- Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you started writing.
I knew from elementary school on that I would be a writer. It's what I dreamed of becoming as early as I could envision a profession. It still makes me smile to think about it. Later, in middle school and high school, I lost confidence in my writing and didn't write for publication until after college. I was an English major without a byline. That changed once I graduated and started working in the real world first for newspapers and then magazines, and then advertising agencies. But I wanted to write novels. So I did. On the sly, at night after the kids (4 in five years) arrived, and somehow kept the dream alive. Ironically, my first book published was in 2009, a business book for women entrepreneurs titled REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. I had never dreamed of writing a nonfiction book, but when I was asked, it made sense. It became a great summary of all I had learned in my working life up to that point. It's still popular and I'm proud of that as it was one of the first business books for women without a pink cover. (I'm not kidding.)
My first novel, Here, Home, Hope was published in 2011 and marked the beginning of the next chapter in my life. We moved from Ohio to California, my husband and I sold the business we created, and it was time to take the chance.
2. What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I am so blessed to live in Laguna Beach, California, the inspirational setting for my contemporary romance series of the same name! Here, almost everyday is perfect. So I try to be outside as much as possible, walking, hiking, just enjoying the sunshine. I’m a fan of yoga, and of spending as much time as possible with friends and family.
3. Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas are everywhere. When something touches my heart, good or bad, it usually appears somehow in a story.
4. What are you working on now?
Since I write both contemporary women’s fiction and romance, I most always have a WIP. On the women’s fiction side, I’m about to begin an edit of a book I’m really excited about and will be published in October 2017! It’s a little darker, a domestic thriller, but sticks with my favorite theme of what goes on behind the closed doors in privileged suburbs. Grown-ups behaving badly, as I like to say. And in the world of romance, I’m so excited that Amazon has offered me a Kindle World. Kaira Rouda’s Laguna Beach launched on July 7th with an amazing group of talented authors writing stories in the Laguna Beach world. It’s exciting! If you aren’t familiar with Kindle Worlds, here’s a link: https://kindleworlds.amazon.com/world/LagunaBeach?ref_=kww_home_ug_LagunaBeach My next book in the Laguna Beach series is slated for winter 2017.
5. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?
I wrote THE GOODBYE YEAR during my son’s senior year in high school. He is my youngest, so his goodbye year had the added stress of my approaching empty nest. Yes, there are some real life experiences in the novel, twisted and fictionalized, of course. Here’s a piece I wrote for Woman’s Day about it! http://www.womansday.com/relationships/family-friends/a54482/empty-nesters/
6. Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?
I have a favorite character in The Goodbye Year. His name is Dane.
7. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
1. Write what you know, in your heart.
2. Don’t write for money, fame or other people. Write because it is what you must do.
3. Read, read, read. And then, read some more.
8. What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?
There aren’t any downfalls in my opinion. I’m enjoying the career of my dreams. The best part is the people – especially the other authors I’ve met either online or in person. They are, without question, the most supportive amazing group of women I’ve had the opportunity to meet and spend time with. The other best part is when I see somebody smiling as they read one of my books. Or when I read a positive review. That is the best feeling.
Thanks so much for having me here, Kristi!
4 out of 5 stars from Ally Barber
Anyone who has graduated high school can remember the stress and uncertainty that senior year brings. The decisions that will more or less determine the rest of one’s life happen in the span of a few short months. Which college one should go to (or whether or not to go to college at all) is a question that determines the course of one’s life and career. Senior year represents one of the most important transitions in one’s life – the transition from being a child and living with one’s parents, to moving away and beginning the next act of one’s life. There is no doubt that senior year is hard on the actual seniors, but one rarely considers how that time affects parents. In The Goodbye Year, Kaira Rouda explores the end of high school and mystery that clouds the future, for both children and parents.
The Goodbye Year, is, by all accounts, quite an enjoyable work. Rouda’s choice of a topic that most everyone can relate to, the uncertainty and transition that senior year brings, allows for the audience to form an emotional bond with the characters. Rouda’s exploration of how this period in one’s life affects them mentally and emotionally is vivid and powerful. The work is also quite entertaining as the reader follows the gossip and goings on of the high school community. Each of the characters are likeable and dislikable in their one way and are therefore undoubtedly real. Overall, Kaira Rouda’s The Goodbye Year, is an entertaining and fun read that anyone searching for a light, enjoyable book would enjoy.