Name: Kemberlee Shortland
Age: Old, but not as old as dirt.
Where are you from: Originally, Northern California, but currently living in Ireland.
A little about your self — ie your education, family life, etc.: I’ve always been called a Jack of all trades, and it’s probably true. I’ve worked as a sea otter babysitter, greenware cleaner, pumped gasoline in the family business, child minder, teacher’s assistant, toy store manager, pet store manager, dog obedience trainer, bookkeeper, library assistant, travel consultant, and a bunch of stuff I’ve either forgotten or is not very interesting. I have a diploma in canine and feline nutrition, and I worked in specialty hotels after obtaining a diploma in hotel and restaurant management. All the while, I was writing since I was old enough to spell.
As I mentioned, I’m originally from Northern California, but I now live in Ireland with my Irish hubs and our two hairy kids, Daisie and Poppy (rescue Border Collies). I’ve lived a few places around the country and have traveled around the country more than most people in the Irish travel board, but I’ve really enjoyed the place we live now the most — Drogheda. We have the River Boyne to one side and the Irish Sea behind us.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Kem: My latest book is One Night in Dublin. This is book 9 in the City Nights erotica romance series from Tirgearr Publishing. Stories in the series are set in cities around the world over a 24 hour period. I chose Dublin. This is Sive’s story. Her mother is a typical Irish mammy who has been hassling poor Sive about giving her grandkids. Sive is just out of university and has a great job she’s not ready to give up for home and hearth . . . not yet anyway. She’s been dating and, to a degree, loves the men she’s dated. But she starts wondering if her mother is right about settling down. She takes one day, St Patrick’s Day, to consider three men she’s been seeing. Are any of them husband material? Father material? Lifelong partner material? She has 24 hours to find out.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Kem: I’ve been writing since I was old enough to spell, but it was after high school, I started writing a historical romance that eventually became Sarah’s Secret. It’s in a drawer collecting dust now, but that’s the story I think really kicked off my love of romance writing. Why did I begin writing? Why does one breathe?
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Kem: That’s a funny thing. Those who love writing always say, “I want to be a writer,” without realizing they *are* writers. What they mean is they want to be a published writer . . . an author. Once I realized I was already a writer, I had to start thinking about publishing. I published travel articles for a few years before my first fiction piece found a home in 2005.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Kem: Sarah’s Secret came about from a number of things, including always loving writing and reading historical romances from the likes of Jude Deveraux and Julie Grice. I also wanted to see if I could do it. To create credible characters, structure a good plot, balance narrative and dialog . . . I wanted to see if I could finish it too. 120K words later and I put paid to that challenge. Next challenge came right on that book’s heels. I finished and move onto another book. The next challenge was getting published.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Kem: I strive for active writing, likeable characters, and good plots. I never say that I write like another writer, but I have taken lessons from reading the works of certain authors and try melding them into my own style: John Steinbeck for description, Dean Koontz for blending romance and thrillers, Linda Howard for suspense and humor, and others.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Kem: In the case of One Night in Dublin, the books in the series are already titled One Night in . . . We just have to pick the city. My city is Dublin. Titles on other books I’ve publish have traditionally been song titles which inspired those stories.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Kem: I don’t really like to embed messages in my stories. Stories are escapism. If there was any message, it would be don’t waste your time on Mr Right Now. It’s OK to wait for Mr Right. Or Miss Right. The wait will be worth it. The best things in life are worth the wait.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Kem: I’d say most of it, since it’s set in Dublin. The locations are real, the history is true, and it’s certainly true how over-commercialized St Patrick’s Day is! The characters are the only thing made up. Everything else exists.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Kem: Noooooo! I don’t write about people I know. I love tales of intimacy, which is why I write romance and erotic romance. Adding family or friends is another level of intimacy I don’t want to visit.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
Kem: Not really any writing mentors. Writing has always been a personal thing. When I was younger, I never really kept diaries or journals, but I wrote poetry and stories like crazy. I mentioned a few influences above . . . Steinbeck, Koontz, and Howard. I also really admired the earlier historical from Jude Deveraux, Julia Grice, Jude Deveraux, and Julie Garwood. As for books themselves influencing me, there really was only one that I can say changed my life — God on a Harley by Joan Brady. It was the story of an overworked, overweight, underappreciated woman who met a hunk on a Harley who gave her some great advice about being true to herself and seeking things in life that make her happy. Not long after I read the story, I booked my first ticket to Ireland. I stayed six months, met a guy, and moved over. The book was recommended to me by a friend who left what she considered a stale life to live on a canal boat in England with her Englishman whom she met on her first trip to the UK.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Kem: These days I don’t get much time for pleasure reading with all the submissions that come through our doors at Tirgearr Publishing, but I have the new Odd Thomas book from Dean Koontz in my sights, and realize I’m a couple behind. I’ll be downloading those for my long flight in April.
Fiona: Are there any new authors who have grasped your interest?
Kem: Well, we have 61 at Tirgearr Publishing I think are amazing! Outside of our own authors, I started reading the Tiger Shifter Series from new author, Kat Simons. Book 4 is out soon, I hear.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Kem: I have a couple unfinished projects — The Diary and Beguiler — but I also have a couple new projects in mind to start . . . another City Nights story and a new series.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Kem: My husband of course, or do you consider him family now? Most of my friends are writers, so of course they’re very supportive too.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Kem: I think it takes a very special person to be the 1% who can make a living from their writing. I’m not that person. I know that. But I love that people like my stories. There are so many great stories out there though and they’re all competing. I just appreciate that I’m in the competition. My full time job at the moment is CEO of Tirgearr Publishing. It’s another type of writing career. I’m not publishing my own books as much as I’d like, but I get to help others see their dream of publication come true, which is very satisfying too.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Kem: I can’t think of anything. One Night in Dublin is the story I want to tell. I loved writing it and I hope readers will love reading it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Kem: I’m working on two stories at the moment — The Diary and Beguiler. The Diary is a time travel romance where my heroine goes back in time to 1014 Ireland, just before the Battle of Clontarf. As an Irish history buff, she knows Brian Boru will be killed at the battle. As an ancestor of the great leader, she wants to tell him about his murder in hopes of preventing it, even knowing it could mean she was never born. Beguiler is an erotic romance. It’s also set in Ireland. It’s about a famous ghost hunter called The Beguiler because he has ways of bringing spirits out of hiding . . . even if it’s by a little high tech hocus pocus and studio lights for his TV show. But he’s on a real ghost hunt, and what he finds will surprise him. Remember, it’s erotic romance!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes. The most challenging part of writing for me is time. I never seem to have enough of it. Tirgearr Publishing is still a start-up company and we work a lot of long hours, including working through weekends. We’ve now added in breaks during the year where I can focus on writing. One Night in Dublin was written last summer on our mid-season break. This year, things are a little more relaxed so I’m hoping to get the above projects done, and move into some new areas. I’ve got a folder full of outlines and ideas I’d love to dive into.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Kem: I know so many wonderful writers. It wouldn’t be fair to pick out just one. But I mentioned Steinbeck, Koontz, and Howard above who I have high regard for. Steinbeck is from my home area of California. Koontz set many of his earlier stories in and around my hometown. Howard was a fluke. They all bring something to my table, as they say.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Kem: One of the great things about living in Ireland is that history is just outside my front door. Currently, most of the books I’ve had published are set in Ireland, except for two which are set in my home town. I was in the travel business for about 15 years and traveled all over Ireland. Probably more than anyone in the tourist board. I know, a big boast, but I’ve really been all over the island . . . except for Co Down (that’s coming soon!) . . . and have seen a lot. And everything is researched once I discover it.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Kem: We work with a number of great graphic designers. For the City Nights series, we have a wonderful designer called Cora at Cora Graphics. I call her Chef because she can take the most horrible ingredients and make a gourmet dish. That is to say, I can give her a vague idea of what we’re looking for and she sends me a masterpiece. We also work with Elle Rossi from EJR Designs, Amanda Stephanie, Poppet Designs, and Kim Killion.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Kem: I love the research process. I always learn so much from it. I often find new story ideas when I’m researching too so it’s win-win.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Kem: I remember reading very young, but not the titles. Though I do remember the Ladybug books which were short, condensed fairy tales . . . The Little Red Hen (favorite), Beauty and the Beast, Rumpelstiltskin, etc. The first big book I remember reading was James and the Giant Peach, followed by the Great Glass Elevator. I was probably 8 or 9 then. I was an early reader so big books by that age was common place. I was reading romance by the time I was 12 or 13.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Kem: Really, and I mean *really*, stupid jokes make me laugh. What makes me cry are really emotional scenes in movies. Unless I’m laughing so hard I’m crying.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
Kem: John Steinbeck, for sure. He was such a descriptive writer will also evoking emotion. Dean Koontz used to be a customer in my family’s business back home, but I never had the chance to meet him. I’d love to meet Dean too. I love how he uses romance and suspense in his stories. Mostly I love that he uses a dog sidekick in most of his stories!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Kem: I think my headstone should be a Ouija board so people can communicate with me so I don’t haunt them.
Fiona: Other than writing, do you have any hobbies ?
Kem: I love knitting, photography, archaeology, and castle hunting. We have two rescued Border Collies I love spending time with too. Oh, and I love tacos!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Kem: We watch a lot of crime drama. At the moment, we’re catching up on Bones (love that Seely!). Castle is a favorite, as are Justified, Hell on Wheels, Sherlock and Elementary, as well as lighter stuff like The Librarians, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, and Tattoo Nightmares.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music?
Kem: My goodness. I could be here all day talking about those subjects. Food: Mexican, and most anything with cinnamon in it. Colors: All of them, depending on the mood. Lately it’s been bright lime green. Music: Most of it. Again, mood. As I’m sitting here, it’s Janis Joplin classics. Yesterday was Eagles Long Road Out of Eden. Tomorrow will tell.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Kem: I’d considering opening a yarn shop, but really, I think I’d like to have been an archaeologist. There’s a beach behind our house and every time I go down there, I find a shard or two of medieval pottery. I have a box of it now, but so far not a single pot amongst the pieces. I love it. I never know what I’ll find each time I go there.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Kem: Have a business plan. If you want to write for a hobby, do that and enjoy it. If you want to publish what you write and sell your work, you *must* treat it like a business. Your book is your product and no one knows it as intimately as you. Readers won’t know it exists unless you tell them, so you must market and promote your work. Consistently.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Kem: Just a deep, heartfelt thankyouthankyouthankyou for reading what I write. And a huge thank you goes out to those who’ve shared their feelings on my books by writing reviews. Without reviews, writers have no way to gauge if readers appreciate their work. So please review what you read, and thank you for reviewing my stories.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Kem: I’ve a few places. No getting rid of me easily! —
ONE NIGHT IN DUBLIN
City Nights, #9
At her mother’s prompting (nagging) about grandchildren, Sive wonders if it really is time to settle down. She’s just finishing college so she should be thinking about her future. But is she ready to settle down? Is she ready for kids? And more importantly, which of the three men she’s been seeing does she want to spend the rest of her life with?
Sive has a choice to make, and only 24 hours in which to make it.
We all make them. From the moment we wake up, it’s: “do I get out of bed now or hit the snooze button . . . again?” “shall I wear this outfit to work or that one?” “tea and toast or grab something on the way?”
It’s all mundane bullshit. They’re all choices we make on the fly without even realizing we’re making them.
Think about it. What choices do you make when you’re not thinking about them? Like going home from work. You get on the train, find a seat and wait for your stop. But when you get there, you wonder how the hell you got there because you don’t remember making the journey.
What I’m trying to say is that we often go on auto-pilot and just do what needs doing without any real thought, because there are usually more pressing things to think about—the important things. Or seemingly so. Like, what movie to see, what restaurant to eat in, where to go on holidays . . . and for some girls, this pair of sensible shoes on sale or another pair not on sale but immensely sexier?
For me, today, my choices aren’t so mundane, and they’ll require a lot of conscious thought. I have an important decision to make. One that could change my life forever, pardon the cliché.
They—whoever ‘they’ are—say there is someone for everyone, that we all have a ‘type’ of person we’re attracted to. I’m still figuring it all out . . . exploring to see what is my type . . . that someone just for me. And it doesn’t help that my mum’s voice is in the back of my head, asking . . . i.e. nagging (yes, I just said i.e.) . . . when I’m going to settle down and give her grandkids.
First, let me say this: I’m not a slut. I’m not loose, I don’t carelessly sleep around, and I don’t do one-night stands. I just love men and all of their vast differences.
What can I say about my boys that every other woman out there doesn’t already know about men? Charmers, every one of them. But they all give me something I need.
Tonight I need to decide what, or who, I need the most—Fitzy, Moss, or Sully.
Kemberlee is a native Northern Californian who grew up in a community founded by artists and writers, including John Steinbeck, George Sterling, and Jack London.
In 1997, she left the employ of Clint Eastwood to live in Ireland for six months. It was there she met the man she would marry, and relocated to live in Ireland permanently. While always writing, Kemberlee earned her keep as a travel consultant and writing travel articles about Ireland. In 2005, she saw her first romance sell, and to date, she has eight published romances. And in 2012, she and her husband launched Tirgearr Publishing.
Kemberlee enjoys spending time with her two rescued Border Collies, also knitting, gardening, photography, music, travel, and tacos!
Kemberlee enjoys hearing from her readers, so please feel free to visit her on her social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
Kemberlee’s books can be found at:
As well as all major ebook retailers (Kindle, Apple, Nook, Kobo, etc)
Thank you so much for inviting me, Fiona. Always lovely chatting with you!