As we sat eager for the release of the newest title in the bestselling (and Reader Store favorite!) Kowalski series, we were lucky enough to get to chat with author Shannon Stacey on family, four-wheeling and how to write the perfect man.
RS: How did you first get hooked on writing romance? Would you say it’s because you are yourself a hopeless romantic?
SS: I’m definitely a hopeless romantic. Hallmark has yet to make a commercial that hasn’t made me cry. Like many, I discovered romance novels when I was (perhaps too) young, sneaking them off my mom’s nightstand. I hadn’t read many before I knew I wanted to be a romance author when I grew up. The core premise of love conquering all simply appeals to me on every level.
RS: We know the four-wheeling hits a heartstring for you personally. But as a family, are the Kowalskis modeled after a family you know in real life?
SS: My Kowalski series began as a case of writing the book I wanted to read. Exclusively Yours is chock full of things that make my life so rich and full—family, fun, camping, four-wheelers and s’mores. When I finished writing that book, though, I discovered I wasn’t ready to leave the Kowalski family behind. They’re not modeled after a real family, but they’re inspired by the spirit and values of people I know.
RS: You create an “ideal” man quite well with endearing yet very human qualities that makes readers fall hard for your stories. What is your version of an ideal man?
SS: There’s nothing I find sexier than a man who has a strong sense of family, respects the women in his life, and works as hard as he plays. I’m lucky enough to be approaching my 20th anniversary of marrying my ideal man. Besides being a wonderful husband, he’s the most amazing dad I’ve ever seen. He’s not perfect by any means, but there’s a little bit of him in every Kowalski guy.
RS: Who is your favorite character (or characters) to write in this series?
SS: It was Kevin Kowalski (Undeniably Yours), maybe because we get to see him be a dad. Men who embrace fatherhood and unabashedly love their kids are very special to me. I think, however, he was slightly edged out by Josh. He’s so conflicted and he broke my heart a little, even while I enjoyed torturing him (by way of Katie).
RS: What are your three favorite love stories?
SS: The first love story to make my heart ache was Laura and Almanzo’s in the Little House on the Prairie series. Even now, thinking about Beth and Manly makes me swoon.
RS: And you say in your bio that one of your favorite things to do is writing about “happily ever afters.” What is your version of happily ever after?
SS: Happily ever after, to me, means two people have found the kind of love that you know is going to stick. After the initial rush of attraction, passion and falling in love is over, it’s the day-to-day love that survives the hard times and gets you through the bad days; it’s two people growing old together because they had a love worth fighting for.
RS: What is the most (choose one) endearing/crazy/funny thing you’ve received from a Kowalski-family fan of yours?
SS: A very lovely reader sent me candy recently. I’m a huge fan of candy. I do, however, treasure most the emails I’ve received from readers telling me I gave them a few hours of escape and even made them laugh during a rough time in their lives. I’ve lost myself in books during troubled times over the years, and hearing I was able to offer that same comfort and happily-ever-after promise to others is far more gratifying than I ever could have imagined.
About the Author: Shannon Stacey
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. From May to November, the Stacey family spends their weekends on their ATVs, making loads of muddy laundry to keep Shannon busy when she’s not at her computer. She prefers writing to laundry, however, and considers herself lucky she got to be an author when she grew up.