Thanks for joining us today on Interview with the Awethors. Today I have a special treat for you guys! Today we have mystery author, Kristina Stanley here!
Kristina Stanley is the author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her books have garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. Crime Writers of Canada nominated DESCENT for the 2014 Unhanged Arthur award. The Crime Writers’ Association nominated BLAZE for the 2014 Debut Dagger. She is also published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
William: Thank you for joining me today, Kristina. In your novel, Descent, were there any personal experiences that helped you write the story?
Kristina: I did work at a ski resort as the director of human resources, security and guest services and that certainly influenced my work. No one was murdered while I worked at the resort, but I did have a lot of interaction with ski racers, tuners and coaches. I’ve alpine skied, snowshoed, cross-country skied, and snowmobiled. All of these activities take place in Descent, but or course in a dramatic fashion. I didn’t personally experience the dramatic lifestyle of Kalin Thompson, but she was fun to write about.
William: Do you feed any characteristics of people in you personal life into the characters in your novel?
Kristina: Only the dogs. The dogs in my novels are based on real dogs that have been in my life. This started when my beautiful yellow lab, Chica, died at the age of four. I was heartbroken and added her to Descent as a tribute. She fit the story since many people living in or close to the wilderness have a dog. I think she brings a sense of reality to Kalin and Ben. Farley, my soft-coated wheaten terrier, makes his debut in Blaze.
For people, I like to make them up from scratch. It’s much more fun that way, and I’m not restricted by anything I know about a real person. I’d worry that if I drew from people around me, I wouldn’t create the best possible story for my characters.
William: In Descent, I really enjoyed getting to know Kalin and how she would be the first person to jump into any situation . Describe your character Kalin in one word, and why?
Whatever Kalin takes on, whether it is in her personal or her professional life, she lives it fully. There is no half way. In each Stone Mountain Mystery, Kalin drives the story forward by searching for the villain in her small community. And sometimes, the villain is someone she’s close to.
William: You’ve done a fantastic job building Kalin as a character in this mystery series. When did you discover that you had a niche for writing mystery novels?
Kristina: I’ve always loved reading mystery novels, so it seemed like the natural genre for me to write in. Unless I’m reading non-fiction, I want to disappear in a story, so I wanted to write stories where others can do the same. I like to refer to Descent as a winter beach read.
William: A winter beach read, I love that. What kind of creative atmosphere assists in producing the story?
Kristina: When I am creating the story, I like to work in silence without interruption. I spent many hours living aboard my sailboat, Mattina (http://kristinastanley.com/2014/02/24/writing-platform/ ), and found that environment conducive to creativity. Somehow a gentle breeze, a light rocking, and a cockpit all to myself was the perfect environment for writing. Being in fresh air most of the day also helps creativity. I have to be physically writing, and by that I mean typing or using a pen, to be creative. Sitting around drumming up ideas in my head without putting them to a page doesn’t work for me.
William: It’s like my English professor always told me, “Don’t sit and contemplate, just write what comes to mind…” Was there anyone that influenced you and pushed you to write?
Kristina: Writing came from within me. I’ve had lots of encouragement from friends, family and other authors. I’m not sure where the drive or interest came from. I have a Combined Honors in Computer Mathematics and spent 15 years in a high tech career in the telecommunications industry. Somewhere along the line, I decided to write. I spent almost 6 years working in a ski resort and when I left, I developed the Stone Mountain Mystery Series.
William: Here’s a question many readers and writers ask each other, what are you currently reading?
Kristina: I’m reading a Cafe Paradise by Carol Balawyder (http://carolbalawyder.com). It’s not the type of book, I normally read as it’s not a mystery, but I’m enjoying it. One of the best side effects of blogging and connecting with other authors online is I find I read a wider set of books in genres I wouldn’t normally pick up. I’ve discovered many great books this way that I would otherwise have missed out on.
William: Do you have any advice that may help writers struggling with productivity in the craft?
Kristina: Be persistent. The only way to get better is to practice, listen to feedback, and practice more. At some point, you have to prioritize your writing over other activities in your life. When you do this, you’ll find the time to write.
If you’re looking for something to read and you haven’t read Descent yet, now is your chance before Blaze comes out on October 25, 2015. Find Descent at: http://mybook.to/Descent
Also, check out Kristina’s page at: