Besides my avid love of romance novels since I was fifteen, my Heroes of Henderson series grew out of the New Year’s Eve Anthology, Countdown To A Kiss, where every year, the Devine Sisters of Henderson, N.C. had a bet during their parents’ New Year’s Eve ball. The sister who didn’t have a date to kiss at midnight had to kiss their nerdy neighbor, Lewis Kampmueller.
That first hero, Duncan James, in the novella The Keeper of the Debutantes (which has been published separately as Playin’ Cop) is friendly with Lewis, and is best buds with Lewis’s best buds Brooks Bennett and Vance Evans.
If friendship, romance, family, and loyalty are the themes of my Henderson series, then recurring characters are the backbone. And that is not at all unlike my own happy upbringing.
I was blessed to grow up in a summer community (kinda like the one portrayed in Dirty Dancing) where for three months a year the same families returned to their cottages on a tiny peninsula, on a beautiful river, year after year, generation after generation. Those “recurring characters” became my best friends and still are to this day.
One of these besties actually grew up in the town of Henderson, N.C. (Yes, it really exists.) However, my version of Henderson is completely fictional since her family has long since moved out and I haven’t been back in many, many years. But oh, the fun I had while visiting Pam over Thanksgiving, attending her debutante party, and many, many other fabulous occasions. My recollections have romanticized Henderson making it the perfect landscape for hunky heroes and sassy heroines to fall in love.
By the way, I totally put my friends, family, and even readers into my stories by giving them cameo appearances. Not simply to make sure they are actually reading the books, but sometimes I just can’t think of a throwaway name fast enough. All the major characters are completely fictional, except for Jody and Harry “Devine” who are loosely based on my amazing parents.
I’m originally from the Baltimore area, (thus Pinks, Missy, and all that ra-ra Orioles stuff.) Our beloved summer community, Sherwood Forest (where my parents grew up and started dating), is located near Annapolis, Maryland. And I am not kidding you when I say dancing and romancing are part of the theme song. Back when I was growing up, Saturday night dances were a staple. Live band and all. (And when I was college age, there were gorgeous Midshipmen right down the road. Just saying.)
This brings me to confess that I’m determined to write a spin-off novel and take you, my favorite readers, from Henderson to Sherwood. I’ve got it all set up… if you’ll remember back in Bad Cop, the Outlaw, Jesse James, gets banished from his summer community and is sent by his mother (the judge) to N.C. to be an intern for Vance? Yep. Jesse and I have a lot in common.
But back to my ties to North Carolina—the greatest state in the union—as my bestie would say. I graduated from Wake Forest University so I’m a proud Demon Deacon (like Vivi DuVal) and a Carolina-hater (like Brooks and Vance) except my brothers and sister actually attended UNC so I’m sort of not a real hater—solely because my siblings are awesome. But it’s also where I met my smart, really cute (still to this day) hubby. Who, by the way, has absolutely no interest in reading my books. (I’m over it. And frankly, it’s way easier to write the loves scenes this way.)
That’s not to say that men don’t enjoy my books. They do. Old and not so old. Trust me.
Although all of my family is still in Maryland, I’ve moved around for my hubby’s job. I lived in West Chester, PA, came back to Baltimore, and then moved out to the Chicago area and went from an East-Coast Girl to a Midwesterner. (Far easier than I thought it would be. Midwesterners are awesome.) For the past several years we’ve been fortunate enough to call Naples, Florida, home and return to Elmhurst, Illinois, only when the weather is good for golf. Of course I look forward to the best two weeks of the year when I get to go back to Sherwood, pretend I’m still young enough to stay out past midnight, and frolic with my family, my very best friends, and now their kids.
If I haven’t given you way too much information about me already, check out the frequently asked questions for more titillating information and the inner workings of my brain.
Please feel free to contact me anytime at Liz@LizKellyBooks.com. I adore hearing from y’all. And membership has its privileges at the Henderson Country Club (like receiving my newsletter.) So, sign up now for all the perks and pleasures that’ll getcha.