Indie Support Sunday: K.H. Anastasia
Late last year, I discovered one of my bookstagram friends was on her own journey to writing her debut and I was so excited for her. And I was obviously going to support and spread the word as much as possible, because I was so proud of someone else for stepping up and making this big decision.
And now, all these months later, not only do I have what will be the first of many interviews Kiira will do once her debut releases in May, but I also have the cover for her book! Kiira is an incredibly generous and kind person, she loves romance with every fibre of her being and it’s clear not only in her story, but in the way she uses her bookstagram account.
All Your Tomorrows (pre-order today!) is her debut and it releases May 10th, 2022 and is a second chance, childhood friends to lovers romance set in New York City. The book also features a plus size heroine who is sassy and amazing, and a millionaire hero with a rough past. But Rose and Eli’s story is one that you won’t be able to put down once you start reading.
Read on to see what inspired Kiira to start writing, what she wants you to take away from her book and how much more romance she’s got planned for you in the future!
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
It was a combination of different things. I had a 15-year break from pleasure reading before 2020. Then I was unemployed for ten months during the pandemic and needed to get away from reality. Books were that escape for me. They helped me deal with all my feelings and moods (in addition to the meds I got for my depression).
Then after reading hundreds of romance books, I started seeing dreams of stories I could tell. So, when a good friend of mine told me that she was taking part in NaNoWriMo, I was like, “I should try that too.” Five months later, I’m finishing editing my debut novel.
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
I love romance stories and the feeling of hope they give me. They remind me that we all struggle sometimes, and it’s okay. What matters is how we react to obstacles in life. My goal is to give that same feeling to my readers.
And I love love. I’m a romantic person deep in my heart.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
Having the freedom to do what I want is one of my main reasons to self-publish. I also don’t want to have a specific timeline for my writing. I mean, I wouldn’t mind publishing a book or two traditionally, but otherwise, I’m going to enjoy my indie author status.
Do you write full time or is this something you do on the side? And would you want to write full time?
Writing is an important hobby for me. I get to use my creativity and still enjoy it without worrying if my books bring me enough cash to support myself and my future family. That pressure is why I’m not planning on becoming a full-time author. Also, I’m studying for my degree in Sustainable Solutions Engineering and really enjoying it. Hopefully, I’ll be a kickass engineer who writes romance on the side one day.
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at?
Before the pandemic, I loved volunteering. I have over ten years of experience in different volunteer roles. I hope to start again soon as it was something I had to let go of to protect my health and the people around me once things changed. I generally love being around people and try my best to have a good relationship with everyone I meet.
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
Women’s fiction! I’m actually planning on writing a series that is more women’s fic than romance. Think Wild series by K.A. Tucker but with different women and settings. It’ll still have romance, but it isn’t the focus.
What are some of your all time favourite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
My most reread book is Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker. It’s a story that started my love for hockey romances and her writing. I own that book in three different formats and have listened to my favorite scenes so many times that I’ve lost count. My partner also only knows Brett Madden, the main character from Until It Fades, by name. He has no idea what my own characters are called, but he remembers that character.
I also keep recommending the Bergman Brothers series by Chloe Liese and books by Kennedy Ryan (Reel and Long Shot are my personal favorites). I also love the Dirty Air series by Lauren Asher and everything that Devney Perry writes. I could keep going, but these authors deserve all the love they can get.
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
1. Be proud of your journey as a (romance) writer.
2. Keep writing even if it feels like you aren’t getting anywhere.
3. Create a music playlist to get you in the right headspace.
4. Don’t get stuck on details while writing your first draft. That’s what editing is for.
5. Get help for proofreading and editing if possible. It helped me to have that second pair of eyes.
Tell me about your upcoming release!
My debut new adult romance novel, All Your Tomorrows, releases on May 10. It tells the story of Eli and Rose, two childhood neighbors, who had a promising start for their relationship back in high school until unexpected events break them apart. Seven years later, they have a second chance and need to decide if that love is worth the heavy price they have paid to get where they are.
All Your Tomorrows is the first book in the Redwood Lane series. The next book, All Your Memories, has a planned release in September. I’m also working on a multicultural holiday hockey romance called From Helsinki With Love to be released in early December.
What has the process of writing your book(s) been like?
Different than I expected! I was such a plotter when I started, which means that I planned out my novel in great detail before writing. I had to have all the main plot points planned with detailed descriptions. My first outline for All Your Tomorrows was loooooooong.
These days, I like to go off the plan more, but it has helped me have detailed outlines of my stories. I think that makes me a plantser—a combination of a plotter and a pantser. I also like to write my chapters in random order based on my mood. Not many authors do that, but it has worked well for me. Editing fixes any plot holes that might come from my method.
I think I still have lots to learn to find that perfect way of writing for me. But I’m getting there.
Of the books you’ve written so far, who is your favourite character?
Even though my first main characters, Eli and Rose (from All Your Tomorrows), will always be special to me, my favorite character so far has been Eli’s best friend, Ollie. I think it’s because I know what I’ve planned for him. Ollie will get his book in early 2023. I need time to write it the way he deserves.
What inspired your stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
I’ve always seen vivid dreams while sleeping. As I mentioned earlier, many of my story ideas have started that way. I see my characters and pieces of their life stories just by closing my eyes for the night. There are many voice recordings I’ve recorded in the middle of the night recalling my latest idea.
I also try to write what I would love to read myself as an avid romance reader. I get ideas from conversations with my family and friends, books I read, songs, and moments in my own life. My inspiration is random and doesn’t have any pattern.
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
All my (female) main characters have traits or details of myself. They can be small things or something more significant. Rose loves reading romance and is a plus-size woman just like I am. Her favorite candy is Sour Skittles, as I love sour candy myself. She also likes to explore and learn how things work. Just like I do.
There’s also a mention about Eli hating snakes in All Your Tomorrows. My fear of snakes inspired that line. But his character is more inspired by someone I know and some of my favorite book boyfriends.
What are you hoping your readers will feel when they read your books?
Like I mentioned earlier, I want my readers to have that feeling of hope. If my characters can get past their issues, so can they. I also hope they enjoy my characters and stories like I do, and get that little escape from reality when reading my books.
What are your most and least favourite tropes?
My favorite trope is enemies-to-lovers, and my least favorite is love triangle.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
I’ve planned many of my future stories, including brother’s best friend, an unexpected pregnancy, a fake relationship and only one bed.
I would love to write a story about waking up married in Vegas.
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
Mental health, biracial romance, body positivity, disabilities… The list goes on and on. Romance being the genre with the most readers, there’s a massive opportunity to discuss issues that matter. I think I love books by authors like Chloe Liese and Kennedy Ryan because they write about topics that we don’t see enough. I’m trying to do the same with my stories.
For example, Rose has anxiety in All Your Tomorrows, and she regularly goes to therapy. I wanted to show her relationship with her therapist in detail. It’s an important topic to me personally because of my own mental health issues. Mental health stigma isn’t going anywhere if we don’t work towards it.
What is your favourite thing about the romance genre?
That feeling of hope. And all the possibilities. Romance novels often follow the same beats in storytelling, but there are endless ways to use those beats. That’s what I love about romance as a genre.
THIS OR THAT
Ebooks or audiobooks Both—I rarely read anything other than ebooks or audiobooks
Historical romance or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV
Standalones or series
Music or silence while writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser
Tea or coffee
Cold or warm weather
Morning person or night owl
Illustrated cover or photo cover Both—all my books will have illustrated covers but well-designed photo covers are amazing as well.
If you haven’t done it yet, give Kiira a follow on Instagram!