One of the books I kicked off my fall reading with this year was Swept Away by Kamery Solomon. I decided to go in knowing very little about the story. All I knew was that Amazon was continuously recommending Kamery Solomon to me, and that although I’d been reading some really good books, I was still in pursuit of a story with which I found myself hooked on every word and totally immersed in the story. That’s exactly what I got with Swept Away, which is book one in Solomon’s Swept Away Saga. So of course, I had to reach out to Kamery to pick her brain about the story, writing and the research that went into creating this magic!
Bree: Kamery, thank you so much for chatting with me. My first and favorite question to ask is: What is your romance origin story? (How did you become a romance reader?) And do you remember any of the first titles you read?
Kamery: Thank you for having me! My origin story is a bit skewed, mostly because I can’t remember not reading romance, haha! I’ve always loved romantic books and movies, and I’m a huge “shipper” when I watch or read something that isn’t specifically romance. The Twilight Saga is the first strictly romance genre book I remember reading. I threw New Moon across the room after Edward ran off and had to take a ten minute break before I could read on LOL.
Bree: Were you always writing stories, or do you remember when the shift to authoring something of your own began to happen?
Kamery: I wrote some when I was younger, but I’d never thought of making a career out of it. I had this paranormal idea that I tried to flush out as a small romance novel I wrote in a notebook for my boyfriend. The cover said “Lunch Ladies Rock!” and, much to my horror, I did indeed give it to him, complete with a really sappy letter in the front. I hope he threw it away, or his mom had mercy on me and got rid of it, haha! After that, I kinda drifted away from writing and focused on my dream of being an actress. Eventually, I realized I didn’t really want to do that either.
My mom was actually the first one to publish a book, and she would ask me all the time to write something and release it. I refused for about three years because I was afraid of putting myself out there like that. She finally got me with a novella; it was a short project and if I didn’t enjoy writing and publishing like she thought I would, I would never have to do it again. That was eight years ago, and I’ve published seventeen titles since then. I guess she was right!
Bree: I recently finished your time travel romance, Swept Away, which is book one in your Swept Away saga! I am a huge time travel romance lover. I really, really want to see more of these romances being read. What inspired you to write Swept Away? It takes place in a location full of history and our heroine finds herself slipping through time and surrounded by some very important historical figures. Was it the location and historical figures that came to you first, and you wrote Samantha, our heroine, around them? Or was it Samantha who came to you first, and everything else flowed in around her?
Kamery: I discovered the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon right before the STARZ show aired, and fell in love with the idea of writing a time travel story. I didn’t exactly have any ideas, so I put it on the back burner with a few other ideas, including a pirate story. It wasn’t until I went to a midnight premiere of Dracula Untold that I got the idea for Swept Away, though. The theater played a commercial for History Channel’s Curse of Oak Island, and I was hooked. As soon as I started researching the Money Pit and the real history of the place, Swept Away started falling into place around me. Of course, I’ve taken a lot of liberties from the real story of Oak Island, but much of the historical things in the book are at least mostly true, if not completely.
Bree: As a History student, I have to know, what did your research look like when writing this book? How important was historical accuracy to you when writing certain people/events into the story?
Kamery: The research was crazy! Everything I could have be true and accurate was kept that way. I read so many books, on a variety of different subjects. I even bought a historical book written about real pirates and the stories told about them in the 1700s. Then there were all the documentaries I watched, the Google Earth searches so I could see what things looked like, and I even researched the weather in 1695 so I would know if it needed to be rainy or sunny. Some of the things I “made up” for the book would turn out to be true as I continued my research, too. My family would joke that ghosts were whispering in my ear, telling me what happened to them. Even the name Tristan ended up being a true fact I discovered after publishing! They traced a Templar Knight from Spain, working with pirates, to the island of Madagascar. A big theory is that he was using the pirates to help move and hide the Templar’s treasure, and his first name was Tristan. I was completely blown away.
Bree: Our heroine Samantha slips through time and meets and falls for, Tristan. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Samantha basically tells Tristan that in the time she comes from, women have way more rights than they do during his time and that she will continue conducting herself as a woman who comes from a time where she can do anything a man can. I have seen it so many times with time travel romances where the heroine would have played it safe, and willingly fell into the role expected of her during the time period she has found herself in. Very modern day feminist Samantha refuses to sit idly by though while on this ship surrounded by male pirates. Were there any women during your research that inspired this mentality of Samantha’s?
Kamery: I don’t know if there was anyone specifically. When I “met” Samantha, she was a very strong willed and independent character. I just couldn’t see her allowing herself to be pushed around. I’m a character driven writer, so unless I have specific things (like historical events) that need to happen, I let the characters decide where they go and what they do. Some of her stronger traits do remind me of the female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, but in a less murder-y way.
Bree: I think the reason I love time travel romances so much is the idea as you’re reading a story, of the person meant for you may be separated from you, by time. As an author, what have you found can be the most difficult part of writing a romance involving time travel?
Kamery: One of the most difficult things for me is figuring out when the characters are supposed to meet. How did they manage to end up in the same place when they were so far apart? What are their personal reasons for being there? Does it have to be a certain time of year, or during something historical? It’s a simple thing in the end, but you have to pick the exact right time to throw them together or it doesn’t work out.
Bree: What does a typical day of writing look like for you, and what is something specific you have to have in your writing space?
Kamery: I’m a mother of two school-aged kids, so my work days actually start with getting them off to school. After they’ve left and I have breakfast, I’ll open Spotify and turn on the playlist I’ve created for what I’m working on. I’ll do whatever picking up/getting ready for the day I need to do while I listen to the music and really let myself get in the mood to tell the story. Then I write! I usually aim for a chapter a day, research any little things that come up along the way, and work until I’ve reached my word count goal for a chapter. I have a OneNote Notebook where I write down any scene ideas or notes I come up with along the way. Usually, if I’m having a good day and everything is flowing, I’m done writing around lunch time. If I’m having a harder time and feeling blocked, it can take all day. In those circumstances, I usually brainstorm while holding my hematite marble, which is a crystal I keep at my desk. It’s supposed to help promote creativity and reduce anxiety. Whether you buy into that or not, I do think we give power to the things we want, and it helps me feel more confident and like I’m helping myself. I have a pair of hematite earrings I wear on especially difficult days.
Bree: Let’s do a few random questions. What was the last song stuck in your head?
Kamery: The John Cena song, haha! The actual name is The Time is Now. I was watching our new kittens wrestle and my husband yelled “John Cena!” at them, so I sang the hook to follow up. Now it’s going to be in my head all day.
Bree: You wake up at 1 in the morning, craving a snack. What favorite snack do you grab?
Kamery: Probably a cookie, to be honest. I crave sugar like crazy at nighttime.
Bree: You can only watch one movie for the rest of your life. What movie is it?
Kamery: I could never pick just one! Probably Stardust or Somewhere in Time. Or the extended edition of The Return of the King.
Bree: Let’s time travel to the future for a minute: it’s 20 years from now and you’re writing your memoir, what is the title?
Kamery: An extroverted introvert’s guide to pretending you’ve got everything under control: the Kamery Solomon story
Bree: What is one book you’ve read so far in 2019 that you think more people should read?
Kamery: I’m a little behind on this one, but I finally read The Lord of the Rings trilogy the beginning of this year. It was a little difficult at times for me because of the pacing, but I think every fantasy fan should read them. I did a mixture of reading and listening to the audiobook. The Return of the King was just fantastic and had so much that wasn’t in the movies. I really enjoyed it!
Bree: What is one misconception about romance you’d like to lay to rest?
Kamery: Romance isn’t just sex. So many people think of romance novels as “mommy porn.” They don’t realize there’s Clean Romance, which has no sex at all, Steamy Romance, Erotic Romance, and so on. Just like real life, there are stories out there that fit every level of heat you’re looking for. I hope that someday people can say they read romance novels without being shamed for it, because the word “romance” is not synonymous with “sex.”
Bree: Knowing what you know now, what piece of writing advice would you give to yourself if you could time travel back to when you were writing your first book?
Kamery: I would tell myself it’s a real job. I spent so much time treating my writing more like a hobby than a career. There’s a lot more to writing and publishing than the actual writing and publishing, haha. As long as it was a hobby, I didn’t have to worry about those other things. Once I started getting serious though, my writing improved, I started learning more, I figured out a schedule, and I really began to enjoy the work. It would have been so nice if I’d started off with that outlook, rather than discovering it years later.
Treat yourself to the dangerous romance between Tristan O’Rourke and Samantha in Swept Away. Kamery also has her Lost In Time Duet which follows Olivia Blake, a modern day woman who time travels back to the American Revolution and finds herself falling for a British soldier. With darkness falling early, I can’t recommend enough a night in with a Kamery Solomon romance, cozy blanket and warm drink of choice. You won’t regret it. Her storytelling will truly sweep you away.
About the Author:
#1 Bestselling Genre Author, Kamery Solomon, has been delighting readers with her God Chronicles series, featuring modern day adaptions of Zeus, nominated for Book of the Year and Cover of the Year. Kamery has also wooed her readers with her #1 bestselling fantasy novella, Forever, and her contemporary favorites, Taking Chances and Watching Over Me. Her most recent blockbuster series and #1 bestseller in Time Travel Romance, The Swept Away Saga, has had readers captivated on the high seas of romance and adventure! Kamery lives with her beautiful family in the White Mountains of Arizona and can often be found singing something from a Broadway musical with her siblings.
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Swept Away by Kamery Solomon
For more than 200 years, the Treasure Pit on Oak Isle has baffled treasure hunters, engineers, and the common man alike. When Samantha Greene arrives, she finds her estranged father has spent years funneling energy and finances into the endeavor, finding nothing.
When an accidental death occurs in the pit, fulfilling the prophecy that seven lives must end before the treasure can be found, the search kicks into high gear, with more than one party vying for the secrets that lie below. Finding herself the closest to the treasure anyone has ever been, Samantha throws herself into the work, landing among the coveted prize. Just as she’s about to discover what’s truly hidden beneath the island, the pit begins to flood with ocean water, sweeping her away despite her attempts to swim to the surface.
Upon awaking, Samantha discovers that, not only did she not drown, but the year is 1695–one hundred years before the Treasure Pit was even discovered. Carried off by the pirate Tristan O’Rourke, a rouge Irishman with more than his share of secrets, she soon finds that there is much more than she realized in play. Will she discover the secrets of Oak Isle, or will an unexpected love keep her from finding out the truth? Will she ever make it back to her own time? Perhaps the real question is this; will she want to?