Kayla Dawn Thomas joins us today to share a little about herself and talks about her recently released book, Swept Up.
Kayla is not only my friend, but also a debut novelist. I had the distinct pleasure of reading her book before it was released and I can tell you that she put a lot of hard work into developing an engaging romance. Some characters you love, some you despise – but they all sweep you into the story.
What makes you happiest?
Watching my daughter approach life with unfiltered exuberance and joy.
Why do you write?
I have a very busy brain. It’s always making things up and going ninety miles an hour. Writing gets some of those thoughts out, bringing me back to the ground. I love creating and the simplicity of writing. It can happen anytime, anywhere.
What motivates you to write?
My sanity! Seriously, I can feel it inside and out if I’ve taken a day off from writing.
What books did you love growing up?
When I was young The Little House on the Prairie series and Sweet Valley High. I graduated into “grown up” books at the end of fifth grade, and loved reading Danielle Steel, Michael Crichton, and John Grisham from then through high school. I also enjoyed some classics such as Watership Down, Gone With the Wind, and Little Women.
What book should everybody read at least once?
Watership Down. It’s one of the few books I reread on a regular basis.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
That I was a caring, supportive, accepting individual.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up on a cattle ranch in Idaho. Most of our winters were spent along the Snake River in Hells Canyon. My sisters and I had to ride the bus for an hour each way to school on windy roads—not a fun experience for a kid who was easily car sick. I was so grateful when we moved our winter range to just outside Weiser, Idaho. Fifteen minutes to town felt like city living to me! Our summers were spent in Bear, Idaho (out in the boonies). We had indoor plumbing and electricity, but there was no TV. My fondest memories are running around outside making forts and riding horses with my sisters. Of course, I read a lot of books too! I currently live in Pullman, WA (home of Washington State University—Go Cougs!) with my husband and seven-year-old daughter. We love living in a college town. We get some of the benefits and opportunities of a larger city and the atmosphere of a small town.
Do you plan to publish more books?
Oh yes! I hope to have my second novel published by the end of 2014 or early 2015, and I have plenty more ideas swirling around in my brain.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
Reading, playing games with my family, drinking good wine and having great conversation with friends.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I write in some form every day. It may not always be on a novel, but I at least put a few lines in my journal. My best writing seems to happen in the mid-afternoon or evening, so I aim to work then, but when you’re a mom sometimes you just snatch time where you can get it.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I hope my writing can let my readers escape from their lives for a while. That’s what I love about reading, and I love the idea of being a part of that medium.
What color represents your personality the most?
Green! To me green represents playfulness, new growth, hope, and life. Have you ever taken a moment to think about all the green that comes out in the spring? I’m always working to improve myself and grow, and I love a happy good time.
How long have you been writing?
Since I learned to write my alphabet.
What made you want to be a writer?
I’ve been telling stories since before I could hold a pencil. When I learned to read and write, I finally had a place to put those stories. My grandmother gave me the push when I was young to seriously consider being a writer when I grew up. It took me a while to get back on that path once I became an adult, but I’m grateful to be traveling it now.
If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
Never settle. Do whatever it takes to pursue your passion.
What made you choose the theme and setting for your book?
Well, the setting was easy. Swept Up takes place in a college town, and I’ve lived in a college town for the last 16 years. There’s always something off-the-wall happening in these kinds of communities. The theme just sort of happened. I’m not a planner when it comes to my writing. I started with a scene and just went from there, going where the characters led. I actually thought this book was going to be a mystery when I first started.
Who’s your favorite character in your new release and why?
Kara. She’s a reflection of what I’ve gone through in my 30’s. Though I don’t have the same problems she does, I’ve done a lot of growing up in the last five years, in that I’ve finally claimed my life for my own. No one gets to dictate what I do, and I won’t let anyone hold me back.
Visit Kayla’s website at: www.kayladawnthomas.com
And discover her debut novel on Amazon: Swept Up