What about Happy Endings?
Kyra is quite a lovely person too. I first heard of Kyra when our books were both featured in an issue of COSMO. I'm sure Kyra remembers (as do I) that this is the issue where Jennifer Lopez's boobs were about to be slingshotted right off the cover of Cosmo and into the grocery store. I emailed Kyra or she emailed me--I don't remember now, but I do remember what a great person she is! She's the author of the SEX, MURDER, AND A DOUBLE LATTE, a hilarious mystery which still may be paired my book at Amazon.
We met for dinner at Opera Plaza awhile back and had a great talk, some of which actually revolved around the topics in Kyra's new book--which looks like a real winner for those of you who like women's fiction with a darker edge. In fact, this interview reminded my that SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING is on my "to-buy" list, and so when I am out holiday shopping later this week, I am going to reward myself by buying and eating up this book.
All in all, what a fun, genuine, multilayered, interesting and kind individual. Twas really my pleasure and therefore, I am thrilled to introduce Kyra to those of you who may not know her or her work.
Kyra Davis, the author of the very successful mystery series that includes SEX, MURDER AND A DOUBLE LATTE, was married to man diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. The symptoms were barely noticeable at first. But as the marriage wore on, her husband’s erratic behavior—his
lies about his job, his extravagant spending sprees using her credit cards that almost resulted in her filing for bankruptcy, his fits of temper and other highly unsettling behavior—led to her divorce.
In her latest book, SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING (MIRA Books, November 15, 2006, $13.95)—a departure from her light-hearted mystery series—Kyra Davis tackles the subject of mental illness. With her usual wit and humor, Kyra probes a very serious subject, and one that is close to her heart: What happens when the man you love and subsequently marry turns out to be someone entirely different from the man you dated? How do you recognize the difference between mental illness and the usual marital problems that afflict all couples? How could a man who was so romantic and loving turn out to be bipolar ?
Kyra explores these questions as she chronicles the relationship between April and her soon-to-be husband, Tad, who is the man of her dreams: romantic, attentive and adoring who holds the promise of a normal, secure life. But on their honeymoon—Tad’s withdrawn behavior, his refusal to leave the hotel room, and other disturbing behavior—are cause for alarm. When they return home, however, and Tad reverts back to the man she knows and loves, April rationalizes his behavior during their honeymoon, but she can’t quite dismiss it. “The warning signs were there,” she later muses. No neon signs, mind you, just little sparks at the end of a very long string. Funny that I could have been blind enough not to realize that the string was a lighted fuse.”
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING chronicles every step of April’s relationship with Tad, from the engagement and subsequent marriage, through the unraveling and finally the turning point. As April tries to cope with what is happening to her husband, Tad is grappling with the demons that are driving him apart from April and threaten to destroy the one stable anchor in his tumultuous life.
In her unique style, Davis examines the disturbing subject of coping with bipolar illness of a loved one with the sensitivity, insight and perspective of one who has been there, and the humor of one who has had to make difficult choices in order to survive and move on.
Davis fuses light-hearted romance with keen domestic suspense, making this an absorbing…read.
Davis' engaging departure from her usual focus is a unique entry in the chick-lit genre and should appeal to those looking to move beyond typical fare.
Davis’ tragicomic tale is both entertaining and horrifying at once….it’s a harrowing account of marriage to a man with bipolar disorder. Still, it’s hopeful and even wildly funny at times.
--The Romantic Times
Novelist Kyra Davis spins a chilling tale
1. How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how
the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.
The “glimmer” was actually a rather dark slice of my life. Like my protagonist, I was married to a man who is bipolar. Unfortunately he was unable/unwilling to face his demons and refused treatment. Watching his self-destruction was an incredibly painful experience and I wanted to write a novel that accurately detailed that experience without demonizing anyone or painting an inaccurate portrait of the disease.
2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Hang in there. You can’t be a writer without experiencing rejection---a LOT of rejection. Don’t let the thanks-but-no-thanks letters discourage you and if an editor or agent takes the time to tell you why they don’t want your manuscript pat yourself on the back. Editors/agents don’t bother giving any feedback to authors whose work they think is unpublishable. So keep on writing and eventually you will get a contract.
3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?
I’m not organized. Period, end of story. I honestly don’t know how I manage to get through life let alone have a career. So when it comes to writing I simply write when I have time to write (when my son’s at school, when he’s asleep and so on). I do handwrite an outline for each novel I write and sometimes I even manage not to misplace those outlines. But even when I do remember where I put the outline for the book I’m writing I rarely stick to it. I’ve been told that the truly great authors are all addicts, incredibly unhappy or psychologically ill. I would never try to lump myself in with the Sylvia Plaths and Hemingways of the world so I don’t have to resort to such extremes. Still, I like to think of my disorganization as my way of compensating for my overall emotional health.
4. What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most frustrating?
The most exciting thing is the feedback I get from readers. Sometimes people write to tell me that my Sophie novels provided them with the emotional escape they needed during a stressful time and sometimes it’s to say that So Much For My Happy Ending gave them a new perspective on a difficult relationship in their lives. Either way, their notes are inspiring and rewarding.
The most frustrating thing is the business end of this industry. Contract negotiations, trying to write a proposal for a book that you want to write that is also “commercial enough” to sell---that kind of stuff can drive you nuts.
5. Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not, what else is in the works?
I would love to continue to write the Sophie books and to also write a stand alone every other year or so. The third Sophie book, Obsession, Deceit And Really Dark Chocolate will be in stores September 07’.
6. You said this book is based on your life. Does that mean that you are your protagonist (April)?
April and I are different people but we do have a lot in common. I’ve never had April’s need to be “normal” and my mother is nowhere near as outrageous as April’s. Still, April’s experiences are very similar to my own.
7. Do you consider So Much For My Happy Ending to be chick lit?
To be honest, I’m not sure I know what “chick lit” means anymore. It seems like any time a female author writes a contemporary novel about a young female protagonist it’s considered to be chick lit. This book does have the “chick lit” protagonist (she’s young and works for a fashion retailer) she has two close friends, one of which is gay and that seems to be very popular in the chick lit genre. On the other hand this isn’t an “urban romance” or any other kind of romance. The issues that are dealt with are serious and the ending isn’t neat or tidy. So either it’s “dark” chick lit or it’s simply women’s fiction. I’ll let the readers decide which.
8. Do you think that the fans of your Sophie Katz mysteries will also enjoy So Much for My Happy Ending or is it meant for an entirely different audience?
So far it seems like my Sophie-readers also like So Much For My Happy Ending. I think publishers often underestimate readers. They assume that a woman who will buy a romance or a chick lit novel won’t buy a nonfiction book about evolution or a novel detailing the horrors of slavery. It’s not true. Sometimes people are in the mood for something lite and sometimes they're in the mood for something else. I think that the Sophie readers' approval of my non-Sophie book is evidence of that.
Thank you so much for this interview, Kyra! Kyra's books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local indy bookseller. Huzzah, Kyra!