Thursday, August 05, 2010

Yet another star on the horizon...

 This time around, we talk to Deborah Kinnard (otherwise known as my fearless critique partner) about the writing life, about her SEASONS of imminent fame and fortune (!), and...well...stuff.  

1. What was the first thing you ever wrote? Not seriously, for publication...I mean the thing you started on maybe when you were a kid, a story you thought up "just because."  Do you see any influence of that kind of writing in your publishing life now?
I’d better not “see any influence” – the first thing I remember writing, other than my infamous fake “Bonanza” episodes, was a poem about how snowflakes dance when they fall to the ground. I think I was 7 or so at that time. Eww. Mom liked it, though.

2. Other than some obvious moral considerations, how has your faith impacted what and how you write? Do you choose subjects about which you're intrigued, or do you sometimes feel that subjects "choose you"?
The latter, disconcertingly often. I mean, how many authors yearn to write stuff the major publishers avoid like a virulent case of measles?
As far as the faith element, I’m an evangelical Pentecostal with an inborn impatience for doctrinalism in most of its guises. For me, the relationship with Jesus Christ is primary, not what you do on Sunday and what music you enjoy when you sing. So I’m comfortable out of my own personal comfort zone – which of us can tell what kind of believer we’d be in an era with fewer choices?
When I wrote SEASONS IN THE MIST, the story had just come to me, right after I got home from England…a great trip, in which I spent a week wandering Cornwall, just me, a bag of crisps, and a hired (rental) car. In one spot there was an old well with a ruined stone building—little more than the foundations—and my mind instantly insisted the building had once been a chapel, and the well had been holy. The lovers getting acquainted by that well, back in the middle ages, just “popped” into my head and they stuck there until they came out as Bethany and Michael. I can’t help it!
As far as its faith story, SEASONS didn’t have an overt one at first. That came to me slowly—how a noncommitted Christian could take the atmosphere of faith that pervaded the medieval centuries, and use it to bolster her own walk. Bethany starts the book as a lapsed Christian, and ends…well, different. Quite different.

3. You've never been known to be at a loss for a new story idea. Where do you get them all? Is there one "book of your heart" story you still want to tell...someday? 
I wish I could say I have a specific storehouse with 4,367 more ideas in it. I don’t. They just come to me, or I mentally bludgeon an idea until it blossoms a bit more. I do have one story I’m itching to tell—that of the great 14th century English mystic, Julian of Norwich. I’ve got notes for the book but nothing solid enough to start writing, as yet. Since virtually nothing is known of her, aside from her writings, it should end up as a “fictionalized biography.” I hope to do this great woman justice.

4.  What authors would you most like to emulate? Are their styles similar to yours, or so radically different that that's what intrigues you? Do readers tell you your style reminds them of any particular authors?  
 I’ve been told my voice sounds a little like Linda Windsor’s, but that’s both flattering and hard to believe. As far as whom I’d like to emulate, I can’t think of a specific author. How about a blend? The intellectual honesty of Lois McMaster Bujold. The lyrical style of Blythe Gifford. The storytelling ability of Jean Auel (minus the long paragraphs of description!). Given my choice, I think I’d like to be able to write so that readers would say, “Aha! That’s Kinnard!”

5. What do you dream about for your writing career? What advice do you wish you'd listened to more closely earlier on, and what advice have you learned to disregard because it doesn't work for you?
I doubt this makes me unique—I dream about a “Very Nice Deal”! I wish I’d listened to those folks who told me to keep going, since I haven’t always been productive as I’d like. Yet I have no regrets, for the most part. Yes, I went to e-publishing quite early, but it’s been an invaluable education. Particularly now that e-books are gaining sales traction and therefore legitimacy in the market. There are downsides to small press and e-publishing, of course, but I’d never categorically tell an author not to pursue publication unless s/he can get a Big Horking Publisher interested. And I’ve learned not to listen when people tell me there’s no market for medieval!

Thanks, Deb, for the insights!
Order Deb's books through, through Sheaf House,  or the ubiquitous Amazon!

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