Happy Monday, book folks! I took a little break from the author exchanges to keep up with the frenzy of launch month but we’re back! I’m thrilled to have fellow Canadian and 2020debut Kelly Duran on the blog today! I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Kelly this year and will never forget the day she helped me fulfill a life dream of seeing my book on the shelf at my favourite bookstore in Victoria, Munro Books, when she sent me a shelfie. A great friend and a great writer! I hope you enjoy getting to know more about Kelly and her upcoming release Can’t Take It Back this April, an audible original!
Thanks so much for taking the time, Kelly, and huge congratulations on your wonderful book! I don’t know about you, but I just want to grab a seat on that park bench and find out what those ladies are talking about…Can’t wait!
AK: Tell us a little about yourself.
KD: Let’s see – what’s the important stuff. I’m married to my high school sweetheart and we have two lovely and intelligent daughters. I’m Canadian, born and raised in Vancouver, BC. I’ve been a voracious reader and writer for my entire life. Many a time I was caught reading in bed after lights out. I started working on my first novel when my oldest daughter was born but had to shelve it because life got crazy and full. In 2015 I picked up that novel again for my first NaNoWriMo experience (which I did with my oldest daughter). Around that same time, I started my own marketing consulting business and being my own boss has definitely helped me prioritize my writing.
I drink too much coffee and spend too much money on books. Both of which I refuse to apologize for.
AK: What’s the premise of your book?
KD: In CAN’T TAKE IT BACK, I wanted to tell a story about the importance of female friendships in today’s world. For me, and for so many women I know, my female friends have been so important in helping me through the tough times.
The story focuses on four friends that are all coming to crossroads in their lives. Three are facing different threats to their marriages—infidelity, apathy, and an unconventional request—while the one eternal single girl is trying to decide if motherhood is the best next step for her. With each other for support, they are forced to make tough choices that impact not just themselves but everyone else around them.
The story is told in multiple POVs and takes place over the course of the kindergarten school year.
AK: What inspired you to write it?
KD: The inspiration for this book really came from my own life and experiences. As I’ve faced my relationship issues and motherhood challenges I always turned to my girlfriends for support and advice. And without them I know I wouldn’t have been able to make it through. I’m inspired by the power of those friendships and recognize how important they are for women. I’ve also always been fascinated by the way love evolves differently for couples. How men and women change as individuals as their relationships change and how they make the decisions they make for the sake of their marriages. The title refers to the fact that for most people there are things we do or say that we wish we could take back. But, despite how heavily the burden of regret may weigh on us, all we can really do is move forward.
AK: What are you most looking forward to this debut year? And conversely, what are you most nervous about?
KD: Oh, there is so much I’m excited about. Obviously, the fact that I will actually get to share the words I wrote with others is huge. More specifically I was really excited about getting to see the cover. That was a truly special moment for me. Also, because my novel is coming out as an Audible Original, I’m really excited to hear the narrators bring my characters to life. I can’t wait for the first time I get to hear the words I wrote read aloud by a talented cast.
I’d be crazy not to say I’m nervous about how it will be received but as the time passes and my release date grows nearer I feel less worried about that. Books are so subjective, I know that from my own experience, so I know not everyone will love it. But I have faith in my writing ability and the revisions I made with my editor. I know it’s a good book.
AK: What authors do you admire and/or have influenced your development as a writer? Please feel free to add specific books, we love recommendations!
KD: So many! As a Canadian writer, I am definitely drawn to fellow Canadians that have seen success – like Karma Brown, Robyn Harding, Farah Heron and fellow 2020 debut writer, Samantha M. Bailey. Seeing their success and connecting with them on social media has been an incredible inspiration.
In terms of books that influenced my writing style, I’d have to say I pulled inspiration from Taylor Jenkins Reid, Liane Moriarty, Liza Palmer, and Celeste Ng as I wrote CAN’T TAKE IT BACK.
AK: What are you working on now?
KD: I’m working on a new women’s fiction novel tentatively titled ALL YOU HAVE TO DO. It’s about a woman who is faced with having to rediscover who she is when she loses her role as both wife and mother. This question of identity, especially for mothers, is one I talk about a lot with my own girlfriends. Women, more than men, tend to give up parts of themselves when they get married and have kids. I wanted to explore how a woman would regain her own identity with the help of her friends and family.
I also have a historical fiction novel I’m working on that is a labour of love. It’s loosely based on my grandmother’s life in London during the blitz. That one is taking a lot longer to write given all the research that needs to be done. I’m looking forward to a trip to London in the near future to visit some key places in my grandmother’s life.
AK: What question do you wish I had asked, and answer it!
KD: I’ve been asked what I would have done differently and I think it’s an important question. The road to publication is long and a million little things can change an author’s path. Personally, I wish I’d never allowed myself to stop writing when I had kids. At the time, I didn’t see it for the sacrifice it really was but I lost an important part of me when I stopped writing. I convinced myself that focusing on my family and writing books were exclusive of each other when really they were complimentary. I think a lot about all those lost years and whether or not I could have achieved my publication dreams sooner if I hadn’t sacrificed my own passion.
Release date: April 16, 2020 (worldwide)
A perfect next listen for fans of Abbi Waxman and Katherine Center, Can’t Take It Back is a charming debut telling the interconnected stories of four women over the course of a kindergarten school year.
Huddled on their favorite park bench in a quiet Seattle suburb, Holly, Avery, Zoe, and Sasha might look like they’ve got it all figured out – but there’s more to their stories than meets the eye. When Avery’s husband Carter suggests they open up their marriage, she’s shocked and appalled – but could this new arrangement be the breath of fresh air she never knew she needed? Zoe and Aaron, whose connection has long been the standard by which their friends measure their own relationships, feel that their lives are taking them in different directions, but worry over how a divorce might affect their two young boys. Zoe turns to her best friend Holly for guidance, but as it turns out, this year has tested her own marriage to Jake in ways neither of them ever anticipated. And meanwhile, Holly’s sister Sasha – the no-nonsense PR executive and eternally single girl of the group – must decide if joining the ranks of motherhood is the right step for her.
Captivating and immersive, Can’t Take It Back is a deeply emotional novel that celebrates the complex bond of female friendships.
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