The party continues and today’s guest is the wonderful Kayla Gray!
I read her book, Rogue, last month and definitely recommend it…in fact, check back later tonight for my review of it!
I loved Rogue! Can you please tell my blog readers about the book?
Rogue is a historical romance that follows a hero whose heart is so damaged; the only thing he lives for is revenge and a heroine who longs to feel safe and loved after suffering terrible loss. The book is set in 1723 Virginia and the Caribbean and features a pirate villain who is the cause of both Bailey and Cole’s deepest pain. There’s a lot of swashbuckling action of course, but the main struggle is between the two characters – how they deal with their deepest fears. For Cole that fear is falling in love and for Bailey it is the fear that she will never be safe if she allows herself to love Cole. The fact that their greatest fears are so interconnected gave me lots of ways for them to feel conflicted even as they were drawn together.
What inspired the story?
I knew the basic setting I wanted to use so really it was about creating a hero and heroine I could really care about. I love alpha men who are damaged or deeply flawed because they have a steep hill to climb to become the men we can’t help but love. For me, the harder the hero has to work to overcome his issues, the more worthy he is of the heroine’s love in the end. But also, he becomes worthy of what he was after at the beginning of the book. In Cole’s case, he wants revenge, more than anything he can imagine. But in the end, he realizes that vengeance is something he can live without – Bailey’s love is not. Does he get his revenge anyway? It wouldn’t be any fun if I told you!
What is your favorite part of being a writer?
Creating and writing the stories. It’s incredibly hard work, and some days are really frustrating, but then you have the days where everything is clicking along just right and there’s no feeling in the world like it. My job is to lose myself in history, in a fictional world where anything can happen. I get to create that. What an amazing way to spend a workday.
The business side. Writing is a business, after all. There are plenty of things that need to be done on a day to day basis that have nothing to do with plotting and research and character development. It’s not that those things can’t be exciting and they certainly help you move forward, but for me, they are the least favorite part of what I do.
How did you react or celebrate when you heard your book was going to be published?
The call itself was pretty amazing. I was on the phone with my husband who was away on business and the call waiting clicked. I looked at the number and recognized the New York area code. Well, it had only been two days since I’d sent in my manuscript, so I figured it was way too fast for my editor to have read it, therefore, it was probably a rejection. I told my husband to hang on for just a second and then of course I never went back to him. He kept calling back and I kept ignoring the click – no way was I going to tell my brand new editor to hold on! After telling him, my family and my best friend over the phone, I pretty much just had to wait and be patient until my husband got home. Then we got to celebrate in a more official way – dinner and champagne.
Who has inspired you to be a writer?
Wow, that’s a long list. I’ve always had an affinity for writing. When I was little, I would write songs and poems. I’m sure I drove my teachers crazy whenever there was an essay question test. I would write forever and I think they probably just got tired of reading and figured I knew what I was talking about – which I’m sure I didn’t. But the inspiration to write a book probably came when I started reading romance novels. Kathleen Woodiwiss was one of the first I read, along with Jude Devereaux and Heather Graham. Those women definitely inspired me with their beautiful love stories and amazing way with words.
What would you tell aspiring writers?
– Seek out and join a writer’s group. They provide encouragement and motivation as well as some lifelong friendships.
– Enter contests for feedback and learn from comments that show up repeatedly about your work. (For example if three out of four contest judges say you have a problem with point of view, then you probably do.)
– Learn everything you can about writing. Read books on writing technique and make sure you know the basics of grammar and spelling. Even if grammar is your weakness, practice will help.
– Keep reading all the books and genres you love. Too often writers get so busy with our deadlines, our to-be-read piles grow out of control.
– And most of all don’t stop, no matter how many rejections you get. If writing is your dream and you’re being realistic that you have what it takes, then toughen up and keep going. The only way to truly fail is to not try.
Describe yourself in three words?
Are you kidding? (No, those aren’t the three words.) There’s no way I could describe myself in three words. It depends on what kind of hair day I’m having, how close I am to deadline, how many days til vacation, how many puddles my dog has left on the floor, how many chapters I have left, how many hours it took me to find that one little research piece I was looking for and how many Godiva truffles are left in the box. Right now? How about: energized, determined, optimistic.
If you had a time capsule to be opened 50 years in the future, what would you put in it?
Well, considering that my time capsule isn’t supposed to reveal anything more than what my own simple life would have been like, I would say: My wedding photo (with both sides of the family in it), photo of my dogs, a copy of each of my thousand books written (ok, being a little too optimistic here), my dream journals, a couple of items of clothing and really awesome shoes, and a box of the best chocolates I could find, which might take a little research. I should get started on that.
What is next for you?
I just found out that my second novel will be coming out around February 2009. The working title is The Seduction but that’s subject to change. The book features a feisty heroine on the run and a dashing privateer who might just seduce a lady if that’s what it takes to undo a Redcoat enemy. But what if she’s not the lady he thinks she is?
Is there anything you’d like to ask readers?
Being a newly published author, I think the most important thing to me is trying to build a readership so I can sell enough books to continue to do what I love – write more romances. The only way I can continue to write is if my books sell and readers can help that process in such a simple way. Tell your friends, family and co-workers the name of that book you just finished that was so awesome you couldn’t put it down. Tell them the name of the new author you just discovered. Coming from an advertising background, I can assure you that word of mouth is an incredibly successful form of advertising and all authors, new and established are grateful when readers spread the word.
Thank you so much Kayla for that great interview! I am definitely looking forward to your next release!
Readers, you can learn more about Kayla and her books by visiting her website: http://www.kaylagray.com
Kayla’s answer to the last question got me thinking…how many of you spread the word about books you enjoy? How do you spread the word?
I try to do my part with the blog here, but I would love to know how others spread the word.
Remember, every comment left this month is a contest entry…details here!