I’m delighted to welcome Kaira Rouda to Fictionophile! Author of the just released “Best Day Ever“, Kaira has obligingly agreed to answer a few questions in order that you can get to know her, and her new novel, just a little bit better.
1. Congratulations on the positive reviews of “Best day ever”. What is the most rewarding thing about hearing from beta readers and book bloggers prior to publication?
Thank you so much! The best thing about hearing from beta readers and bloggers prior to publication is that it helps me calm down a LITTLE about the impending launch. As you know, positive reviews are the best validation – and those one stars, well, little daggers through the heart, each one. I try to focus on the positive and I cannot be more thankful for the support this book is receiving from the book community. It has been a once in a lifetime experience. My publisher surprises me, in a good way, daily.
2. Touted as a twisty, domestic thriller, what inspired “Best day ever”? How long did the writing process take?
Two months for the first draft. Paul popped into my head fully formed and demanded to tell his story. You’ll know from reading BEST DAY EVER, he is persuasive.
3. In your opinion, how important are plot twists to the story-lines of psychological thrillers? Is there one novel that exemplifies your idea of a perfect plot twist?
Plot twists and surprises are essential. But I hope we’re not getting to the stage where we’re expecting so much from our novelists that we lose track of the best part of this genre: the anchor to real life. If readers keep pushing for bigger and bigger and more unusual plot twists, I’m afraid we’ll be asked to go too far. That said, there are so many great stories out right now. I gasped at Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. Great twists. Of course there are Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. I love both of BA Paris’ books. I’m reading A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena right now (I loved The Couple Next Door). I’m sure she’ll get me.
4. Do you have family and/or friends proof-read your novels, or do you depend on your publisher’s editorial staff?
It takes a village to create a novel. All of the above.
5. Sometimes setting is a crucial factor in a novel – sometimes not. How important is the setting in “Best day ever”?
I’m a setting fan. My novels always are set in places I know well. My two favorite settings are Columbus, Ohio, and Southern California. Paul appeared in my head as a Midwestern guy, so his home is in Columbus. All of my previous novels are set in one of the other, except for one romance series which takes place on Daufuskie Island where we used to vacation. Oh, and in BEST DAY EVER, the lakeside community where Paul and Mia have a cottage is where we took the kids when we lived in Ohio. I’m grounded by familiar places and those settings allow my characters to breathe and grow.
6. Paul Strom, the male protagonist of “Best day ever” has been referred to by some reviewers as a modern-day psychopath. Would you agree with this description, or do you just think he is manipulative sociopath?
It’s hard to say. I’m not a professional. I think Paul’s answer would be that he’s just a confident guy. I think every reader has his or her idea of exactly what type of monster he is.
7. Do you consider Mia Strom to be a pitiable character, a hapless victim, or… a woman with hidden strengths?
Mia is a woman with hidden strengths. All of the female characters in my novels are stronger than they know they are. Mia pushed aside her own needs to try to create a happy family and she lost her self. Too many women fall into that trap.
8. Was the ending of “Best day ever” difficult to write? Did you know how the book would end from the beginning of the writing process, or did the story evolve as you went along?
The book went through several rounds of edits and so of course it evolved. Editors add so much insight to a book like this and mine were fabulous. I liked writing each part of the story, including the ending.
9. If someone reviews your book unfavorably do you feel personally insulted, or do you just take the bad with the good and consider it part of the writing experience?
Bad reviews are a stab in the heart. They just are. And with a character like Paul, a character readers will love to hate, you run the risk that his personality is responsible for star deletion. I’ve seen it already. But I guess that’s a backhanded compliment when readers get so riled up about the character that they hate the book? Who knows. I do believe that people who are triggered by domestic violence probably shouldn’t read domestic suspense novels. But that’s my opinion. I’m trying to learn to read only the good reviews, but if I told you that’s what I do, I’d be lying. I read them all.
10. Writers are also avid readers. What type of book do you like to read for pleasure?
I read all types of books but my favorites, since Nancy Drew as a child, have been mystery, thrillers and suspense. Crime novels are the best escape.
11. If you could sit and enjoy a chat and a glass of wine with another crime novelist – who would it be?
Just one? Ok, here you go. I recently had a chance to sit and chat with author BA Paris one morning at the Harrogate Crime Festival. Just the two of us. No wine, it was morning. It was such a huge fan moment for me. I love Behind Closed Doors and The Break Down. She’s not only a talented author, she’s a wonderful person. It was a magical moment. Oh, someone I haven’t had wine with? Susan Isaacs. She was the inspiration for me to begin writing suburban suspense. (My term for what I write.) Oh, and Liane Moriarty. She’s another brilliant author. I think I’ve gone over my limit.
12. What part of your career as a novelist do you dislike the most?
Rounds of edits. I know they make the story better, I know. Oh, and synopsis writing. I’m a pantser. That has been the hardest part for me.
13. Are you working on another novel? If so, is it a stand-alone novel?
Yes, and yes. Hoping to have another psychological suspense arrive in the world a year from now. Fingers crossed.
14. How much input did you have in choosing the covers for “Best day ever”? Which cover is your favorite?
I didn’t have any input, but aren’t the covers amazing? The Australian cover with the dead black roses is amazing. The UK cover with the perfect blue bow is simply wow. And the checklist is amazing. The US/Canada cover with the textured red envelope is stunning. I guess I’d pick the envelope just because it is so stunningly unique.
15. Has your novel been equally well received by preliminary readers in both the United States and the United Kingdom?
So far, so good! Of course, the one star reviewers pop up in all countries, bless their hearts. For the most part the reviews have been amazing. Fingers crossed!
16. Do you imagine that someday “Best day ever” will be made into a movie? Who do you see playing the lead roles?
That would be a dream, wouldn’t it? For Paul, it would be great to have an actor we all love cross into a scary role. For Mia, a strong beautiful quiet type. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll leave that in the hands of my agents and hope for the best.
17. What current novelist do you feel is underrated or deserves to be more well known?
In today’s world most all novelists are underrated and deserve to be better known. I mean, seriously. Unless you are Patterson, or JK Rowling, you just aren’t well known. Authors should be rock stars, like, well, rock stars. Although, truth be told, most of us enjoy the anonymity associated with this career. The acclaim comes when readers enjoy our stories, not from the bright white spotlight of fame.
18. I’m a retired public library cataloger and have known for some time that mysteries/crime thrillers are some of the most read genres of fiction. Why do you think crime fiction is so popular?
Let me just say that librarians are the best people in the world. My elementary school librarian, Mrs. Gardier, encouraged me to write my first “book”. I had such a fabulous time attending my first ALA in Chicago this summer: So many wonderful people. But I digress. To me crime fiction is the perfect balance of heart and head. Characters are anchored in the real world, and they’re relatable. They aren’t as predictable with their happy ever afters like romance, but there is a deep satisfaction when the bad guy is caught or at least revealed. And, I know I enjoy reading crime fiction because it’s my favorite escape.
19. What interview question have you never been asked that you wish had been asked? What’s the answer?
Good question. I feel like I’ve been lucky to be asked almost everything. Oh, here’s one. What’s the name of your first pet? My cat, Snickledorf.
20. How do you wish to be contacted by ‘fans’? Facebook? Twitter? Your own blog?
All of the above: You can sign up for my newsletter by visiting my website: www.kairarouda.com
Publisher’s blurb for “Best Day Ever“
Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys, and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. It will be the best day ever.
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and into the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them. How perfect is any marriage, really? How much do they trust each other? Is Paul the person he seems to be? And what are his secret plans for the cottage weekend?
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, this story crackles with dark energy spinning ever tighter towards its shocking conclusion.
Don’t miss the fantastic book trailer for “Best Day Ever”!
“Best Day Ever” is now available for purchase at the following online booksellers:
Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, Here, Home, Hope, was the Winner of the Indie Excellence Book Award in Mainstream/Literary Fiction, Winner of the USA Book Awards in the Women’s Fiction category and received Honorable Mention in Mainstream/Literary Fiction for the Writer’s Digest Book Awards. Her novel, The Goodbye Year, which was released in May 2016, was Redbook Magazine’s “20 Best Books You Absolutely Must Read This Spring.” Kaira’s latest novel, Best Day Ever, is one of the major launch titles for Harlequin’s new imprint Graydon House, and will be available on September 19, 2017.
Kaira is also the author of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs and the creator of Real Living, one of the nation’s most successful real estate brands and the first national women-focused brand in real estate. She has given speeches to both women and men’s entrepreneurial conferences and programs across the country on the power of women as consumers and in the world. Kaira was named Best Entrepreneur from the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and was also recognized in Entrepreneur magazine’s inaugural Top 50 fastest-growing, women-led companies list.
In addition to her many entrepreneurial and literary accomplishments, Kaira is very active in both her native Ohio community and in her community in Southern California, where she now resides. Her philanthropic pursuits began when she founded Central Ohio’s first homeless shelter for families when she was twenty-five years old, and Kaira has since received numerous awards for her civic service.
Kaira’s family includes her husband of 28 years, her four kids, and her two spoiled dogs. She lives in Southern California and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.