I’ve recently had the pleasure of chatting with author Kyra Fox and just had to share! If you’re a fan of her books or a fellow writer, or not yet a fan of her books (you will be) or an aspiring writer, read on, my friends. You’ll be glad you did.
Kyra, thank you so much for giving us your time and for sharing.
Thank you for having me!
Let's start at the beginning. When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?
I dreamt of becoming a doctor. Gave that up when I realized it would be too hard for me to cope with all the “what ifs.” I guess that’s part of what allures me in writing; in real life, you can’t control the outcome of everything, but an author is a deity of sorts to all her imaginary beings. In a cosmic joke, though, I did end up marrying a doctor!
Did any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published author one day?
All of them… I really should have listened earlier down the road.
And did you specifically plan your studies around your interest in writing?
Half and half. I majored in both literature and biotechnology in high school, did extracurriculars in medicine and creative writing. I’m sort of a flurry of contradictions.
On that note, what’s your opinion on that common misconception that all writers are socially inept? How true is that when it comes to you?
This is a trick question. I’m not socially inept at all, I had an entire period in my early-mid-twenties where I was part of a nightlife princess posey (for real, all the bars and club owners had me on their contact list). But I prefer to sit alone reading or writing so I am a secret introvert, I guess.
Do you ever project your own habits onto your characters?
Habits, experiences, personality (flaws and merits alike), fears... I think I have a reference to my phobia of a zombie apocalypse in three different books and counting.
Do you think writers have a personality that most people would consider “normal?”
No, because we live in a sort of revolving door scenery 24/7. I always find myself thinking how a certain situation would play out if it were in one of my books, how I’d build the characters, and what would happen to them. My world is made up of plot ideas, and sometimes I need to practice mindfulness to remember life is a series of moments happening to me, not a series of events that I can write my characters into.
Speaking of plot, do you set up your plots or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Once upon a time, I set up a plot. My characters declared mutiny, however, and they’re way better captains than I ever could be. But I always have a general idea about the story.
Do you pen down your revelations and ideas as you get them, right then and there?
Absolutely. I walk around with a notepad and my Samsung Note9. I have around four full notebooks already.
Have you ever written a character based on the real you in some part?
All of them are based on me to some extent, more accurately on the real me mixed with the wishful idea of me. Take the BFF Series, for example. Zoe is an introverted smart girl who keeps a close group of friends and is a bit socially awkward sometimes. That’s totally me up until my early twenties. Trista is the life of the party kind of girl, sexy and fun, feels like the world is her oyster. Totally me in my college years and all the way to my mid-twenties. She’s also a total klutz who is me since forever. Then there’s Phoebe who is this calm and collected woman. She’s more leveled and mature than the other two girls in a way that she’s at peace with who she is. She’s also a corporate lawyer that hates her job but is having a hard time admitting it. That would be me in my later mid-twenties, right around the time I met my husband. Every fictional person I breathe life into has a part of me in them, sometimes less sometimes more, but it’s always there.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
All the time, from small easter eggs to entire scenes. Every single one of my characters is somehow affected by my personal experiences. In Laundry Day, my sister kept sending me LOLs on different tidbits of our life I put in there. It was hilarious that someone aside from me got it.
Which of your books would you want to be adapted for the silver screen?
I have this fantasy that the BFF Series will be adapted into a 6 part mini-series (2 episodes per book). I may have even gotten way ahead of myself and cast the characters. (Well, some of them, some are harder to cast). Also, after the BFF Series is done I’m planning on a standalone (not sure if it will be a novel or novella) called “Flesh Memories,” and it will be a tearjerker. I can totally see it as a made for TV movie (maybe even a big-screen adaptation, who knows *wink*).
I would be right in front of the screen for those! So, sounds to me like you’ve written a character or two with an actor in mind?
Always. I have a process: Oh, that actor is hot! Fantasy drawer! Who are we pairing with him? Oh, that actress would be a good fit! Yay! What are their names? How did they meet? Backstories? Hmm…let me see… Okay, that’s interesting, what’s their motivation for the whole thing? *writes WIP!* Now I need more character inspiration, so let’s model stalk until I find the perfect fit. Actors no longer relevant, new book written, BOOM *mic drop!*
My head is an interesting place to live in sometimes…
Do you have any advice you’d like to give to aspiring writers?
Your first draft will be a pile of verbal vomit, but once it’s out there, you can improve it and make it remarkable. Don’t quit just because it feels like garbage the first time you see it on paper or on the screen.
And on the note of advising new writers, do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
I hire. I’m half (or less) of a native speaker and haven’t lived in an English speaking environment for a very long time. I need a professional editor whose native language is English. This, by the way, is my biggest advice to all non-native speakers—get an editor from the country from which the language you’re using came!
How important is research to you when writing a book?
Some writers are grammar fascists (sorry, I have an aversion to the N-word). I’m a research fascist. If you asked me how I portray a city I haven’t been in for over two decades so well I would tell you that I spend days upon days reviewing Google images, weather reports, articles, blogs and chatting with locals. It’s even more important, I think, when you deal with things like mental illness and grief in your writing, to really do your research well. If you get the weather in spring in Toronto wrong, a couple of people will be displeased. But if you disrespect the long-term consequences of a serious condition or situation, you can really hurt people who have lived through it.
Do contemporary writers have the kind of animosity that competitors in showbiz seem to have?
As someone who is part of a very supportive community of romance writers, no. Indies especially, are just the most amazing group of people. Just one example is a podcast I’m co-hosting with a fellow indie in a couple of days, she invited people from the writer community so they can promote themselves on her platform. It restores your faith in humanity.
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about your specific genre?
That it’s for everyone, not just desperate sexually frustrated housewives! I’ve been reading romance novels and erotica since forever. I enjoy it more now because I’m more sexually mature (which is probably part of why I finally took my dirty fantasies out of my head and wrote them down on paper), but the stories, I’ve always enjoyed.
If you were to change your genre, which one would you choose?
I guess I’d change my sub-genre to PNR romance or thriller romance (I may or may not have a couple of those planned already), but if I had to change entirely, I’d go Harlan Coben.
And on an even more personal note, how many children do you have, and do you see any young writers in any of them?
One and she’s only two and a half. She’s going to be the grand dictator of the galaxy one day, so you better stay on my good side.
If you die today, how would you want the world to remember you?
I always tease that I want my headstone engraved with “she once named a beer.” But jokes aside, the only person I feel the need to be remembered by is my daughter, so I better not die anytime soon.
No, you had better not—you still have so much to give to us all. Which brings us back to your wonderful books. Would you say your novels carry a message?
I hope so. I try to give realistic hope, show that happiness takes a lot of work sometimes, and it can be an uphill struggle, but that we have to hold on to what makes us feel good. Also, I make a conscious effort to portray my leading ladies as women who are confident in their sexuality and know what they want without being ashamed of it (as my tagline goes - they dare to desire) and my men the way I want my man to be - sensitive but dominant. Too many romance tropes do an injustice to both genders.
Now, I guarantee your fans are already looking for more from you. Can you tell us what you’re working on now?
So many things! I’m sending out a steamy enemies to lovers short as a goodie to my newsletter subscribers on my next release day, that was a bit of an irrational whim. And I’m obviously working on Book 2 of the BFF series, which tells the friends-to-lovers tale of Trista and Brian, and it is going to be off the charts steamy, as well as Book 3 on how Phoebe and Andy ignite their old flame (expect a lot of heartfelt moments as these two dredge up old feelings and heartaches). In the midst of all this, I’m taking part in a summer romance anthology. And I mentioned the standalone coming after this series, which I personally can’t wait for, and a spinoff series is already in the works. Also, sometimes, I sleep…
Wow! I personally can’t wait to read every single one of them, and I have no doubt, everyone who reads this is feeling the same way.
Thank you again for taking time out of your busy and creative life to allow us all to get to know the real woman behind the pages we can’t get enough of.