Anne Kemp is the author of the Abby George Series which includes her debut novella, All Fruits Ripe and first novel, Rum Punch Regrets. She is also the columnist behind Anne In Progress which appears monthly in the Frederick News-Post, a newspaper in the Washington DC-Metro area. As a blogger, she is known for penning “Life My Way” and “The Ultimate Late Bloomer.” Her original and honest sense of humor used in her columns and blogs earned her a Bloggers Choice Nomination for Best Humor Blog in 2010. A portion of Anne’s book revenue is donated to Lupus LA. You can find her at annekemp.com, on Facebook or follow her on Twitter!
Q. Your new novel is called ‘Rum Punch Regrets’ please tell us what it is all about.
Rum Punch Regrets is a story about what happens when Abby George (our laid-off, newly-dumped, down on her luck heroine) is offered the chance of a lifetime: Leave the big city and spend some time in the Caribbean. What begins as a favor to her sister becomes so much more. It’s about discovering family secrets while discovering oneself, coming to terms with your siblings and relationships with them and of course, it’s about falling in love.
Q. What did you find most challenging and enjoyable when writing the novella and how does it compare to the first book in the series ‘All Fruits Ripe’?
At this point I cannot remember what was challenging and what was just a plain old lesson in patience. I learned a lot writing the novella, All Fruits Ripe, and the novel, Rum Punch Regrets You have your own personal journey you go through when writing, testing your dedication and focus, which can be quite challenging. This is usually followed by moments I cherish where I feel linked to my characters and don’t want to leave them on the page without finishing their story or the chapter. To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel or a novella, it’s all coming from the same place.
Q. Why did you decide to write a book series in this particular genre?
I love romance and I LOVE love! I think falling love is so important, even when your heart may be broken. Love is essential and is best when unconditional, so why not celebrate it? Personally, I think fun, enjoyable reads where an author can (hopefully) create relatable characters and weave them into a believable story while dropping them into an engaging setting is the best form of escape. So why not create a world where the heroine is strong, savvy and may just fall in love?
Q. What inspired you to create your character Abby George?
Honestly, I was coming out of one of the most difficult times of my life (personally and professionally) and I began by venting in a journal. That journal ended up being used in a class I was taking when I went back to school through UCLA (University of Southern California at Los Angeles). I had such strong feedback regarding Abby from my classmates and other folks who were “beta-reading” my story. I knew I needed to dive in with her and see where she would take me.
I sat the package on the kitchen table and refused to open it for most of the day, I wanted to just cherish the moment.
Q. You are an avid tweeter and write a successful blog called ‘Life…My Way’. Would you say that these Social Media platforms have helped your writing career?
Definitely! I’ve learned more about writing from having a blog and column, as well as from the writing groups I’ve joined. I’m always writing, thinking and, hopefully, improving. One also cannot discount the value of networking through social media – I love meeting people via Twitter or Facebook!
Q. What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
At this point, there are three highlights. One was getting my print copy of the book in the mail before it was released. I sat the package on the kitchen table and refused to open it for most of the day, I wanted to just cherish the moment. And the second was when I found out I was on Amazon in the UK. Being a HUGE fan of Helen Fielding and all she has done for the “chick lit” and women’s fiction genres, I was absolutely ecstatic and still am. My third highlight would be this interview, because it’s my first one for the UK!
Q. What are you reading at the moment and who are your literary influences?
I just finished Peony in Love by Lisa See. I’m in a book club and that was our pick last month – it’s a charming read that’s rich in tradition!
Q. So honestly, are any of the crazy ordeals Abby George experiences in the novels based on your own life experiences?
Yes and no. I would say it’s a mixture of situations I’ve been through, sprinkled with stories from family and friends, as well as what I’ve borrowed from my own imagination. I’ve always been told to “write about what you know…” and that’s one rule I always intend to write by!
This is the perfect gift and definitely a book to pack in your suitcase this summer holiday.