D.E.: Tell us a little about yourself.
Kirstin: Let’s see… I was born and raised in Southern California, and later graduated from Oregon State University (Go Beavs!) with a degree in Forest Management. I am happily married with two small children, 4 and 5. I believe life is an adventure, and try to make every day memorable.
D.E.: How long have you been writing, or when did you start writing?
Kirstin: I have been writing my whole life. It has always been my creative outlet… some people sing, some paint, some cook… I write. I didn’t start pursuing it as a career until a couple of years ago.
D.E.: Do you write primarily in one genre?
Kirstin: So far, my writing has focused on the fantasy genre. It is one of my favorites, and one that my mind is naturally drawn to. I love the idea of good triumphing over evil, Prince Charming waiting around the corner, damsels in distress, and that magic is as real as science.
D.E.: What compels you to write?
Kirstin: It sounds silly, but there are moments that I see something, and a scene or idea just pops into my head. In those moments, a story unfolds in my mind, and I am compelled to tell it.
D.E.: As a writer is there a particular obstacle you face? If so, how do you get around it?
Kirstin: My biggest obstacle is balance. I struggle to find the right ways to juggle writing, social networking, and marketing with my family life. I am constantly shuffling things, and trying to find a balance that works… I am still a work in progress on that. Ha!
D.E.: Tell us of your experience getting your first work published.
Kirstin: A couple of years ago, I started thinking about what I wanted to do when my kids were older and in school full time. With a blank slate in front of me, I started to think about what I truly wanted to do. There was only one thing that popped into mind. I wanted to write.
With that revelation in mind, I began to do what I needed to do… I edited my book, edited it some more, queried agents, edited more, queried publishers, edited more… after a year of this cycle I received a contract from Malachite Quills Publishing.
D.E.: How many books have you written?
Kirstin: I have written 2 books. The Escape of Princess Madeline and its sequel, The Battle for Princess Madeline. The third and final of this series should be ready Winter 2013.
D.E.: Do you self edit or hire an editor?
Kirstin: Haha, hire an editor!!! I write the first draft, and the first round of edits before sending off to a team of beta readers. They help me notice any holes in the storyline or development. From there, I do another round of edits, and then send off to an editor.
D.E.: Are your books also available in print, or are they primarily in e-book format?
Kirstin: Yes! They are available in print and digital. Since my books are targeted for the upper elementary/ tween age, I find that having the paperback option helps.
D.E.: Do you have any tips or tricks to help keep your ideas in order or at least from being forgotten?
Kirstin: Write them down!!! I have a notebook that I keep in my purse, so whenever an idea, a bit of dialogue, or a new arc of a storyline hits I can write it down. I also use the microphone option on my cell phone, if I can’t write. When inspiration calls, I have to answer.
D.E.: Do you prefer pen on paper for drafts or do you stay strictly on a computer?
Kirstin: Mainly computer. I wrote my first book in a spiral notebook, and then transferred it all to the computer when I was done, and did my first round of edits in the process. I find having it all in the computer is nice, it helps me track my word count, allows me a quick reference back to certain areas, and speeds the whole process up.
D.E.: Do you have a favorite place to write or do you write anywhere and everywhere?
Kirstin: Yes! I call my website “The Literary Closet” due to the fact that my main writing space is in my master closet. It is one place that I can escape at home and have some quiet to write… on the weekends, I write in my car overlooking a wheat field.
D.E.: Do you have a writing schedule?
Kirstin: I am trying to get better at this and more disciplined for a consistent schedule. I try and wake up an hour before the kids and get up to have some quiet time, as well as after bedtime. During the day, I am 100% focused mommy.
D.E.: How do your stories unfold? Are they plotted first and then filled out or do they simply unravel as you go?
Kirstin: I am a plotter. Before I sit down to write my first draft, I have a clear outline of what is going to happen. The major story arcs, conflicts and twists are all designed. From there, I weave my words to follow the structure, but allow for sudden changes that may develop. For me, this keeps my thoughts more streamlined and plot holes a bit tighter.
D.E.: What are you working on now and what's next?
Kirstin: Right now I am promoting the release of the sequel, The Battle for Princess Madeline, which releases May 29th, and am working on the first draft for the third and final book in the series, The Dragon and Princess Madeline (Winter 2013)
Kirstin: Haha, well, I say every day is an adventure that you never know where it will take you. This is an example where I can say I have been a writer my whole life. I remember being in the woods on my lunch breaks, writing. I would be out on fires, and in the evening, I would be writing a story. I am an outdoorsy girl, feeling completely at home and at ease in nature. What I found, for me, was that working in the forest, took the enjoyment out of it. Having the joy removed from one of my favorite past times was too high a price… and so life took a detour, and a new career path.
D.E.: Where can readers find you and your work?
Kirstin: So many places!!!! I love to connect with new readers and fans.
D.E.: Let's hear some "Shout-Outs".
Kirstin: Who are the people you would like to thank? A big thank you to my husband, who supports me and stands behind me 100%, and to my kids. They teach me every day to be grateful for the little things, to believe in magic, and to live life to its fullest.
Thanks, Kirstin, for taking time out of your busy schedule. I greatly appreciate it. You've been exciting and insightful. May God bless the release of your new book and, of course, your family.