I am delighted to welcome author Kaylor Ward to talk about her writing and her novel THE OTHER SIDE, a fascinating read to be released on May 14th 2017 by Parker Press Publishing. There are fantastic prizes to be won, including a Kindle Fire! Scroll down to the bottom of the post to enter.
Hello Kaylor, and thank you very much for being my guest! Can you tell us a little about you?
I did always want to write, but it never really occurred to me that I could. I don’t know why that was the case. I think, looking back, it was because on some level I didn’t think I understood people enough to write, which is very strange, because I now know that I have incredibly good insight and awareness of both myself and others.
I did science A levels and a degree in engineering, of all things! I was a dreadful engineer. I lasted four months in my first job before transferring to the marketing department. I have spend most of my career working for myself as a business consultant and coach, and it is the coaching part which has had most impact on my writing. There is a lot of psychology to being a good coach, and I studied it at masters level. As my writing develops, getting inside the human psyche and condition is my passion.
I also had a pretty traumatic experience with my first marriage when my husband upped and left when my son was just ten months old, and he never came back. This inspired Manic Mondays, my first novel, which was based on a different woman, Catherine Blake whose husband did the same thing.
My writing is about broken family life and people struggling to rebuild and hold onto the people who matter. There are also light moments in my writing, so maybe bittersweet is a good word to use. So, you can begin to see how my writing ideas work. When I hear a story about a broken family, a man fighting to see his child, a woman accused of being mentally unstable, domestic abuse, etc (the list is endless) I start to think about the psychology of that.
What is THE OTHER SIDE about?
The Other Side is a novel of love and loss with a strong element of psychology running through it. Our hero, Rick, and our heroine, Lauren, struggle with their inner worlds as they fight to keep their outer worlds together. Family bonds and love are both their strength and are also their failure.
The couple are both in their second marriage, and their first marriages and the baggage that entails has a huge influence on their lives. They are left an allotment by a family friend, and against Lauren’s initial best judgement, they take it on. They throw themselves into the ‘good life’ with high spirits, and all is well until a new family move into one of the cottages on the other side of a high stone wall that borders their allotment.
Rick is working on the allotment one day when he hears the voice of a woman calling the children in for dinner. He recognises the voice as his ex wife, and the woman who forced him to leave his children behind seven years ago. As Rick sinks into a world of obsession, Lauren believes that Rick is repeating what happened to her in her first marriage, and is having an affair.
As they struggle with their separate journeys, the twist at the end is both shocking and heartbreaking.
This story sounds fascinating. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working a sequel to The Other Side. I’ve not written a series before, so I thought it might be good to try. Side By Side is the next episode in Lauren’s life as she is once again thrown into a situation that she cannot fathom, and she finds herself caught in a web of distrust and fear as she fights to keep her family together.
Choosing the names of my characters is one of the things I enjoy the most when writing a new story. What about you? How do you chose the name of your characters?
I find this really tricky. I know what not to name a character, and so when the family sits round the table making suggestions I’m like an ace tennis player bouncing it right back at them, with a ‘thanks, but not quite’, and then someone will come up with something, and I’ll give them a thumbs up. I write contemporary fiction, and so names need to be current and also fit the age of the character. A name needs to fit the expectation of my readers as well, so it does need plenty of consideration. I also try to pick names (not always, though) that are likely to last, and not immediately age, so I ask my twenty year old son and teenage daughter if they know people with the names – that’s how Lauren came to be named, and Jack, and Kate, and Beth. Rick’s name found him, so although none of the children know anyone called Rick, it fit him.
What comes first when you are thinking of a new story - the plot or the characters?
The idea for a story, usually comes with that – the initial idea, and it will usually be prompted by something that I see firsthand, or am told by someone, or something that I hear about. So, I think that it’s definitely the plot that comes first.
I start to think about the experience from different angles, and ask myself, ‘What it would be like if that happened?’ and, ‘how would those people react, behave and deal with that as a situation, and what if there was a twist here and there that they didn’t see coming?’ And then I’m up and running.
Thank you so much, Kaylor, for being my guest today. I wish you a lot of success with THE OTHER SIDE.
And now for the Word Association Fun Test!
winter – fire, walks, mud!
summer – sea, boats, sky
writing – freedom, passion, creativity
music – guitar, singing, festivals
love - loss, family, bonds
Kaylor Ward, originally from
London, now lives in South Wales. She worked for many years as a management
consultant and trainer, writing part-time until her first book was published
under the name, Michaela Weaver (Manic Mondays). She has studied creative
writing at Masters level, and in addition to her writing she is a qualified
Writing Coach. Michaela is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, and
a reader for their New Writers' Scheme. Michaela writes cross genre
contemporary fiction with psychological twists often about the darker side of
family and domestic life.
THE OTHER SIDE
Genre: Contemporary Fiction (Jodi Picoult meets Clare Makintosh)
Release date: 14th May 2017
Publisher: Parker Press Publishing
Lauren is locked in a cell. She knows she shouldn’t be there.
When Lauren and Rick are left an allotment they embark on a lifestyle change that is supposed to bring their step-family closer together. They embrace the chance for a slice of the good life, fresh air and family times together. Lauren and Rick are in love and happy but sometimes their past issues surface. For Lauren it’s the affair that her first husband had before he left her. For Rick it’s the children he was alienated from and forced to leave behind seven years ago.
One day a new family move into a cottage behind the allotment. That day changes everything. That day they start falling apart.
You can buy THE OTHER SIDE here
https://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-His-Obsession-Heartbreak-ebook/dp/B06Y1PMC61/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491837170&sr=8-1&keywords=the+other+side+kaylor+ward for US
The door shut with a cold, hard slam sending harsh metallic echoes around her. Her eyes shot warily from left to right as she raked her fingers through her hair and tried to make sense of her situation. She was in a cell. She had asked them not to lock her in, but they hadn’t paid her any attention. Where there had been a face a few seconds ago, there was now a slammed metal door with peeling grey paint showing the cracking blue paint beneath. She hated confined spaces. They told her there was a buzzer if she needed anything. Needed anything?
Panic welled in her chest, her throat and her brain as the grey walls and the naked single white light closed around her. Breathe...breathe...slow...down... This was not the place for a panic attack. Not here, not today. She was alone. She had to get through this. Focus...focus... Think yourself somewhere else.
She thought of her daughters, their smiles and their joy. She lay on the hard thin plastic mattress on the concrete bed, and pulled a thin blue blanket over her head to block out the light, to block out the room, and to block out now.
Lolita Wine Glass from Jack's wine bar
Bottle of Vino from Jack's
Just Follow the link to enter the Competition
And as if that wasn't enough... There is a free six week writing course for everyone run by Kaylor Ward herself! Here is the link to access it