Jen: We are excited to have Kaira Rouda as our guest this week. Kaira, will you please share a short bio with us?
Kaira: Sure! Thanks for asking. First thing I should do is explain how to pronounce my name. I get a lot of questions about it. Kaira is CARE –ah and Rouda is RUDE –ah. I know, it’s all very vowel intensive and for my first book, I used my maiden name which is Sturdivant. Yes, that’s all a pronunciation treat, I know.
I’m visiting today because my first novel, HERE, HOME, HOPE is out and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with the world. It’s a dream come true. I’m a mom of four, a wife, entrepreneur and a mostly happy person. For more, please visit my website: http://www.kairarouda.com/
Kaira: Desperate Housewives meets The Middle Place in this absorbing, witty story about one suburban mother’s journey from midlife crisis to reinvention. HERE, HOME, HOPE is the story of Kelly Johnson, a suburban mother of two who is restless. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her ordinary middle-American existence and her neighbors’ seemingly perfect lives.
I hope you’ll find the story engaging. You can find HERE, HOME, HOPE at bookstores nationwide, online and formatted for all eReaders. It’s also being carried in airports across the country this summer, which I’m excited about. I’d love to have someone write to me, email or Facebook, and tell me they bought my book at an airport to take with them on vacation! That would make my heart sing.
Kaira: I discovered writing early, and by fourth grade I knew it was my calling. My first book, SCOOTER & SKIPPER, was published with the help of my elementary school librarian, Virginia Gardier. I still remember holding the laminated book in my hand. Pure joy.
My first national publication was a piece for Bride’s magazine I submitted just after returning from our honeymoon. I’ve been writing for publication ever since. I published a nonfiction book, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepeneurs (Wiley/08) and I’ve been privileged to hear from women across the country that they’ve found the book helpful and inspiring. That is what it is all about to me. When my words touch people, help people. This, my first novel, is without a doubt the most exciting piece of writing I’ve ever seen out in the world.
Kaira: warm, funny, approachable
Kaira: I go with the flow once I have a broad sense of plot.
Kaira: I love deadlines. As a professional procrastinator, deadlines help me stay focused and stay productive. My favorite way to relax and relieve stress is yoga, and walking on the beach.
Kaira: I would love to try my hand at Young Adult – I have a house full of teenagers right now and they are intriguing and special young people. I am not going to be writing science fiction – ever – but I do love a good mystery and would love to try to incorporate more mystery into my stories.
Kaira: HERE, HOME, HOPE stars a real estate agent, and I’ve been in and around real estate for almost 20 years, so I’ve had a lot of experience personally and professionally in the industry. The book also stars a home stager, and while I did need to do research for this field, I’ve had homes staged and been around many home stagers as it’s a complimentary service to the real estate industry. And finally, my third protagonist works in retail, in the corporate world. I’ve also done that, so I guess life was research. For the character, Beth, an expert in eating disorders, I consulted with eating disorder specialists to be sure I was on track. For the character of Melanie, my teenagers helped a lot.
Kaira: Surprisingly, the character in the book I most identify with is Melanie. I feel sorry for her, for her family breaking up and for the fact she is suffering.
Kaira: Oh, my. So many people have inspired me. From the Southern Writers I studied at Vanderbilt University – love Walker Percy and Eudora Welty – to the classics and my favorite The Great Gatsby, to contemporary women’s fiction authors such as Susan Isaacs, Jennifer Weiner, Jody Picoult and the wonderful women authors who endorsed my book: Claire Cook, Jenna Blum, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Beth Hoffman, Katrina Kittle, Amy Hatvany and Robyn Harding. They welcomed me – and my first novel – with open arms. It has been amazing.
Kaira: The ForeWord Reviewer who wrote: “The book’s strongest attribute is a direct, frequently amusing, depiction of stereotypical events. “ I thought that was really interesting.
Kaira: My next novel. Set in the same fictitious suburb, Grandville. There are so many more stories to tell.
Kaira: My website: http://www.kairarouda.com/
YouTube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRcsMDKlccY
Goodreads, LibraryThing & Shelfari, too.
Kaira: I’d love to ask your readers to consider HERE, HOME, HOPE. It’s always a risk picking up a novel by an author you haven’t heard about before. I’d be honored if you would give my book a try. And, if you like it, let me know and tell your friends. It’s daunting, being new out here in the novel world. I will truly appreciate your support. And Jen, I really appreciate this opportunity.
Jen: Did you have a contest for our readers?
Kaira: Sure, I’d love to provide a copy of HERE, HOME, HOPE for a contest. Winners need to be from the U.S. and Canada for a physical book; ebook winners can be anywhere!
Jen: Readers, to enter the contest, you first need to leave a question or comment for Kaira either here or on her guest post. Then to finish your entry, you must either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll pick the winner on Sunday, May 15th.
There’s also a second copy of Here, Home, Hope available for our Facebook fans. Visit our fan page (if you’re not already a fan, “like” us) and then find the copy of our review of Here, Home, Hope and leave a comment. Because of shipping costs, the book is only available for US residents. This contest will end on May 8.