Kim Sakwa has loved to read as far back as she can remember, but in her early teens she found a few authors, like Sidney Sheldon and Jackie Collins, that would change her life.
“There was just something about them,” said Sakwa, who went to Seaholm High School. “I remember seeing pictures of these authors sitting behind a desk and something just clicked and I thought, that's what I want to do. That's who I want to be. That's what I want to be.”
Now, Sakwa’s photo is gracing her own books.
Her second novel, Never Say Goodbye, was released in late June. Described as a contemporary romance with a time travel twist, it’s focus is on singer-songwriter Amanda Marceau, who travels through time and meets Alexander Montgomery. Naturally, things don’t go completely smoothly and one of them gets amnesia.
Ultimately, Sakwa hopes that readers get a love story out of reading Never Say Goodbye.
“At the end of the day, for me it's about love and unconditional love, and finding that person that you know always supports you and is with you. Life is hard. It’s not puppies and rainbows,” she said. “So I love happily ever after against the odds and putting characters together and them finding their happy.”
Never Say Goodbye is also the first in the Brothers Montgomery series. Readers will meet her newest heroine in another book for the second in the series.
There’s also plans to revisit her debut novel, The Prophecy, which was a Scottish historical time travel romance novel, compared to Never Say Goodbye’s contemporary romance with flashbacks.
“The Prophecy was my ode to everything I love about time travel and historical romance,” she said.
The journey to getting The Prophecy published wasn’t always a smooth one. The first iteration Sakwa wrote years ago – it was originally called, Reaching for Infinity – was completed in a matter of months. It was her first time writing anything – she had never even written a short story before. Sakwa sent it to an editor who, as she put it, ripped it apart.
“So was it upsetting? Of course. Did it keep me down? Absolutely not,” she said.
So, Sakwa wrote it again. She had learned a lot and found that her voice had changed during that rewrite. What was now titled The Prophecy was sent out again. This time, she got a call from an agent who loved it. Unfortunately, for a few reasons, it didn’t end up working out at the time.
Sakwa ended up putting writing aside for a while before returning to it a few years ago.
“I decided this is my dream, and I need to pursue this,” she said. “I can't keep this down any longer, I can't live my life because I'm not being authentic.”
Sakwa sent it to book editors in New York and found one. Then, well, you can figure out the rest.
Considering she didn’t give up on her own dreams, even after notes that would have stopped many from continuing, Sakwa has a lot of advice for a budding author. But her biggest piece is an obvious one – write.
“Write and pursue,” she said. “The reading world and the publishing world is our oyster today. It's there and it’s accessible.”
Photo: Laurie Tennent