Kiki Archer is a former teacher and now a stay-at-home mom (or mum, as the British say) and an almost-full-time writer. Her debut novel, But She is My Student won the UK’s SoSoGay Best Book Award in 2012, and her third novel, Binding Devotion, was a finalist in this year’s Rainbow Awards. Her newest book is One Foot Onto the Ice.
So let’s see what Kiki has to say about her writing life.
How long have you been writing full-time?
For about two months. My children have just turned five and six and are now in school full-time so I can officially call this my ‘job.’ I have only actually been writing for the last two years, and this was just in the evenings when they were in bed.
What was the process of moving into full-time writing for you?
I had planned on going back into teaching when they started school—I’ve been on an extended six year maternity leave – but as a writer I have much more freedom with my time, and I earn more than I ever did as a teacher, so it was the natural choice for me.
Do you write every day? Do you give yourself weekends or days off or vacation time away from writing?
I only write Mon – Fri, from 9.30am-2.30pm when my children are in school. I’m trying really hard to treat this like a job, but it can be difficult when I’m on the school run and a group of mums ask me to go for a coffee. It’s all too easy to agree.
I start at 9.00am with a cup of tea and I try and catch up with emails and social media, but I hope to be ‘on task’ by 9.30am. I’ll often find myself working through lunch and stopping when I realize it’s school run time. I sometimes find myself working in the evenings when they’re in bed, but this is an option now and not a necessity, which is lovely.
Do you have a daily word-count goal or a set number of hours you spend writing?
No, some days I can spend hours on one paragraph that just doesn’t seem to want to come out, and other days I can write page after page. I never force myself to write. If it’s flowing nicely then I’ll continue for as long as I possibly can.
Where do you write?
Mostly in my dining room, or sometimes in the local coffee shop for a change of scenery.
How did family and friends react to you giving up your day job to become a full-time writer?
I think they see the huge amount of time it gives me with my family and they realise that I’d never have this if I went back into teaching, so from that perspective it’s great. However with lesbian fiction still being viewed as a relatively ‘niche’ market I think they view it as a nice little hobby, and even when I tell them that my new novel sold more than 4000 copies in its first month of release, getting to number 51 in the American contemporary fiction chart, I still get that compassionate nod of “that’s nice, dear … do you think you’ll ever become a proper ‘established’ writer and write ‘normal’ books?”
How much time do you spend promoting your books, including blogging, social media, etc.?
I spend more time than some authors, but less time than others. I try hard to reach out to the new young crowd of lesbians who aren’t aware of this wonderful world of lesfic because they’ve never had to search for representation.
What’s the best thing about being a full-time writer?
The flexibility of being your own boss. They joy of getting a new book out and hearing the reaction from readers. The lifestyle it lets me lead.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a full-time writer?
It can be lonely sitting at home all day with just a laptop for company.
Is there anything you wish you would have known before becoming a full-time writer?
I wish someone would have told me how rewarding it was as I’d have started writing an awful lot sooner.
What advice would you give a fellow author who wants to write full time?
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t. Trust your own instincts. Don’t follow the crowd. Don’t be afraid to do something a little bit different.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel?
Do you ever wonder how your old classmates remember you? Especially those who weren’t in your circle?
Susan Quinn, a teacher at St Wilfred’s All-Girls School, and Jenna James, a Club Ski instructor in the French Alps, are about to find out.
As an invisible bond draws the two women closer, will they appreciate each other for who they are now, not who they once were?
“One Foot Onto The Ice,” is a fast-paced romance set in the sunny ski resort of Morzine, where the young cast of students and teachers search for excitement on the slopes, with some finding it a lot more easily than others.
What books can we look forward to from you in the future?
I am currently writing the sequel to “One Foot Onto The Ice.”
Thank you for patiently answering my questions, Kiki. I wish you continued success for your writing endeavors.
This was the last of the interviews for now, but I’ll be back with more interviews in the future, so check back or subscribe to my website so you won’t miss any updates.