Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Q&A with author Kyra Davis

This summer, the fourth installment of the Sophie Katz series arrived after much anticipation. For today’s Q&A we have the series author, Kyra Davis, here with us to share details about Sophie’s adventures, Kyra’s path to publication, and what’s next for this killer – and comedic – writer.

Hi Kyra. Can you tell us about Lust, Loathing, and A Little Lip Gloss?
Sophie has finally decided that she is ready to make a lifetime commitment to the one she loves…a three bedroom Victorian with a yard. She wants the house so badly she’s willing to deal with her obnoxious ex-husband who is the realtor representing it and she’ll meet all of the seller’s crazy conditions. She’s not dissuaded by the house’s possible dark history or even the accounts by some that it’s haunted. It’s not until people associated with the house start dying that she becomes concerned particularly when she begins to suspect that she might be one of the targets.

What sort of trouble does Sophie come across this time?
Oh, she’s finding more dead bodies and someone seems to want to kill her again. Just another day in the life.

Has it been difficult to sustain the character of Sophie through all her stories?
It’s not hard to sustain the character. Any well-developed character is going to evolve over time. We all have layers and as an author I enjoy exploring different aspects of Sophie’s personality, history and emotional development. The challenge is coming up with new and different ways for her to stumble into a murder investigation.

You have Vendettas And A Little Black Dress up next. What can you tell us about it?
A very important character from the series is going to be shot. Note that I didn’t say they would die (although I didn’t say they wouldn’t either). The point is that lives are going to be turned upside down and Sophie and those around her will be forced to reexamine everything. Anatoly and Sophie’s relationship will also have some twists and turns and the two of them will need to make some pretty big decisions.

You’re very prolific. How do you explain your staying power?
I’m honestly not sure I have a good answer for that. I’ve seen so many amazingly talented authors lose their contracts and their challenges make me appreciate both my good fortune as well as the precariousness of my position. I CAN say that a lot of people relate to Sophie. She’s become a friend to readers all over the world and I think it’s harder to give up on a long term friend (by not passing her up in the bookstore) than resist the temptation to acquaint yourself with a new one (by buying a book with previously unknown characters). In other words it helps that I have an on going series instead of a bunch of unrelated titles.

Tell us a bit about your journey as an author.
I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I started writing the first Sophie book (Sex, Murder And A Double Latte). I was just messing around at the time I started penning that story. It didn’t occur to me that I might want to publish it until I was about fifty pages into it. Now it’s more than an idea… more than a dream. It’s a career. I am so blessed to be able to make a living doing something that I love. For me that’s the definition of success.

What advice do you have for writers starting out?
Embrace constructive criticism. It’s hard to hear anything that isn’t 100% positive about a work you have poured your heart and soul into but you have to remember this is a craft. Nothing you ever write will be perfect and if you’re not able to listen when others try to help you improve on your project you're not ready to be published.

How would you say the industry has changed since your debut?
It’s totally and completely different. For one thing half the editors have been laid off as the publishing houses have rushed to downsize in order to survive the recession. Big book tours are becoming increasingly rare even for the most popular authors and bookstores are struggling and are watching their inventories like a hawk. Advances for new authors are down and everybody’s trying to figure out how Kindle is going to play into the equation. Oh, and Chick-Lit has become a dirty word. I realize that none of that sounds good but I have faith that things will work out for the publishing world at the end of the day and so far Sophie still seems to be going strong despite the economic climate and shifting publishing trends so I don’t have a lot to complain about.

How has this impacted your role as a working writer?
As I said, it hasn’t impacted me too much yet. Except for the “Chick Lit” thing. A lot of professional reviewers won’t give my books a second glance because they know that I was part of that whole Chick Lit Mysteries revolution that was “so 2005.” On the other hand I’m one of the few authors who were part of that revolution who has also managed to stay around and remain successful. I actually take pride in that. The funny thing is that because “Chick Lit” is “out” I can explore my characters in more emotional depth with the full approval of my publishing house. It’s okay to be a little “darker” now because they think it helps distance me from the Chick Lit thing. So oddly enough the decline of the very genre I used to champion has allowed me to grow as an author.

How has social media and technology changed the way you connect with readers?
It’s changed it completely. I feel like I know my readers now. I interact with some of them several times a week. I know which of my characters are their favorites and what kind of adventures they hope to see Sophie take part in. It’s really awesome because if you think about it my readers are my employer. They quite literally pay my salary and keep my career afloat. So thanks to Facebook, Twitter and Myspace I can find out what’s going on inside my bosses’ heads. It’s great!

We’ve talked about your upcoming releases. What else can readers expect from you in the near future?
I would really love to write a YA fantasy novel. Hopefully that will happen within the next two years.

How can readers learn more about you and your books?
They can always check out my website:

Thanks, Kyra. I appreciate you taking the time to talk about your latest news and upcoming releases.

You can order Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss from Barnes & Noble here, where you’ll also see links to Kyra’s other books, including the entire Sophie Katz series.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Q&A with Kyra Davis. There are plenty more author interviews on the schedule, so make sure you bookmark the site or follow this blog – and also be entered into the contest for a signed copy of one of my books!

Also, as previously mentioned, the month of August is an especially busy one for me so I have recruited additional authors to make guest appearances, share news in extra Q&As, and offer tips for emerging writers.

With such a jam-packed blog schedule, this month will go by fast but I hope you are able to enjoy the guest appearances and make each author feel at home. Here’s a tip – authors love comments from readers and are generally very happy to answer questions. So, don’t be shy! Leave your comments and questions, as each author is no doubt going to pop over to see what discussions are going on here.

Thanks for stopping in. Until next time… happy reading!

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