Tawdra Kandle has been a writer since the invention of the pen. Her first published work appeared in Child’s Life magazine when she was 13. After a brief, thirty year hiatus, she published a young adult quartet, The King Series. More recently, she released a short in the anthology Eternal Summer and a contemporary romance THE POSSE. Tawdra lives in central Florida with her husband and children, of both skin and fur types. And yes, she has purple hair.
Thank you for joining us today at Scribbler’s, Tawdra!
What would you most like your readers to know about you that they might not read in your official bio?
Well, I’m a huge college football fan. For me, autumn begins when the first pass is thrown, the first whistle blown. . .the games are sensory experiences for me.
Tell us a bit about what your book, The Posse is about?
Jude is a forty-something widow living in a small Florida beach town, Crystal Cove, working at her family’s oceanfront restaurant. A year after her husband dies, his best friends—the Posse—are worried that Jude could fall in love with an out-of-towner and leave the Cove. They decide that the three single men in their group will court her, in the hopes she will find love with one of them. What follows is a story of friendship, family and second chances. Oh, and of course—love!
What inspired this story?
I spend a good amount of time at the beach, and the beach town we visit almost weekly has always intrigued me. One day on our drive home, the entire story just fell into my lap. I knew the characters’ names, the entire plot. . .it is something that rarely happens for me. I was very excited to write the book!
When creating characters what are the strongest influences for you?
Usually their back stories are the greatest influences. Generally, each character is an amalgamation of traits that come from people around me or even myself.
Do you develop a deep backstory for all your characters before sitting down to write or do you just have a general idea of who they are?
I find that their back stories are revealed to me over time as I write. Sometimes I go into a book thinking a character is one thing, only to find he or she has a past that affects the plot. It’s always intriguing when that happens!
When brainstorming a story idea do you begin with character or plot?
I am a character-driven writer, so always the characters. I think the study of people, their motives and their reactions is fascinating, so for me, tossing a few interesting characters together and seeing what happens next is a great place to start a book.
If you could cast anyone to play the roles of the men of the Posse whom would you pick?
I am horrible at this, but some of my readers have been suggesting actors. John Corbett was one idea for Logan. I also like Eric Dane. Matthew Fox might make a good Cooper, and I love Josh Holloway for Matt! And perhaps John Cusack for Jude’s brother Mark. And let’s see. . .Eric could be Chris O’Donnell?
Can we have an excerpt?
He saw the ‘Closed’ sign on the door as he approached, but then he heard something. Logan cocked his head. It sounded like. . .drums. Loud drums. And a woman’s voice.
He tried the door handle. He wasn’t surprised that it was unlocked; Jude was notorious for not locking doors. As he stepped into the empty restaurant, the music assaulted his senses. The drums pounded in his chest, and his ears rang.
Across the room, he spied Jude. She hadn’t heard him come in, and no wonder. Logan took advantage of the chance to watch her, unseen.
Her hair was up in its typical ponytail, and it swung in time with her movements. She was wearing jean shorts and a deep green t-shirt, with the rounded neckline she usually favored. She swung her hips and arms in time to the drums. And she was singing at the top of her lungs along with Sheila E.
Logan was transfixed, watching her denim-covered rear wiggle and gyrate. The shirt had ridden up a little on her back, and he could see a small slice of tanned skin. His fingers itched to touch it, and he clenched his fist to keep from reaching out, as if somehow he could from this distance.
As she spun and shimmied, he was suddenly back in high school, standing down at the old pavilion where the summer dances were held. Every Saturday night, the whole posse met at the Riptide and walked down the beach toward the sound of the music. A different business sponsored the dance each week, so they never knew what the decorations would be: one Saturday it might be sea shells and shimmery green bunting, while another there might be album covers and ads from the local record store.
Regardless, the dances drew most of the teens in the Cove. Everyone brought blankets, and as the evening wore on, couples would drift away from the lights and music, returning some time later, often disheveled and slightly sandy. But Daniel and Jude were seldom among those, only because Jude adored dancing. She didn’t want to miss even one song, and if Daniel begged off, she had no compunction about pulling another one of the posse in to join her.
Remembering, he moved toward her now, pulling loose his tie as he went. The music muffled his steps, and he might have reached her entirely undetected, except that Jude chose that moment to execute a perfect spin.
She saw him, and her hand flew to her throat. She screeched in shock, and for a moment, Logan thought she might pass out. He knew the minute surprise was superseded by annoyance, but before she could say anything, he stuck out one hand.
“Dance with me?”
What inspired you to become a writer?
I grew up surrounded by amazing women who told intriguing stories. I preferred listening to the adults around the dinner table to playing with my cousins, and what I heard led me to want to tell stories of my own. As soon as I could write, I did.
Do you have a particular daily writing schedule or process you stick to?
For my first few books, I wrote for two months solid. I took my laptop everywhere! However, after my first books came out, I found my writing time became severely curtailed. Now I try to write 3000 words a day, but in reality, I get in a few chapters and then go full blast for about a week until it is finished, writing 40-50 K in a week to ten days. I don’t like it, but you do what you have to do!
Is there a genre you’d like to attempt to write?
I’ve had a few readers ask if I would consider horror, but I don’t feel inspired there yet. Maybe one day! For now, I am sticking with romance in its various forms.
What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned along your journey as a writer?
I’ve learned that there is never enough time, that sometimes people will disappoint you, and that you cannot please all the people all the time. I’ve had people say my YA series had too much magic/not enough magic, too much religion/not enough religion, too many love scenes/not enough love scenes. After a while, a writer realizes she must write her own conscience or go nuts.
Do you belong to a critique group?
I did, once upon a time. I don’t anymore, simply because of time constraints and the rate at which I am writing. But I credit my original group with most of my growth as a writer. That group is also where I met my business partner and at least one of the authors we are publishing through our publishing company. So it was a wonderful thing all around.
What writer has most influenced you as a writer?
Hard to choose one. Anne Rice, Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon. . .and probably Nora Roberts most of all.
What is your favorite book from both childhood and adulthood?
My favorite book from childhood would be A Wrinkle in Time. And adulthood. . .hmmm. . . .probably Outlander.
What was your biggest obstacle in getting from first draft to publication?
In my very first book, I had to cut it considerably, and it was hard to know where it needed the trimming. It was a fabulous learning experience. For my current release, not really anything except blocking out the time to actually write it.
If you could sit down to dinner with any of your favorite fictional character’s who would it be and why?
I’m going to jump back to my childhood and say Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. We have a lot in common, and I would love to chat with her about the journeys she endured.
What are you currently reading?
I am in the middle of editing a book called Tough Love, which we are releasing through Hayson very shortly. For pleasure reading, I have just begun Elizabeth Berg’s Home Safe.
What is your favorite word?
My favorite word is love. My most used word is probably fabulous.
What is your least favorite word?
Hate. I am not a stickler for language in my house; I thinks words have the power we give them, and if the situation requires a good expletive, so be it. But I don’t tolerate the use of the word hate. It is negative, damaging and unimaginative.
What is your favorite curse word?
Ah, I’m a priest’s wife, I don’t use curse words! Ahahaha. . .I like the most creative ones, and it depends on the circumstances.
Go to snack when writing?
Although I am almost totally off carbs, when I’m writing I love ridged potato chips with onion dip, and then dark chocolate as a follow up.
What is your next project?
This fall, I have three books coming out. The first is Best Served Cold, a new adult stand-alone. And then The Serendipity Duet: Undeniable and Unquenchable will come next. They are new adult paranormal romances, a spin-off of the King Series. And then the first book in my adult paranormal series Recipe for Death will be released next year. I’m excited about all of these books!
Keep up with Tawdra on:
To Purchase your own copy of The Posse or Tawdra ‘s King Series go to: