Author Interview: Kerry Winfrey – I absolutely loved Just Another Love Song by Kerry Winfrey. It’s a wonderful second chance romance in a sweet small town with a fabulous cast of characters. I adored the audiobook! I’m chatting with Kerry about her book, the inspiration behind her idyllic small town, and out shared love of Wham!’s Last Christmas. This post may contain links to purchase books & you can read our affiliate disclosure here.
Kerry Winfrey is the author of the romantic comedies WAITING FOR TOM HANKS and NOT LIKE THE MOVIES, both published by Berkley. Her next book, VERY SINCERELY YOURS, will be out in 2021. She’s also the author of the YA novels LOVE AND OTHER ALIEN EXPERIENCES and THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT, both from Feiwel and Friends. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely baking a pie or watching far, far too many romantic comedies. She lives with her family in the middle of Ohio.
Once upon a time, Sandy Macintosh thought she would have her happily ever after with her high school sweetheart, Hank Tillman. Sandy wanted to be an artist, Hank was the only boy in town who seemed destined for bigger things, and they both had dreams to escape town together. But when Sandy’s plans fell through, she stayed in their small town in Ohio while Hank went off to Boston to follow his dreams to be a musician, with the promise to stay together. Only that plan fell through, too.
Fifteen years later, Sandy runs a successful greenhouse while helping her parents with their bed and breakfast. Everything is perfect…until Hank rolls back into town, now a famous alt-country singer with a son in tow. She’s happy with the life she’s built by herself, but seeing Hank makes her think about what might have been. There aren’t enough cliché love songs in the world to convince Sandy to give Hank another chance, but when the two of them get thrown together to help organize the town’s annual street fair, she wonders if there could be a new beginning for them or if what they had is just a tired old song of the past.
Author Interview: Kerry Winfrey
Kerry, I’m so excited to talk to you today about Just Another Love Song. Thank you for joining me for this Q & A!
Thanks so much for having me!
I loved your book so much! Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind Just Another Love Song?
I’ve always wanted to write a book set in a small town—I grew up in one and I think they can be such wonderful settings. Small towns can feel like their own self-contained worlds, so I wanted to write about a couple that split up because one of them left and one of them stayed behind. I made Hank an alt-country musician because I love country music (specifically 90s country), and I made Sandy a gardener because I enjoy gardening (even though I’m pretty bad at it).
I am a sucker for a second chance romance! Can you tell readers what tropes and/or themes to expect from Just Another Love Song?
The main theme in Just Another Love Song, in my opinion, is the idea that it’s never too late. That’s what I love so much about second chance romances…they show that even if you mess up, you can still have another chance at happiness. Sandy feels like she might’ve missed her shot because she’s in her thirties and she built a whole life that’s different from what she wanted, but the book is really about her coming to understand that she can have what she wants, if she’s brave enough to go after it.
Sandy is such a great character, and I love her friendship with Honey. Can you tell me some of your favorite characteristics of Sandy?
I love that Sandy is really part of her community. She never expected to stay in Baileyville, but she makes the best of it and becomes an important part of her town—a business owner, a volunteer, and a friend. She loves to help the people in her life, whether that’s her best friend or her parents.
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Hank is easy to fall in love with and I loved the flashback scenes. Can you tell me some of your favorite things about Hank?
I love that Hank supports Sandy completely. There’s never a point when he stops believing in her. Their lives take them in different directions, but he always cares for her and wants what’s best for her. He’s an extremely loyal person.
One of my favorite scenes in your book involved the carnival. Do you have any favorite scenes in Just Another Love Song?
I loved writing the scene where Hank and Sandy share a dance to Neon Moon at the Baileyville Street Fair dance. And the scene where they had to get a squirrel out of Sandy’s house, because I love writing chaos.
I absolutely love the setting of this book- Baileyville! The name of the town immediately made me think of It’s a Wonderful Life (George Bailey + Pottersville). Did you have any inspiration for the setting?
Thank you for recognizing the George Bailey inspiration! I totally named the town after him because I love It’s a Wonderful Life and I think he’s such a good character (and in many ways, Sandy’s character arc reflects his). Baileyville is largely inspired by my own hometown, Bellville. The geography is almost identical (Bellville also has a gazebo and a bed and breakfast, and I modeled the fair after the yearly Bellville Street Fair), but I fictionalized the town so I could change a few details around.
Author Interview: Kerry Winfrey – Romance Recs, TV adaptations, Favorite Movies & More
What started your foray into reading and loving the romance genre? Any comfort reads you go back to time and time again?
I’ve always loved love stories. I watched romantic comedies all the time as a kid, reread the Princess Diaries series to vicariously live through Mia and Michael’s relationship, and stole my mom’s romance novels to secretly read the steamy parts. I still think that Meg Cabot is one of the all-time greats when it comes to writing fun and funny love stories. As an adult, some of my first romance novels were the Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts. I still love those books.
Just Another Love Song is such an enjoyable and heartwarming read. What are some books on your TBR?
My TBR is always about 50 books tall. I’m really looking forward to reading Lunar Love by Lauren Kung Jessen, Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle, Luck and Last Resorts by Sarah Grunder Ruiz, and Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola.
Music is a big part of Just Another Love Song. Who are some of your favorite musicians?
Father John Misty, Harry Styles, Kacey Musgraves, Maggie Rogers, Taylor Swift, Prince, and Dolly Parton. I always include a lot of music in my books because I love listening to all sorts of things, but also because nothing makes me happier than when a song is used perfectly in a movie. Even though I write books and you can’t actually hear the song being played like you can in a movie, I still try to create that feeling!
I absolutely loved the mention of George Michael & Wham! George is one of my all time favorite artists. Do you have a favorite George era or song?
My favorite song of all time is Last Christmas, which I know is a Christmas song but I listen to it year round.
I always love talking about TV and movies. If you were to cast an adaptation for Just Another Love Song, do you have anyone in mind for your characters?
This is always such a hard question because I picture my characters as made up people in my head! But I always love to hear what actors people imagine them as.
How do you spend your time outside of writing?
I hang out with my husband, son, and our two dogs. I also love reading, baking, and exploring Columbus!
What are you hoping readers feel when they read Just Another Love Song?
I always want readers to feel warmth and coziness when they read my books! Real life can be hard, and it’s the biggest compliment when readers tell me that my books helped them escape during a hard time. I turn to books when things are difficult, so it’s nice that my books can help people the same way.
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me! How can readers best connect with you?
On Instagram (@kerrywinfrey) or by subscribing to my newsletter No One Asked (https://kerrywinfrey.substack.com/).
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