Tag Archives | Kayla Dawn Thomas

Author Interview: Kayla Dawn Thomas

I'm happy to share an interview with my friend, Kayla Dawn Thomas, today.  Actually, Kayla and I have only met through social media (primarily Twitter and Instagram), but that is about to change. Because this summer, she and her family are visiting Portland.  And on July 23rd, the two of us will be doing a reading at a cool local bookstore, Another Read Through on Mississippi, one of Portland's happening neighborhoods.  I love this bookstore, and I love that the owner, Elisa Saphier, is a huge supporter of local authors.  So come on out and join us on the 23rd at 7 PM.  And even if you can't come that night, please do drop into the store if you live in town or are visiting. And now, without further ado, let's find out more about Kayla Dawn. KaylaDawn

Tell us a little about yourself. I’m a family, book, wine lovin’ lady. My husband, daughter, and I are living a mostly peaceful, quiet life in Eastern Washington (Go Cougs!) 

How and why did you get started writing novels? 

It was something I wanted to do since about second or third grade. That’s when the reading bug really bit me, and I wanted to make cool books like the ones I was tearing through. I wrote stories in one form or another all the way through high school. Some harsh college professors slashed my writing confidence, so there was about a decade where I didn’t write anything. Then one day in my early thirties, I started journaling. I was battling anxiety and depression. The idea was to work through that, but what ended up happening was a novel! My childhood dream came true in the midst of that darkness. It’s amazing how life works.

Please tell us a little bit about each of your titles.

Swept Up is my first novel. It was the result of scribbling in that journal. The process of writing broken characters and working them through healing, and of course, falling in love was very cathartic.

TS Cover finalThe Jenna Ray Stories have been a hoot to write. It all started when a Twitter friend posted a picture of a note he found in a library book that read: Have a stranger come to the bar-tell her he loves her-asks her to go to Chicago with him the next weekend-she doesn’t go. I let my imagination run wild and created a woman vigilante who’s life’s mission is to put an end to wandering penis syndrome (AKA cheating husbands). After writing Narrow Miss on a whim, my husband encouraged me to make it a series. Currently I’m working on the fourth installment. At the moment, I believe there will be five total.

 Tackling Summer is my newest novel. It’s very near and dear to my heart as it takes place on a cattle ranch very similar to the one I grew up on. It was fun to revisit childhood memories and the beautiful mountains that left their indelible mark on me. There are so many adventures one can have out in the sticks. I have a feeling there will be more books in this type of setting. 

 Why did you decide to go the indie publishing route?  Do you plan to continue in this arena? 

Ahhh, the million dollar question. First off, I’ve always wanted to work for myself. After doing LOTS of homework and realizing I could turn my passion for writing into a viable business, there was no question of the direction I would take. The idea of skipping over the gatekeepers and doing things my way was beyond exciting. At this time, I plan to continue with indie publishing.

 Who inspires you?  In the same vein, who do you like to read? 

 It’s tough to narrow down who inspires me the most! First off, my mom and sister. They are both successful entrepreneurs in different fields, and it’s been very inspiring to watch them grow their businesses. Toby Neal and Shanna Hatfield are the two female indie authors I want to be when I grow up. They’re producing great work, run impressive businesses, and are downright good people. They always make time to answer my newbie questions and have been so encouraging to me.

I read a little bit of everything except horror. I hate being scared and/or grossed out. I like happy endings. I turn to Shanna Hatfield when I want something light and friendly. Janet Evanovich is my got to when I want to laugh. Toby Neal and J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts oftentimes take care of my need for a mystery/romance combo fix. I guess there’s a common thread running through that list. I like a good love story, and they can take many forms.

 Writing plans for the future? 

I’m working on the fourth novella in the Jenna Ray Stories. I’m hoping to have that out in early fall. I’m also sketching an outline for a novel based around Webb Baker’s sister, Celeste, from Swept Up. I knew the moment I typed “the end” on that manuscript that Celeste had a story to tell.

Where can we connect with you? You can find me over at my website www.kayladawnthomas.com. My monthly newsletter is the best way to keep up with my new releases, sales, events, special giveaways. I also spend a fair bit of time on Facebook

Kayla Dawn Thomas writes general and women’s fiction, as well as chick lit novels and novellas. Her mission is to give her readers an escape, from a chronically busy, overwhelmed world offering them the opportunity to settle in and discover someplace new, maybe crack a smile, and find a little romance. She’s been a storyteller all her life. Before she knew how to write, she told stories to a jump rope. Thankfully that stage ended once she learned how to work a pencil. Now she’s blessed to be able to write full time and looks forward to sharing her crazy ideas with readers. Always a romantic, Kayla managed to marry her high school sweetheart. They have a very bright, active nine-year-old daughter.

When not writing or being mom, Kayla can most likely be found in a cozy spot with a good book. Reading, sunshine, and hanging out with family and friends bring her joy.

5

Guest Post: One Would Think

Please welcome my friend, Kayla Dawn Thomas to the blog today.  She is the author of Swept Up, and the newly released (today!) Narrow Miss.  I love her thoughts on publishing the second time around and I know you will, too!

One Would Think     

by Kayla Dawn Thomas Headshot 6-14

One would think that by the time she publishes her second book, the experience would be old hat. The writer could press publish on Amazon with a confident smile and stroll into the kitchen to pour a celebratory glass of wine. Maybe then she’d take a peaceful, barefoot walk on the beach hand in hand with her lover, the wind blowing gently through her hair.

Ha! I wish! I just released my newest project on Amazon, and I’m still in my pajamas at noon after being up most of last night fretting about it. Never mind that I published a novel last April, and it’s done quite well for a debut. Never mind that I had two delightful book signings this summer. I’m not trying to brag here, just point out that nothing has happened in my first year as a published author to strip me of my confidence as I prepared to launch the Jenna Ray series.

As I was polishing up Narrow Miss, I saw this video of Sandra Brown talking about how after all these years of writing bestsellers she gets more intimidated with each release. Great, that’s just what I needed to hear. But, after some thought and going through the process a second time, I understand.

The first time I published all I could think was, “What if everyone hates my book?” That didn’t happen, so I relaxed after a few weeks.

Now I find myself thinking, “What if this book isn’t as good as the first? What if I disappoint my readers?” That still remains to be seen, so until then I will sit on my yoga mat and breath into a paper bag.

There is an upside with the second book, as least in my limited experience. The process as a whole came easier. I was no longer doubtful about whether or not I could write a book, so the writing came easier. I knew my way around the Amazon publishing ropes, so formatting and uploading my work was simpler. This time around I knew what I wanted and needed from my team (my editor and cover artist), so I could communicate more effectively with them. I pump my fist at these victories.

Reflecting on these little wins pushes me to open a blank document and take a deep breath because it’s time to start again—type the words for the next piece, because I have to. Despite the anxiety and nausea every time (so far) that I release one of my babies into the world, I have to write. It’s the only thing that’s ever felt like my calling. Like Sandra Brown said, “I have a fire in my belly.” There’s something about knowing what you’re supposed to be doing. And if one of my stories gives just one person a release from this hectic world, then every moment was worth it.

Kayla Dawn Thomas is the author of Swept Up and Narrow Miss: A Jenna Ray Story, which releases today!. To learn more about her books and indie author life, please visit her website .

8

Cover Reveal: Swept Up by Kayla Dawn Thomas

I am so excited to introduce you to debut author Kayla Dawn Thomas and to have the privilege of showing off her new cover!  Kayla Dawn and I met and made friends on Twitter (see?  It is much more than just a waste of time) and I've loved reading her tweets about the progress of her novel.  Scroll down and read my interview with Kayla Dawn after you admire her cover!

So….drum roll please….

Ready?

Here we go….

Swept Up

by Kayla Dawn Thomas

May 13, 2014

Thomas_SWEPT_UP_EbookEdition

SYNOPSIS

A broken heart and a preference for solitude leads Web Baker to driving a street sweeper on the night shift for Basil City. His mother wants grandchildren, and his sister is intent on fixing him up with every dimwitted beauty she can find. Add that to the late night antics Web encounters on his nightly shifts and he has more than enough excitement to keep him on his toes, but nothing could prepare him for the woman who stumbles into his sweeper’s headlights. Kara Deleray has been fighting for her freedom since she fled her overbearing parents’ home at eighteen. Trouble is, she never learns how to be herself, leading to a lifetime of bad decisions. She hits rock bottom and ends up moving in with her best friend and her husband and manages to land a job teaching English at Basil State University. Kara is finally pulling her life together when a whiskey soaked night gets out of hand, sending her straight into the oncoming lights of a street sweeper.

INTERVIEW WITH KAYLA DAWN THOMAS 

–Tell us a little bit about Swept Away. It's a romance, right?

It is a romance! I'm a deep down, true blue romantic, so it's no surprise that's where my writing has gone. Kara is a hot mess. She’s smart, but she doesn't trust herself. She comes from a troubled background that she can never seem to quite overcome. Instead of going through the pain of figuring herself out, she just goes along with whomever she’s with and makes choices to numb her frustration. Web is Kara’s opposite. He knows who he is. He’s a fixer, so he’s drawn to broken people. His struggle is to figure out how to love Kara without becoming just another person telling her what to do.

–What inspired you to write it?

A couple of things. First, I was struggling to find my way as a new stay at home mom. I needed something to challenge my brain. That was the birth of Kara, who is also looking for herself. I was able to work through a lot of things while I was writing Kara. Second, I became fascinated with the street sweeper that rolled by our house on a regular basis. It’s silly but, the idea of driving a vacuum cleaner just seemed cool, and as far as I know nobody has written about someone who makes a living driving a sweeper. Thus, Web was created.

–Why did you decide to go the indie publishing route?

I want to work for myself. I don't want my writing to be on someone else's timeline, or have to wait for permission or approval to publish. The industry has evolved so much over the years, that it's pretty simple to assemble a professional team to help you get your book out. So far, I love the process, and I'm grateful for my degree in Public Relations. I always wondered how I was going to put that to work!

–What's been the best thing about being indie? The worst thing?

The best thing–freedom! I love calling the shots on my work. The worst thing–learning the ropes. Which, means this is just going to get easier! I'm so grateful to all the people I've met over the last year who were kind enough to answer my questions.

–What's a typical day like for you?

I'm a stay at home mom, so every day is a little different. Some days I go to the gym when my daughter goes to school, some days I'm volunteering at the school. I've been trying to devote as much of my day as possible to writing while she's gone. I've learned I have trouble sitting at my desk for more than thirty minutes at a time, so I work in spurts. I'll write for 30-40 minutes, then get up and switch laundry or something like that. I'm more productive in sprints versus marathons.

–Plans for future projects?

I am so excited for my next novel! I grew up on a cattle ranch way out in the boonies. While I didn't appreciate the experience as a kid, I realized now what a gift it was. Tackling Summer takes me back home. The setting is based off the ranch’s summer range in Idaho, and is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s a great place to fall in love.

–Any advice for writers–on writing or publishing?

Don't wait! Just get busy and make it happen. I also encourage those looking at the indie route to seek out professional editors and cover artists. Being an indie writer doesn't mean you do every little thing yourself. It's impossible to catch your own mistakes, and not all of us are great visual artists. You want your work to be it's best, so hire out the things you don't excel at. Not only will your finished product be better, you will free up more time to write!

You can learn more about Kayla Dawn on her website.  

4