A fresh start at college is exactly what Kate needs to ease the burden of her family secrets. When she meets the confident and charming Aaron Jackson, she weaves a new history for herself to fit into his seemingly perfect life. But the past refuses to stay where it belongs, causing a rift between their contrasting worlds.
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. Erica’s first book, Lingering Echoes, was signed by Clean Teen Publishing and released in early November 2013.
Describe your relationship with a good book.
When I am drawn into a good book, it’s like meeting a new best friend. I can’t help talking about it and telling other people how glad I am to have found it! Good books make me stop in the middle of a chapter just to slap my husband’s shoulder and giddily try to explain all the emotions I’m feeling! It’s impossible, really, especially for a husband who refuses to read novels.
When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?
I found confidence in my writing throughout elementary school, which was why I decided early in life that I wanted to be an author someday! Of course, I had no idea how challenging a feat that actually is and that it would take me three years to figure it out and land the right publisher… That being said, I am extremely proud of Lingering Echoes (a related novel to my current new release, Vanishing Act). It’s the first novel I’ve ever written and I put so much of my heart into the storyline and characters that it reads very personally to me.
Please describe your work ethic as an author.
Quality versus quantity. I’ve never been able to regularly spit out pages and pages of a novel in one sitting. My writing process is very methodical, and if I’m going to write something, I want it to be worth reading! I have a hard time writing “drafts” because I like getting it right (or at least mostly right) the first time. This makes me a very slow writer, but I will give myself credit that I don’t have to spend as much time with editing or rewrites.
How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?
As a mother with three young children—and I’m talking young! A four year-old daughter, two year-old son, and a 3 month-old baby boy—I’ll admit, it’s rather tricky! My focus right now is being home and raising my kids, so I spend as much time with them as I can. However, I do hire babysitters once or twice a week to stay with my kids while I crank out some writing time. At least, this was the case before I had my baby. I’ve been on mental maternity leave up until now and I’m just starting to get back into the writing world! I do believe balance is so important though. My plan is to set a schedule for myself where I can stay in the moment and be a mother without writing distractions, knowing that later in the day or the week I will also set aside time for writing. I also find it incredibly important to exercise a couple times a week and eat well to keep up my energy!
Why did you write this book?
Once I graduated college, I worked as a recreation therapist with a number of different residential treatment programs for at-risk youth. I have a special place in my heart for those kids and the tough circumstances they have been through! Vanishing Act explores how one’s childhood experiences can affect a person later in life as a young adult. I loved most of the treatment centers I worked at. However, some of my observations while working with children in foster care made me question the intentions of a few caregivers. Fortunately, most of the people I worked with were compassionate and caring, but there were a few who made me wonder what it must be like for some of these kids behind closed doors. Not to say I suspected abuse at all in these circumstances. It was more like indifference and lack of empathy towards the kids. But it did lead me to read news articles and journal entries from foster kids throughout the country. While neglect and abuse are perhaps the minority in the system, even if it’s one child’s life, that is one tragic story, and it’s worth telling.
What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?
I had a lot of ups and downs in my childhood. Mostly positive experiences, but there were definitely some tough emotional situations I had to deal with. I pull these emotions into my main characters and explore them in different situations that are not true to my life, yet realistic all the same. I think this makes my writing and my storyline relatable, even with the suspenseful drama thrown in there.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?
I’d love to keep writing books, and while the publishing world seems to be on the rise for eBooks, I’d be so thrilled if any of my books made it onto the shelves in Barnes & Noble! I would also love to get my books into the hands of more young adult readers. Each of my books so far have important life lessons that I hope more teens will be drawn to.
Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.
As a competitive athlete in high school (that part is true), I was adamant that I be allowed to join the wrestling team and compete against the male wrestlers on the team. (Not true. I know nothing about wrestling, nor would I find it appealing!) During one particularly tough match, I found myself pinned by a very toned, blond haired, blue eyed boy who proposed to me years later when we ran into each other in college. (Ha ha! Obviously not true, except for the part about my husband being a wrestler who did propose to me when we met for the first time in college.)
Thank you so much for the interview!
- A bookmark swag pack, winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook, and a $15 Amazon gift card.