About Kelly Duran:
Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I love to create characters and stories and see where my imagination takes them. When I’m not writing or reading, you can find me hanging out with my husband and two daughters with—depending on the time of day—either a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in my hand. And a book in my purse.
Q: What inspired you to write Can’t Take It Back?
A: The primary inspiration was the strength and importance of my female friendships. Throughout my life I have leaned on my friends to see me through good times and bad and I know I did the same for them. I wanted to celebrate them with a story that showed four women each going through their own personal issues but relying on each other for support. The story evolved into something a little more dramatic but at the core there are the four friends, helping each other, guiding each other, and never judging. I’ve also always been drawn to stories that have intersecting storylines, where what is happening to one person is affecting another but they just don’t know it yet. Think Big Little Lies meets Love, Actually.
Q: Did you have to do any particular research for this book?
A: Nothing too intense. One of my characters explores the idea of an open marriage so I did a lot of research on that topic. There is a scene where Avery visits a local library to find books on the topic and that was something that I did myself. Other than that most of my research was focused on places. I used a real city called Lake Forest Park, just north of Seattle, as the location but took some pretty significant creative liberties on the layout of the town so I wound up changing the name. But my family and I did take a road trip there to drive around and get a feel for it. That was pretty cool.
Q: When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
A: Reading and parenting. We have two daughters that are fairly active with school and sports so playing chauffeur takes up a lot of my time. The good thing about spending a lot of time in the car waiting for them is that I get a lot of reading done. I’ve usually got one book and one audiobook on the go at all times. I love to spend time wandering a bookstore with a coffee in hand or exploring one of our amazing parks or trails with my family.
Q: What does your writing routine look like?
A: It’s really all over the place and the easy answer is “whenever I find some time”. I work from home so it’s nice to escape to a new setting to get focused. Most of CAN’T TAKE IT BACK was written at a variety of local coffee shops between the hours of 8 and 11pm (aka when the kids were in bed). With my next novel I’m trying to become an early morning writer. I’ve been waking up around 6 and managing to get about 1,000-1,500 words written before my family wakes up. I almost finished my first draft and, hopefully, when it’s done I don’t go back and realize all those early morning words written before I had coffee were complete gibberish.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to publication?
A: I went a little bit backward actually in that I had interest from an editor before signing with my agent. I participated in PitMad in June and Lara from Audible liked my pitch. After reading the full, we had “the call” about producing CAN’T TAKE IT BACK as an exclusive audiobook. With that offer in hand I reached out to all the agents I had queried and gave them a little nudge. At that point I had been querying for just over four months and had contacted 58 agents. One of the agents at the top of my wishlist responded right away, read my full manuscript and I signed with her a few days later. Katie finished the negotiations with Audible and my deal was announced in November. I learned that audiobook publication moves a lot faster than traditional publishing. It only took four months from the deal being signed to the release. So it was a whirlwind of edits, cover approval, narrator approval, production and release.
From the publisher, Amazon Audible (exclusive)
A perfect next listen for fans of Abbi Waxman and Katherine Center, Can’t Take It Back is a fast-paced and relatable debut telling the interconnected stories of four women over the course of a kindergarten school year.
Huddled on their favorite park bench in a quiet Seattle suburb, Holly, Avery, Zoe, and Sasha might look like they’ve got it all figured out – but there’s more to their stories than meets the eye. When Avery’s husband Carter suggests they open up their marriage, she’s shocked and appalled – but could this new arrangement be the breath of fresh air she never knew she needed? Zoe and Aaron, whose connection has long been the standard by which their friends measure their own relationships, feel that their lives are taking them in different directions, but worry over how a divorce might affect their two young boys. Zoe turns to her best friend Holly for guidance, but as it turns out, this year has tested her own marriage to Jake in ways neither of them ever anticipated. And meanwhile, Holly’s sister Sasha – the no-nonsense PR executive and eternally single girl of the group – must decide if joining the ranks of motherhood is the right step for her
Captivating and immersive, Can’t Take It Back is a deeply emotional novel that celebrates the complex bond of female friendships.