Kiley Dunbar

Kiley Dunbar is a Scottish author – now living in England – who specialises in uplifting, feel-good romantic fiction.

Her debut book, One Summer’s Night, was released in 2019 at the age of 40, and since then she has gone from strength to strength. With a focus on romantic stories, she also teaches creative writing at Manchester Writing School and, as of 2023, is hosting her own romance writing course to help authors write their own romantic novel.

Meet Kiley Dunbar

Questions On Writing

What is the hardest part of your writing experience?
For me, it’s the pace. I’ve been writing two books a year alongside my lecturing job and it catches up with me!

What are the differences between your writing in your debut and your latest novel?
I think I’ve toned things down a bit since my debut. My style is less fancy and verbose. But I wouldn’t change One Summer’s Night (Hera Books, 2019) at all. It was the story of my heart.

What is your favourite of your books?
It is tricky, but the Port Willow books (Summer at the Highland Coral Beach and Matchmaking at Port Willow) stand out for me as my favourites. I adored writing those, and Beatrice, Atholl, Kitty and Gene still make me smile.

What does literary success look like to you?
I love it when someone’s enjoyed a book and messages to let me know, that’s always nice and reminds me why I do this. If I could have anything more, I’d love a movie adaptation but I bet every writer says that.

What was it about this particular genre you wanted to write?
Romance novels offered me peace and escape when I needed it most. Whenever I’m having a hard time I only ever want to escape into a comforting, uplifting book. For me, it was the only choice when it came to writing.

How much planning/world building do you do before writing, and how much comes along as you write?
I spend a long time planning every plot and character arc detail, and I also work hard conjuring up the setting before I even begin. I always ask myself ‘what is it about this particular place that this character needs and cannot find anywhere else?’ Then I have the confidence to start writing.

Do you force yourself to write everyday/regularly, or do you only write when inspiration comes?
To keep up with the demand of a writing contract, the reality is that I write every day, maybe 1,000-3,000 words, but I get tired after 3 or 4 hours and end up scrolling on Instagram or it’s time for the school run.

Questions on Books and about You

Firstly, the most important question, what books are currently ‘on your bedside table’?
I’m enjoying Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree at the moment. It’s a low stakes fantasy novel about Viv, a retired murderous barbarian, setting up a cosy coffee shop. It is adorable. And I always have a Jenny Colgan close to hand. She’s my absolute favourite.

What children’s books would you suggest every adult read?
The Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell was amazing. I read it with my eldest for his school work and we were both in tears at the end.

What does your writing space look like?
Like a Costa or a Caffe Nero! Or when there’s a really close deadline and I’m writing eight hours a day, I just sit on my bed. I do have a writing desk but I barely use it.

How many books do you think you own?
I did have a little at home library that I was very proud of for years but we downsized recently and I sold about 80% of it, so not many. I have lots of eBooks and audiobooks and my TBR is terrifying.

Who is your literary icon?
For knowing how to grip and entertain a reader, it’s Jenny Colgan. For knowing how to sell a writerly world of glamour and intrigue, it’s Jackie Collins. What an absolute legend she was.

If you could own one rare/1st edition copy of a book, which one would it be?
I’d love a first edition of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn. How I love that book. It gave me chills.

Is there any author who you always read?
I read a lot of Daphne du Maurier, she’s extraordinary, literally every Jenny Colgan is an auto buy for me. I’ve been known to binge Mhairi MacFarlane as well.

Any finally, are there any plans for any new books? If so, what teasers can you give us?
I can tell you that in the autumn you’ll be able to get your hands on The Gingerbread Christmas Village which is about intergenerational friendships, age gap love, and a social media campaign to reunite two teen sweethearts now in their seventies. I’ve only just completed the first draft and I love every second of it.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, I am hugely honoured to be here, love, Kiley, x

Thank you Kiley for being so open with us 😊 I will definitely be keeping an eye out for The Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell. It sounds so interesting.

Kiley Dunbar Books

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