Interview with Kayla Gray!

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!
 

roguefinalart.jpgI 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. 

Least favorite?
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!

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26 Responses to Interview with Kayla Gray!

  1. Eva S says:

    Thank you both for a great interview! This is really a book for me, I already ordered it from my bookstore, now I’ll have to wait a week for it… I just love these alpha men…
    And the Caribbean,I can imagine myself there!
    As for spreading the word about books, I think my family and my sisters sometimes get to hear too much, when I find a new great book I can’t be quiet…But often they read the books and I know they talk to their friends about them so here it works very well…

  2. brownone says:

    Great interview!
    An the way I spread the word is mostly the same way I hear about them…through blogs! My sister and I usually recommend books to each other too because we have similar taste in books.

  3. Beth R says:

    If I find a great read I spread the word by telling my friends and family. My mother is a librian and she has had any recomendations from her patrons when she finds a gem she tells me, so I return the favor.

  4. Jolene says:

    thanks for coming and sharing, the book sounds awesome.
    How do i spread the word? online book chats.. i dont have a blog of my own.. i wouldnt have the faintest idea of how to set one up…if i had one though i would definitely post books i love on it..

  5. Crystal B. says:

    Hi Jennifer and Kayla. Great interview. Your book sounds great.

  6. Helen says:

    Great interview Ladies the book sounds fantastic I haven’t read a good Pirate book for years.
    I always tell people about the books I read and how wonderful they are and let them know where they can get them from.
    Have Fun
    Helen

  7. Jane says:

    Hi Kayla and Jennifer,
    I don’t belong to a book club or have my own blog so I basically just tell my friends if I think they might enjoy a book I’ve read. Have you decided yet if your next book will be set during medieval times?

  8. Danny says:

    Hi Kayla and Jennifer,

    I don’t belong to a book club, because we don’t have those in Germany, but I spread the word about new books and authors via loops and forums, plus I send my friends e-mails with recommendations.

  9. Maureen says:

    Good luck with the new book Kayla! I just recommend the book when I have the opportunity to do so if it’s a book that I enjoyed.

  10. Pam P says:

    Great interview, Kayla, congrats on the release.

    Always talk about books with friends and family, and online in reader groups and forums, and privately – lots of us doing that from all around the world.

  11. fedora says:

    Thank you for that terrific interview, Kayla and Jennifer! And your book sounds wonderful!

    I do tell friends and family about books I love (and try to give them copies when I can). I also tell friends online or on blogs or however I can–I love books, and everyone else should love the ones I do 😉

  12. Virginia H. says:

    Great interview, I love historical romance books and reading about the hight seas. Its has been a while sense I have read a book about the high sea and I’m going to start looking for this one.

    I alway tell my friends and family about books that are really good and sometimes loan them the books if it is one I can trust to get the books back from. Also I sometimes mention them on blogs.

  13. Teresa W. says:

    If I read a good book I usually tell friends who read and family members about it. I also visit various blogs daily and usually let people know on them about the great books I’ve come across.

  14. Kayla Gray says:

    Hi all!

    Thanks for stopping by to say hello. I think we all have the same idea about spreading the word about books. I mean, how can we keep it to ourselves when we read a fantastic story? I guess that’s why my to-be-read pile is always growing – almost as tall as me now! LOL

    Way to go for all of you who have your own blogs. What a great way to meet people and talk about life, love, and things we all have in common. I’ve found it’s also a fantastic way to learn all kinds of new things.

    Hey Jane, just wanted to let you know – I haven’t stuck my toes in the medieval waters just yet. I really would love to write medieval, we’ll just have to see when that inspiration gets the best of me, I guess. My next release (February 2009) is set in pre-Revolutionary America, with a privateer hero – still on the high seas ladies! Privateering had yet to be sanctioned by any of the local governments, so my hero and his best friend are in effect, pirates. Well, he’s a bad boy, so what else can you expect?

    Hi Danny, in Germany – isn’t the internet a wonderful place to get to meet people from all over the world?

    Thanks to all of you for your kind words and for visiting Jennifer’s blog. Isn’t she doing a wonderful job? Thank you, Jennifer for inviting me and for giving this brand new author a chance to meet some wonderful readers.

    Take care everyone, and please drop by my website – feel free to drop me a line anytime.

    ~Kayla

  15. Jennifer Y says:

    Thanks Kayla for stopping by! And thanks everyone for all the comments!

    I admit I have discovered a lot of authors since I started this blog so as long as you keep visiting, I’ll keep sharing…and welcome you to share about books you find!

  16. ThatBrunette says:

    I love that you have an advertising background. I was a desktop publisher so, occasionally, our paths would have crosses. 🙂

    Have you started branding your product? Pens, book thongs, post-it-notes?

  17. JSL says:

    Hi Kayla and Jennifer,
    Great interview (as usual) =) If I like a book, I’ll talk about it. To my friends, on blogs, etc. I’m also a part of a reading challenge, so I talk (or try to) about every book I’ve read. Ones I like more get longer, more detailed and glowing reviews.

  18. Amelia says:

    Hi, great interview. Thank you Jennifer for introducing another author I haven’t read. It’s always a pleasure to learn so many authors.

    I work at a library, and the reference librarians get together to share books they read and felt.

  19. Sue A. says:

    Kayla and Jeniifer, I enjoyed the interview.

    I share my opinions about books I loved with my online community of readers through blogs, yahoo groups and the rare chat.

  20. Glenna Day says:

    This sounds like a great read. I love historicals (they’re my main love) especially when they’re pirates.

  21. Kayla Gray says:

    Hi ThatBrunette,

    Don’t you love the graphics field? It’s creative and you can do it freelance or with all types of different companies. I was with a magazine for a while, then an advertising agency. I also freelanced until I moved to New England (to get married) and then I started my own graphic design business. I was working at that for a while, until I got published and was able to pursue that dream full time. But I really loved the design business. I didn’t really get into the online design and I think I really missed out. If you’re designing for the web, then you’re really in a good place!

    Best of luck with your business,

    Kayla

  22. Kayla Gray says:

    Hi Glenna,

    Don’t you love pirates? I did a lot of reading about pirates and found a real-life account (diaries and court records) from men who’d been on ships that were attacked by pirates during their reign. I was surprised to found out just how brutal they were, and I thought I knew a good deal about them. But it was good because it helped me in creating the Dragon and not being afraid to make him as heartless and cruel as I wanted him to be.

    Hope you’re having a good week. Thanks for stopping by to chat,

    Kayla

  23. Danny says:

    Hi Kayla,

    yeah the internet is fantastic! You can meet friends from all over the world

  24. Laura K says:

    I spread the word by posting comments on several Yahoo groups. I also review for two sites, so that definitely gets the word out. I’m always up to tell a friend, “Hey, you need to read this” or suggest to someone I don’t know at the bookstore.

  25. Ruth Chesick says:

    NEED TO READ THIS.!! NEED TO READ THIS.!!!!

    Wow ROGUE sounds so good.!!!!

    Swashbuklers — yummy.!!!!!

    Only thing better might be a Scot in a kilt.!!!!!!

    Gotta love these hunky men.

  26. Nathalie says:

    When I like a book, I usually spread the word… however, I think now with internet, an author can advertise her book a bit more easily!

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