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 Power of More-Than-One

This past Sunday I had the rare treat of getting together for brunch with some of the members of Women Who Write, a community of women writers based in northern New Jersey.  I had to drive two hours to get to the brunch since I live in far southern New Jersey, but I wouldn’t have missed it.  Within Women Who Write, there are a large number of women with hugely varying interests in writing:  poetry, children’s books, picture books, young adult, middle grade, fiction, screenplays, and the list goes on.

Members of Women Who Write are invited to join critique groups in which members submit pieces of writing for feedback by other writers.  I am a member of the only online critique group in Women Who Write (all the other groups meet in person), and the members of my group write in several different genres.  We are a mix of women of different ages with different careers and interests, but we have one passion that brings us all together…writing.  We submit our pieces of writing once a month and a few weeks later each member of the group submits her critique of each submission.

At brunch on Sunday we got talking about the importance of being in a group, and I was thinking on the drive home that being part of a group, even if it’s just a group of two, can have a huge affect on a person.

First, being in a group makes you accountable to people other than yourself.  There have been times when the women in my group, myself included, have been unable to submit because of other commitments or schedules that are way too full.  But each of us feels like we’re letting the group down when we can’t submit.  We have made a commitment and we know that in order for the group to work optimally for everyone, we all need to submit.

Second, being in a group helps you set and keep goals.  Each November brings the NaNoWriMo challenge.  For those of you who don’t know what this is, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is an opportunity for writers from all over the world to challenge themselves to write a novel in one month.  The goal is 50,000 words.  The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that the challenge is the same for everyone.  Not everyone enters the challenge intending to write a novel; lots of people join just to give themselves a kick-start, to see how many words they can write if they really focus for an entire month.  But the goal of 50,000 words is there if people wish to give it a try.  The amount of online support from the writing community is enormous, and that support is what helps many writers keep pushing towards and even beyond their goal.

Third, being in a group encourages you to meet people you might not otherwise have met.  I am a member of a Pilates studio where I have met some wonderful people in my community that I would probably not normally run into in the course of my daily activities.  They have become an important part of my day, and I miss seeing and talking to them when I can’t get to the studio for a day or two.  They are a diverse group of people with interests and hobbies different from mine, and it’s great to get out of my own world every day and talk to these wonderful people.

Finally, being in a group is healthy!  Whether I’m going to the Pilates studio or a brunch in northern New Jersey (or meeting other people while I’m walking my dog or going to a PTA meeting or the list goes on and on), I’m getting out and talking to others and maybe moving- just a little- out of my comfort zone.  It’s great for my attitude and keeps me from getting bogged down by the things that go on in my own day.  And on the rare occasion that I don’t enjoy my time in a group, well, that just helps me to appreciate the time I spend alone at my desk even more.  And that’s good, too.

Are you part of any groups?  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Until next week,

Amy

Happy New Year!

On this, the last day of 2013, I would like to take a moment to wish all of you a very happy and healthy 2014!

Since I copped out on writing a real blog post last week, I thought I’d give you all a thrill today by sharing some of my New Year’s resolutions with everyone.  My immediate family is sick of hearing about them, so I’m inflicting them on a whole different group of people.

First, I want to improve my writing.  It is said that practice makes perfect, but is there such a thing as perfect writing?  I don’t believe there is.  I believe that practice makes better, so I’m going to get more practice.  My second novel is due to the publisher on June 1st, so I know I’ll be writing and revising until then.  I have some ideas rattling around in my head for my third novel, so I’m hoping to start it right after the manuscript gets sent off to my editor on June 1st.  And after that?  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll even try my hand at NaNoWriMo in November.  The important thing for me is to keep writing and keep improving.

Second, I want to get better at using social media.  I want to Tweet more often.  And I want to update my Facebook status more often.

Third, I want to take more pictures.  Pictures of people, of things, of places.  Posed pictures and candid pictures.  And I want to print them out and put them in albums that my kids can hold in their hands and peruse.  We took so many pictures when the kids were small, but we’ve slacked off as they’ve gotten older.  And those we have taken remain on camera cards or phones or the computer.  We love to look through the old albums, and I’d love to have more of those.

Fourth, I’m going to replace the closet doors in each of my children’s rooms.  They’ve been off their hinges for two years now, and that’s just embarrassing.

Fifth, I want to clean out the attic and the garage.  If you haven’t seen my attic or my garage, consider yourself lucky.  I could work on nothing but those two spaces all year and probably not finish them, so I’ll be happy if I just make some visible headway.

Finally, I want to run a 5K.  I am not a runner, but I’d like to give it a try.  I have one in mind, and if I actually sign up I’ll let you know how it goes.

Next year at this time, I’ll let you know how I did with my resolutions.  While I hope to accomplish everything on my list and many more things I didn’t mention here, I guess my main objective is to, at the very least, make some progress toward each of my goals.  And if I think of a new resolution before the end of 2014 (I can guarantee I will), I’ll try to implement it right away and not wait until a new year begins to make changes.  Do you have any resolutions for 2014?  Care to share them?

Until next week,

Amy