We are so excited to welcome Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward to UTC today. This dynamic duo pens some of the most fun romantic comedies and they’ve done so again. DIRTY LETTERS just released and it’s a beautiful story that will charm you and make you swoon a little. But let’s take this opportunity to get to know these wonderful ladies a little more. And be sure to add DIRTY LETTERS to your TBR today!
What book(s) started you down the road to being an author?
Vi: For me, it wasn’t one particular book. I’ve been a lifelong reader. My first romance loves were novels by Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins.
Penelope: This may sound cliché, but it was 100% Fifty Shades of Grey that started a love of reading contemporary romance and new adult romance. It indirectly started me on the path to becoming a writer in the genre.
What’s the craziest plot you ever thought up? Did you get to use it in a book?
Vi: The plot of Beautiful Mistake. It tells two simultaneous stories—one about a teenage boy who hides out in the confessional of a church he is supposed to be cleaning and winds up befriending a little girl who goes into the other side and unknowingly tells him her sins. The other story is…well, I can’t give that away!
Penelope: My book Sins of Sevin is that very plot. I don’t want to give anything away but it’s different from anything I have written or ever will write. I think many are scared to read it actually.
Do you have any habits or rituals to get you in the right space to write?
Vi: I need complete quiet. I can’t even write with music playing. And I have a foot massager under my desk that I flip on a few times a day.
Penelope: I must have coffee and quiet. Those are the two main requirements.
Can you tell us a little about Dirty Letters?
Two childhood pen pals are reunited when Griffin has a bit too much to drink one night and writes to Luca, the girl who suddenly stopped writing him eight years earlier. When he realizes why she stopped writing, they rekindle their relationship from afar and resume writing back and forth, this time as adults. Of course, now their letters are a bit steamier. Things get complicated when Luca suggests they meet in person.
What was one of your favorite scenes in Dirty Letters to write and why?
Vi: My favorite scene is when Griffin stops the car and gets out and has an intense conversation with Luca. I loved his response when she tried to break things off.
Penelope: Both the early letters that they write and also the first scene that they meet. The latter definitely had my adrenaline pumping because the prospect of Luca and Griffin meeting for the first time after all of those years and letters was so exciting.
It is often said that writing is re-writing. What were some things that didn’t make it into the book that you were hoping to add?
Well, we could have written more letters endlessly. But we had to put a stop to them at some point so the characters could actually meet!
What are you working on next?
We are co-writing another standalone romance for Montlake that will release in November 2020. A certain type of “letter” will also have important meaning in that book, although the story couldn’t be more different than this one.
Released: November 5, 2019
Published by Montlake Romance
I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.
Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.
Until one day it did.
Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.
Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.
Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.
But what I found could change everything.
The small dining room table had a pile of mail. I’d had Dad’s mail forwarded to my house, so mostly it was just catalogs and junk. Once a month, Mrs. Cascio sent me everything that arrived, even though I’d told her it wasn’t necessary. I mindlessly fingered through the pile, not expecting to see anything worth keeping. But I stopped at an envelope addressed to me—well, not me, but Luca Ryan. That was a name I hadn’t heard in a long time. In second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Ryan, started a pen pal writing program with a small town in England. We weren’t allowed to use our real last names for safety reasons, so the entire class used her last name—hence I was Luca Ryan. I checked out the return address for the sender’s name.
Wow, really? It couldn’t be.
I squinted at the postmark. It was from a PO box in California, not England, but I didn’t know any other Quinn other than Griffin. And the handwriting did look pretty familiar. But it had been close to eight years since we’d exchanged letters. Why would he write now? Curious, I ripped it open and scanned right to the bottom of the letter for the name. Sure enough, it was from Griffin. I started at the beginning.
Do you like scotch? I remember you said you didn’t like the taste of beer. But we never did get around to comparing our taste in hard liquor. Why is that, you might ask? Let me remind you—because you stopped answering my letters eight damn years ago. I wanted to let you know, I’m still pissed off about that. My mum used to say I hold grudges. But I prefer to think of it as I remember the facts. And the fact of the matter is, you suck. There, I’ve said it. I’ve been holding that shit in for a long time. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not obsessive or anything. I don’t sit in my house thinking about you all day long. In fact, there have been months that go by when thoughts of you don’t even enter my brain. But then some random thing will pop into my head out of the blue. Like I’ll see some kid in a pram eating black licorice, and I’ll think of you. Side note—I’ve tried it again as an adult, and I still think it tastes like the bottom of my shoe, so perhaps it’s that you just have no taste. You probably don’t even like scotch. Anyway, I’m sure this letter won’t find its way to you. Or if by some miracle it does, you won’t answer. But if you’re reading this, you should know two things.
- The Macallan 1926 is worth the extra cash. Goes down smooth.
- You SUCK.
Later, traitor, Griffin
What in the hell?
Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward are graciously giving away
$100 Gift Card + copy of DIRTY LETTERS
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