Friday, December 2, 2022

Kaira Rouda Interview - The Widow

Photo Credit: Kristin Karkoska

Kaira Sturdivant Rouda is an accomplished business leader, entrepreneur, national speaker and internationally bestselling and award-winning author.

A former magazine editor, and society columnist, Kaira won the Stevie Award for Women in Business for creating the first female-focused residential real estate brand, Real Living, and growing the brand to more than 22 states before its sale to Berkshire Hathaway.

Her first book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, led to a national speaking tour where she inspired thousands. Turning to a full-time writing career, Kaira has become a USA Today bestselling author, an international bestseller, and an Amazon Charts bestseller. Her books have been translated into more than ten languages. Recent releases, including Best Day Ever, The Favorite Daughter, and The Next Wife have been called “chilling satisfying suspense” (Good Housekeeping), “exceptional” (Publishers Weekly), and “an examination of the darkest betrayals” (Brit & Co.).

Active in the areas of homelessness, food security, and empowering women and girls, in her
twenties, as a volunteer, she created the first walk-in emergency shelter for homeless families in Central Ohio.

Kaira has received numerous awards for her community service, including the national Kiwanis Service to Mankind Award, among many others. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Congressman Harley Rouda, and her four twenty-something children.

Greatest thing you learned at school.
To love books. My elementary school librarian, Mrs. Gardier, was the best.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
In third grade our teacher asked us to write a letter to the person who does what you want to do when your grow up. I wrote to author/illustrator Robert McCloskey – Make Way for Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal. He wrote back!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The most pinch me moment was attending Book Expo at the Javitts Center in New York. I walked in the door of that giant space and my book cover for Best Day Ever had been made into a huge banner hanging several stories long. I was stunned and so excited.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Stories connect us to our deeper, common humanity, no matter the genre. They expand our minds, and, hopefully, our hearts.

Can you tell us when you started THE WIDOW, how that came about?
My husband was elected to congress, and I had the chance to spend a lot of time in DC. I found the city to be historical, awe-inspiring, and tradition filled. One of the traditions I learned about was The Widow’s Mandate, a custom where if a serving member of congress dies while in office his spouse will be appointed by the governor (Senate) or will run in a special election unopposed (House) to fulfill the term. It helped some of the first women serve in congress and chipped away at the boy’s club that congress had been. Recently, Sonny Bono’s wife Mary was elected to serve the rest of his term after his deadly skiing accident, and John McCain’s widow, Cindy, was appointed to complete his term. So historically speaking, for women with a goal to serve in congress, the best husband has been a dead husband.

Your Journey to Publication
As I noted, I dreamed of being an author since third grade – but it didn’t happen until I was in my forties. Big dream gap. I found myself with a busy marketing career, four kids, and little time to write, although I did manage to finish a couple of back of the drawer novels during that time. My first published book was a business book for women entrepreneurs titled: Real You Incorporate: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, based largely on my experience creating a national brand and helping our franchisees tap into it. What I didn’t know was that when you publish a nonfiction title, speaking engagements are essential. So, I found myself on the road talking to thousands of women about putting their passions into action and living the life of their dreams. I’ll never forget when a woman in the audience in Austin asked me if I was doing what I’d always dreamed. And no, I wasn’t. I went home and sat down and wrote my first novel. Here, Home, Hope was published in May of 2011, and I’ve been doing this ever since. That novel was published by a small press, my next two novels I self-published, and then back to a small press, before selling Best Day Ever to a traditional publisher. I like to tell people I think I’ve experienced every sort of publishing scenario, and I’ve learned from each one. My family and friends have been great through this journey. It’s such an honor to be living my childhood dream.

What is the first job you have had?
Retail sales at a women’s clothing boutique called The Shop for Pappagallo, but my favorite early job that I did all through college was waiting tables as a server. I love the restaurant business and typically have many restaurant scenes in my novels.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love of course!

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
Is it too late to read one more chapter?

First Heartbreak?
My parent’s divorce

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
I like to think I do this a lot. Probably the most dramatic time was when I filed a class action lawsuit for gender discrimination and sexual harassment on behalf of all women across the company I worked for, covering employees in 42 states. Today, I serve as a commissioner on the California Volunteers Commission and our goal is for everyone in the state to volunteer at least one hour a week in their community. If we all stand up for each other, imagine what the world would be.

A husband with secrets. A wife with no limits. A riveting novel of marriage, privilege, and lies by Kaira Rouda, the USA Today bestselling author of The Next Wife.

Jody Asher had a plan. Her charismatic husband, Martin, would be a political icon. She, the charming wife, would fuel his success. For fifteen congressional terms, they were the golden couple on the Hill. Life was good. Until he wasn’t.

Martin’s secret affair with a young staffer doesn’t bother Jody personally. But professionally? It’s a legacy killer. Soon a reporter gets word of this scandal in the making, and Martin’s indiscretions threaten to ruin everything Jody has accomplished.

When Martin suddenly dies, it’s a chance to change the narrative—but the reporter won’t let go of his lead. As the balance of power shifts in the Asher house and on the Hill, it’s time for Jody to take control. And there’s nothing the ruthless widow won’t do to secure the future she’s entitled to. Even if she has a secret of her own.

You can purchase The Widow at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KAIRA ROUDA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Widow by Kaira Rouda.

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