February has many celebratory events, but the most recognizable has to be Valentine’s Day, and what could be more appropriate than inviting a romance author to visit this month? It’s my pleasure to introduce Kimberly Beckett, who loves horses and infuses her romantic tales with a strong dose of equine healing. Beckett is a fellow member of the Central Ohio Fiction Writers organization, which supports all things romance as well as other writers in the Buckeye state.
Janet Irvin: Welcome to my author’s corner, Kim. Can you share a bit of your professional and personal background with readers who haven’t read you yet?
Kimberly Beckett: As long as I can remember, I have loved horses. I wore out four rocking horses before I was 5 years old. My parents thought my horse craziness was a passing phase, but I’m over 50, and I haven’t outgrown it yet. As soon as I got my first attorney job (I became an attorney so I could afford to own and board a horse of my own) I bought my first horse. Since then, I have always owned at least one horse. I now own a Canadian Warmblood gelding named Clifford and compete as an adult amateur at dressage. In 2016 I earned my USDF Bronze medal.
I have an artistic side as well. I was the first Music/Pre-law major Ohio Northern University ever graduated, and though I majored in clarinet, I also played saxophone and flute in the jazz band, and French Horn in marching band. I also can play a little piano, and I sang choir in college. I have not performed or played music in quite some time (my riding takes up most of my spare time), but I love music.
My day job is something completely different. I have been a civilian attorney for the Department of Defense for over 30 years. I’ve served as a labor and employment lawyer and a government contract attorney, both of which can be challenging and rewarding, AND I make enough money to own my own horse. :>)
JEI: You bring so many talents and resources to your writing which lend themselves to many areas. Why did you decide to write fiction instead of, say, memoir, non-fiction, or poetry?
KB: I have loved reading romance novels since I was a teenager. I love the idea of taking a reader on an emotional journey certain that there will be happily ever after at the end of it all. It was a friend who suggested I should write. I remarked during lunch that I read nearly 1 romance novel a day. She suggested that maybe I should think about writing a romance novel, especially since I’m approaching retirement, and could actually make some money doing it. Coincidentally, at about that same time, one of my favorite regency romance writers, New York Times best-selling author Grace Burrowes, was offering a writer’s retreat to Scotland. I decided to go, and Grace read my preliminary attempts, gave me some really valuable advice, and my first pitch to a publisher resulted in a contract. The rest, as they say, is history.
JEI: Do you combine mystery with romance in your novels?
KB: I really don’t have much mystery in my books. Only one of my novels actually has any suspense. Racing Toward Love involves the Irish mob and horse racing, and my heroine in that book, Megan Brady, owns a thoroughbred horse named after the renowned racehorse Seabiscuit. She and her hero, Ian Stafford, a former British SAS soldier, confront the mob when they try to convince Megan’s family to throw the last race in the British Triple Crown.
JEI: By now this answer will be pretty obvious, but what made you decide to set your novels in the horsing world?
KB: As you can see from my bio, I have owned and ridden my own horses for over thirty years. They say to write what you know, and I definitely know horses.
JEI: You belong to Central Ohio Fiction Writers, a group that supports writers, especially romance writers. How can aspiring novelists use groups like COFW to best advantage?
KB: I got my first opportunity to pitch a story at a COFW meeting. The presenter that particular month was an editor for Soul Mate publishing, and she had agreed to take story pitches at the end of the meeting. She liked my pitch and asked me for a copy of my manuscript. The next thing I knew, I received a publishing contract. I now have 4 books published with Soul Mate and am working on book number 5.
JEI: What does 2022 look like in terms of your writing goals?
KB: I just completed my draft manuscript for book #5 in my Horses Heal Hearts series. I expect it to be published later this year.
JEI: Do you have a Work-In-Progress at the moment?
KB: Yes. Its title is Winning Hailey’s Heart, and the heroine, Hailey Warren, is first introduced in Dressage Dreaming, Horses Heal Hearts book #1. Hailey is Dressage Dreaming heroine Jessica Warren’s sister. The equestrian discipline her hero loves is polo.
JEI: What’s the most difficult part of being a writer in 2022?
KB: Due to the pandemic, I have not been able to do any book signings for several months. With the Omicron variant still active, at least in Ohio, I am still hesitant to go out into large public places. I’m hoping that later this year, we will be over the hump of contagion and infection, and have life get back to normal. I love meeting current and potential readers and learning more about them and what they enjoy about my books.
JEI: Now, just for fun, who would you cast as a leading man in one of your novels?
KB: I love Sam Heughan, the star of Outlander. I think he would make a great Monty Campbell, also a Scot, who is one of the heroes in my third book, Lionel’s Leap of Faith.
JEI: What are you reading these days?
KB: These days, I’m reading a lot of contemporary romance. I’ve particularly enjoyed books by Marie Force, Kate Pearce, Shirleen Davies, and Lexi Blake. I’m also enjoying a book by a new author, at least to me, J.E. Irvin. ;>)
JEI: Aah…thank you, Kim, and thank you so much for sharing a little of your writing life with us.
The best resource for links to all of the Kimberly Beckett books in all formats – ebook, paperback, and audio, is Beckett’s website: www.kimberlybeckett.com.