This is one of my favorite photographs of Kaira. She’s beautiful (inside and out), and she is one smart and powerful cookie! Kaira, who started Central Ohio’s first homeless shelter for families in the early 1990s, is also the brains behind her successful business REAL YOU and the author of two books: Real You, Incorporated, and her brand new debut novel, Here, Home, Hope which launches on May 1st.
The publishing of her novel is a dream come true for Kaira —a dream that took lots of hard work, dedication, and the support of her family and girlfriends. Here, Home, Hope is a charming, witty, and upbeat story that explores the many facets of courage it takes to reinvent life and reach for something larger than ourselves. To celebrate the launch of her novel, I asked Kaira if she’d be my guest here on Brava, and I’m so glad that she accepted my invitation!
So please welcome Kaira Rouda as she shares what it’s been like to realize her dream …
Here, Home, Hope
Look to your left here on this blog, at the categories Beth Hoffman deems important in her life: friends, giving others credit, celebrating success, telling stories. Then, look to the right and you’ll see a periwinkle hydrangea – central to my debut novel’s imagery – and one of my favorite flowers. From the moment we met on Twitter – Beth and I had an instant connection. When she asked me to write a guest post for this amazing Brava space, I was humbled. I can only dream my debut novel has a smidgen of the power CeeCee Honeycutt has had to inspire readers.
To spark dialog.
That’s the truest and most rewarding part of writing. If your words are able to inspire, or to create action in someone’s life, you’ve succeeded. My previously published nonfiction book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs (Wiley), has done that, I know, for women entrepreneurs. It makes my day when I receive an email – or the occasional handwritten note – from a reader who has followed her dreams because of my words. Maybe she started her own business, created her first vision board, stood up to her boss, or created a more exciting personal brand after reading my book. That’s humbling. It makes writing and telling stories so worthwhile.
And now, I have reinvented myself. I’m entering the world of women’s fiction. A world so eloquently populated by other amazing authors like Beth whose words reach out of the page and stay with you. What I have found since stepping cautiously into this fabulous fiction world is that it’s a land of women who truly, actually, support each other. My entire career – working in many different industries – has been spent espousing that truth – that together we are stronger. Many times, in those other worlds, women did not stick together at all.
Imagine my joy then, when some of the most amazing women’s fiction writers today welcomed me in. Beth Hoffman, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Claire Cook, Katrina Kittle, Jenna Blum, Robyn Harding, Talli Roland, and Amy Hatvany. Each of these women endorsed HERE, HOME, HOPE.
Just typing their names makes me overwhelmed. The gratitude I have is hard to express. Thank you is not enough, not when their words demonstrate a show of support for the dream I’ve had since 4th grade: writing a novel. Because of Beth, and these other amazing writers, I don’t feel so alone. Because of them, I believe my debut novel may resonate with readers. Because of them, I’m not entering a new world with friends.
So as I anxiously anticipate the May 1st publication date of HERE, HOME, HOPE, I feel as though I have a circle of women across the country – and the UK – cheering me on. A circle of women who believe in friendship, in celebrating each other’s successes, in telling stories and in resonance.
And that, truly, is what life is all about.
Please visit Kaira Rouda’s website HERE.
You can also find her on Twitter: @KairaRouda and on Facebook