Interview with Kristen Joy Wilks
Today it's my great joy to introduce Kristen Joy Wilks to you. See what I did there??? A joy to introduce Kristen Joy.
Give me a break. I haven't blogged in forever and my brain is mush. I'm one week into using my APAP machine and, although I do think it's making a difference, I still feel sleep deprived. More on that in a later blog post.
Kristen is a dear friend. Her husband is one of my husband's best friends. He and my son can be found at the camp Kristen and her husband run at every gaming weekend they can possibly manage.
When did you first fall in love with writing?
I was the only child in my first grade class to get to go to a young writer’s conference and hear Steven Kellogg speak. I bought the book, A Rose for Pinkerton, there and kept it so long that I was able to read it to my own sons before it fell apart. It was a shock to find out that someone thought I could be a writer and after that teacher encouraged me, I glommed onto that dream and wrote many crazy stories all through my childhood. But it was when I was a newlywed (2001) up in Canada going to Bible College while my husband attended seminary that I began to write seriously, with publication in mind. I passed by a flyer for a distance writing class every time we went to the store, looked at it, picked it up several times, but never took one. My husband saw the same flyer, grabbed it and gave it to me. “You should do this!” He gave me the courage to actually try.
When is your best writing time? Why?
4:00AM until my family wakes up. I write at other times, right now I’m writing over at the camp where we work in the middle of the rowdiness of a high school camp, but I love the quiet of the house in the early morning.
How many stories do you have published? Are they all with this publisher?
I have five romantic comedies published, all with Pelican Book Group. I’ve written 18 different book manuscripts, 2 picture books, 6 middle grade novels, 3 young adult novels, and 7 RomComs one of which is for a YA audience.
If you could visit only one of the settings of your stories, which would it be? Why?
I would love to visit the area around the Lena River in Siberia, Russia!!! I set a gothic Christmas mystery there and loved researching the setting!
What was your inspiration for this story and/or for your main characters?
The terrifying waring signs at Yellowstone National Park! We took our sons there when they were 12, 10, and 8 and reading these stern warnings and gazing at the accompanying terrifying drawings of people succumbing to various perils (bear attack, bison goring, geyser eruptions, breaking thermal ground) was a highlight for our boycentric family. The same child was drawn on all the signs and we named him Jimmy. Poor Jimmy, he was attacked at every turn and that got me thinking. What a great setting for a RomCom! If I had some way to motivate one character to break all of these reasonable rules (missing dog) and then pitted another character against them who wanted to keep them from dying a terrible park-relation death, then tension would abound!
What's your favorite scene in this story? Why?
I love the scene where my heroine charges into a herd of bison. Hmmm … I also love the scene where my hero sternly lectures her about the dangers of thin thermal ground and then gets hurt himself. And of course several bear scenes were inspired by family stories. My maternal grandfather was feeding a bear marshmallows at Yellowstone (the park actually sold marshmallows as bear food at that time) and ended up being chased by the bear around and around their campfire. Plus, my paternal grandmother was bluff-charged by a bear when she came upon a kill it was feeding on. These were very helpful as I wrote my own scary bear story!
What's the one, main thing you want your readers to take away from this story?
I hope that my girl character who overcomes her difficult past to become a new creation in Christ and my guy who uses his strength to honor God and choose sexual purity will inspire readers that yes, God loves them so so much regardless of their mistakes and yes, He can give them the strength to choose Him in every aspect of their lives!
What's one thing you haven't been asked about this story, you, or your writing you wish had been asked? What's your answer?
Do you write limericks for perspective literary agents and give them to that agent at conferences during the dessert social? And the answer is...Yes!
Kristen Joy Wilks lives in the beautiful Cascade Mountains with her camp director husband, three fierce sons, and a large and slobbery Newfoundland dog. She has blow-dried a chicken, fought epic Nerf battles instead of washing dishes, transported a gallon bag of cooked bacon inside her purse, and discovered a smuggled gardener snake in her sons’ bubble bath. Her stories, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Nature Friend, Clubhouse, Thriving Family, Keys for Kids, The Christian Journal, Splickety, Spark, and Havok. She writes romantic comedies for Pelican Book Group, including Copenhagen Cozenage, The Volk Advent, Athens Ambuscade, Spider Gap, and Yellowstone Yondering. Kristen loves to write about the humor and Grace that can be found amidst the detritus of life. Much like the shiny quarter one member of their household swallowed and then found in the pot four days later. If God is good enough to grant us these gems, she figures that someone should be putting them to the page. Kristen can be found tucked under a tattered quilt in an overstuffed chair at 4:00am writing a wide variety of implausible tales, or at www.kristenjoywilks.com. If you would rather enjoy photos of charging bison, Newfoundland dogs, and attacking squid then by all means visit her “What I’m Writing About” board on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/kristenjwilks7/what-im-writing-about/