Indie Support Sunday: Starla DeKruyf
The indie romance community on Instagram is truly one of the best places to discover new authors and fall in love with their stories. Lots of people had been sharing the cover for The Heart Rehab Experiment and I noticed that the hero on the cover resembled Paul Rudd. Now anyone with taste is a Paul Rudd fan and I have incredible taste. Which is also why I read and absolutely loved Starla’s Failure to Launch inspired romance. It was funny, witty and smart. It had so much heart and soul, and the hero of the story was absolutely perfect.
While Starla has two books published by an indie publisher, The Heart Rehab Experiment was her first in self-publishing. She’s got plans for more books as a self-published author, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading her Christmas and Fall themed romances too! A coffee addict, Starla infuses that into her stories. Currently, she’s working on a romance with a character having endometriosis that is slated for release next year.
In the meantime, you can read The Heart Rehab Experiment for free through the Kindle Unlimited program. Her other two books—Eight Days of Christmas and Tricked in October—are also available via Amazon or anywhere you buy paperbacks!
1. BEING AN AUTHOR
Who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve always had an active imagination, been creative, had empathy for not only others but fictional people as well, and I’ve had a strong desire to tell stories. I fell in love with a Judy Blume novel as a preteen and it sparked something inside me.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
Best part! I have control over the process. I get to pick the release date, choose my own cover artist, editors, proofreaders, formatting styles. I can follow along with the deadlines and make sure each step of the process gets done.
Worst part! Everything is my responsibility. Not only financially, but marketing, and assuring each person is doing their job so I’m able to do mine. An indie author wears many hats and you have to be able to switch them often!
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
My first and third books were published by a small publishing company that technically is referred to as an indie publisher. I decided to self publish my second book, a standalone romance because it truly was a joy to write and I felt like, if it brought me that much joy, others should get to experience it as well 🥰 I needed this book to be published In its entirety. No editing out anything fun or heartbreaking or meaningful. I also had a very specific cover in mind and I knew I wouldn’t get it if I’d tried to trad publish it.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?
I do a couple things. Reading feels like the obvious answer here, but I also watch my favorite romcoms, do something active, listen to music, build a puzzle, or decorate cakes.
If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
Find your author support group and keep them close.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Make self care a priority.
Keep your eyes on your own paper.
Don’t quit even when it gets tough.
2. ROMANCE AS A GENRE
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?
I love writing LOVE stories! There’s just something about telling a satisfying happily-ever-after.
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
As someone who lives with chronic pain, I’m always over-the-moon thrilled when an author reps it well within their stories. Great example of this is author Torie Jean with her swoony and real romance, Finding Gene Kelly. If people have a story to tell where we can empathize with what they live with, I’m all for it.
3. YOUR BOOKS
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
Paul Rudd was the character inspo for my main character in The Heart Rehab Experiment. I remembered the movie Failure to Launch and thought, wouldn’t it be fun to reverse the roles and have it be a parent who lives with his grown daughter and imagined all the fun and not so fun conflict that might arise from that.
Can you briefly tell me about your book?
The Heart Rehab Experiment is a failure to launch with a twist. It’s unique in a way that I don’t see done in romance books typically. Rather than a single or dual POV, I wrote it with three. I have the two love interests and the grown daughter that the male character lives with. So far, the reviews have been very positive about this so that makes me so happy because I loved having the daughter’s POV.
Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?
My favorite character will probably always be Pete Redd from The Heart Rehab Experiment.
If you were to cast your book for a movie/television show, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Talking about my self published book, The Heart Rehab Experiment, hands down without a question, Paul Rudd as my male lead. He was the inspo for my character. For the female lead, possibly Leslie Mann or Bryce Dallas Howard.
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
The main thing you will always find in my books that is similar to me, is my characters always love coffee. I do tend to write about anxiety as well. This is something I deal with on the daily and I cannot help but include it into my books.
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
My own take on what I’ve dealt with as someone with endometriosis. I’m about 50k in so far. I’m hoping for a 2024 release date on that one. It’s a work of the heart and cannot be rushed.
Is there one common element that readers can find in all your stories?
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
Yes! I’m aiming to self publish two books in 2023. I’m super excited about the upcoming year. I’ve got my editor and cover artist booked, so I don’t have any excuses.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
When I write a book, my first goal is to write something I myself will enjoy reading it. We have to read it about a thousand times so it better be entertaining, right? But what I want is to write a story that makes my readers feel something. I like my romance to be satisfying and my characters to feel authentic on the page. I love writing secondary/best friends. I want my readers to feel a sense of “home” or belonging. I love making their hearts do that pitter-patter-ahhhhh thing, ya know?
4. AUTHOR’S CHOICE
Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks
Give me all the books I’m not picky of the format. I do love audiobooks though, because I’m a slow reader and I can do something else like while I listen.
Standalones, series or standalones in a series
Either standalones or standalones in series. A series of 3+ books is overwhelming for me.
Music or silence when writing
Music! Give me all the music! I have a playlist for each book before I even begin writing it.
Water, tea, coffee or….wine?