Author Spotlight: Kristina M. Stanley, Part Two

Today on Reade and Write I welcome Kristina M. Stanley back to the hot seat. You may recall her last visit, during which she discussed her book Avalanche (which I’ve read and can highly recommend). You can read that post here if you’d like. Kristina is here today to talk about her new book, Look the Other Way. Welcome, Kristina!

Tell me about your new book.

LOOK THE OTHER WAY: A year after her Uncle Bobby mysteriously disappears in the turquoise waters surrounding the Bahamas, Shannon Payne joins her grieving aunt to trace his last voyage. Shannon hopes the serenity of the sea might help her recover from a devastating breakup with her fiancé.

Sailing their 38-foot catamaran, A Dog’s Cat, is Captain Jake Hunter, a disillusioned cop who has sworn off women. While Shannon tries to resist her growing attraction to the rugged captain, she uncovers some dark truths about her uncle’s death that might send all three of them to the depths.

Who is the audience for the book?

Look the Other Way is for mystery readers who like to read books with a little adventure and a little romance.

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

I wrote the first draft during the summer of 2012, but long before that my life had already started to influence what I would write. In the fall of 2009, my husband, Mathew, and I started our journey across the Gulf Stream from Florida to the Bahamas. We were aboard our catamaran, Mattina, feeling pretty good about the day…

But no matter how much you plan, the weather can sneak up on you.

We set out from the Florida coast at 11 at night in flat seas, low winds and a perfect weather forecast. Just enough wind to keep our sails up and the boat moving at 6 to 8 knots.

By the next morning, the wind and seas grew. You can see by the foul weather jacket Mathew is wearing that we knew a storm was coming.

Little did I know this day would be research for Look The Other Way.  Bigger seas, stronger winds. Too bad I’d put the camera away.

The bilge pump started – which it shouldn’t if the bilge is dry – and my adrenaline rose. Did we have a leak? Were we taking on water? Now, I can’t ruin the surprise, because I used this adventure in one of the scenes in Look The Other Way

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Keeping track of the wind direction and what tack the boat was on.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

I’d love to see Jennifer Lawrence play the part of Shannon Payne.

Tell us about your other books.

I’ve written the Stone Mountain Series. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCHE are the first three in the series. They take place in the depths of the British Columbian Mountains. All three are mysteries. I guess I love to write about places I’ve lived.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I write best when I’m alone. I have beta readers, but I don’t belong to a critique group. I live in the remote mountains of British Columbia, Canada, so there aren’t many writers around. There are a lot of bears, but they don’t help much…

Do you write every day?

I’ve never been a person who writes every day, except when I’m participating in Nanowrimo (for those of you who aren’t familiar with this reference, it’s National Novel Writing Month–November).

What authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I read almost exclusively mysteries, but I don’t have a favorite author. I like to read as many different authors as I can. I find a lot of them through my Mystery Monday series where other authors give writing tips and talk about their latest book. If anyone is interested in guest blogging, just let me know. I’m now scheduling for 2018.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

I like to be with my husband anywhere we can be active outside.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write a lot. It’s like anything else you do. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

Describe yourself in three words.

I’m going to give you a sentence instead of three words: Do the fun bits first!

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

I’m the co-founder and CEO of Feedback Innovations, a company started to help writers rewrite better fiction. I love the self-editing process and want to help other writers learn how to do a structural edit on their own work.

Where can readers connect with you?

www.KristinaStanley.com

Https://Fictionary.co 

Where can readers find your books?

All of my books are for sale on Amazon.  (http://amzn.to/28Qxdcs)

Thanks for visiting, Kristina! Good luck with your new book–I’m really looking forward to it!

Until next time,

Amy

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The Thousand Islands

As regular readers of my blog know, my first novel, Secrets of Hallstead House, is coming out in July. It’s set in the Thousand Islands. For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to be familiar with the region, the Thousand Islands is an area that stretches for about fifty miles from Southern Ontario, Canada, into Northern New York.

Here’s a good way to picture it: if you think of the St. Lawrence River as a huge unclasped necklace, the Thousand Islands are its emerald jewels.

Part of my goal in writing the novel was to acquaint readers with the region. I’m hoping this blog post will serve as a primer for people who don’t know the area and as a good memory for those who do know it.

I grew up close to the river, and I spent lots of time there as a child and young adult. The place I remember most vividly is an island called Lazy Bea Isle. It’s not known by that name anymore because it has changed owners, but the island used to belong to my grandmother’s aunt and uncle and I spent lots of time there as a child. We used to stay there during the summer sometimes. It was never like camping, which I don’t love, because there was a big cottage and a bathroom and shower and kitchen and all the things one needs for comfort. It always smelled like pine trees. We used to pick huckleberries from the wild bushes that grew there and we could go fishing and swimming right off the rocks in front of the cottage. The island wasn’t far from Schermerhorn’s Landing; we could walk through the woods near Schermerhorn’s and row a small boat that was kept there over to the island. Or we could hop on my grandfather’s boat at the landing and take the long way ’round.

My grandfather’s boat is another thing I remember well. He and my grandmother and the six people in my family would pile in on a Saturday and just ride around for a few hours. We would take a cooler with lunch and there was always Fresca, which is still my favorite soda. My grandfather kept his boat until I was in my 20s, when he finally had to sell it.

And then there’s Boldt Castle, which makes an appearance in my book. It’s an actual castle located on Heart Island, not far from Alexandria Bay, NY. The three photos below, taken by H. Ross Ney, give a glimpse of its splendor and magnificence. If you ever have a chance to visit the Thousand Islands, don’t leave until you’ve toured Boldt Castle.

Amy Picture 2

Amy Picture 3

Amy Picture 1

The St. Lawrence River is where I learned to water ski, too. I always wished I could be as good as my aunt, but I never achieved that kind of skill. I had a hard time jumping the wake, so I always stayed inside its boundaries. She could ski inside or outside the wake, and on one foot. I couldn’t do that, either. It’s been a long time since I was on water skis and I’ll probably never do it again, but it’s a great memory that I cherish.

My favorite memories are really more of a feeling than a remembrance of certain places. It was a feeling of freedom, of joy, of amazement at the size and majesty of the river, the different beauty of each island, the quiet, and the sheer fun of being on the water. The memories are part of me. I hope that someday you have a chance to visit this wonderful place.

Many thanks to Ross Ney for taking the time to send me the beautiful pictures of the castle and the river.

What are your favorite memories of growing up? I’d love to hear them.

Until next week,

Amy