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  • Anna P.

Indie Support Sunday: Kayla Martin

Some of you might know Kayla Martin as a bookstagrammer and founder of the Bergman Brothers Fan Club. I, however, know her as the debut author of A Thousand Sunsets. However you know her, Kayla has joined an incredible group of indie and self-published authors this year. I have enjoyed interacting with her over the last few months and I’m even more eager to start reading her book soon!


And this is just the first in a series of books that follow different members of the Murphy family. Inspired by her own family, this book is bound to be a treat in every way. If you’ve been seeing her promotions and teasers (let’s not forget those art commissions!), then you’ve also been waiting for this book to land in your hands. But that’s not all. Kayla’s also part of a Christmas anthology that releases this winter and her contribution is a Christmas short set in a small town known for their holiday festival.


A Thousand Sunsets is out now and available in Kindle Unlimited!


BEING AN AUTHOR

Who or what inspired you to write?

Being an avid romance reader, I always had a small part of me that wanted to write. In middle school, I tried to write a book. That only ended up being one messy chapter. Then, in 2023 I was in a group chat with friends who were writing. The FOMO got real and I decided I wanted to take another shot at writing a novel.


What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author? 

The best part is having full creative freedom over my characters and stories. The worst part is paying for and doing everything myself. It’s a full one woman show and I’m just figuring things out as I go.


Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?

I didn't start writing this story to become a household name. I wrote it for me, and my family. Waiting for the long process of traditional publishing didn’t interest me. Maybe with a future, less personal story, but not this one.


When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

I look at my Pinterest boards and put on my curated book playlist to help get me in the writing mood!


If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?

My go to recommendations are always check out these authors: Chloe Liese, Denise Williams, Talia Hibbert, Nellie Wilson, Juliette Cross, Stephanie Archer and bonus Allie Reynolds for thrillers with a romance subplot.


What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?

  1. Don’t assume you know everything. Do you research on writing and storytelling

  2. Create an outline or a beat sheet. It can be detailed or as simple as you want, but create one. It will help keep your story flowing and prevent you from repeating yourself every chapter.

  3. Keep track of things! No matter how you do it (Google Docs, Canva, Scrivener) keep track of details in your story. Know birthdays, how much time has passed since the last chapter, etc. It will help you fix less continuity errors during editing.

  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! You’re not going to have all the answers on how to do things right away, and it’s okay to ask other authors for help.

  5. Let the first draft suck! If you’re stuck writing your first draft and feel like it isn’t good, that’s okay! Let it suck, just finish it and then fix it.


ROMANCE AS A GENRE

Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?

It seemed like the only genre I wanted to write, since I read so much romance. My favorite thing about the genre is how reliable it is. We all know the two characters are going to end up together, and it’s so fun to see them get there.


If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?

I started my reading journey with thrillers and mysteries. That would be fun to try, but I don’t think I would be able to create that sense of suspense that is needed. I think YA or fantasy YA would be a lot of fun, especially being able to create a whole world that is completely made up.


What are your most and least favorite tropes?

I really love most tropes! My favorite one is fake dating, with miscommunication falling last on the favorites list. I also believe that a lot of poor communication books are mislabeled as miscommunication. To me, miscommunication is when a character overhears something or takes something another character said out of context and makes assumptions based on that.


What are some tropes you want to write in the future?

I’d love to tackle fake dating soon! I also think siblings' best friend would be a fun one.


What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?

I think conversations around contraception and STI testing should be a baseline for all romance books. Safe and consensual sex is so important and that deserves to be highlighted in books.


If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?

I prefer to read open door romances, so it was only logical for me to write open door. I often say nothing actually inspires me, my characters just do what they want.


YOUR BOOKS

What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?

My family is the inspiration for my book. The FMC’s family is heavily based on my experience with my family and camping in the Thousand Islands every year. The story came easily after I picked the location, since there have been multiple lifeguard / cousins relations throughout the year.


Can you briefly tell me about your books?

The Murphy family series is going to feature interconnected standalones following various members of the Murphy family as they grow in college and beyond, finding love along the way.


Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?

I don’t, I love each of them for different reasons. I’m sure as I write more someone will end up ranking number one.


How much of yourself do you put into these characters?

I think it is probably true with every author, but there’s always little parts of me in every character.


What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?

I really want to continue to tell this story of this large extended family, who is constantly involved in each other’s lives.


Is there one common element that readers can find in all your stories?

The common element will probably end up being the family involvement and random mentions of family members. It’s part of why I included a family tree in the front of my book. I also plan to continue that with each book, updating it as needed.


What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?

This winter, I have a short Christmas story coming. It’s a part of a larger Christmas anthology series, set in a small town that’s known for their Christmas festival.


When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?

My hope is simple, I hope readers smile. I hope they have fun with this debut book, and can feel the summer sun on their face as they read.


AUTHOR’S CHOICE

  • Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks

  • Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense— give me all the romcoms!

  • Single or Dual POV

  • Standalones, series or standalones in a series

  • Open door, ajar door or closed door romances

  • Music or silence when writing—and a curated playlist to fit the book mood

  • Plotter, pantser or plantser

  • Water, tea, coffee or….wine?—specifically unsweetened iced tea

  • Cold or warm weather

  • Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?

  • Illustrated or photo cover?


You can find Kayla on Instagram, Threads, TikTok, Facebook and Pinterest. Make sure to visit her website, sign up for her newsletter and order copies of her debut (with swag) from her store!

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