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Interview with Kim and Kayla Woodhouse

Kimberley Woodhouse, already an accomplished musician, began her fiction-writing journey as another creative method of coping with the difficult circumstances surrounding her daughter’s rare medical condition – one which causes her daughter to feel no pain, prevents her from sweating, and makes even mild temperatures a deadly threat. Kimberley began writing away her worries while up during sleepless nights and had several manuscripts ferreted away before a friend discovered her writing secret and encouraged her to pursue publication. When her editor discovered that her daughter, Kayla Woodhouse, also had a gift for writing she encouraged the two to consider writing together. They later submitted a joint proposal, which thankfully the editor loved, and they were on their way to joint publication.

Thanks to the mother-daughter duo’s first release in March, 2011 No Safe Haven, Kayla (age 13) currently holds the title of youngest full-length novelist published by a traditional royalty-pay publishing house – and their second book of the series entitled Race Against Time released earlier this month from B&H Publishing.

Your romantic suspense series is set in Alaska which I read on your web site is a location your family lived in for at least four years to enable Kayla to have a more normal childhood, due to its year-round cooler temperatures. Did you have to do a lot of research to set the series in Alaska or did you pull much of what you needed from your own experiences while living there?

We pulled a lot from our own experiences, but it still took extensive research. Alaska is huge and has so many different facets. The native peoples are all very different as well, so we had a lot of fun digging into the native cultures and researching our favorite places.

What are your collective secrets to cranking out words and meeting deadlines? (Do you have to prod each other to write or are you still eager to get at it?)
We are both fast writers and when we sit down to write, we get to work. Sometimes cranking out 25,000 words in a day. Kayla keeps me (Kim) on my toes!

And Mama (Kim) keeps me (Kayla) on my toes! But we have bunches of fun, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. *smiles*

Do you plan out your stories or are you seat-of-the-pansters? (How do you handle this method working together?)
We plot out the whole story together, then sit down and take a few scenes at a time. Since I (Kayla) write all the teen POV scenes and (Mama) Kim writes all the adult POV scenes, we try to detail out a few at a time and then write them separately. Afterward, we throw jump drives across the room at each other and read the other’s scenes. Then we plot out the next part.

But Mama has a habit of killing the characters I need! LOL It takes a lot of planning, but it’s a hysterical process! Especially when we get to break out the M&Ms…

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing careers (so far)?
Kayla—I think the best moment for me was when we got to see the book for the first time—in book form. We had crit group that day and I was jumping around the room showing everybody for about an hour and a half.

Kim—Nothing beats holding a book you’ve written in your hands—except maybe when it’s your kid’s book too. ☺ Watching Kayla experience all this at such a young age has been amazing for me as a mom. And as an author—I realized I’ve missed a lot of the journey. I often get bogged down in the “work”—but Kayla has reminded me of the joy and the fun that accompanies this writing journey.

With the two ladies of the house busy writing how do the men of the house handle things? (How do they support you so that you can stay on task?)
Jeremy – hubby to Kim and Dad to Kayla – is great about keeping things running while we’re writing.

Josh—son to Kim and brother to Kayla—helps with cleaning and stuff (and bringing down the Dr. Pepper) as well. We’re very blessed to have them around.

But Mama still cooks up her fantabulous meals for everyone and that keeps us all going. She needs to release a cookbook—you all would die for it!

Has Kayla’s medical condition affected your ability to do a book tour together? (What adjustments have you made – if any?)
Obviously we need an air conditioned place to stay, so we cannot stay in hotels or ride on air planes. But I guess for me (Kayla) our lives are as “normal” as it can be. *smiles*

Kim - We make a lot of adjustments – but we like to say, “It’s our normal.” We travel in an RV so we have a controlled environment for Kayla and we bring all her cooling gear and equipment, a portable A/C unit, and we have to alert crowds about her condition. When we are at mega-churches and large venues – this is really important, because she can get mobbed – and too much body heat could kill her.

One of the series’ main characters has the same medical condition Kayla has. Was it Kayla’s idea to incorporate that into your plot, and what did your editor have to say about it originally?
Our editor (the brilliant Karen Ball) actually loved the idea and thought it would be great and very “real” to have Kayla write about her own condition. It’s hard to imagine what Kayla goes through day in and day out, so writing a character with it made it more real for all of us – including her doctors. ☺

Any parting words?

Thanks for sharing with us, Kimberley and Kayla!
K&K - Thank YOU so much for taking time with us. ☺

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