Monday, April 24, 2023

Kira Archer Interview - I Ducking Love You

Photo Content from Kira Archer 

USA Today bestselling author Kira Archer resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kiddos, and far too many animals in the house. She tends to laugh at inappropriate moments and break all the rules she gives her kids (but only when they aren’t looking), and would rather be reading a book than doing almost anything else. Most of her non-writing hours are spent hanging with her family and running her kids around because they are busy and she's the taxi driver. She loves her romances a little playful, a lot sexy, and always with a happily ever after. She also writes historical romances as Michelle McLean.

Greatest thing you learned at school. 
How to baby step. It’s probably the one thing I learned that I use the most in my life. I had a college professor my freshman year take us through the paper writing process in short simple steps that I now apply to everything from writing papers/books to cleaning my house. Taking whatever project/job that needs doing and breaking it into small, less overwhelming chunks makes everything feel more manageable and achievable.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill? 
I’ve always been a daydreamer, always writing stories. My mom has little books she helped me staple together when I was very little. I didn’t try to do it “for real” until my late-20’s. It didn’t seem like an attainable “real” job, like being a rockstar or movie star. I just got to the point one day where I figured, why not? I’m writing these stories anyway, I might as well try and publish them.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre? 
Okay, I both love and hate this question. I love it, because I could talk about my favorite books for DAYS. But I hate it because it is impossible to answer. You’d have to narrow it down by genre and subgenre and even then. Impossible!

I tend to read outside my genre more often than not. I mostly read paranormal romance, sci-fi romance, and mystery/suspense, but, here are a few favorites: Outlander – the whole series but books 1-4 are probably my faves. They are epic, wonderful history, great characters, epic love story, amazing. Black Dagger Brotherhood series/True Blood series/Anita Blake series – all favorite series that I read over and over. Ruby Dixon is an auto buy for me, everything she writes. Favorites that I have loved for decades – Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. Victoria Holt was my first romance love. I sort of imprinted on her and Celeste de Blasis’s Wild Swan series.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
There are so many. Hitting milestones I never thought I’d reach, like watching one of my books (Truly, Madly, Sweetly) be turned into a Hallmark movie. That was incredible. But really, knowing that people are enjoying my books is probably the most rewarding thing. I had one reader tell me she took my book with her to her chemo appointments to help her get through them and that they made her smile despite what she was going through. That was absolutely priceless to me. Making people happy, giving them a few moments of joy, entertainment, escape – absolutely the most rewarding thing about this job.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
Let me preface this by saying I love them all dearly, they are the light of my life, but….my children. They are busy and only one of them currently drives. And the one who doesn’t drive still surprisingly needs/wants my attention on a regular basis, which I LOVE. But…it isn’t always conducive to productivity :)

Why is storytelling so important for all of us? 
Stories introduce us to new worlds, experiences, ideas, and emotions that we might not have had an opportunity to experience otherwise. They can teach us lessons, empathy, help us understand more about ourselves and others, and help us communicate. They provide entertainment, an escape, and an outlet for imagination and emotion. They can convey messages, lessons, and ideas that may not be understood or accepted otherwise. They are simply magical.

Your Journey to Publication
I’ve always written stories, ever since I was little. But I never thought I could do it as a real job. But soon after my son was born, I was sitting there with all these stories I’d written to tell him at bedtime and had all these novel ideas crowding my head and finally decided to just sit down and actually write one of them down. That was in 2004. And that first book wasn’t completed until 2007. But once I realized I really could write an entire novel, I dove into researching what it would take to get it published. And kept writing, of course! Finishing that first novel is what really hooked me.

I also looked at some other publishing opportunities and got two essays published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I joined some writer groups, met some wonderful writer friends, and got real serious about querying. I was also writing a blog and had monthly posts on how to write term papers and poetry and ended up compiling those into a book. I queried that and quickly got an agent and a publication deal – which was a shocker because I’d been querying my novel for years and had well over 200 rejections by then. My first book, Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers was published by Career Press in 2011.

The non-fiction book was amazing, but it wasn’t what I wanted to spend my main energy on. But I’d about given up on getting my first novel published. I loved it too much to shelve it, but self-publishing was gaining popularity so I decided to give it one last shot and then self-publish it. I sent it to 5 publishers that accepted unagented manuscripts (my first agent only repped non-fiction). I got 2 offers and 1 “give us a couple weeks.” I spoke to Erin Molta, the amazing editor at Entangled Publishing, and decided to sign with them. My first novel, the historical To Trust a Thief written as Michelle McLean, was published in 2013. I published my first contemporary rom-com, writing as Kira Archer, in 2015. And am now 27+ books deep.

A few years later after first getting published, I tried to get an agent again. Nothing but rejections. Tried again a few more years later, after I had two dozen books and a movie under my belt. Still got rejections. And then I got an offer. I am now repped by Janna Bonikowski of The Knight Agency.

The best parts of this journey – that first offer of publication, knowing my book was going to be out in the world. First release day. Every release day. Every new contract. Every time I finish a new book – because first drafts are my nemesis and it’s a rush whenever I actually finish a manuscript. The movie happening (sooo surreal but amazing!). Every time a reader tells me they love my books. That’s probably the absolute best part!

My mom tells everyone she always knew I’d be an author. My family has always been super supportive. My husband and kids are amazing when I’m on deadline. Not going to lie, sometimes I’m writing these books despite them, not because of them. But they are so great when I’m stressed and need to get stuff done. It’s hard work and there are definite down moments. The waiting can feel interminable sometimes. Edits can be tough. Negative reviews can be depressing and downright cruel. Sales often suck. But the highs definitely outnumber the lows!

What is the first job you have had? 
I was a janitor for the dorm I lived in during my freshman year of college.

Best date you've ever had? 
Senior prom. It was so much fun! My boyfriend and I went with another couple (good friends of us both). We went white water rafting all day, then went to a restaurant up near the river. Then we came home and quickly got ready and went to the dance. The one downside – we got sooo sunburned.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
How much I want to keep sleeping! Then I start running through the to-do list for the day.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
True Love. It would be unbelievably painful, but the happy moments beforehand would be worth it. I’d always rather know than wonder.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
Holy crap my hair is out of control. I recently let my daughter help me trim it and things went a bit…haywire. My hair has gone really curly in the last decade, and it now has a tendency to POOF when I sleep.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? 
Everything? My mind is never quiet. I tend to stay up late so that I’m so tired I’ll just crash when I get in bed. If I don’t, then my mind is typically scrolling through everything I did that day and the stuff I didn’t get to, stuff I need to do the next day, my kids’ schedules. I have full-on conversations that I either wish I had that day or that I need to have in the future, book ideas, thoughts on current projects (whatever I’m working on at the time), how the dog is a bed hog, whether or not I forgot clothes in the washer and if I want to get out of the bed to put them in the dryer or just rewash them the next day, if that light I see in the hallway is the night light or my son on his phone in his room, what the weird noises might be that I think I’m hearing, retroactive embarrassment for something stupid I did twenty years ago, mom guilt for something I said/did/missed throughout the course of my kids’ lives, something I wanted to tell someone that I just now remembered, trying to remember something else I had forgotten during the day that I really need to remember, whether or not I’ll remember this amazing book idea I just had if I don’t get up and write it down, full scenes for books that I really need to get up and at least make notes about but naw I’ll totally remember it (I won’t), and…a million other things. It usually takes me a good long while to fall asleep 😉

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be? 
There was a moment once a very long time ago when I was thoughtlessly cruel to someone I cared about. I’ve tried every moment since to be more mindful in my dealings with people. I’d go back and change that if I could.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had? 
OMG I have very vivid dreams almost every night so there are a lot of contenders for this. But three stand out in my mind the most.
  • I used to have a recurring dream when I was little. I was in a cave with a bunch of other kidnapped children. We were going to try and escape, and were terrified, but we finally got our shot. To get out, we had to go up this winding stone staircase. And just as we got about halfway up, the shadow of the witch who took us appeared in the torchlight on the stairs above us. To this day, I hate not being able to see what’s in front of me/where I’m going. I don’t care how terrifying something is, I want to see it coming at me.
  • Again when I was little, maybe 7-ish, I was in my room and I heard something that I SWORE woke me up, and it was a man coming in through my window. I laid there in bed and was screaming but I was so terrified that no sound was coming out. I finally got up and got my parents and insisted that there was a big hole in the screen where the man had come in. They checked and there was no hole. But it was soooo real.
  • When I was about 15-16, all I remember was being asleep, then waking up because there was a bright light like a spotlight shining through my window. And standing there in the light was the silhouette of a man. Like he was solid but just a silhouette? With red eyes. Staring at me. I’ve slept with a nightlight every night since.
First Heartbreak? 
Typical teenage heartbreak. I was 16, had been dating a guy for just under a year. I thought things were great. I had to go somewhere family related for a week…I think it was spring break maybe? Anyway, when I got back, he didn’t call me. And when I saw him at school the next morning, instead of being happy to see me he just said, “We need to talk,” and then went to class. So I had to stew all during first period. He dumped me right before second period. Other girls in class told me he’d been cheating on me for a good long while. He admitted that before third period. We were standing right outside the door while class started and it took a few minutes so I was late. My teacher (who was usually a jerk) didn’t say anything to me, and the really popular girl who sat behind me and had never said one word to me was very kind and supportive which was unexpected but very appreciated. I then got to spend the rest of the school year watching him sleep around which was all kinds of fun.

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
How my husband and I got together. We met online back when the internet was a baby. I was chatting with my cousin in one of those AOL chat rooms. Tom (my husband) was my cousin’s BFF (though I’d never met him…I lived in Tennessee at the time and my cousin and Tom lived in Utah). My cousin was also chatting with Tom so I opened a chat room for the three of us and we all chatted for a bit. Then when we said good night my cousin said “I love you” and Tom said it too and I thought that was cute. We started emailing. After a few weeks of that, we had our first phone call. Which lasted about seven hours. We got engaged during our second (six hour) phone call. Our first date was watching a movie. We both rented Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas, bought the same snacks, propped up a picture of each other nearby, and pushed play at the same time while we were on the phone together. Second date, same thing but You’ve Got Mail. We met in person two months later and he gave me a ring. Met up again in person a month after that. Two months after that I moved to Utah. We were married three months after that. Been together 22 years now.

A corporate retreat has never been so hilarious in this feel-good rom-com from the author of 69 Million Things I Hate About You.

Chloe Thomas is sick of her advertising company’s boy’s club, and she’ll prove she deserves the promotion more than any man by holding her own at the company’s retreat. Except it’s on a gun range, she’s never held a gun before, and the only person who can help her is the “fake fiancé” she now can’t stop thinking about…

You can purchase I Ducking Love You at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KIRA ARCHER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of I Ducking Love You by Kira Archer.