Welcome to week 4 of our spotlight on “Coming Up Roses” by Anna Kyle. You can find this shifter romance story in the Rough Edges Anthology. This week we are pleased to share five quirky facts about the story from its author, Anna Kyle.
1. Like a lot of writers I’ve met, music is a big part of my life. When I was writing Coming Up Roses, a cowboy romance with a splash of shapeshifter and a dash of donkey, you can probably deduce I listened to country music. A lot. Songs of lost loves and crushed hearts, naturally. But also the gonna win her heart back (Luke Bryan’s Strip It Down oh my *fans self*), nah I’m better off without you, and the let’s dance and drink and have a blast songs like Thomas Rhett’s South Side. Of course when I was really happy with a scene, the music was LOUD. And sometimes I danced, too.
2. I fell in love with Rose and Finn, which isn’t surprising because I always fall in love with my characters. Duh, I write romance. While writing Coming Up Roses, though, I found myself a bit mushy-eyed and protective over Tank, the angry donkey. I’ve never had a donkey of my own so I’m not quite sure where he came from to be honest. He even demanded his own story arc and I respect the heck out of a character that loud. I think that had my editor had wanted me to cut him I might have…maybe…bitten her? Gently, though, because I love my editor. And because I totally haven’t become an angry donkey haha…yet.
3. Where did I come up with the idea for Coming Up Roses? The idea of a second chance at a young love that, like many young loves, didn’t work out like either of them wanted intrigued me. Who hasn’t fallen hard as a teenager for someone you couldn’t imagine your life without, until suddenly you are without? That loss is brutal and you think you’ll never get over it. You can’t eat, can’t sleep, you stay in your room listening to sad songs and cry for days or weeks or months. Then one day, you wake up and move on, sadder but wiser, and eventually you love again. I wanted to give that first love a second chance at a happy ending.
4. Here’s something not a lot of people know about me: when I was a senior in high school I briefly dated a guy who was a twin. We even double-dated with his brother and his girlfriend. It was eerie. They walked and talked alike, even laughed exactly the same. One was more outgoing (brother) and one was, well let’s see how do I put this, kind of an asshole (boyfriend). They had the same haircut but wore their facial hair differently (one with a scruffier beard than the other) which, now that I think about it, is very much like Finn and Ben in my story. My fictional twins are much better looking, though. Note to boys dating girls who may wind up being fiction writers; be nice.
5. Someone once asked me what superpower would I want and I said healing. As a child I sometimes got these terrible headaches. My mom would give me aspirin, put a cold cloth over my eyes and pull the covers up. Usually it worked but if it didn’t work I would visualize the pain the flowing out from head like water. This worked, at most, twice. However, I write fiction. My main character, Rose Bird, is a natural healer determined to go through life ignoring her gift, because of course there are roadblocks, mountains to be overcome, loves to be reunited, hurts to be forgiven, etc. Sorry, I digress. I struggled describing how using Rose’s gift would feel then remembered my headache exercise et voila: Rose’s magic became a beautiful pool of water choked with roots because she’d let her gift wither. So the moral of this story is that everything, everything, in a writer’s entire life will eventually be used in a story. Note to people in general when meeting a writer: be nice.