Since fourth grade, Kaira Rouda’s dream has been to publish a novel and that dream is finally coming true with her debut novel, Here, Home, Hope. Between elementary school, and today, Kaira’s been – well – quite busy. She’s a mom of four now teenaged children, has been married to her husband for 20+ years, has published a nonfiction book – Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs – and enjoyed a full, much-lauded career as an entrepreneur and marketing professional. All of this full life had a way of getting between her and this, her dream. Kaira believes with all her heart the best is yet to come. She’s thrilled to be profiled here in the company of the amazing Debs!
HERE, HOME, HOPE is the absorbing, witty story of one suburban mother’s journey from midlife crisis to reinvention. Available at bookstores and online everywhere, read the first chapter on Kaira’s website at http://www.kairarouda.com/books/here-home-hope/
We’re thrilled to have Kaira with us on the Ball today. Read on, and don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Here, Home, Hope!
Kaira Rouda Takes the Deb Interview!
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
The Debs all wrote about goals this week, and my goal for so long has been to be a published novelist. I’ve been working away, submitting queries off and on for years, but I never allowed myself permission to fully go for that dream – or dare to – until now. So, instead of focusing on my novels, I’ve kept really busy doing almost every type of writing job possible over my career. And what I’ve realized is that each of these jobs added to who I am and what I can write about. The journey adds depth to life, the good things and especially, the bad.
So when I thought about the strangest job I’ve had, I had to think back through a lot of jobs: check-out gal at discount big box before scanners, credit card authorization rep, retail sales, waitressing, waitressing and did I mention waitressing, reporter, magazine writer and editor, ad agency account person, city society columnist, national carpet cleaning chain vice president, co-founder and president of residential real estate company, speaker, and now, author. As you can imagine, I have a lot of strangest job stories, but if I had to pick one moment that I can write about here it would be promoting Frosty Paws Dog Ice Cream at product launch. (Imagine New Orleans, August, grocery store parking lot, hot dogs, photo shoot, melting ice cream, ensuing mayhem.)
Have you ever met someone you idolized? What was it like?
I’ve been so lucky to meet several women I idolize. I met Gloria Steinem at an event a few years ago and was awestruck. I still am. I’ve spent a large portion of my life working to empower women and meeting one of the catalysts of change and progress was amazing. I have an autographed photo of her hanging in my office, just above my Rosie the Riveter bobble head. Another dynamo I was thrilled to meet was Katie Couric. She’s just as warm and real in person as she is on television. I can’t wait to see what her next act is – and I’ll be cheering her on all the way. And then there is the unique category of authors. Whenever I meet an author I admire – and I’ve been so lucky to meet several through this journey to become published – my palms sweat and I become an embarrassing wreck. I’m in awe of their talent and word-beauty. Oh, and since we moved to Southern California, I have celebrity encounters fairly often. Seeing Goldie Hawn at a restaurant one night was a huge thrill. I heard her signature laugh in person and it made me smile.
Has anyone ever thought a character you wrote was based on them?
Yes, yes and yes. And even more commonly a woman will tell me, with certainty, she “knows” who one of the characters is – whether it’s Kelly, Charlotte, Kathryn or Melanie – and names someone from her suburb. I love that. I am flattered when a reader says Grandville ~ the fictional suburban setting of HERE, HOME, HOPE ~ is just like where she lives and she knows those people. That is the best compliment. In fact, all of my novels to date are set in Grandville, so there will be even more characters to get to know soon.
Do you have a regular first reader?
My husband, Harley, is my first reader, poor guy. I tease him that over the years – we’ve been married 21 years as of yesterday – he has grown quite in touch with his feminine side through my manuscripts. He is a great sport though – and an amazing partner.
If I was stranded on a desert island, the three things I’d want would be…
My family (ha, snuck them all in there in a lump, including my dogs), cheese and my laptop. My four kids are the center of my life and they are amazing. Now that they’re teens, we could build a great tree fort Swiss Family Robinson style. We’d forage for fresh island food. I’d have their full attention. We’d play board games each night. (Ok, so a mom can dream.) The only character in HERE, HOME, HOPE who is real is Oreo, my mutt. He’s 11 years old and my sidekick. Recently, because I’m weak in the face of teen pressure and puppies are adorable, we added Tucker to the family. So he’d come to the island, too.
I love cheese. I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like.
And I don’t really need to explain the laptop, since as hinted above, I need to keep working on book number two. (Of course my desert island has electricity and internet access.)
What’s your next big thing?
At present, I’m earnestly learning the art of fiction book promotion, which is quite distinct from nonfiction book promotion. These next few months are filled with events and fun surrounding HERE, HOME, HOPE. My new goal is to make a career of this and therefore, I’m hard at work on rewrites of my second novel. I am having the time of my life!
If you’d like to win a copy of Here, Home, Hope, leave a comment below! In the meantime, come say hello to Kaira on Twitter @KairaRouda and on her Facebook Fan Page Kaira Rouda Books!
25 Replies to “The Deb Ball Welcomes Kaira Rouda (Giveaway!)”
Wonderful interview! Nice to “meet” you, Kaira. Love your desert island scenario — substitute chocolate for cheese and I’m right there with you!
Best of luck with HERE, HOME, HOPE! I’m sure it will be a great success. 🙂
how refreshing to meet someone who idolizes gloria steinam. i am unfortunately of a generation of women who seem to have forgotten who she is….
I’m another person who has had a collection of strange jobs, but I also believe it’s just given me more life experience to make me a better writer.
Congrats on Here, Home, Hope and here’s to a lifelong goal achieved!
Congrats on the book and happy anniversary! My husband is also my first reader and as a philosophy professor he’s great on motivation, not so great on plot (what if the lovers find out they’re really brother and sister…)!
LOL, I want to hear the whole Frosty Paws Dog Ice Cream story!
Thanks so much for visiting the Debutante Ball. Your book sounds fabulous!
Great post! Your book sounds terrific, and I have to say, the deserted island with your family sounds pretty darn fun too. I think my daughter and I would want to visit and play in the tree fort!
I am more than honored to have been asked to be a part of this amazing site! Thank you to all of the Debs who made it possible, and especially to Eleanor Brown who has been such a fabulous long-distance friend and cheerleadr! Did I mention I LOVE The Weird Sisters? Oh, right, I have!
Tawna – the Frosty Paws fiasco was hilarious! Maybe I’ll write a blog post about it! 🙂
Lise – Thank you for the anniversary wishes – and I your husband sounds as plot-challenged as mine!
Elise – It would be so much fun, wouldn’t it?
Jenny – You are right! In fact, in my first book – nonfiction – I wrote about the women’s movement, and about how we need to remember the pioneers who helped us get this far. As women, we need to keep their stories alive for the next generation.
Thank you again for having me here!
I would love to read your new book. It sounds like you have a fabulous husband and wonderful teenagers… I know what that is like myself. I now only have one daughter who graduates next year at home. She too loves to read but we tend to read different things of course! But I think perhaps she may enjoy this one as well
I loved reading your article. You have had a lot of jobs and that gives me hope that maybe someday I can try putting my ideas on paper into a novel or short story.
I love your story about the Frosty Paws Dog Ice Cream…had me cracking up!
I love reading books in which I think I can relate to characters. It makes the stories even more interesting and fun to read.
I love your desert island scenario. Very creative and fun!
Even if I dont win your book giveaway, I will buying and reading all your books and will anxiously wait for more : )
I enjoyed your answers to the questions. I love to read and always like trying out new authors. That’s how I discovered some of the authors I now read on a continuing basis. Good luck with your writing and promoting your books.
Kaira, you prove again that hard work makes dreams come true! Congratulations!
I loved reading about all the jobs you’ve had!! Such obvious diversity has added flavor to your life experience 🙂
This book is on my TBR list!
Great interview, and great inspiration & encouragement! 🙂 Also, absolutely LOVE that people come and tell you they *know* your characters and setting – that’s a sign of very good writing 😉
Great interview! I have been hearing about Kaira’s book and now I feel as if I know her a little better. I love how she finally fulfilled her childhood dream of writing a novel, and I hope this is the first of many!
Terrific interview! Would love to read this – thanks for the chance 🙂
I too have never met a cheese I didn’t like! Count me in please
a great posting…thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel 🙂
Great interview! I love the idea od being stranded with your kids and building a tree house Swiss Family style! If you have to be stranded that’s the way to do it!
Best of luck with your debut!
So lovely to see you hear Kaira! P.S. I love the name Harley. It sounds strong, confident and fun (traits of your hubby, I’m sure!). CAN’T WAIT to read your book. It’s on my must-read for the summer. xo
Yeah Kaira! I am enjoying following you on Facebook and seeing your literary road trip and book signing bonanza :)! I can’t wait to read the book, it sounds wonderful. Good luck with it all!
I would love to read this book.
lkish77123 at gmail dot com
This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.
nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net
Would love to be considered to win! Thanks so much! I enjoyed the interview!
Happy anniversary! And congrats on the new book! I would love to win this book — it sounds awesome!
I would so love to win this book, I’ve wanted to read it since it came out!! it sounds like my kind of book!
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