Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My name is Kara Leigh Miller. I’m a wife and stay at home mom to 4 kids, 3 pit bulls, and 6 cats. I’m also the Editorial Director for Anaiah Press. When I’m not herding my family, I’m writing, reading, going to the gym, and playing Monster Busters on my phone. I write young adult books for both the Christian and secular market, and soon, I’ll be diving back into my first love—adult Christian romantic suspense.
Describe your story in 5 sentences or less:
As Isabelle Carson’s life spirals out of control and her carefully crafted, picture-perfect image begins to shatter, Grayson Alexander does what no one else can: he makes her laugh and allows her to be imperfect. With rekindled faith, Isabelle sets out to right all the wrongs in her life. But Grayson has been damaged by his own family secrets, and Isabelle will have to decide if the boy she’s falling for more and more each day is a right or a wrong.
What is the inspiration behind your story?
I had read a YA book (secular) that involved gangs and motorcycles, and it dealt with some pretty heavy stuff. Naturally, this led me to wonder why anyone who rides a motorcycle in a book has to be in a gang or otherwise “hardcore.” Why couldn’t a guy ride a motorcycle simply because he likes to? And why couldn’t said guy be fun and snarky and struggling to find his way in life? These questions rumbled around in my head for quite a while, and then I was hit with the opening scene of the book—a new guy arriving at yet another new school, riding a motorcycle that he parks in the bicycle rack and the girl who calls him out on it. From there, Grayson and Isabelle’s story was born.
What was the catalyst for your interest in writing?
Boredom. LOL. I know that’s not the typical answer, but it’s the truth. When my youngest was just a baby, I’d run out of books to read, and with an infant at home—along with 4 other kids—getting to the library wasn’t an easy feat. At that time, ebooks weren’t as popular or as readily available as they are now, so I was really stuck with nothing to read. As someone who’d always dabbled in writing in high school and college, I decided, “Why not try my hand at writing a book?” And so I did. I wrote during nap time and at night after all the kids were in bed. I finished my first manuscript fairly quickly, and it was TERRIBLE! Hahaha. But it was the catalyst for a new career path 😊
Do you have a day job? If so, how do you find time in your day to write?
By day, I’m the Editorial Director for Anaiah Press. That’s a fancy title that says I do a little bit of everything—edits, submissions, acquisitions, contracts, project management, etc. I’m blessed in that this is a remote position, so I have the ability to work from home (even before the world was put on lockdown due to Covid-19). This gives me quite a bit of freedom to set my own schedule and plan time for my own writing. Typically, I’ll spend a couple hours on Anaiah tasks, then write for an hour or so, go back to Anaiah work, then write a bit more. I switch on and off throughout the day.
Who was your favorite character to create?
Usually, I tend to connect with my two main characters and then struggle with my secondary characters. Or I’ll love my hero and have a hard time with my heroine. But in Perfectly Imperfect, I love all of them—even Cam, who isn’t the nicest guy. Every single character in this book came to life for me, and it was probably the easiest book I’ve ever written. If I had to choose just one, though, I’d have to say Grayson. His voice was so clear. His backstory and the reasons behind his actions and thoughts were solid right from the start, which made is so easy to know exactly what he’d do and say in any given situation. Any writer will tell you that having a book and characters come to you so fully formed like this is rare.
If you didn’t write books, what would you do for a living?
Something involving animals. Originally, I’d gone to college to become a veterinarian, but after one semester of biology, I rethought my plans. LOL. I’ve always been a huge animal lover, and I’d be in my glory working with them in some capacity every day. Though, I’m not sure I’d be emotionally strong enough to work in a shelter or animal rescue, but I could rock something like a cat sanctuary, or one of those cat cafés where you can read books, sip tea or coffee, and cuddle kittens!
What’s next for you as an author?
I’m finishing up a secular YA paranormal romance series (my personal homage to Twilight) that I’m releasing via my own self-publishing company, FireChicken Press. Book one is set to release later this year (probably September). After that, I’m planning to work on one of two things: another Christian YA series, though this one will be slightly younger with characters around age 13, and they’ll be ghost hunters. Or an adult romantic suspense series that I’ve had planned forever.
Here is the gorgeous cover of Perfectly Imperfect:
And here is Kara’s favourite excerpt from the book, along with the Buy Link:
I have so many favorite scenes from this book, but the one that seems to really stand out to my beta readers—and my editor—is the scene where Isabelle and Grayson are in the arcade. Here’s a sneak peek at it…
I follow her into the arcade, and other than a couple of younger kids playing a basketball game, the place is empty. I pull a twenty out of my wallet and feed it into the token machine; then I divide the tokens equally between us.
“So, what game do you want to lose first?” I ask.
“Well, considering you’re going to be the loser, you pick.”
She’s smart, funny, beautiful, and she’s competitive, too? Is there anything about this girl that isn’t perfect for me?
“All right. That one.” I point to a motorcycle racing game.
“That’s not fair. I’ve never driven a motorcycle. You have.”
“I’ll give you a lesson before we start. Deal?”
Isabelle narrows her eyes as if trying to figure out if I’m lying or trying to trick her.
The game is set up so there are two bikes contained within a dome structure. She climbs on one and drops two tokens into the slots to get the game started.
“Scoot forward.” I motion with my hands for her to move. When she does, I swing my leg over the seat and settle in behind her. These bikes are intended for only one person, so there’s not much room.
She chooses one player, and the game starts. I place my hands over hers on the handlebars. Her hands are softer than I expected.
“This button makes you go, and this one makes you stop,” I explain.
Nodding, she pushes the button to go, and on the screen, the bike lurches. She yelps and slams on the brake button.
I laugh. “It’s just a game, Belle. Relax.”
She twists her head to look at me. “I guess just Belle is better than Belle the Bible Thumper.”
“Then, from now on, you’re just Belle.” I grin.
Her gaze drops to my mouth, but then she quickly turns her attention back to the game. “All right, so what am I supposed to do on this stupid game?”
I blow out a breath, but my heart is still racing so hard and fast, I’m convinced she can feel it. “The trick is to find your center of gravity and use it. Sitting upright puts you off balance. Lean forward.” I gently push her forward until she’s in the right position.
“Good.” I once again cover her hands with mine. “Now, press the go button.”
She does, and the bike on the screen takes off quickly down the straight road. Ahead, a curve looms. I don’t say anything because I want to see what she’ll do. She cranks the handlebars to the right, and the bike wipes out. I laugh, and she playfully elbows me.
“What did I do wrong?” she asks.
“You’re driving like it’s a car. It’s not. You need to use your body.”
She continues the game, and this time, when she approaches the curve, I move my hands to her waist. I have no business touching her at all, let alone like this, but I can’t deny how nice it feels.
“Lean into the turn,” I say, guiding her body to the right. “And then straighten.”
She does exactly as I say, and she maneuvers the turn like a pro. I watch over her shoulder while she continues the race. This close, the scent of her floral perfume wraps around me, and I inhale deeply.
The race ends, and she comes in sixth place. She straightens, bringing her back flush to my chest. “Good job, just Belle.”
She gathers her hair and drapes it over her right shoulder then twists her head to the left so we’re face to face. “Thanks for the lesson.”
“You’re welcome.” My voice cracks, and I momentarily freeze at our proximity. My gaze lingers on her mouth, my thoughts consumed with kissing her. “You’re a fast learner.”
“Well, you’re a good teacher.” She smiles.
I feign shock. “Is that a compliment?”
“Nope.” She laughs.
“Of course not. Want another practice run?”
“No, I think I got it.”
“You sure?” I raise a brow.
She hesitates and rubs her palms on her jeans, grazing her hand over mine, and I instinctively tighten my grip on her. Her sharp intake of breath sets my heart racing.
“I got this,” she says.
“All right. Your loss.” Reluctantly, I get off her bike and climb onto the other one.
Isabelle scoots back and wiggles on the seat like she’s trying to get comfortable. She’s got a boyfriend. She’s got a boyfriend. She’s got a boyfriend… I focus on getting the game started. She beats me off the starting line, but I quickly and easily pass her. I’m in the zone, hyper focused and determined to win. But then there’s a tap on my rear wheel, and I spin out of control. Isabelle zooms past me.
I glance over, and she’s giggling like crazy.
“You’re such a cheater,” I say.
She laughs harder. A moment later, she crosses the finish line—in first place. She pumps her fists and lets out a victorious whoop. I shake my head, but I can’t stop smiling.
Even if she did cheat to win, I don’t care. Seeing her like this—face flushed, eyes sparkling, hair a mess, and happy—is so much better than winning any game.
This refreshing YA Book can be yours here: https://www.amazon.com/Perfectly-Imperfect-Kara-Leigh-Miller-ebook/dp/B08769R2RX/
Where can readers find you online?
Newsletter – https://eepurl.com/bn1wyD
Thanks for being here today, Kara!