Monday, July 21, 2014

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Kaira Rouda, author of 'In the Mirror'

Kaira Rouda is an award-winning and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs; Here, Home, Hope; All the Difference; In the Mirror; and the short story, A Mother's Day.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel.
Her latest novel is the women’s fiction, In the Mirror.

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About the Book:

What choices would you make if you knew you might die soon?

From the multi award-winning, best-selling author of four books, including Here, Home, Hope, a gripping and heart wrenching novel about a young mother who has it all. The only problem is she may be dying.

In her previous works including All the Difference, Rouda's characters "sparkle with humor and heart," and the stories are "told with honest insight and humor" (Booklist).

"Inspirational and engaging" (ForeWord), these are the novels you'll turn to for strong female characters and an "engaging read" (Kirkus). 

In the Mirror is the story of Jennifer Benson, a woman who seems to have it all. Diagnosed with cancer, she enters an experimental treatment facility to tackle her disease the same way she tackled her life - head on. But while she's busy fighting for a cure, running her business, planning a party, staying connected with her kids, and trying to keep her sanity, she ignores her own intuition and warnings from others and reignites an old relationship best left behind.

If you knew you might die, what choices would you make? How would it affect your marriage? How would you live each day? And how would you say no to the one who got away?

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Welcome to the book club, Kaira!  Your book, IN THE MIRROR, addresses a very tough topic – what would you do if you knew you might die soon?  How did you come up with this idea?
Kaira: So wonderful to be here, Dorothy! Thank you!
In the Mirror is a book I have been writing for the past ten years. Unfortunately I have had too many friends who have had to face just this sort of question as they received a breast cancer diagnosis. Like many people, I’ve had a couple of scares myself. The agonizing wait to find out whether or not you have cancer, those moments inspired this novel. It’s easy to go about life mindlessly, without realizing every day we are all dying. To make sense of that fact, and to try to handle it with my style of writing, which tends to add humor and heart, was the challenge. But it was a story I’ve been most proud of so
far in my career. The response has been amazing.
Can you tell us a little about your protagonist, Jennifer, who is quite ill with cancer, yet tries to have that almost perfect life? 
Kaira: Jennifer would tell you she did have the perfect life before her diagnosis: two adorable kids, a great husband, a successful clothing store, abundant friendships. She’s a believer that it is possible for women to have it all, that there is no such thing as balance, but that you just keep moving forward and everything will work out. The problem is, once she becomes very ill, she must exist in a life of “pause”, in between the very active “play” life she was leading and the “stop” of death. To keep her spirits up, she decides to throw a party for herself to reconnect with people who mean something to her, from every phase of her 34-year-old life. 
When Jennifer first finds out she has cancer, what went through her head?  Did she want to give up or did she want to fight?
Kaira: Jennifer is a fighter, all the way. She will never give up. She tackles cancer head-on, much the way she has tackled her life.
Can you tell us a little about the people in Jennifer’s life?
Kaira: Jennifer’s husband and her friends are there for support, her parents are dysfunctional but there for her, too, as is her sister and nemesis. Her best friend is Ralph, a fellow patient at Shady Valley, and her business partner Jacob is also an important and fun character. Trouble brews when her first love Alex enters the scene raising another question, Did you let the right one get away?
They say all books have this pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down.  Can you tell us one of your book’s pivotal points?
Kaira: Gosh, I’m hoping readers are hooked on page one, but as for a pivotal point, I’d say when Alex arrives on the scene, things get interesting.
Not only has IN THE MIRROR become an Amazon bestseller, but it also was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards.  Did you have any idea that this book would take off like it has?
Kaira: You know, I just knew this story would resonate with readers. Just look at the success of the novel The Fault in Our Stars about teenage cancer patients and I hope we are seeing a time when cancer isn’t a stigma, it’s the emperor of all diseases, and one that will touch all of us in some manner in our lifetimes. Cancer isn’t something to ignore, but a powerful force in our society that should be discussed, written about, talked about. In some small way, I hope In the Mirror adds to that dialog and the openness that is starting to bubble up in society. We’re all in this life together, and we need to better understand and support each other. I think it was the right time for this novel
What’s next for you, Kaira?
 Kaira: I’m so excited. My first romance series is releasing on July 10th. The first book is Weekend with the Tycoon, and is a light-hearted romp of a beach read, quite a departure from the more heavy topics I wrote about in this novel. The second book in the Indigo Island romance series is Lines in the Sand, a romantic suspense, and it’s scheduled for an August release. There will be a third book in the series out during the holidays. I’m also working on a women’s fiction novel set both in contemporary times and the 1930s. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at historical fiction, so I am. It’s so gratifying living the life of my dreams as a writer. The support of people like you Dorothy, and the readers, really means more than you can know!

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