Internationally bestselling author K.A. Tucker joins us on the podcast this week to discuss her most recent release, A Fate of Wrath & Flame. After building a successful career as an author of romance and women’s fiction, A Fate of Wrath & Flame is K.A.’s first fantasy novel. She speaks to us about switching genres, how she created her fantasy world, and what we can expect from her next. 

#270 – From Romance to Fantasy with K.A. Tucker

Internationally bestselling author K.A. Tucker joins us on the podcast this week to discuss her most recent release, A Fate of Wrath & Flame. After building a successful career as an author of romance and women’s fiction, A Fate of Wrath & Flame is K.A.’s first fantasy novel.

  • K.A. walks us through her publishing journey as an indie, trad, and hybrid author, why she decided to become fully indie again, and how she decides what to publish in an ever-changing market 
  • She talks to us about writing across genres, finding crossover in readership, and how shifting all of her novels to the same pseudonym increased this crossover as well as sales 
  • K.A. discusses her marketing and publicity, how she uses social media, and why she believes word of mouth marketing is the most effective tool to get books into the hands of readers 
  • She tells us what it was like writing high fantasy for the first time, how she kept track of the lore and world-building she was creating, and how making editorial changes in fantasy can present a unique set of challenges 
  • K.A. talks to us about the inspiration behind her move to writing fantasy, why 2021 was the right time to write A Fate of Wrath & Flame, and what challenges and fears she faced when writing her new novel 
  • She explains her writing process ,which includes long days and short first drafts, and she shares her best advice for any and all authors 

Useful Links 

K.A.’s website 
Follow K.A. on Instagram and Facebook 
A Fate of Wrath & Flame 
Ten Tiny Breaths 
The Simple Wild 
Say You Still Love Me 
L.M. Montgomery 
Karma Brown 
Song of Ice and Fire 
Where the Crawdads Sing
The Wrong Family 
Pillars of the Earth 

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the internationally bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, The Simple Wild, Be the Girl, and Say You Still Love Me. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, Oprah Mag, and First for Women. 

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto.

Episode Transcript

Transcription provided by Speechpad

Joni: Hey, writers. You’re listening to the “Kobo Writing Life Podcast,” where we bring you insights and inspiration for growing your self-publishing business. We’re your host. I’m Joni, author engagement specialist at Kobo Writing Life.

Laura: And I’m Laura, author engagement specialist at Kobo Writing Life.

Joni: On today’s episode, Laura and I spoke to internationally best-selling author, K.A. Tucker. She is a another Canadian. She’s just outside of Toronto. And she’s written a lot of books, both indie published and trad published.

Laura: We spoke to her about her recent release, “A Fate of Wrath & Flame,” as well as her publishing journey, what she has coming up next.

Joni: It was kind of interesting chatting to her, because her latest book is quite a departure from what she’s written before. So, we talked about switching genre.

Laura: Yeah. She’s taken on fantasy, which is kind of a departure, like you said, from her usual work, which is mostly romance and romantic suspense. I read the book, and I really enjoyed it, so, I definitely recommend if you’re looking for a new fantasy read.

Joni: It was a great chat, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Hey, we’re here today with USA Today bestselling author, K.A. Tucker. Thank you so much for joining us.

K.A. Tucker: Thanks for having me.

Joni: Could you start off by telling our listeners a little bit about yourself and your writing career?

K.A. Tucker: Sure. So, I started writing 12 years ago, writing novels. When I was young, very young, I used to write all kinds of stories, but it wasn’t my career. I had a career, a corporate career in sales. I live in Toronto, or outside of Toronto, I should say. Yeah, so I started writing as a hobby, and then self-publishing was taking off, and so I decided to just indie-pub my first few books, actually, which were YA fantasy stories, and, while I was still working in my corporate world, and being a mom, and all that stuff. And then I published “Ten Tiny Breaths,” and self-published that one, and that one took off. And that’s where I acquired an agent, and I acquired a publishing deal, and then another publishing deal. So, I was with Simon & Schuster for, I think, 14 books. And then I’ve since gone back to indie pubbing. Right now, for the meantime, I’m enjoying kind of the freedom to write what I want, at my own pace at this point without the pressure. So, both sides have been great, but I’m enjoying where I am right now.

Joni: So, you started as indie, did some trad in the middle, and now you’re back to full indie? Is that right?

K.A. Tucker: Yeah. Full indie for now. I mean, I sell my audio rights, and I sell foreign rights. But for the Canadian and U.S. market, I’m indie, or English market, I guess I should say.

Laura: So, you said you’d moved some of your recent ones to indie instead of being with a traditional publisher. How do you decide which strategy for which books? Because I feel like there was a period of time where you were kind of doing a little bit of both?

K.A. Tucker: Well, I’m kind of all over the place in terms of what I write, which is not ideal, probably, for a publisher to try and market anybody. But I also, I just, I need to write what I feel like writing. And if I write too many of the same thing all in a row, frankly, I get bored, and I get…I feel like the writing gets stale. So, I just need to be able to go where I want to go. You know, in terms of deciding, right now, romance, it’s very easy to indie-pub romance, and contemporary romance. That’s a genre that pretty much anyone I think can do. There are other categories or genres, like women’s fiction, that’s a little bit tougher, especially if you don’t have a fan base or a readership, if you’re not known, if you’re not established. You know, thriller, there’s a lot of people who… Thriller is not, I don’t think, a big indie market so much as it’s very much in the traditional, though it is growing quickly now. You’re seeing more and more of it. Fantasy now, we’re starting to see people pick up with writing and indie-pubbing fantasy. So, I think the market’s changing all the time.

Joni: I thought it was quite interesting that you do choose to write across quite different genres, because I feel like sometimes people are nervous to do that because you have to really find your readers in each genre, and really find your niche for each one. How has that been for you?

K.A. Tucker: Yes. So, you know what? You’re not going to be able to bring your pool of readers to every genre that you go to, and so that is a risk. My contemporary romance readers are, in terms of the size of readership, that is definitely by far my largest readership. There are some people who will follow me wherever I go, which is they’re awesome readers. They’re the best. And then there’s others that are more hesitant, and I totally understand that as well. I’ve had others who, especially with this latest release with, “A Fate of Wrath & Flame,” which is an adult fantasy, a lot of people were saying, “I don’t read fantasy, but I will try it because it’s you.” And I’ve gotten a lot of really fantastic feedback, from those readers, especially. So, that makes me really, really happy. I knew going in that it would be a much slower progression, in terms of success for this book. So I know I need to get the second out, I need to, and potentially, the third before, and I think the readership will grow. It’s not going to be an overnight success, put it that way. But “The Simple Wild” wasn’t an overnight success either, and that was with a publisher, and that was contemporary romance, and, you know, women’s fiction blend, which is my readership. And yet, today, that is, I would say, my most popular series. But it took years. It got published in two thousand… I want to say 2018. And just now, in the last year, I’ve really seen momentum behind that series. So, you just never know with the market.

Joni: It’s true. Did you find that over the last year, your sales grew a lot because of COVID, and people being at home? Was that a big thing for you?

K.A. Tucker: I did see a lot of people commenting and messaging me, saying, “I just discovered you while I was hibernating. You know, we’re not allowed out.” And, yeah. So, definitely, for me, there’s been a huge uptick of people discovering me, I would say, and my books, yes.

Joni: And with regards to working across different genres, do you feel like being an indie allows you a little bit more freedom to do that, as opposed to a publisher, where they might be more keen to put you into a certain category?

K.A. Tucker: Well, I mean, absolutely, because when you’re working with a traditional publisher, you know, they have, they brand you, they want to design your covers in a certain way, and they want to be able to market you. And so if you have a writer who’s all over the place, which I am right now, that’s really hard to market for any marketing team. And because, you know, a lot of the time, it’s not the first book, it’s not the second book, it might be the third, or fourth, or fifth, where you really break out, you know, so if you’re all over the place during those books, then that’s pretty tough to market.

Laura: You recently moved some of your series, so, I think it was the “Dirty Empire” series and the “Wolf Hotel” series, out from under your Nina West pen name to under K.A. Tucker. Was that also kind of a marketing strategy, or what kind of caused you to make that decision?

K.A. Tucker: Well, when I indie-pubbed those, I was still writing for Atria. And, I mean, there’s contractual limitations for what you can and can’t or, you know, every author is different, so I had some limitations with my contract with what I was allowed to indie-pub, in terms of romance. In terms of anything, I should say. So, those were books that I indie-pubbed under a pseudonym, because that’s what I had to do. And frankly, they are so off-brand from my other romance books that it made sense anyway. They’re so very different. When my contract was ended, and I went back to straight indie, at that point… I mean, it’s tough to manage more than one pseudonym. And, frankly, I was breaking out in a new name, and a new…with that pseudonym. And it made more sense. I actually had a lot of readers asking me, while on, like, on lockdown, like, “Do you have anything else? I’ve read everything you have. Do you have anything else?” And I finally said, “You know what? Actually, I do.”

And, because I know that there’s a certain group of my contemporary romances readersso I’m like, “Well, you trust those books, and you like those kind of books, so here you go. Here are some books to read.” And since switching over and putting it all under the K.A. Tucker umbrella, it’s made a huge impact in sales. I’ve seen a significant increase. Because people know my name, and they trust me, so they pick them up.

Joni: That’s awesome that you were able to do that. And it’s what every author wants, right? To get their backlist continually working for them, and to get new readers going, “Oh, well, like, what else have you written? I need to read all of it.”

K.A. Tucker: Yeah. Well, and the funny thing is, is that there’s a lot of people… It’s benefited me, my K.A. Tucker brand as well, because, or my name, because there are people who were very, very, very…kind of coming in. I feel like there’s always new readers coming in, right? It’s not like everyone’s a reader for their whole life. And so, I have so many messages from people saying, “I just started reading. I’m in my 30s.” And they started with maybe the steamier romance. That’s what they picked up. It was easy, be easier to read. So, then they picked up that series, and they love my writing, so they’re like, “Oh, what else have you read?” So, all of a sudden, they’re now reading, “The Simple Wild,” they’re reading, “Say You Still Love Me,” they might be reading some of my thrillers. They’re reading other books. And so it’s been interesting that way, where there’s people who had never heard of K.A. Tucker, but when they picked up the Nina West, they had to read more. So, it’s kind of worked both ways. It’s been good that way.

Joni: That’s awesome. Do you find that keeping your backlist going has happened organically, like, the way that you’ve just described, or do you do anything to keep that fresh?

K.A. Tucker: Yes. So, my publisher, obviously, for those books, they manage pricing and any sort of promotion. So, every once in a while, they’ll do something, you know, do a discount, which, for me, that’s helped. I wouldn’t do them too often, obviously, but they do those. So that helps. And I do… I have some advertising that I do on my Nina West’s, or what used to be Nina West stuff, my steamier series, I do some advertising online. That’s about it. But, yeah. I definitely don’t just leave it be. And I try and bring it up in any sort of podcast that I’m doing, I try and remember some of the titles and bring them up, so it’s not just constantly the new stuff. I’ll do giveaways sometimes. Anything on Instagram, sometimes I’ll try. And frankly, I’m probably not very good at it. There are other authors out there who are really good at, you know, doing a flashback day, where they talk about their backlist, and kind of continually bring it up. Yeah. So, definitely bringing it to people’s minds, because they say that a lot of people, you might see a book and think, “Oh that’s great,” but they need to see it 20 or 30 times before they actually go and order it and read it.

Laura: Yeah. That’s a good point, and that’s the other thing, too, about having a pen name as well. Then you have, like, two accounts that you have to keep up with, all the giveaways and everything on, so that would be a bit too much.

K.A. Tucker: Honestly, for me, it was a nightmare. I have a hard time keeping up with just one name in social media. And I don’t, frankly, I mean, Twitter, I don’t do Twitter at all. I really focus on Instagram, and I focus on my reader group on Facebook. That’s where I get the most interaction. TikTok is beyond me. I go there looking at fun videos, but I’m not a TikTok person. I’m not the type of person, sit there and record myself, and then talk about whatever. And that’s great that people can do that. That is not my strength, and so I stay away from that.

Laura: But that’s great that you have such a loyal reader group, too, because that’s really good for that word of mouth marketing. And then hopefully, they make the TikTok videos for you, and you don’t have to worry about it.

K.A. Tucker: I mean, you know what? That has always been, and that was, with “The Simple Wild,” it was the word of mouth. That’s how that book gained traction. It was bookstagram. It was these amazing bookstagrammers, who kept talking about the book and taking really pretty pictures of the book. That is how… When that book released, it was a very quiet release in August. There was really not a lot of marketing behind it at all, and so it wasn’t for quite a while that that book… It took a while for that book to gain any traction. So, it really is word of mouth.

Joni: Yeah. I feel like that comes up again, and again, and again on this podcast because it’s so true, and it’s how all of us find books. Like, I know that’s how I find books.

K.A. Tucker: Well, you know, me going online on my Instagram account, saying, “This book is amazing. You have to read it,” when I wrote it, isn’t anywhere near as impactful as 20 readers out there who have nothing to gain other than the love of a book, to be able to say, “Go read this book.” And I can’t make them do that. I mean, they just have to do it, and I really appreciate it whenever I see it.

Joni: So, when you talk about bookstagrammers and whatnot reviewing your book, are these people that are doing it of their own volition, or do you approach people?

K.A. Tucker: So, I have a publicist when I’m releasing a book, and so she manages kind of the release, with the ARC requests. Now, I’ll usually put that out there, saying, “Okay, our opportunities are out, and if you want to sign up, if you’re interested.” So, usually, I’ve been very lucky. There’s always a few hundred readers coming in and requesting an ARC. So, in that sense, I’ve been really lucky. I haven’t had to go begging anybody to read. They’ve all been fantastic. And some books are more than others, so I might have gotten more people wanting my contemporary romance than, say, my fantasy. It’s just, which is the way it is. But, yeah. I’ve been really lucky, but I’ve always done ARC reviews, or ARC requests.

Joni: And with your latest release, “A Fate of Wrath & Flame,” how was it for you to go into that high fantasy kind of writing mode? As a writer, how did you find that?

K.A. Tucker: I loved it. I mean, I needed it. I needed a break from everything, my kind of the standard everything else. I’ve been writing contemporary for a long time now, or quite a few years. And I needed something different. I read a lot of fantasy and high fantasy, so it wasn’t completely foreign to me. It wasn’t like I decided I’m going to go write high fantasy. I have no idea what it’s about, and oh, I watched “Lord of the Rings,” and therefore, I know high fantasy. I mean, I’ve read a lot of high fantasy, but I also wanted to make it a bit of my spin, on my terms, and I wanted to write something that maybe somebody isn’t a high fantasy reader, but is one of my contemporary romance readers might appreciate. So, I kept those readers in mind. Honestly, I loved it. It was the first time in so many years that I’ve actually got up in the morning and wanted to write, and wanted to sit down, and I wanted to write. It helped that it was January till April and we were in lockdown, and it was cold and snowy outside, so that really helped with my hibernation, but I absolutely loved it. I’m dying to get back into the next book.

Laura: So, the book it set, as we said, in a fantasy world, and there’s kind of a lot to keep track of with the whole worlds and everything going on in it. Did you have a hard time kind of keeping track of everything yourself?

K.A. Tucker: I didn’t know, because I was so immersed in it. And mind you, it was… I think it was two weeks before I had to send it to the editor, and I was doing another full read-through, and… When I’m writing, I read through the book so many times. I go back… I’m constantly reading and revising as I go. But two weeks before, I was reading it, and I realized I had a very, just a terrible plot construct issue there. And so then it was mayhem, and I had pages everywhere. And I had, like, lines, and maps, and plot points, and trying to figure it out. So that was a little bit difficult because I had to go change a bunch of stuff. And as soon as I started changing things, it’s a domino effect, because there were so many little tiny pieces to the puzzle. And so, that was tough. I had a hard time with that, especially under a deadline. But no, because I was so fully immersed, and I’ve got my pronunciation page, I’ve got my map… I had to have my map. As soon as I had my map, everything was fine, but I was okay. But it’s a fantasy world. You’re creating a whole new world to… It is, can be tough for a reader. It’s not something that you can fly through.

Laura: Yeah, definitely helpful to have that map to refer back to [crosstalk 00:16:51]. So, is this a book that you’ve been wanting to write for a while? Like, has it kind of always been in the back of your head? Or did the idea come to you recently?

K.A. Tucker: So, I started plotting in 2015. That’s actually when I first knew I wanted to write another fantasy, because I started with fantasy, and then I went to contemporary romance, which I love, and I love suspense. I love all those elements. But then I thought, “Well, why don’t I write this fantasy, high fantasy with romance, and with some suspense and mystery, and gosh, that would be fun.” And so I started plotting in 2015, but I was under contract with Atria, so I had a whole list of other books that I had to write. And I didn’t want to make the leap into fantasy from romance, because…I mean, well, I couldn’t at that point. And then I had this other stuff that I was writing in between my books. I was writing my pseudonym stuff. And so, I just, every year, in January, February, I would open up the file, and I would make notes about, you know, and work on the plot a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a little bit more. And then I’d close it up because it’d be like, this is not the right year. I can’t write this, or I don’t have time to write this.

And then COVID hit, and I was supposed to be writing, actually in January, I sat down, I was supposed to be writing a sequel to “The Player Next Door,” had it all plotted and everything, outlined, I should say, because I’m not a very good plotter. And then I couldn’t write it. I didn’t care about the people. I couldn’t write anything fluffy and funny, and I just couldn’t do it. And I thought, “You know what? I’m going to write my fantasy. I’m going to do what I want to do.” And that’s when I started, and I wasn’t sure. I was petrified, frankly, and I haven’t been that stressed to release a book in a long time, because it’s fantasy, high fantasy, and it’s so different from my other books. So, I was nervous, and I wasn’t sure if I would actually finish it. And so I didn’t even tell anyone that I was writing it until I think, I can’t remember when, February, maybe March. I don’t even remember, because I didn’t want to commit.

Joni: So, yeah. I can see that being really nerve-wracking. What, specifically, what was the most frightening thing for you going into that? What were you worried about?

K.A. Tucker: A, that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. I mean, that’s really what it was. It was one of those, “what business do you have writing fantasy? I love reading it, but what business do I have writing it? And maybe nobody will want to read it.” And when you’re a writer, a full-time writer, that’s obviously a concern, if nobody wants to read your book, because, you know, you need to put food on your table. So, that I would say was the biggest. And then just…or I would, I knew it would be a tough call. The world-building, I knew it would be tough. It wouldn’t be as, kind of, not easy, but as straightforward as writing a contemporary romance, where you’re not necessarily building a big world. And I thought what if I sit here and I work for however many months and slave over this, and then people are like, “Meh. That’s okay. Move on. Next.” or, you know, and then I’m like, “Okay, if I’m writing one, it’s gonna be two. What if everyone hates the first, and now I’m committed to write the second, and, you know, wherever else I go?” So, yeah. I think just fear of failure and fear of it not being good. Because fantasy is tough to write. It’s not easy. I wanted the challenge, though. I think that’s one of the other reasons I sat down. And it was very challenging, but I enjoyed it.

Joni: You wrote it pretty fast. January to April, you said?

K.A. Tucker: Yeah, but that was, like, 12 hour days, seven days a week. So, yeah. They were long, long, long days. But, again, couldn’t go anywhere, couldn’t do anything. So, yeah.

Joni: It’s pretty cool to see that period of COVID now coming out into the world. Do you know… because I think a lot of people were paralyzed and didn’t do very much. I know that that’s how it was for me. I sort of didn’t do anything with my extra time. But I’ve heard a lot of writers say they were writing or they were coming up with a book that they’ve had in their head for years. And it’s very cool to see a year on, like, those books starting to come out, and obviously, we now know that that book was super successful for you and people do love it, so…

K.A. Tucker: Yeah, it was… You know, I’m looking forward to getting back into it, and getting into, like I said, the second book, and I think that will… Once that second book comes out, I’ve got the title already, and I’m working on the cover, and, you know, the thoughts, like, the plot is percolating in my head. I think that’ll make a difference, too, for the readers who are hesitant to pick it up, thinking that they’re gonna have to wait years for the second.

Joni: Yeah. Is it a two-part series? Is that what you have in mind?

K.A. Tucker: You know, I’m not committing to anything at this point, which I’m enjoying. I don’t have to make any commitments, but it’ll definitely be two. The first, is like, 100,000 words, so, for me, that’s a lot. And so, I don’t know where I’ll take it. I’ll see where the story goes. I could see it being a three book, part series, but I’m not committing to anything yet.

Joni: We’ll wait and see. And what is your writing process normally like? Is it typical for you to do very long days when you’re in the midst of a book?

K.A. Tucker: Yeah. I’m not the type of writer who can sit down and do a half-hour here or there. I have to have a nice, big, long block, and then, frankly, I have to get into a routine. So, I usually do need to write every day. Otherwise, I lose my momentum, and then I have to go back to the beginning, and I have to reread, and… So, for me, to be able to get up every morning, I’ll quickly go through my emails and things, and whatever, but I try not to get bogged down, because it’s so easy to lose four hours. All of a sudden, like that, you know, it’s noon and I’ve written nothing. So I try and manage my time. But my great window is between 10:00 and 2:00, usually, for writing. I turn into a pumpkin at night. I’m completely useless, other than I might do some really, really rough first draft writing before I go to bed, just to kind of get it down on computer, and then I go and actually fix it all the next day. But, yeah. So, I think it’s important to know. It’s taken me years, but I’ve figured out kind of my new magic windows of writing, and my quirks, and my, what my strengths and my weaknesses are in writing, and that’s helped a lot. But I do write long days, yeah.

Laura: Yeah. And I think that’s a good rule of thumb, too, that kind of what works for one author won’t necessarily work for another, because there’s definitely some authors who are just content to do half an hour here or there, but that really doesn’t work for everyone. So you just kind of have to find your own thing.

K.A. Tucker: You know what? I wish it worked for me. My chiropractor wishes it would work for me, because I’m going in monthly now. Especially on a deadline, I don’t stretch nearly enough, and I don’t drink water nearly enough, and there’s all kinds of things that I forget to do, so I’ve had to learn to set reminders for myself. And sometimes I do set 20 minutes, 30 minutes for, to then I force myself to get up and walk around.

Laura: And you mentioned that you’re a pantser, not a plotter. So, do you kind of plot anything before you write, or do you just go right in and just get it all out on the page?

K.A. Tucker: So, I used to do that, and that doesn’t work for me. But I also have a really hard time outlining or plotting anything, because I usually don’t know where I’m going with any story. I never have an ending. I just get an idea and I want to go with it. So, what I have started doing, and I think it’s more of what it has become, is, like, a really messy simple first draft, is an outline, and it’s a one-page outline, and going through, and I found a template online and it’s actually worked. And it just helps me kind of hone my thoughts, and okay, [inaudible 00:24:20] you know, you have to think about this, and you have to think about the midpoint, you have to think about the conflict. And it forces me to structure the story a little bit, and then I sit down and I write. But that one-page outline is very, very loose, and it always changes, and the book never looks like the outline, ever. Ever, ever, anything like it. But I think that that’s helped a lot. But, yeah. I have to go, I have to see what the characters didn’t turn into, who they turn into, and where they take the story. I’ve never been able to stick to a regimented plan.

Joni: I love hearing about authors’ writing processes because they’re all so different, and what works for one doesn’t work for another, like Laura said.

K.A. Tucker: I talked to some friends who…some of them are amazing outliners and amazing planners, and they’ve got their plot, everything, down, and they go and they write, and they’ll say, “Yep, I wrote 10,000 words today.” But I’m lucky to get 2,000. Lucky, basically. But, yeah. Sometimes something will go fast, but usually not.

Joni: Is there one piece of advice, or something that you’ve learned in your writing career that is helpful to all authors, knowing how differently everyone works?

K.A. Tucker: Yeah. I mean, there’s the general of reading, make sure you read a lot. Read as much as you write, while, unless you’re on… When I’m writing, I can’t read, so that makes it difficult. But definitely, reading, and reading broadly is huge. But I would say one thing that I’ve learned is to set short-term and long-term, kind of, your goals and your dreams, and write them down. Because as you go, and as you progress, it’s easy to lose sight of where you started from, and it’s easy to lose sight of your successes and your achievements, because you’re constantly moving your goalposts further. And so, you can start to feel, I don’t know about defeated, or that you’re not succeeding as fast enough, until you actually step back and think, “Wow, this is where I started from,” and, you know, I said, say, I wanted to write X number of books, that was really important to me at one point, and I’ve done it. And now you’ve got a bigger goal, and that’s fine, but I think it’s just really, really important for people to not lose sight of where they’ve started from, and their achievements, because you’re constantly going to be improving, you’re constantly going to be achieving, and you’re going to face some struggles. Every writer does in their career. And I think it’s just important to keep the, kind of, the long picture, or the big picture in mind.

Joni: That’s great advice. And what can listeners and readers expect from you next?

K.A. Tucker: So, I’m finishing up the “Dirty Empire” series, with “Fallen Empire.” So that’s been kind of a long time coming. So, that’s coming in September. And then, from there, I’m quite positive that I’m going to start jumping back into my fantasy world, so I’ll be working on the second book. I also have a book in “The Simple Wild” series that I want to write, that I’ve been waiting to write, so I might start plotting that as well. That might come, kind of, you know, next spring, possibly, but, like I said, I’m not committing to anything. This is what happens when you’re on six years of contracts, back to back with a publisher, I think, and then I’m out now, and I’m like, “I don’t want to go back to any commitments.”

Laura: I was gonna say, that’s a great part of being indie. You can kind of just release whenever you want.

K.A. Tucker: Yeah, yeah. It’s… Yeah, I need… it’s nice just to have that freedom right now. Yeah.

Joni: Awesome. Well, we’d love to hear about some of the books that you’ve read recently or enjoyed. What is the last book that you read and enjoyed?

K.A. Tucker: So, finished, I’ve got Adrienne Young, I would say, “Sky in the Deep.” So, that is the last one that I really, really, really loved.

Laura: Do you have a favorite Canadian author that you always go back to?

K.A. Tucker: I mean, L.M. Montgomery. So, if you’re thinking, like, the classics, right?

Laura: That’s a good one.

K.A. Tucker: Yeah. I really like Karma Brown, if you’re looking at a kind of a traditional women’s fiction author, that’s Canadian, and who is current. Yeah, I would… She’s fantastic. I really enjoy her.

Joni: And do you have a favorite fantasy series or book?

K.A. Tucker: I mean, George R.R. Martin is my number one fantasy, or my number one favorite of everything, right? And the “Song of Ice and Fire,” I read it, I’m dating myself, but, like, 20 years ago, 20, 15 years ago, I don’t remember, and I read the whole series and I fell in love. That was how I fell in love with fantasy, and his fantasy. So, I would say, he’s, like, my favorite, but, and I love his fantasy as well.

Joni: And any other books at all that you’d like to recommend?

K.A. Tucker: Gosh. Well, I mean, I love “Crawdads.” I love, love, love, love, love, love. So, Tarryn Fisher’s “The Wrong Family.” I read that, and that… well, maybe that was last fall. It was fantastic. It’s a really, really, really well-written thriller. Those are the ones that are popping out in my head. Oh, “Pillars of the Earth” is another kind of classic that I really loved, by Ken Follett. It’s one that I always go back to.

Joni: Perfect.

Laura: I just send one more question, because we were kind of talking about “Game of Thrones,” and it made me think of “A Fate of Wrath & Flame” again. Do you kind of have a dream cast in your head? I know this is kind of the worst question for authors sometimes. But did you have someone that you pictured for Zander and Romy? Because I just finished the book last night, and it was really good, so now I’m wondering who you would cast?

K.A. Tucker: You know, I don’t, ever. I never, ever, ever write any series or any book with actors in my head. It’s, like, the worst. I always love to hear what readers think when they read it, because it’s such a different experience from a reader versus a writer’s perspective. Yeah, I don’t have anyone cast in my head. Do you?

Laura: I was gonna say, this is gonna get turned around.

K.A. Tucker: Yeah, totally. Yeah, I’m like, I’m gonna take notes, so I have your answer.

Laura: Oh, god. I don’t even know. I feel like there are so many good people that could play them. But, yeah. It was a really good book. I was up until, like, 1:00 a.m. finishing it, so…

K.A. Tucker: Oh, really? Oh, seriously. That’s cool. That’s good. I mean, hopefully, you enjoyed it. Yeah. Hopefully, it was worth it.

Laura: Yeah, it’s definitely worth the lack of sleep.

Joni: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. This has been great.

K.A. Tucker: Thanks for having me. This was fun. It’s always nice to be able to talk to people. I mean, we’re finally being let out of our house, but it’s always still nice to kind of connect with whoever we can.

Joni: Well, maybe in person next time, in Toronto, or something.

K.A. Tucker: Well, yeah. I feel like this is finally a benefit, right? For once? I, you know, it’s not, so I’m not in Canada and somebody’s in the States. I’m like, you’re right here in my home city.

Laura: Yeah, exactly. We’ll have to get you to the Kobo office at some point, when we have can have people to the office.

K.A. Tucker: Yeah. When I’m allowed in. I don’t have to be sprayed down and in a hazmat suit.

Laura: Yeah, exactly.

Thank you for listening to the “Kobo Writing Life” podcast. If you’re interested in picking up K.A Tucker’s books, we will include links in our show notes. If you’re enjoying this podcast, please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe. And if you’re looking for more tips on growing your self-publishing business, you can find us at kobowritinglife.com. Be sure to follow us on social media. We are @kobowritinglife on Facebook and Twitter, and @kobo.writing.life on Instagram.

Joni: This episode was produced by Rachel Wharton and Joni Di Placido, co-hosted by Laura Granger. Editing is provided by Kelly Robotham. Our theme music is composed by Tear Jerker, and big thanks to K.A. Tucker for being a guest today. If you’re ready to start your self-publishing journey, sign up today at kobo.com/writinglife. Until next time, happy writing.

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