Recently, I have posted a review of ‘Swept Up’, a book by the fellow author, Kayla Dawn Thomas. I loved the book and wanted to learn more about the author, to discover what inspires her, what were her challenges and lessons learned from writing “Swept Up” and what she’s working on now. Kayla graciously agreed to an interview. In fact, she was wonderful enough to chat with me for a two-part interview. Today, we’ll be talking about the ‘writing’ part of the writing. Next week, look forward to Kayla talking about the techy part of the writing process.
So, without further ado…
LB: How old where you when you first began to write?
KDT: About second grade.
LB: Why did you begin to write?
KDT: Because I’d been telling stories to a jump rope since I was very little, and it creeped my mom out. LOL, seriously though, I just needed the tools to shift from the jump rope to paper, you know, like the ability to read and write. I’ve had the need to tell stories my whole life.
LB: I know a lot of us call ourselves ‘aspiring writers’, ’wanna-be writers’, rather than just calling ourselves ‘writers’. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
KDT: A couple of years ago I read Jeff Goins’s book You’re a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), and he stressed the importance of never calling yourself an aspiring writer. You’re either writing or you’re not. However, it wasn’t until I started working with Courtney Carver a year later that I got brave enough to label myself as a writer. Once I started telling people I was a writer when they asked what I did, my confidence immediately started to grow.
LB: Where do your ideas come from? Any secrets on invoking the Muse?
KDT: Oh gosh, my ideas come from everywhere. Swept Up came from watching the street sweeper trundle by my house. I’m a very random person, and I notice little things—things normal people probably wouldn’t consider story worthy, like a street sweeper. As for invoking the muse, you have to write every day. I don’t really believe in writer’s block. If I can’t get my groove going, I just whip out my notebook or open an empty Word document and do a stream of consciousness until the story starts flowing again, or a new project emerges. Usually it doesn’t take more than twenty minutes. I also think it helps to keep your mind sharp by reading a lot. For me, reading keeps me in the creative state of mind.
LB: You have recently published a book, “Swept Up”, please tell us about it. Can you give us an insight into your main characters?
KDT. Kara is a frustrating character. For much of the book, she’s hard to like, however many of us are hard to like when we’re at our lowest. Web is the man we all hope to find (there’s a lot of my husband in Web), but he isn’t without his past hurts. I’ve been told by some readers Web is too good to be true, but I believe he just seems that way next to Kara. We all need someone to lift us up and love us enough to stick by us as we get well again.
LB: What have inspired you to tell this story?
KDT: A couple of things inspired me. The street sweeper, and I was going through a rough time of finding myself. No, I don’t have a drinking problem like Kara, but I hurt inside. I was learning how to manage my anxiety disorder and start a new career alongside being a mom and wife. It was very overwhelming. I think writing a character who was hurting too was cathartic. By the time Swept Up was published, I was a new woman. This book changed my life, and was a huge part of my healing. I’m in a much better place now.
LB: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
KDT: Being patient with the process. It’s so tempting to whip out a story and slap it up on Amazon, but it’s essential to stay the course and take your time with the writing, editing, beta readers, editing, giving it to a professional editor, then editing again. The whole thing takes time, but when you reach the finish line with a product that looks like something you’d see on a bookstore shelf, you realize all the time and effort was worth it.
LB: What did you learn from writing “Swept Up”?
KDT: Um, patience, LOL! I also learned that I can write books for a living. I gained so much confidence during the process. Yes, I still look at my daily writing and think, “That was a pile of crap.” But I don’t delete it anymore. I let it be and just keep pecking away at it until it’s a smaller pile of crap. From what I’ve read, this is pretty common among authors. I figure you’re screwed when you become so pompous that you think everything you do is awesome the moment it hits the page.
LB: What are you currently working on?
KDT: I’m starting an episodic series called the Jenna Ray Stories. The first episode is Narrow Miss. Jenna Ray is a former computer nerd, turned sexy seductress. But she only uses her powers for good: she lures in unfaithful husbands only to capture and return them to their wives. This series is edgier and much more rambunctious than Swept Up. I wanted to do something totally different.
LB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
KDT: Website: www.kayladawnthomas.com
Pinterest: Kayla Thomas
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kayla-Dawn-Thomas/e/B00LAMREVU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.) http://www.amazon.com/Swept-Up-Kayla-Dawn-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00JLDR3OS/ref=la_B00LAMREVU_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406648197&sr=1-1
LB: Thank for the great interview, Kayla! I have a soft spot for a good quote. What is your favorite quote?
KDT: “The work quiets fear.” Courtney Carver
I would like to thank Kayla once more for allowing us a peek into her writing world. Please return next week for the Part 2 of the interview where we will be talking about cover designs, formatting and self-publishing.