Kris was one of the reasons my most recent book, Night Vision: 2018 Anniversary Edition was edited so well. Without her, I would be lost.
How long have you been writing?
Forever! I made up all kinds of stories as a kid. The Toronto Sun used to have a “Poetry Corner” that published a poem I wrote in honor of my grandfather after he passed away (as an aside, it was a horrifying experience, he had a heart attack on the couch next to me while we were visiting).
What inspired you to become a writer?
Not a what, but a who. My twelfth grade English teacher, William Bell (I still refer to him as Mr. Bell), was a YA novelist. He published Crabbe and signed a copy for me, “I hope someday you write one too.” He may have started it, but the writing community keeps me going. When you see other struggling with some of the same issues, or being able to help someone else with your expertise, it’s very rewarding.
Are you published anywhere?
Welcome to Beansville: Population Zero (paperback coming soon)
Which of your written pieces is your favorite?
Welcome to Beansville, Population Zero, for now. A friend of mine was reading it out loud on the bus, making everyone around her laugh with the noises she was making. Another’s daughter kept turning on the flashlight under her covers to read it after bedtime. I love the piece not so much for the story, as the…well…aftermath. Mr. Bell was in the middle of writing another book and didn’t want to edit it; he didn’t want to fill his brain with someone else’s work. Because I was a former student, he did it anyway. I normally don’t tell people before they read it, but even knowing what beans do to your body, I do not use the word “fart” anywhere. 🙂
In what genre do you write?
For work as a CMO in different industries, I’ve published numerous articles, product sheets, white papers. But, for total fun I’ll write about anything that inspires me. I’m currently working on a murder mystery in film noir-style. I’ve also written a children’s story that desperately needs an illustrator. Maybe because I have children, and I used to make up bedtime stories for them, that comes easier to me. The challenge is in trying something different like a murder mystery. I do know that there is NO way I will ever write horror like you. I’d never be able to sleep.
What is the most challenging part about being a writer in the genre you’ve chosen?
Regardless of the genre there are always problems for writers. Finding motivation, writing yourself into a corner, knowing your characters, and publicizing all come to mind first. Thinking you’re going to have the next Stephen King, James Patterson, or JK Rowling hit can be a big push, but realizing that doesn’t happen ever day can be demotivating. Though there is a lesson in perseverence, but I digress. I have an easier time writing conversation, not so much with the descriptive narrative that surrounds it. Picturing what your characters will say, how they behave, and describing the circumstances can be a challenge.
What writer(s) do you look up to?
William Bell, James Patterson, Mitch Albom, Gregory Maguire, Philippa Gregory, Terry Fallis, Lois Lowry. I have a library with a host of others. Take your pick!
Do you have any funny stories about your writing adventures?
The current murder mystery was inspired by a strange thumping sound in the luggage compartment on a bus. Honestly, it sounded like a body bag rolling around. I was texting and messaging with my daughter and friends, pretty much hammering out who it was, how they got there, what he/she might have done, was it an accident or murder, and whodunnit. By the time I got home I had two pages of notes. Welcome to Beansville, Population Zero was inspired on a trip through the States. On the interstate there were exits for Connor (my son’s name) Avenue, Beansville, and then Belchertown. We joked about what Beansville would smell like (insert joke here). Maybe there will be a sequel about Belchertown. From smelly to noisy?
Do you have any encouraging words for those that want to write?
1) Write for yourself – Don’t write for your audience. You can’t make everyone happy.
2) Journal – Write down your dreams, write about people you see at the airport, in the grocery store, or look at photographs and write down the memories they inspire.
3) Push through writer’s block – Move from your laptop and go old school. Pick up a pen and paper, or sit down at a typewriter (yes, I have one).
4) Do the research – If you’re writing what you know, awesome! If you have weird things in your stories that you know nothing about, there’s no shame in interviewing someone who does, or going to the library or online.
5) Find a good editor – Not a friend or family member, they’ll worry about hurting your feelings. Find someone you don’t know that well, who will give you honest feedback.
Is there anyone you’d like to promote?
William Aicher. He is also a CMO by day, and a writer by night. He’s approachable, friendly, encouraging, and funny. I read The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks just before he released it (https://www.amazon.com/Unfortunate-Expiration-Mr-David-Sparks-ebook/dp/B079PJTW83). His writing style is oddly reminiscent of Frank Hebert. It’s been months and I can still see the fields of eyeballs he described. That’s what I’d love to give my readers. Not the fields of eyeballs, but a memorable scene.
Where can we find you on social media?
Kris is an awesome human that deserves all the love and admiration you want to shower her with. Follow her, buy her books, be supportive!