Thursday, June 10, 2021

Karina Kennedy Interview - A Not So Lonely Planet

Photo Content from Karina Kennedy

Karina Kennedy is a romantic writer and a restless spirit. Growing up in Florida, she cheated her Choose Your Own Adventure books by keeping fingers stuck in the pages so she could change her mind. Who wants only one adventure? Karina is inspired by strong, creative women in all walks of life and uses this passion to fuel her travels all over the world. As an intrepid explorer she is unwilling to miss out on a memory, willing to bend the rules, unafraid of her own beauty, and ready to share it with those who deserve it. Karina hopes to inspire and entertain other like-minded people to explore the world, fall in love, or just have fun.

Karina’s debut novel A Not So Lonely Planet releases June 8th from Cleis Press and follows Marina Taylor's journey to Rome where she dreams of writing a book about inspirational women. However, an undeniable connection with an irresistible stranger—and ability to attract disaster—just may derail her plans.

From Florence to Capri to the Amalfi Coast, as she stumbles her way through Italian virgins, French photographers, and Sicilian twins. Will she master the art of seduction in Italy—or will she once again prove more calamity than coquette? And what about Will, the ruggedly down-to-earth ex she left pining for her back home?


Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Storytelling is how we learn about each other. It exercises the imagination of the writer and the reader. It allows us to explore this world, transports us to other worlds, and creates shared experiences. But most of all, it entertains us!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Talking to readers who really loved taking the journey with Marina through Italy, who laughed at the comedy, fell into the romance and learned from the notes on inspirational women. This is the most rewarding experience.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
There are always tiny things you would change, but most artists and writers are overly critical of their own work. I would have loved to have delved into Laura Mulvey’s ideas on the male gaze in Regina’s discussion of the power of the sexual gaze. But, there’s a tightrope you walk trying to entertain as well as educate, so some themes are better explored slowly. Maybe in the next book!

Can you tell us when you started A NOT SO LONELY PLANET, how that came about?
I’m a screenwriter and have a half-hour dramedy pilot called Wanderlust. It’s set in Key West, when Marina turns thirty. When her passport is stolen, she is forced to return home after traveling the world during her twenties, having adventures and romances. In the pilot she must face all the difficult and tricky relationships she left behind. She must also figure out if she’s the same person. The pilot has lots of sexy, fun flashbacks to Marina’s adventures abroad and I was having so much fun writing those, I thought—why not write a book as a prequel- her first trip abroad. Those flashbacks have now turned into a book series!

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Hopefully the real facts about real Italian women will be inspirational, but I just want to inspire them to travel and have sexy adventures wherever they go!

What part of Marina did you enjoy writing the most?
I love Marina’s paradoxical nature. She’s bold and intrepid, trying to master the sexual gaze, but ends up bungling things and yet somehow still gets her man. She’s got a great imagination and she’s always trying to be the heroine of her own life romcom, which is something I think we can all understand.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
It’s always fun to write the sexy parts, and the research on different historic Italian women was really interesting, but my favorite chapter was Venetian masquerade ball. I had to figure out how she was going to save the day when everything tits up, and in a way that would capture our hearts and the admiration of the other characters—especially the illusive Frantonio.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d love to introduce Marina Taylor to Penelope Featherington from Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, because they have a lot in common and would stir up a lot of trouble together. Although Catherine Lambert from Isabelle Lafleche’s J’adore series would be an amazing travel partner for Marina, both of them really know how to undress a new city.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Write what you love and what excites you. It won’t always be easy but if it’s never fun, there’s something wrong.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Have gelato at the Pantheon with someone that makes you smile.

Best date you've ever had?
A romantic hike—he brought a picnic of some wine and frittata he’d made himself.

What was the first job you have had?
Entertaining babies. I wasn’t even old enough to officially babysit yet I made these fliers to hand out to neighborhood moms, offering my services to play with their kids while they got work done. I actually got hired.

Which incident in your life totally changed the way you think today?
My first job living and working overseas was in Rome. This was a real perspective broadening experience, just to be submerged in a different culture. It was amazing.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’ve got a lot of places still on my list, but I’ve always wanted to attend carnival in Rio and I’m saving The Galapagos Islands for my 50th birthday.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
I was with my sister. Somehow we can always make each other laugh until we cry. Usually we’re making fun of my parents or each other.

First Heartbreak?
College, my first real boyfriend and lover graduated and left me behind.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
It’s a time-tested cliché for a reason: it’s always better to have loved and lost. I have knowingly chosen this path before and never regretted it.

Marina Taylor is a bold, adventure-seeking writer with a one-way ticket to Rome and big dreams to write her book, Italian Women of Influence . . . but an undeniable connection with an irresistible stranger—and her penchant for disaster—just may derail her plans.

Inspired by actress and sex icon Regina Lombardi, Marina tries to master the sexual gaze as she researches her book and stumbles her way through Italian scholars, Turkish footballers, and Sicilian twins. From the nightclubs of Rome to a Venetian masquerade ball, Marina’s escapades leave her yearning for a particular French-Italian photographer. Will she catch her illusive stranger, or prove more calamity than coquette? And what about the ruggedly down-to-earth ex who's waiting for her back home?

Equal parts laugh-out-loud travel comedy and sexy adventure, Marina’s first trip abroad will inspire you to throw your own itinerary out the window and throw caution to the wind. Art, love, sex, wine—the Italian playboy and the boy next door—who says you can’t have it all?

You can purchase A Not So Lonely Planet at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. "If you could do anything OR wish for anything that would come true, what would you wish?" Untold riches, king of everything, incredible intelligence, incomparable beauty, and never-ending youth.

  2. Wow, big question. Something really large like world peace or eradicating world hunger. Thanks.

  3. I'd go back to when I was 11 and do a live over.

  4. I would wish for complete healing of my injuries - to be pain-free.

  5. I would wish to be able to have enough money to retire early.

  6. I'm not sure. I would hope that I could do something useful with my gift on the global scale.

  7. I wish to be become homeowners!

  8. I would wish to live long enough to have a great grandchild.