Today I have the privilege of hosting Deborah Kinnard. Deborah is a multipublished author, writing Christian fiction in several genres. She has two books soon to be released, so she's here to talk about those and herself, among other things today.
SW: Deb, would you please tell us a little about yourself?
DK: Not much of great note to tell. I’m a soccer mom, a loud singer at church (mostly on-key), wife of 23 years and mom of two practically perfect daughters. I speak Spanish well, German poorly and I’m trying to learn Italian but it’s been quite a slog.
SW: When did you first become interested in writing?
DK: I was ten. “Bonanza” was on and the total testosterone overload really hacked me off. Of course, I didn’t call it that at the time...I took a pencil and some notebook paper and wrote an episode about Vanessa, the long-lost Cartwright daughter. She had her own pony (natch) and had plenty of adventures on the Ponderosa. From there I wrote more episodes, moved on to dreadful poetry and teenage love stories, then novels.
SW: What genres do you prefer writing/reading?
DK: I like most of the romance sub-genres save for paranormal. Those just don’t speak to me at all. Historicals are fine with me as long as they’re not set in the U.S., or in Europe after about 1500. Every romance reader has her “pet” time frames and specialties, and these are just mine. I also read science fiction when I get the chance.
SW: I like scifi too. It usually surprises people since I write historical. Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?
DK: In the late 90s Time-Warner started a short-lived venture called iPublish. The short version is that it became a writers’ online community, and I made lots of cyber-friends and some good contacts. From there I found out about Treble Heart Books. I was so green, I sent the poor editor a query for nine different books! She was gracious and kind, said “How about we just deal with one at a time?”
Since that first e-book she published, I’ve had six others. Regarding most of these at one time or another, I’ve heard, “This will simply not sell.”
I’m not only exceedingly stubborn but willing to look at smaller presses than some of the large CBA type houses. So when I repeatedly heard “No”, particularly on ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN, I just kept sending it out. Finally Desert Breeze said “Whoa! Yes, we want it!”
I think a writer must strike a balance between writing “to the market” and writing the story that’s on our heart NOW. Mind you, I haven’t sold everything I’ve ever completed, but so far I’ve got a pretty fair track record, by God’s grace, at selling those unsellable books.
SW: I have Angel with a Ray Gun on my Kindle right now! I haven't read it yet, but it's there and waiting, and I'm getting closer on my list.
How do you balance writing and family?
DK: I’m still learning. There are times when a book insists on skarfing up most of my time. If it’s going along really well, sometimes it’s hard to break away and do the laundry or cook the supper or what have you. Thank God my kids like carry out pizza.
SW: That makes me feel so much better! I can't tell you how many times I've scrambled eggs for dinner, since I forgot to thaw anything to cook.
How do you approach a new project? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you have a general idea and just go to it and see where it leads?
DK: I am an unrepentant seat-of-the-pants writer. Sometimes I get a character, sometimes a narrative scene, sometimes a dialogue-bit that’ll start me off. I don’t write outlines or synopses beforehand. So my writing is kind of a “hope this works” sort of thing until I get the first draft done. I invariably research during the writing of the first draft and as often thereafter as necessary.
SW: You have several books coming out. Care to tell us a little about them?
DK: Sure! SEASONS IN THE MIST will be out April 1. This is a time-travel romance (unsellable, of course) set in Cornwall, England in 1353. I drew the setting from a place I stayed on a memorable vacation some years back. The other unsellable book that’s coming out, also April 1, is called DAMAGES. It’s a contemporary “second chance at love” story where two old flames re-unite in what’s intended to be a platonic relationship. But love takes a hand...
SW: So April is a big month for you! Congratulations! Was there a specific inspiration behind each story?
DK: For SEASONS, it was a story I “knew”, since I’d written it in very rough draft in the 80s. Its inspiration was my decades-long fascination with the middle ages in England, and a scene I imagined where a couple commits to one another alongside a holy well. Really.
SW: Wow, it must feel great to see that story come to fruition. In your book, DAMAGES, can you tell us a little about the characters, and what you as a writer find endearing about them?
DK: I like both of these people a lot. One of them was modeled a little bit after a longtime friend. The hero, Brian, can be a bit of a freight train once he catches an idea. Cassidy, the heroine, serves as the brakes on the train. Together they complement one other, since each has strengths the other lacks. What could make for a cooler love story?
SW: Definitely sounds like a great love story, and also a good example for young couples as to what a healthy relationship should look like. What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing? Any long term goals?
DK: I’d like to look back when I’m in my 90s and be able to say that my writing influenced at least one reader toward faith in my Lord Jesus Christ. That will be enough for me.
SW: Any ideas for future projects?
DK: I have a sequel in the works to SEASONS IN THE MIST. Its working title in SEASONS OF RECKONING, and so far it’s being a balky brat to write. But I’ll whip it into shape. Sheaf House has expressed interest in a three-book continuity. The third book is percolating in my brain. For Desert Breeze, I have a novella called ALOHA, MY LOVE coming out in next December’s Christmas anthology. After that, who can say?
SW: Congratulations on those! You'll have to visit again and tell us about them when they release. What about other hobbies?
DK: I read a lot, LOL. I do needlework when I have time, which isn’t often nowadays.
SW: I think most writers consider writing to be as much of a hobby as a career. It's just too fun -- most of the time. But it's good to have something to do that also lets your mind wonder. My mom does needlework too. I make jewelry, which is why I use it as giveaways. Otherwise I'd have no place to put it, and I certainly can't wear it all!
Other than your books, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along?
DK: You bet! I just finished Lisa Wingate’s superb NEVER SAY NEVER. It’s a terrific read and true-funny in a way Wingate handles very, very well. For nonfic, I’m reading 1066, a history of the Norman conquest of England. Very informative, somewhat revisionist, and well written.
Thanks for asking!
SW: Deb, thank you so much for stopping by. Best of luck with your current and future books. God bless!
For more on Deborah Kinnard and her books:
OH! Almost forgot. I have a really cute pair of silver, faceted onyx and clear quartz dangle earrings to give away. I'd don't have a pic available at the moment, but I try to get one tomorrow -- assuming I can find the camera. Leave a comment for Deb, and I'll enter you in the drawing. Good luck, and have a great week!