Happy Monday, Reader Friends!
I hope you had a good bookish weekend. I’m kicking this week off with an author interview with Kara Leigh Miller. We’ll be discussing her latest release, Perfectly Imperfect. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us.
Toni: Thank you so much for joining me today! Before we jump right into your book, could you tell us what your writing process is like?
Kara: I’m not sure I have a process, really. Each book is different, but one thing that remains constant is that I’m a panster. I cannot plot a book, because once I do, I feel like I’ve already told the story, and then I have no desire to actually write it. I like to be surprised, to experience the story as it unfolds on the page. That typically leads to the book needing a lot of revisions and edits, but I have a ton of fun during the drafting stage 😊
Toni: I completely relate to that. I’m the same way with pantsing. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Kara: I can’t really pinpoint a specific age or time in my life, but I’ve always loved books. I read a ton when I was in school, and I’d always opt to take the extra English and writing classes while in high school and college. It wasn’t until 10 years ago that I decided to get serious about writing a book, and once I finished that first manuscript, I was hooked. I knew I’d never look back, and I haven’t. I’ve been writing and publishing ever since.
Toni: Yay! What’s a normal writing day like for you?
Kara: I have a very rigid schedule that I try not to deviate from, because I’m much more productive when I stick to my schedule. This is what it typically looks like:
6:00 am — Wake up, feed the cats, take my Fibro medication
6:30 am — Sit at my computer, open my playlist, put in my earbuds (very important so I can block out distractions), and then I write for the entirety of my playlist, which is just over an hour long. And I mean I just write. I don’t reread anything I’d written previously. I don’t go back and edit. I don’t go back and search for small details or names; I’ll use a placeholder so I can keep going.
7:40 am — Stop writing! I don’t care if I’m in the middle of a sentence, when my playlist stops, so do I. Doing this makes it that much easier to jump back in later. I then get out of my chair, move around, and drink some water.
8:00 am — Work out. This isn’t something I can skip simply because of my Fibro, but the exercise helps so much with my creativity.
9:45 am — Sit at my computer, open my playlist, put in my earbuds, and write.
10:50 am — Stop writing. Get up, move around, drink some water.
11:00 am — Answer Anaiah emails, read submissions, check in with Eden (my boss).
12: 00 pm — Eat lunch, take my Fibro medication, chat with my husband and make sure my kids are still alive.
12:40 pm — Work on edits for my Anaiah authors.
1:50 pm — Get up, move around, get some water.
2:00 pm — Sit at my computer, open my playlist, put in my earbuds, and write.
3:10 pm — Stop writing. Get up, move around, drink some water.
3:30 pm — Work on more edits for my Anaiah authors, answer more emails, work on personal promotional stuff… basically anything that needs my attention.
5:00 pm — Sign off for the day. Make dinner. Spend time with my family.
Toni: Wow, that’s a busy day. Now let’s talk about Perfectly Imperfect. Tell us a little about your story?
Kara: Isabelle Carson used to have the perfect life, but it all began to fall apart when her brother died in a car accident. Now, her mom is an alcoholic, her father is a workaholic, and Isabelle is trying to keep up the façade of perfection. When new guy Grayson Alexander shows up, her façade, like her life, shatters. He makes her laugh and helps her realize that God loves everyone, imperfections and all.
Toni: What life verse would your main character choose and why?
Kara: Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Isabelle struggles with maintaining a facade of perfection, of what she thinks other people need and want to see from her. And when that façade begins to crumble, she thinks God has forsaken her. This verse reminds her that’s not the case at all.
Toni: Love that! What would be the verse that fits your story and why?
Kara: Psalm 34:10b – “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
The entire book is about overcoming difficult situations—death, alcoholism, abandonment, infidelity, betrayal, etc.—and both Isabelle and Grayson have moments where they feel like their lives are horrible and they have nothing good, but this verse reminds them that they do, that they’re loved by Him no matter what, and through Him, they truly are blessed in ways they might not have realized.
Toni: Such great verses! What message do you hope readers will get out of reading your story?
Kara: Ideally, I’d love for readers to walk away from reading Perfectly Imperfect with a sense of peace. I want them to embrace their imperfections, to know that it’s these imperfections that make us who we are, and to ultimately remember that God made us the way He did for a reason.
Toni: Amen. Now why should a reader choose your books if this is the first time they’ve heard of you?
Kara: Hmm, that’s a tough question. Lol. I guess, at first, I’d hope the cover and blurb would entice them to pick up my book. Beyond that, though, I think readers should choose my book because it’s a clean read with a strong message. I’m also an honest and friendly person, which I think comes across well on my social media.
Toni: Awesome! Who would you cast to play the characters in your book?
Kara: I don’t know. I know that seems like a cop out, but I’ve never really taken the time to think about who would play my characters. I seem them in my head, and I describe them, but I don’t take the time to imagine who would play them. The models on the cover are a perfect representation of Isabelle and Grayson, though.
Toni: Before we go, I forgot to ask you a couple of fun questions. Do you like coffee or tea?
Kara: Neither. I’m more of a water / Coke Zero person.
Toni: That makes sense. What about chocolate or candy?
Kara: Chocolate! I have a wicked sweet tooth. In fact, I have an entire desk drawer dedicated to my candy stash.
Toni: Lol, that is so awesome. Beaches or mountains?
Kara: Beaches, though I don’t generally get in the water. I just like to look at it.
Toni: The water is beautiful. What’s next in your writing?
Kara: I’m currently working on a secular YA paranormal romance series (think Twilight), that I plan to self-publish. Then, I’m going back to my roots—adult Christian romantic suspense!
Toni: Thank you so much for joining me. Before you go, please tell me how can we pray for you?
Kara: Please pray for health, not just for me but for the world as a whole, and for my sister-in-law, who is currently undergoing cancer treatments.
Toni: I sure will! Readers, do you have any questions for Kara?
About the Author
Kara Leigh Miller is a full-time wife; stay-at-home mom to 5 kids, 4 pit bulls, and 6 cats; writer, and the Editorial Director at Anaiah Press. She’s previously published two adult Christian romantic suspense books. Warped Remains is her first young adult book, but it won’t be her last.
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Chapter One Excerpt
About the Book
Isabelle Carson is charging into her senior year equipped with a handy checklist to ensure nothing goes awry. Things she didn’t account for: a hot, new guy who almost runs her over, a messed up class schedule, and a boyfriend who dumps her for one of her best friends. All of that pales in comparison to the threat of her dirty family secrets breaking free from the perfect façade she’s diligently maintained since the death of her brother.
Grayson Alexander is on his fourth school in as many years. Lakewood Valley High is exactly like all the others, with one shiny exception: Isabelle Carson. She’s smart, funny, beautiful— the perfect package. But Isabelle is hiding something, and Grayson is determined to do whatever it takes to win her trust, except step foot in another hypocritical church.
As Isabelle’s life spirals out of control and her carefully crafted, picture-perfect image begins to shatter, Grayson does what no one else can: he makes her laugh and allows her to be imperfect. With rekindled faith, Isabelle sets out to right all the wrongs in her life. But Grayson has been damaged by his own family secrets, and Isabelle will have to decide if the boy she’s falling for more and more each day is a right or a wrong.