Kemberlee Shortland is a very busy lady, running Tirgearr Publishing as well as writing some of its best-selling books, but she found to time pop over to The Naughty Corner and answer a few questions about her new City Nights novella, One Night in New Delhi. She’s also offering a prize to one lucky reader – read the interview to find out how you can win.
Tell us a little about your City Nights story, One Night in New Delhi?
Hannah Maguire and Sudesh Kumar had been lovers in Dublin City, both studying for their degrees in similar areas of Archaeology. What she had treated as a college romance, Hannah realized, as he was leaving Dublin for the job of a lifetime back home in India, was she had lost her heart to him.
Now, five years later, Hannah is working as a textiles specialist in the National Museum in Dublin when she’s invited to the National Museum of India in New Delhi to inspect a new and rare artifact found on an archaeological dig.
The last person she expects to see when she enters the museum is Sudesh. She didn’t know where he was, or even if he was still in India, but soon learns he’s the one who made the discovery, and had been the one encouraging the museum to invite her onto the project.
On meeting, everything they’d shared washes over Hannah—all of the love and passion, and a heart so broken, she still hadn’t recovered. To make things more difficult, it’s Deepavali/Diwali and Sudesh has promises to make it a memorable experience.
Will this one night really be one to remember, or will it send Hannah into a tailspin she might not recover from this time?
Why did you choose New Delhi as the setting for the book?
A few things played into it. I’m always looking for new challenges, and writing about a country I’ve never been to is a pretty good test if ever there was one. Most of my published work is set in Ireland and this was a good opportunity to expand my catalogue … even though my heroine is an Irish girl from Dublin.
India has an amazing and ancient culture so there was a lot to draw on.
As well, I’m friendly with the male cover model, Vikkas Bhardwadj, and had encouraged him to add some traditional costume to his stock photos, which he did.
Around that time, I had watched a fabulous documentary about India, and was also watching Indian Summers.
All the hints kept hitting me in the face until I finally sat down and started typing. I’d been keen on another City Nights story, but wanted to branch outside of Ireland. Voila! One Night in New Delhi.
The couple in your story, Hannah and Sudesh, both have a background in archaeology. Is archaeology a particular interest of yours, and if not, how much research did you do to get the details of their profession correct?
When I was growing up, my mother always told me I could be anything I wanted. I said I wanted to be a writer. As a writer, I can be anything and do anything through my characters. I love archaeology, and now that I think of it, this has come up more than once in my writing. I don’t regret my former career choices, but it’s fun to explore others through my characters. I can be an archaeologist without having to get dirty!
The research was great. Rather than concentrate on the mundane details of being an archaeologist, I focused on the discovery and the history behind it. That’s more interesting than what to call the tools of the trade and throwing things under a microscope.
What are the challenges of writing an interracial romance?
I hadn’t really considered One Night in New Delhi an interracial story. There’s a saying: We’re all brown, just different shades of it. So I don’t necessarily see race, but I do see culture. For this story in particular, I highlighted the culture by showing readers New Delhi through Hannah’s eyes and her experiences … the post-monsoon season heat, tastes and spices of the foods, a slice of history as it pertained to the Silk Road, the Deepavali (aka Diwali) festival and what goes into preparing for that, the Trinity Goddesses, the colors and textures and smells … those things and more make up some of what India is about, not how much melanin is in a person’s DNA. I hope the readers agree this was a good approach.
As well as writing for Tirgearr, you’re also the founder of the publishing house. How do you manage to find time to write as well as doing everything involved with running the company?
Time … what’s that? LOL It was a long time after launching Tirgearr Publishing that I could find time to write. Anyone who’s started any business will understand what a time intensive endeavor that is. We have our traditional midseason and winter breaks, but after years of hard work, and a great group of people working with us, I’m now able to take the time I need for a personal project. I just have to schedule it in, like everything else. Just don’t ask me how many WIPs I have!
What advice do you have for anyone who’s thinking of writing a story for the City Nights series?
First: Read some of the books in the series to see what they’re about.
Second: Read the guidelines.
Third: Pick a city that hasn’t been written about already, and write the story you want to tell.
For those just learning about the City Nights series, each story is set in a city somewhere in the world. All stories are contemporary/current day, and take place over a 24-hour period—each story entitled “One Night in (insert city name)”. The City Nights series is erotic romance—not erotica. Think of it as ramped up Contemporary Romance. The intimacy level has to be on equal par with the romance and the story. They can be any subgenre to erotic romance as long as the story follows the guidelines. The series has several subgenres, including a thriller, some suspense, love at first sight, experimenting partners, one night stands, reacquaintances, even some BDSM and interracial, and we’re always looking for stories which push boundaries. If it’s traditional Contemporary Romance, you’ll find it in the City Nights series. Every story has a HEA (Happy Ever After) or HFN (Happy For Now) ending. And as novellas, they’re quick reads for those who like a shorter read.
What are you reading at the moment?
I don’t usually read fiction while writing because I don’t want it to influence my voice, or the story. However, I do read whatever I need to for research. In the case of One Night in New Delhi, my research was on the city itself, including the Chandni Chowk Market (created by the favorite daughter of the man who built Taj Mahal), the National Museum, and even the transportation system. Also, there was a lot of reading about the Silk Road, including the maritime route; the Deepavali/Diwali festival and the goddess associated with it, and her as one of the Trinity Goddesses; the gem and spice trades; and of course the caste system. I also took a lot of walking tours of the city through YouTube. And to really bring home my experience, copious amounts of curry was consumed!
What is your next writing project?
This goes back to don’t ask me how many WIPs I have LOL I started a new series last year as part of a personal challenge—cozy mysteries. The Sassy O’Brien Mysteries will have just six books in the series. Murder in Mornington was written last July during my midseason break and published in November, just before the winter break and just in time for the holidays. This is a locally set story (I live in Mornington) so it was very popular with the locals who snapped them up to give as Xmas gifts. I’m now working on book two, Corpse in the Colpe, which involves lost treasure and local legend. I’ve got on my research hat.
What is the one thing about you that would surprise people reading this interview?
I’m not sure. I know everything about myself, none of which is a surprise anymore LOL I used to play a game where I’d throw out a few things and ask people to pick the odd one out. Let’s try it here and see if any of your readers can pick the correct one that doesn’t belong:
I was raised by grease monkeys and used to be pretty handy with a wrench.
I eat sausages with strawberry jam.
My first ever real job was babysitting sea otters.
There are 53 WIPs in my files.
I do my best story plotting while cycling.
Everyone put your answer in the comments below. I’ll award one of my books (winner’s choice) to each person who gets the answer correct 🙂
Good luck everyone!
Kemberlee Shortland bio:
Kemberlee Shortland is a native Northern Californian who grew up in Carmel, a community founded by artists and writers, including John Steinbeck, George Sterling, and Jack London. Over the years, Kemberlee has worked with several Carmel notables, including Doris Day, Kim Novak, and Joan Fontaine. It was in 1997, she left the employ of Clint Eastwood to live in Ireland for six months. It was during this time she met the man she would marry, and permanently relocated to live in Ireland. While always writing since a very young age, Kemberlee earned her keep for fifteen years as one of Ireland’s foremost travel consultants, and also wrote travel articles about Ireland. In 2005, she saw her first romance sell, and to date, she has thirteen published titles to her name, including the best-selling Irish Pride Series. Her most recent release is Murder in Mornington, is the first book in a new cosy Irish mystery series, set in the community Kemberlee and her family now call home. Kemberlee enjoys hearing from her readers, and promises to reply to every message. Please feel free to visit her on her website or social media sites.
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