Monday, June 30, 2014

Love and Shenanigans by Zara Keane Interview & Giveaway

Love and Shenanigans by Zara Keane Series: Ballybeg, #1 Publication Date: May 16, 2014 Genre: Contemporary Romance
Vows in Vegas… Three days before leaving Ireland on the adventure of a lifetime, Fiona Byrne returns to her small Irish hometown to attend the family wedding from hell. When she discovers the drunken vows she exchanged with the groom during a wild Las Vegas trip eight years previously mean they’re legally married, her future plans ricochet out of control. Can she untangle herself from the man who broke her heart so long ago? Does she even want to?
…True Love in Ballybeg. Gavin Maguire’s life is low on drama, high on stability, and free of pets. But Gavin hadn’t reckoned on Fiona blasting back into his life and crashing his wedding. In the space of twenty-four hours, he loses a fiancée and a job, and gains a wife and a labradoodle. Can he salvage his bland-but-stable life? More importantly, can he resist losing his heart to Fiona all over again?
“Typical,” muttered Gavin. “Bloody typical. He lands me with an untrained puppy that wreaks havoc in my house, and then he expects me to keep it under control in his.” Wiggly Poo treated his nose to a generous lick. He scowled at him. “Keep that up and I’ll walk down the aisle with a rash on my face.” A shriek of laughter from one of the rooms proved too much excitement for the puppy. He leaped out of Gavin’s arms, slid across the marble floor, and shot off in the direction of the noise. “Come back, you blaggard!” Gavin chucked Deirdre’s roses on the floor and took off after the dog. He pounded down the narrow hallway that led to the downstairs guest bedrooms. One door was slightly ajar. He caught sight of a curly canine arse disappearing behind it. He barged into the room without knocking. A chorus of feminine gasps greeted his appearance. Apart from the French designer, all the women were wearing satin dresses of various hues. Deirdre was in a lavender creation, complete with puffy sleeves. The bridesmaids—Olivia, Mona, and Brona—wore maroon dresses that reminded him of the costumes in the deadly dull Jane Austen adaptations his fiancée adored. Muireann’s wedding dress was a meringue concoction with skirts that took up half the room. It didn’t suit her, but he’d lie tomorrow and tell her it looked great. The pièce de résistance was the woman poured into a greenish-yellow frock with a weird fishtail bottom. The bodice of the dress was so tight that half her breasts were squeezed into view. He drank in the woman’s face. Her mouth formed an O of horror at the sight of him. His stomach performed a stunt worthy of an acrobat. He knew those breasts. He knew that face. He knew that mouth. Bloody hell! What was she doing at the wedding? What was she doing in the wedding? Her intelligent green eyes pinned him in place. A slide show of memories flashed through his mind—some good, some bad, some X-rated. “Gavin!” Muireann screeched, jolting him back to the present. “You’re not supposed to see my dress!” He flushed to the roots. Had he been remembering sleeping with another woman while his bride-to-be stood in front of him? Jaysus. He needed to pull himself together. Deirdre grabbed a swath of fabric from the speechless Claudette and threw it around her daughter. “Get out, Gavin. You’ll jinx the wedding!” “Sorry for barging in. Wiggly Poo is in here somewhere.” Muireann’s jaw dropped. “You brought him here? I told you to leave him at home.” “Baby, I couldn’t leave him alone,” he said in mounting exasperation. “He was wrecking the place. He pulled down the curtains and attacked my stereo speakers.” “Ah, Gavin. Why didn’t you stop him? He’s only a puppy.” “Are you sure? I’d label him a hellhound.” Fiona snorted with laughter. Muireann shot her cousin a look of pure venom. No love lost between them. In a split second, Wiggly Poo emerged from underneath an antique chair and charged at a basket near Deirdre’s feet. “Watch out!” Gavin cried. “There he goes.” “Stop him!” Deirdre screamed, veiled hat askew. “He’s attacking Mitzi and Bitzi.” Fiona lurched forward on her high heels and half-fell, half dive-bombed the dog basket.
The sound of ripping fabric tore a horrified gasp from the crowd. The material at the back of the dress split open, revealing two luscious, creamy buttocks.
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about author
Zara Keane grew up in Dublin, Ireland, but spent her summers in a small town very similar to the fictitious Ballybeg. She currently lives in Switzerland with her family. When she’s not writing or wrestling small people, she drinks far too much coffee, and tries – with occasional success – to resist the siren call of Swiss chocolate.

Interview Questions for Zara Keane

Where are you from? I was born and grew up in Ireland, but I now live in Switzerland with my family.

Tell us your latest news? My debut romance, Love and Shenanigans was released on 1 June. It’s the first book in the Ballybeg series—humorous contemporary romances set in the same small Irish town. I’m now revising Love and Blarney, the second Ballybeg story. It will be out in September.

When and why did you begin writing?
I started jotting down stories when I was a kid. I was always making up stories in my head and I had an entire soap opera built around my Barbie dolls. Whenever I went to a friend’s house to play, all she wanted to do with her dolls was change their clothes. I was horrified. My dolls blew stuff up, had dramatic car chases, and searched for buried treasure. Eventually, I started writing down some of my tales in little notebooks, and it went from there.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I attended the Romance Writers of America conference in 2011. Being around fellow writers, both published and unpublished, was an amazing experience. It was the first time in my life that I felt like a professional writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Discounting a truly dreadful co-authored book I wrote with a friend as a teenager, plus all the manuscripts I didn’t finish over the years, the first book I completed was written during NaNoWriMo 2009. For anyone not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it’s a writing challenge that takes place online every November. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. This works out to be roughly 1667 words per day.
In the summer of 2009, I quit my job to stay home with my kids. By late October, I was going out of my mind being home all day with a baby and a two-year-old. Katiebabs of Babbling About Books blogged about her experiences doing NaNoWriMo. Her post caught my interest, and I decided to give it a shot. I got up every morning at 5am to squeeze in an hour or two of writing time. At the end of the month, I had a completed 65,000-word first draft. Once I’d finished one book, I knew I could finish more.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I suspect my writing reflects my personality. :D I can be impatient, and I like to have a laugh. My writing style is pretty fast-paced and peppered with humor.

How did you come up with the title?
With great difficulty. LOL! Characters’ names just come to me. Book titles are harder. The original title was Love and Craic, but several people told me they didn’t understand the Gaelic word craic, so I changed it to Love and Shenanigans. Craic (pronounced like crack) is hard to translate directly. Basically, it means to have fun, especially in a group situation. It can also refer to gossip.

How much of the book is realistic?
The town of Ballybeg is fictional. Its geography is loosely based on the towns of Clonakilty, Cobh, and Kinsale in County Cork. All the other places my characters visit in Love and Shenanigans are real—Cork City, Doolin, Lisdoonvarna, and the Cliffs of Moher.

The divorce laws I reference in the book are factual. It takes five years for a divorce to go through in Ireland, and it’s an expensive undertaking. When I was fact-checking the story premise, I spoke to people in the General Register Office (they’re responsible for registering births, deaths, and marriages in Ireland). I wanted a plausible way for someone to get a marriage license in Ireland although they’d already married abroad. Apparently, it’s no problem. LOL! They don’t keep a record of marriages of Irish nationals that occur outside Ireland. And unless they have reason to be suspicious, they don’t check international marriage registers before issuing a marriage license. They were pretty frank about it. Ireland’s economy was hit hard over the past few years. They have neither the resources nor the personnel to do a worldwide search on each and every person who applies for a marriage license. Apart from those details, my characters are all figments of my imagination, as are the events in the story.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In spite of my tongue-in-cheek titles, my books don’t always paint a cheery picture of an Ireland filled with Guinness and leprechauns. As a society, Ireland has undergone dramatic changes in my lifetime alone—both positive and negative—and these issues affect my characters. At its heart, though, Love and Shenanigans isn’t intended to impart a particular message or belief.

Other than Love and Shenanigans is a light, humorous love story that will hopefully make readers laugh and provide them with a satisfactory HEA. :D



  1. I enjoy humor in a story and I am looking forward to reading your books. You grew up in Dublin and now live in Switzerland. How much difference is there between the country's? Thank you for having a giveaway.

    1. Hi, Melody!

      The move from Ireland to Switzerland was quite a culture shock. Luckily, I already spoke German (we live in the German speaking section of Switzerland) but it still took me a while to get used to the local dialect.

      The main differences are social and cultural. The Irish are easier to get to know on a superficial level. It can take years to get a Swiss person past the point of being an acquaintance but once they decide you’re their friend, it tends to be for life. In Ireland, it is normal to go into a pub or a restaurant and strike up a conversation with a total stranger, regardless of gender. The first (and last) time I did that in Switzerland, the person thought I was loopy. You need to be introduced first, apparently. :D

      The Swiss are super efficient and frighteningly punctual. If I invite someone round for coffee, they will ring my doorbell at the precise time arranged. Public transport is excellent. If a train is two minutes late, an announcement is made. If a train is five minutes late, expect profuse apologies. LOL! I grew up knowing all Irish train and bus timetables were works of fiction.

      There are a lot of advantages to living in Switzerland, not least of which is access to divine chocolate. The healthcare system is superb. The public education system is excellent. Unemployment is low and the standard of living is high. Ireland was badly hit by the world financial crisis and is still struggling to recover. That’s the main reason we chose to stay here for the foreseeable future.

      Best of luck in the giveaway!

  2. Thanks for Hosting :)