Writing a series can take an overwhelming effort and I applaud anyone who tries it. But I also think it gives readers a real treat because they get to know characters or locations and everytime they pick up a book in that series they know a little about what to expect. Today's guest in My Writing Corner, Kaia Misk, brings us the first book in her new series. -- The Renzi Affairs Series. The new book is The First Born Son and it has just been released.
Kaia is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, otherwise known as a “Yinzer.” Her parents grew up across the street from each other in a small town where most people worked in the steel mills. Their Italian and Slovak families were a strong part of her childhood which included foods, holidays and religion. Several of her characters are based on her family members and other Pittsburghers.
Kaia has a background in legal and technical writing including training manuals, training presentations and legal documents. She is also an excellent tailor and patternmaker. Her IMDb page lists her work on two full-length films as a costumer.
She is particularly inspired by the Hat Squad books of Karen Rose and Joe Lansdale’s novels, although her first love was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. She follows numerous other authors and reads every day. She currently lives in suburban Pittsburgh with her Norwegian Elkhound, Boss.
Tell us about your road to publication, Kaia.
Someone dared me to try to write a novel during the month of November a few years ago for NanoWrimo. She said I would not be able to do it. I could not let the challenge go unanswered. I wrote a full novel and self-published but needed better writing skills. Through some individuals on Goodreads and a critique group in my city, I created a draft of The Firstborn Son. I got suggestions from an editor who rejected the book. I took her suggestions and resubmitted. The publisher accepted the book.
What do you enjoy about being an author?
The excitement of creating a new world that people can envision with some of their own adaptations.
What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?
Working through the first draft and adding details to the concept of the book. In other words, I can create two main characters in the romance, supporting characters for each and a bad guy. But how much action can revolve around chance and how much is generated by the characters’ prior actions? Then, what sequence do the actions follow? It can be a long process because I have a day job.
How do you develop characters?
I tend to base my characters on people I’ve known throughout my lifetime. My mother’s Italian family provided many intriguing examples, like those who spoke with an accent. The stories my grandfather, aunts and uncles used to tell were seeds of larger tales. Also, I envision the character and try to assign a characteristic to them. It might be something they wear all the time, like a watch or a hat. A physical characteristic like a lisp or style of speech will let a reader know who the character is without stating the person’s name.
How do you come up with your plots?
I like suspense in my books, so usually a crime is involved. I try to think of an interesting crime and how it would take place. Half of the plot revolves around the crime and the other half is the romance for a romantic suspense novel. Of course, there are thrill-seeking aspects that are fun like scaling a wall or a car chase that can add flavor to the original plot.
What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?
The Firstborn Son has characters that are similar to my Italian relatives and it mentions places where I grew up. I think the story revolved around the characters more than the characters revolved around the story.
Becoming a ruthless mob boss like his father is the last thing Frankie wants, but when Sofia’s father is gunned down, Frankie must become the very thing he loathes to protect the woman he loves.
Sofia was a devoted girlfriend to Frankie, until he stood her up and she questioned his fidelity. Now that she’s alone and rich, mafia suitors slither around her. Marriage to him might be her only hope.
They try to rekindle their love amidst a mob war. But can a hasty marriage withstand what the Mafia has in store?
Intriguing, how about an excerpt:
Her hands went to her hips. “I mean someone that puts me first. Like my father.”
“Oh, I’m not signing up to be your father, sweet. I want way more than that.”
Lust, anxiety, and fear of a lonely future came to a fiery head within him. He prowled closer, grabbed her hand and pulled her to him. Heedless of the open window, he braced his arm behind her back with one hand behind her head. When he pressed his mouth against hers, she struggled for a moment. He almost let her go.
Slowly, her body settled. Chest to chest, hip to hip, her voracious kiss gave him hope. But he had to be clever, had to keep her mouth occupied so she wouldn’t argue. He stripped off his shirt and broke the kiss for a second.
Big mistake. She slapped him. The magic ended.
“This can’t happen, Frankie,” she said and stomped away. “You don’t get to seduce me and pretend everything’s all right. I love you. I want your body. I can hardly stand here and look at your chest without ripping the rest of your clothes off. But I need more than you’re giving me.”
What’s your next project?
I am currently working on The Second Son. It is the second novel in the Renzi Affair series. Still set in Pittsburgh, the younger Renzi brother and his attorney pull out of a business transaction after finding the possibility of a financial crime. As a witness, the attorney becomes a target.
For more information on The Renzi Affairs Series, check out Kaia's Youtube Channel:
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Start by writing anything. Find someone to act as a writing partner. This person can critique your work and vice versa. MeetUp groups in your area are good for this. Read Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell or some other work that teaches creative writing requirements. My editor recommended this book to me and it changed everything about my writing.
For writer’s block, try listing a subject, verb, preposition and object. Make a sentence out of your list. Keep going until you have a small paragraph. Develop a story from there. This could become a chapter to a bigger work in progress.
Work with other writers. Volunteer to read something small, but don’t let it interfere with your own writing. Help others and hope you will be helped in return. When I find someone on social media who is seeking advice, I help when I can, although I’m a new author myself.
Thank you, Kaia, for being my guest today. Following are her buy links and social media links.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-firstborn-son-kaia-misk/1142840680
Social Media Links:
Web Site: www.kaiamisk.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorkaiamisk/Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH7bMsEqakACIdfpKMXwzew