Today, Paul’s Fantasy Writings has the honour of an interview with author Kandi Steiner. Kandi has written over a dozen Romance and New Adult novels, including noteworthy bestsellers and her most recent book, Neat.
Recently, I got in touch with Kandi and asked her the following questions:
Where do you come from and has this place appeared in your writings at all?
I’m originally from a small town in Oklahoma called Cleveland – it’s right outside of Tulsa. For the past 16 years, though, I have lived in Florida. Both places have made appearances in several of my books, and I definitely draw inspiration from the small town I grew up in to write my small-town romances. 😊
You are a prolific writer. You have written over 15 books, which is an incredible achievement. Do you set targets for yourself, words-wise? How many words on average do you write a day?
Thank you so much! I absolutely do. Usually, I start off a book with a lower word count goal – anything from 2k-3k a day. But as I near the end, I start writing more feverishly, and usually hit 4-6k a day. I think having a word count goal is important. It helps keep you on track, and pushes you to challenge yourself on the days you may not feel motivated to write.
This blogger: You usually hit 4-6k words a day!? That’s amazing and it’s no wonder that you’re so prolific.
You have written predominantly in the romance and new adult genres. What draws you to those genres in particular?
Romance for me has always had an allure because I think love is the most powerful emotion we feel as humans. Scientists can break down almost every single emotion, but love? It’s elusive.
Sure, there are parts of it that are scientific, chemicals and such, but there is so much of it that breaks the rules of ‘survival instincts.’ It shows that there is more power in it than we can understand. I love to write about what it feels like to fall in love, to have your heart broken, and every emotion in-between.
As for New Adult Romance, I’m particularly drawn to this age group (18-30) because I think so much self-discovery happens during these years. Plus, it plays a HUGE part in who we love, how we love, and whether or not love survives in our lives. I also love writing about that immature love, the kind that is messy and flawed, because so many love stories are.
This blogger: I’ve never thought about the Romance and New Adult genres in those terms. That does explain why a lot of people are drawn to those genres. You certainly know your audience 😉.
Do you feel there is much crossover within the romance and new adult genres? When you write new stories, do you ever think ‘I covered this plot point (or subplot point) in previous novels?
Of course, there is crossover. But the goal of writing is to tell your story the way YOU want it to be told. For instance, I wrote A Love Letter to Whiskey because I wanted to read it and I didn’t see any other books out there like it. Sure, there were other books about bad timing and love not working out for one reason or another. But to tell an eleven-year saga of bad timing and circumstances keeping soulmates apart? That was a new story to tell – and it was mine.
The Wrong Game, The What He Doesn’t Know series, and Weightless were all bestsellers. Why do you think they were so successful?
I think bestsellers are made by a combination of things: cover, blurb, timing, and the impact of the story. For these ones you’ve mentioned specifically, I think it was because they were fresh. They were different from what was out there. For instance, The Wrong Game is a “sports romance,” but neither character actually plays professional football. It’s more about the everyday guy and gal who LOVE football and have their lives tied up in it.
The same goes for What He Doesn’t Know. That’s a love triangle where it really IS a triangle – as in, you don’t know which guy you want to win, and that means at the end of it all, you feel very emotionally moved. That’s what it’s all about – telling a story in your unique way and really moving the reader.
At the end of your What He Doesn’t Know series, what message did you want people to take away from it? Do you think you achieved it, based upon what you’ve read and heard?
My main message for that series was the love is not black and white. It has many, many areas of gray where ‘rules’ are broken – along with hearts. I wanted to show EVERY side of the story, shine a light on infidelity. That way, those who are so against it might understand it in a more empathetic way. I also wanted to write a TRUE love triangle, and I believe I achieved that.
This blogger: That is a very important message, particularly for your younger, more idealistic audience. So, often, love is seen in the terms of a Disney song or a magic carpet ride – or the two combined (*rolls eyes*). The reality is that love is not like that at all, and I feel it is crucial that storytellers give a more realistic account of love. I think you very much achieved your goals for What He Doesn’t Know.
Which of the characters in any of your novels is the least like you? And why?
Oh, I like this question! I usually get asked who is MOST like me, so this is refreshing. I’d probably say Mallory in Neat is least like me. I think that’s why I loved writing her so much!
This blogger: (*Chuckles*.) I am glad I could ask you a refreshing question. Second, you make me want to read Neat just for that alone, Kandi.
Have any of the characters in your stories been influenced by historical or fictional (including movie) figures?
Corbin in Tag Chaser was definitely inspired by Ian Somerholder. That’s why his physical description is him to a T lol.
If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?
Oh man, I would tell myself to SLOW DOWN and do it right from the beginning. I was so caught up in the beginning, I didn’t take the proper time for editing or to research my options as a publisher.
I think my first few books show how young and naïve my writing was. Through reading those, as opposed to my more recent works, you can see my growth. I was all about the creative and not about the business. That part didn’t come until 2016, and that is what changed my trajectory.
This blogger: This is great advice and very honest of you, Kandi. Patience is extremely important in the writing process. One way or another, we have to learn it.
How has writing changed you?
Writing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first poems in the third grade, my first short stories in the fourth, and my first novel in the sixth. I can’t imagine my life WITHOUT writing. So, rather than saying how it has changed me, I will say that without it, I would not BE me. And I cannot imagine who I would be, instead.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
The hardest part of the writing process for me, personally, is editing. It’s really difficult for me to take critical feedback. I have to take it all in, get a good cry out, push past my fear of failing, and then get to work. It is always a very difficult process for me and takes an emotional toll. BUT, my books are better for going through it!
This blogger: Again, that is very honest of you to say, and thank you for sharing it with us. I agree with you in that editing is tough and emotionally taxing. But you are right – it does make one’s work so much better.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
So many things! I am very much a ‘passion for living’ kind of person. I love to travel, hike, hang out with my boyfriend and friends, see new things around my town. In addition, I like to do yoga, pole dancing, go to concerts/see live music in any way possible, get outside (beach, hikes, etc), read (of course), watch movies with friends. I just love to get out and live!
This blogger: Wow, that is a lot!
Lastly, I have seen that you are a whiskey connoisseur. I, myself, enjoy a good whiskey. Which one is your favourite?
Ohhh this is TOUGH. I have many favorites, but if I had to choose just one, I’d say Chattanooga Whiskey 1816 Cask.
This blogger: Good choice! Personally, mine is Balvenie Triple Cask 16 years, with a Glenrothes close behind it 😉.
End of Interview
Thus, our interview with the bestselling author Kandi Steiner comes to an end. I would like to thank Kandi for her time, and to say that it has been wonderful getting to know her. I wish her all the best in her future writings, in all her activities, and love of whiskey.
You can purchase Kandi’s books on Amazon, including her latest book, Neat, as well as her bestsellers The Wrong Game, The What He Doesn’t Know series, and Weightless. Romance lovers will enjoy her novels from cover to cover.
Otherwise, like Kandi on Facebook, follow her on Instagram and Twitter, check out her pages on Goodreads and Bookbub, and visit her website. This way, you will be able to keep up to date with her and be the first to know when her next book is released.
PS: If you enjoyed this interview with author Kandi Steiner and wish to read interviews with more amazing authors, please fill in the short form below: