Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest is Shannon Kent, co-author of the My Korean Crush Series, Asian American sweet romances/Korean Dramas. I have to admit, I’d never heard of Korean Dramas, and I was intrigued. I found her excerpt to be charming and engaging, so make sure you don’t miss it. Shannon is also giving away a copy of Reality Show Romance (ebook or PB, it’s the reader’s choice) to one lucky commenter. Winner will be announced on the post’s blog comment section at end of day, EST, on Tuesday, August 17. So, without further ado, let’s welcome Shannon so she can tell you about her genre and books. Welcome, Shannon!
Cheers erupted inside the school gymnasium and I smiled. They must be playing the K-pop song again. The first time they showed the colorful, bubblegum sweet music video during morning assembly, the kids watched in confusion as the choreographed artists sang in the unfamiliar Korean language. But now the students applauded when it came on. I had done my job as a music teacher to broaden their minds and expose them to another culture. It’s no wonder South Korea affected not only my day job but also my writing. It ensnared me with its romantic television dramas featuring lots of humor and handsome, Mr. Darcy-like heroes who despise the heroine in the beginning and can’t live without her by the end.
I admit it. I’m a forty-one-year-old fangirl.
Did you have posters on your wall of your favorite actor or boy band when you were growing up? I think many of us may look like adults on the outside, but inside we’re still squealing over our secret passions. It can be for anything: reading, television shows, marathon-running, knitting. The important thing is to have one. Don’t let “real life” beat all the wonder out of you with its schedules and bills and dentist appointments. Spend a little time on something that gives your heart a ticklish feeling. (And if you’re not sure what that is anymore, look me up on Facebook and I’ll suggest a good Korean Drama.)
Reality Show Romance
By Shannon Kent
Letty McDonnell—a hug first and ask questions later kind of gal—stumbles into an unexpected scandal with her favorite K-pop star when she spots him at the airport. Is it bad timing or a blessing in disguise? The international publicity leads to a job offer from the reality show Marry My Stalker, where the two pretend to be man and wife as they complete a variety of crazy couple missions.
Wacky challenges, jealous fangirls, and a language barrier can’t slow Letty down. Especially when she has handsome translator, Ben Park, whispering in her ear. He steers her away from cultural faux pas and offers behind-the-scenes encouragement as she maneuvers the unfamiliar public arena. But is he sincerely interested or just doing his job? The affectionate words her fake husband says for the cameras are always repeated by Ben’s caring voice, and Letty begins to wonder if a romance without spotlights or red carpets is the real path to true love.
Excerpt from Reality Show Romance
“You.” An assistant rushed up to Letty. “Come now.”
He beckoned with both hands for her to follow him as Ji Ah’s ceremony wrapped. She scanned the room for Ben but didn’t see him. Letty rose from her camping chair and followed the unfamiliar man with shaky legs. Her head turned this way and that as she searched for her translator, but he was nowhere in sight.
She took a deep breath and the chilly air tingled in her lungs. She could do this! Letty’s vibrant red heels stepped onto the equally bright carpet, and she waited with trembling fingers clutching her white rose bouquet. She would have preferred something more colorful. Maybe old fashioned orchids or a romantic spray of forget-me-nots. That would have fulfilled the “something blue” tradition. The “something borrowed” was easy. She’d eventually have to give her pop star husband back, no matter how much she longed to keep him.
The lights around the heart shaped arch on the stage illuminated and her breath caught in her throat. A slender silhouette appeared behind the screen and struck the pose that Letty daydreamed about—hands in pockets, one muscular leg bent at the knee, and head tilted at a pensive angle. The screen rose inch by maddening inch, and she saw a pair of black combat boots, followed by white skinny jeans, a white leather jacket with metal studs, and then finally his face. His eyes blinked as he cast a wavering smile in her direction. Poor thing. He was probably worried she would charge down the aisle and attack him.
Letty took a hesitant step forward and paused at a familiar sound. The music played overhead like it was drifting down straight from Heaven.
“Only for you-ooooh-oooooh. Only for you-oooh-ooooh.”
She expected the wedding march that played for every other bride that day. Why was hers different?
“Someone told me this was your favorite.” She heard a cheerful voice in her earpiece. “Sorry I’m a little late. I was asking the sound guy for a favor.”
The familiar lyrics wrapped around her, blocking the cold and pushing every worry from her mind. They bolstered her courage and she walked forward again with her toes sinking into the plush carpet. Her feet carried her down the aisle until she climbed the steps up onto the stage and stood at the side of a very tentative Ki Tae.
“Hello!” Her unnatural tone sounded higher than normal. Letty cleared her throat and tried again. “Hello. I’m Letty McDonnell.”
She shifted her roses to her left hand and slowly held out her right. Letty tried to give him a smile that said “Welcome, friend” and not “I’m going to lock you in my basement and make you sing to me every day for the next twenty years!”
Ki Tae looked from her hand to her face and back again before he stretched out his own and shook hers. “H-hello.”
Letty wanted to squeal at the intoxicating combination of physical contact and adorable accent, but she managed to hold it together.
“Nice to meet you,” she said instead.
“Nice … to meet … you,” Ki Tae repeated.
Letty leaned forward a little, while still holding his hand, and whispered, “It’s not too late for you to back out.”
She could tell he didn’t understand her as his gaze wandered to the side while he listened as Ben translated her words to his earpiece. Ki Tae’s eyes widened and he looked back at her with a blank expression. Letty let go of his hand and held up both of hers near her face in a non-threatening posture.
“I promise. I won’t chase you down the aisle if you decide to make a run for it.”
Ki Tae’s lips twitched after a few seconds when he understood what she said. He replied in Korean and it was Letty’s turn to wait.
“You might not chase me, but my manager would,” Ben translated.
Letty laughed in delight, not a feminine, ladylike hand-over-mouth titter but a full out belly shaking chortle.
Ki Tae took a step back at the mirthful explosion but he smiled anyway at his soon-to-be-bride. Taking a step closer, he held out his arm like a courtly prince and said something.
“Are you ready to get married?” Ben asked.
Letty rested her hand in the crook of Ki Tae’s elbow and smiled. She knew she should say something witty and charming but only one word came to mind so she said it over and over.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!”
You can ease into the unfamiliar world of dramas through Shannon’s novella Flower Boy Tour Guide. Shannon’s giving it away as a gift to anyone who signs up for her newsletter. Newsletter sign-up link:
About the Author:
Shannon Kent is the pen name of Shannon Sue Dunlap. (You are correct if you assume the last name is a Superman reference.) Her penchant for happy endings began early, and she was thrilled to find more of these in the fun and flirty world of Korean Dramas. Her trip to their beautiful homeland offered many colorful experiences that she included in her two stories for the My Korean Crush Series, Flower Boy Tour Guide and Reality Show Romance. She likes to share her opinions with fellow fans under the pen name Dramarookie at the Dramas with a Side of Kimchi blog. Shannon has also released her first inspirational romantic suspense novel Decoy Valentine.