scenes appeared in my head in the night. I heard dialogue in the shower and while I was driving. When I was done getting it all out, I realized I had a book. So, I wrote it.
How long did it take you to finish it?
From that first conversation to publication, it was almost 2 years, but I wrote the bulk of over about four months. Then I spent about a year fixing it up with the help from beta readers and editors.
Is this your first book, or have you written more than one?
This was my first book. There are current two in the Crane’s Cove series, and the third is slated to release at the end of July.
We all like to write about people we know, even if we never name them. Who are some people who inspired characters or situations?
Matt is a combination of a couple military friends, plus a bit of actors Chris Pratt and Matt Lanter. Many of Matt’s PTSD-related actions and reactions were inspired by real-life events and situations from family members and soldier friends. The Stuck Point journal he uses in his therapy session is a real thing used by veterans to tell their story and get through and heal from the trauma.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
Matt and Lanie sing “Islands in the Stream” during a karaoke night at the resort. It was the first scene I saw in my head and I wrote it with fervor. I couldn’t use it the way I wrote it because the lyrics are copyrighted, so I invented a fictional group, wrote a song, and had the characters sing it for an encore. It’s a beautiful, vulnerable scene where the passion heats up between them and they realize they’re starting to care for each other.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?
Think of yourself as an author, and you’ll be one. Have that mindset, and you’ll live it. If you tell yourself you’re a professional author, schedule times to write, and stay plugged in to a community, you’re less likely to let Imposter Syndrome get you down for too long when it hits – and it will. Your family, friends – often the people you expect will support you the most won’t take you seriously, and that is crushing. Eventually, they’ll see you taking yourself seriously, and they’ll come around. But remember, it’s not about them, or what they think. It’s what YOU think – if you don’t see yourself as an author, why would anyone else?
What’s the worst?
Being told I have to write every day. It’s a great habit, but I’ve wasted so much time writing and deleting junk just to get words on the page. I schedule time for writing, but if I’m not feeling it, I’ll spend the researching, creating social media posts or blogs, or even inputting receipts and expenses.
Where can we buy your book?
Amazon (affiliate link)