Friday, 17 January 2014

Author Interview : Erica Kiefer

Today we are featuring Author Erica Kiefer as a part of a virtual tour of her new book Lingering Echoes.
She is Here with us and we will be having a lot of chit-chat but first let me introduce you to her

Erica Kiefer

Erica Kiefer was born on Christmas Eve in Southern California to an American father whose ancestors arrived from Europe during colonial times and a Thai mother who moved to the US during high school. Adding to her rich and varied heritage, Erica grew up living abroad in Asia, including Taiwan, Fiji, Thailand and Indonesia. She gained a great respect for the beautiful mosaic of cultures found in various parts of the world. After graduating from International School Bangkok, she attended Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a degree in Recreation Therapy. Her career as a Recreation Therapist has allowed her to work with at-risk youth since 2007.

Erica made the best decision of her life by marrying her husband in 2005 and is currently a mother of three, one of whom awaits her in heaven. Erica also loves singing, reading, writing, and satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies. Playing collegiate rugby was one of the most memorable experiences of her life, thus far.


Sanchit Bhandari

  • Tell us something about your book?

  • My main characters, Allie Collins and Damien Michaels, are two individuals who share similar pain from their past and who can relate to the emotional burdens that they each carry—both are a bit broken and battling themselves. It is when they come together that they reclaim pieces of their identity that they once had. The storyline revolves around grief and healing, while also pulling in some mystery and romance.

  • How did you come up with such a beautiful title? How does it justify the story?

  • Coming up with a title was such a struggle for me! Originally, Lingering Echoes was called Hidden Pines, simply because that was the name of the location where the book takes place. It was boring and I never liked it. I hoped one day the title would reveal itself, and after Clean Teen Publishing gave me an offer, they helped me brainstorm. I focused on the word “echo” because of how the main character, Allie Collins, struggles with past grief that will not rest. This grief surrounds and consumes her. You will have to read the book to find out if the echoes in her life come to rest!

  • Tell us about the cover and how it came to be.

  • I love my cover designer, Marya Heiman! I gave her a few ideas of what I hoped the cover would convey, and I provided a few images for her to work with. She, of course, found an image more perfect than any I came across! She played with the image and had ideas about the font or other styles and would simply ask what I liked or didn’t like. With a few more creative touches of her own, the cover of Lingering Echoes was born!

  • Tell us something about Allie Collins.

  • Allie Collins is relatable. Her character has imperfections, and she deals with issues that I believe many people experience in life, such as grief and loss and fears. Despite her flaws, she has a strong, determined personality that carries her through the pain.

  • How much do the characters in your novel reflect you or people you know in your real life?

  • People who know me well may pick up on how some of Allie Collin’s thought processes come from experiences during my childhood or early adulthood. For example, Allie Collin’s skepticism about young love was something I held onto as a teenager and my first years in college. The words “I love you” terrified me and I would often run (i.e. “break up”) from boys who tried to take our relationship to that level. Even my husband almost fell victim to my fear of commitment, but I am happy to say, he stayed by my side until I worked through those issues, and we have been married over eight years now.

  • Are you a plotter or a panster?

  • When I sit to write, I have a general idea of what I’d like to happen. Usually, I am an organized person who loves lists and bullet-points. However, with writing fiction, it seems impossible for me to outline an entire story! As I wrote Lingering Echoes, the relationships and storylines developed almost chapter by chapter, each scene leading into the next depending on where the emotions carried me. So I guess you can call me mostly a PANTSER!

  • Did your novel take you in any unexpected direction, something completely off what you had planned?

  • During the very beginning stages of writing, my initial plot had something to do with a new-drowning that turned out to be a kidnapping scenario, but as I began writing, it became a little far-fetched, and the storyline ended up taking a different direction. With my original idea, Allie’s cousin, Maddie, would have played a bigger role.

  • What do you consider the most important part of a good story?

  • I love stories that create a physical response as I read—the ones that make my heart skip a little faster as I flip another page as quickly as I can. A good story, for me, contains relatable characters and an emotionally-driven plot.

  • While writing a character do you consider common problems faced by common people in real life?

  • Absolutely. Lingering Echoes definitely explores real life problems. The characters face troubling family dynamics, grief and loss, and fears based on unfortunate life experiences. If you look at readers who have written reviews, one of the most common statements is how real and relatable the characters are in my book.

  • What do you like to do when you're not writing?

  • If I want to relax, I love getting caught up in TV series with lots of drama and romance, like Downton Abbey or Grey’s Anatomy. I am also a huge believer in exercise and endorphins, so I like attending a gym class or working out with friends. (In the words of Elle Woods from “Legally Blond, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands.)

  • You have travelled around the world and have seen the diversities of cultures. How does this impact your Book?

  • Growing up overseas, I moved every two-four years of my life from one country to another, although I completed most of elementary and high school in Thailand when we returned there. I haven’t yet pulled cultural aspects into my writing yet, but I do address the topic of “change” in Lingering Echoes, as well as the prequel novella, Rumors. I faced a lot of change in my childhood, especially every time we moved to a new country. My siblings and I learned to adapt and do it fast, no matter how big of a change we faced. We didn’t have a choice in what new experiences came our way, but we agreed to acclimate as best as we could. This concept of change is something Allie from my book is forced to face when dealing with her grief, as well as some challenging family dynamics. In her words, “Change was a scary concept. Whether you were ready for it or not, sometimes it crept up on you, ambushing without warning, and no matter if you wanted it or not, you had to figure out how to accept it and adapt to its insistent nature.”

  • Any message you want to give to your readers?

  • Thank you for taking a chance on a new author! It’s been a thrilling learning process and I’m so grateful for the support I have received. Every positive review motivates me to keep writing, so thank you for the feedback!

    Lingering Echoes

    Release date: November 16th 2013
    Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
    She's broken with guilt.
    He harbors a chilling past.
    It's safer if they keep their distance...
    But, the echoes that linger connect them.

    Returning to Hidden Pines is the last thing Allie Collins wants to do during her final summer before college. For her, the family cabin she spent her youthful summers in, now holds a dark memory that has haunted her every day for the last year.

    While struggling to forget her past, Allie runs into Damien, a local rebel with secrets of his own. He's dark, dangerous and he keeps showing up when Allie least expects him to. She has every reason not to trust him. So why does she find herself opening up to him in a way she hasn't been able to with anyone?

    As pieces of Damien’s identity emerge, answers to a rumored mystery begin to unfold. By the time Allie unearths the secrets of Damien’s past, she realizes just how intricately they are connected. Now she is caught in a dangerous battle that threatens her life and those she loves.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to interview me and post about lingering echoes!