PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH by K.D. Richards is a fast-paced romantic suspense debut worth reading. The characters are relatable but not cliché; it’s description, the perfect backdrop for an enthralling storyline; and the premise feels familiar, while at the same time, fresh.
Attacked from more than one direction by nefarious people, the protagonist, Nadia Sheldon, must push aside her insecurities to do what is best for her business and family. Though it isn’t easy to overcome the challenges, she does so with grace and the help of a certain handsome security specialist.
At the outset of the novel we meet Nadia, the “newly minted CEO” of her family’s business. About a year before the story starts, Nadia’s only sibling, her brother, died. Now it is up her to keep the family boutique hotel chain afloat.
When PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH starts, Nadia’s having a rough day before she even gets to her office in Harlem—and it goes from bad to worse. Between hotel patron issues and a competitor vying for her company, she has plenty to worry about without sparks flying between she and one of the men from the security company she’s hired for the business. As she fights to handle everything and remain professional, her resolve is challenged when she must depend on others to help her.
Ultimately she realizes it’s in the best interest of her business and her own well-being to trust the people around her and allow them to assist her. In doing so, she discovers things about herself and those close to her, that she never could have dreamed of. Key elements of this novel are familiar to Richard’s—and it shows.
In this interview for The Big Thrill, Richards shares insight into how she crafted her debut novel, as well as how her personal experiences contributed to the plot and character development.
What jobs or experiences have you had that helped you write PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH?
I think Nadia is a compilation of my imagination and experiences. I practiced law for a few years in Manhattan so I have some idea what it’s like being a working woman in the city even if that was many years ago now. For the most part though, PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH sprung from my imagination, with Nadia being the first character that came to mind, and the story building around this strong woman who has been dealt a difficult hand over the last year or so.
You seem to have tremendous insight into the hospitality industry, have you ever worked at a hotel?
I haven’t, although for some reason I’ve always had a fascination with hotels. For a time I did consider a career in hospitality. Ironically, my younger brother worked at a hotel for several years, so in addition to a lot of research, I was able to pick his brain about the inner workings of a hotel.
Have you had any training (conferences, course work) to be a writer, or are you “a natural?”
Over the years, tons of conferences, workshops, classes, etc. I penned my first story at age 11 and really never stopped writing. I was sort of semi-serious about writing for a decade, taking classes and going to conferences, but never trying to get an agent or submitting any of my finished work for publication. I love learning about the craft of writing, hearing about other writer’s journeys, and building upon the skills I already have.
How did you come to pick the name “Delaney” for a hotel in your book? I understand your novel is fiction, but I loved your description of the Delaney so much I wanted to visit. Unfortunately, my research failed to find a hotel in Atlanta with that name.
The name Delaney came from an online name generator. It sounded stately and important and just struck a chord so I went with it. The description of the fictional Delaney Hotel is loosely based on the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. I’ve not actually stayed at the Peabody Hotel, but on a trip to Memphis some years ago I took my sons to the Peabody to see the famous duck walk. The Peabody ducks march through the hotel to the fountain in the hotel lobby each morning. It’s a lot of fun and the hotel is simply gorgeous.
What was your path to acquiring an agent or being picked up by Harlequin? Would you recommend this route for other authors seeking representation?
In middle school, my best friend and I would sneak and check out Harlequin books from the library, so I’ve been reading Harlequin books for a long time. That helped to get a sense of what Harlequin editors are looking for. When I was writing PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH, the combination of a mystery plot with a strong romance just seemed like a good fit for the Intrigue line, so when I finished the manuscript I sent it via Harlequin’s online submission process. I didn’t have an agent at that time but I am a member of Harlequin Connection Facebook group so I asked questions there, and got a lot of encouragement from that community. I’d definitely recommend submitting to Harlequin if you have a manuscript that meets the requirements for one of their lines. Join the Facebook group to get a sense of what others are writing. I’ve made a ton of friends and gotten several beta readers from the group.
My research shows you’re a native of Washington D.C. and now live in Toronto. You seem to know New York and Atlanta pretty well—have you ever visited either city?
I lived in New York for several years after graduating from law school and met my husband while living there so the city will always be special to me. I still have several close friends that live there and I can’t wait to be able to visit again once the pandemic is under control. I have family in Atlanta and have visited there as well.
I understand you have two sons. How difficult is it to work around their schedules?
Pre-pandemic, I’d work 9-3 while they were in school. Now that they’re both are home doing virtual school, it’s a little harder. They need the computer during the day so I’m writing using my cellphone and the oldest iPad in the world. It can be distracting to stop whenever they need help with something, but when I started writing my first novel (which thankfully will never be published) I was working full-time. I wrote the whole book on my lunch hour and on the commuter train to and from work. The cellphone/iPad combo is much easier than that.
What is your writing routine?
I am a woman that likes my routine. Most days I work from 9:15 am to 12:30 pm, eat lunch, then work from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm. This time is generally reserved for writing or editing if I’m working on a manuscript. I’ll take a break and then sometime between 6 pm to 7 pm, I will do the business side of writing if there is something that needs to be done (social media posts, interviews, blogs ect.) or if there’s nothing pressing, I may write a little more.
When you’re not writing, or caring for your family, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
I love playing the violin. I am also a horrible violin player. I started taking lessons four years ago, although I’ve wanted to play since I was a kid. I also play the piano; I’m much better at piano than violin since I started lessons when I was eight. Of course, I’m a big reader. My eight-year-old son has recently gotten into animation so I’m finding I spend a lot of time helping him make animated films since the pandemic started.
Your description of a sibling relationship seems spot on, do you have any brothers or sisters?
I have one younger brother who I’m very close to and feel compelled to say is nothing like Nate Sheldon (thank goodness!)
To what do you attribute your success in landing a contract with Harlequin?
I’d say a lot of practice (years not months), a willingness to keep at learning the craft of writing, and persistence. PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH was the first book I’d submitted to Harlequin but not the first novel I’d written. Other publishers and agents had rejected prior manuscripts. It’s important to have a few readers/writers that you trust and to listen to them when they give you feedback on your work. It will help you develop your own intuition about what works and doesn’t work in your writing.
K.D. was born and raised out side of Washington, DC. A writer since she was young, after college she earned a law degree and worked as an attorney and legal writing instructor for fifteen years, but never stopped writing. After a move to Ontario, Canada, K.D. decided to pursue writing full time. She is mother to two amazing boys and wife to one very supportive husband.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.