Author Interview: Kay Acker

Today we had the chance to talk to Kay Acker, Author of contemporary romance and her debut novel, Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go, which will be available to order on March 15th, 2021.


Introducing Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go..

Dissatisfied computer programmer Lauren Ashburn left a promising job to help her family in Vermont take care of her dying father. Now that he’s gone, Lauren has every intention of returning to her old life: the vibrant, successful one her father had always expected her to have, but she feels adrift without his strict guidance.

Georgia Solomon designs homes for others, but as a bisexual autistic woman, she rarely feels at home herself. When her best friend dies suddenly, leaving her alone with their young daughter, her little slice of happiness vanishes, and Georgia finds herself struggling to navigate a world that doesn’t understand her.

Lauren and Georgia clash at a disastrous work meeting, but Georgia’s daughter Hannah pulls them together despite themselves. As they discover new possibilities and priorities for the future, can they make room for love, or will they have to leave each other behind in order to move forward?


Let’s welcome Kay to the Blog..

Kay Acker grew up in northern Alabama and lives in southern Vermont. She and her wife play tabletop games with friends and enjoy the daily antics of two cats.

The first queer romance novel Kay read was found in a public library and hidden in her room until well after the due date. She now borrows, reads, and writes them openly. Her first novel, Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go, will be released by Bella Books in March of 2021. It is a contemporary romance about how the memories two women hold onto most tightly affect their visions of the future.

Congrats on the release of Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go. Could you tell us a about it? What inspired you?

Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go is my first novel. It started as a writing prompt from an acquaintance online, something about meeting again in a coffee shop and giving things another try. I don’t think the little story I wrote was at all what they expected when they wrote the prompt. It was about two women falling in love at a grief group like the one I attended as a little girl, which is not usually the setting for a romance, and it had very little to do with coffee shops. I liked that the story was a bit different in that way, so I kept toying with it, exploring all the little details of the characters, and I found a whole novel in that.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I wanted to go to the Alabama School of Fine Arts, a magnet high school in Birmingham. My audition tape for the theater department was just terrible. I knew as I was recording it that it was terrible, so I applied to the writing department instead. I’d been writing a fantasy story (which was basically a cross between The Golden Compass and Digimon) for a couple years, and it definitely wasn’t worse than my attempt at a monologue, so I submitted that as my application. I didn’t get in.

I still wanted to, though, so that summer I won a scholarship for a writing summer camp, learned a lot, practiced a lot, and the next school year, I did get in. I was really proud of that. I had a wonderful time at ASFA, and I’ve kept learning and practicing as a writer since then.

"I love the idea of a story as a container for meaning and emotion (something you can hold and carry with you) rather than a journey toward a destination (a place you get to and then have to leave)." Tweet This
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1995)

What is your favorite childhood book?

The Golden Compass. I read it first when I was a kid, then over and over again since then. My latest read was during the night shift at my last job, because it was lying on the floor where one of the girls I was looking after had left it. It was a stressful job, and reading that familiar book, where Lyra and Pan keep pressing forward, surrounded by love no matter where they go, was such a comfort.

The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
by Ursula K. Le Guin (2019)

The Golden Compass is such as classic! What do you think it takes to makes a good story?

I just read Ursula K. LeGuin’s essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction. I’m still thinking it over, but I’m pretty sure I love the idea of a story as a container for meaning and emotion (something you can hold and carry with you) rather than a journey toward a destination (a place you get to and then have to leave).

Why do you think we need more LGBTQIA+ representation?

I didn’t even know liking girls was an option until I stumbled upon a book with a lesbian main character when I was fourteen. I knew something about me was different, though, and until I read the book, I was confused and lonely. That ended, or at least radically changed, after I read the book. Representation creates possibility, understanding, and community, which are essential components of true joy.

If you could tell your younger (writing) self anything, what would it be?

“You couldn’t stop making stories if you tried, so stop trying so hard. Rest. Be patient. Writing isn’t squeezing words out of yourself like water out of a dishrag. It’s everything except that: daydreaming, working, playing, living.”

"Writing isn’t squeezing words out of yourself like water out of a dishrag. It’s everything except that: daydreaming, working, playing, living.” Tweet This

I love that! So, what can we expect to see from you next?

I have a short story in the Bella anthology Save the Date, which is coming out in June. Tagan Shepard organized it, and I was thrilled to be invited to participate. It’s a great group of authors to be part of. I can’t wait to read everyone’s stories, and I hope folks enjoy mine, too.

My current project is a paranormal romance/mystery about a woman named Jan, whose touch causes pain. She’s given up on finding out why her skin turned toxic, but after she’s injured saving a woman from an ogre, she lets herself get roped into an investigation of why the local water supply has suddenly turned deadly. The love interest, meanwhile, investigates how to safely get intimate with Jan, because if she can manage her own chronic pain, she can certainly work around a supernatural curse.

This is another case of a large story spinning out from a much smaller prompt. I started with wondering how the intimacy would work. Now I’m building a Jenga tower of a plot about cryptids and corporate malfeasance. I can’t wait to find out what I end up with!

If you can’t wait to get your hands on a copy of Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go, you can listen to a reading from Kay herself of the first chapter, right here.

Thank you Kay for joining us on authorniamh.com. To get to know Kay you can find her on Twitter and her website.


Did you like reading this Author Interview? We have so many more! Check out my latest interview with 23-year-old Irish author of ‘The Night Belongs To Us’, Katie Brown.

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