Jen: Please help us welcome Kristin Wallace to Romancing the Book as her blog tour makes a stop with us. Kristin, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Kristin: Growing up Kristin devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. Her first Golden Book led to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, C.S. Lewis and the Sweet Valley High series. Later, she discovered romance novels and fell in love all over again. It’s no surprise then that Kristin would one day try her hand at writing them. She writes inspirational romance and women’s fiction filled with love, laughter and a leap of faith. When she’s not writing her next novel, Kristin works as an advertising copywriter for clients that have included the Miami Marlins, Discovery Networks, The Peabody Hotel, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and Sea World. She also enjoys singing in her church choir and worship team and playing flute in a community orchestra.
You can connect with Kristin online at:
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Kristin: MARRY ME is a contemporary inspirational romance set in the fictional Southern town of Covington Falls.
Julia Richardson is no fan of weddings. A lifetime of watching her parents treat relationships like the flavor of the month has taught her that love is for fools. Then she learns her former stepsister is having a crisis with her pregnancy. The crisis has Julia returning to the small Southern town she’s been avoiding for years. Before she knows it, Julia’s been pressed into service running her stepsister’s wedding planning business.
Julia doesn’t know a garter from a garden hose, but now she must navigate couples along the bumpy path down the aisle. In the midst of it all, Julia makes the most unexpected discovery of all…love, with widowed minister, Seth Graham. Julia’s been running from love and everything spiritual for most of her life. It’s not until she finds the courage to stop running and learns to believe in the power of love, faith and family that she finds her own “I Do” moment.
Jen: What what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Kristin: That’s a pretty looonnggg story. I was about 25 when I had the great epiphany that I was supposed to be a writer. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing and I got nowhere. After a couple years I put the writing aside and went back to school to study advertising copywriting. I figured I could still write, but actually get paid. Spent two years in school, followed by seven years of working in ad agencies and as a freelance writer. Somewhere in that time I had started writing down ideas for stories. Then one day I stopped. I realized ten years had gone by and I was still overcome with the urge to write books. So I decided to try again. I joined Romance Writers of America and the local chapter, Florida Romance Writers. I learned the craft of writing. I grew into a better writer. Wrote three books. I got an agent. And I still didn’t sell. Not for another seven years when I saw a notice for online pitches through the Savvy Authors website. One of those accepting pitches was Astraea Press, a digital first publishing company specializing in inspirational and sweet fiction and romance. I pitched to them and sold within a few days. So when Is ay “never give up on your dream” I mean it. You never know when the right circumstances will come together. The characters in my book would all say it’s part of a bigger Plan.
That’s actually my author tagline and it describes my books so well. I write inspirational and women’s fiction with romance, lots of humor and a spiritual message about redemption, forgiveness, healing and a love that is truly eternal. Not all my books are inspirational. My women’s fiction books are more general market, but still have many of the same themes. I think the need for love, faith, healing and forgiveness are pretty universal no matter what faith you practice.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Kristin: I’ve never been drawn to the paranormal genre. Vampires and werewolves and stuff just aren’t my thing. I rarely read it, either. But I do have this really odd, funny idea that my friends insist is a paranormal book. This idea won’t leave my head so I might have to try my hand at writing it. It’s about a spoiled heiress who dies and then gets recruited into the Soul Mate Council where it’s her job to help soul mates find each other. It’s based off the old Greek tale that humans were originally two beings who were joined together. They had 4 arms, 4 legs and 2 faces. They angered the gods and as punishment, Zeus separated them. They were then condemned to always be searching for their other half. I saw the quote on a TV show years ago and always thought… what if it was someone’s job to help people find their soul mate?
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Kristin: Julia Roberts back when she had the awesome, red, curly hair and Patrick Dempsey a la McDreamy.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Kristin: I love humor so I tend to be drawn to authors who write humor. I want to be Susan Elizabeth Phillips when I grow up. Also love Jennifer Crusie and Rachel Gibson. In the inspirational genre I like Kristin Billerbeck. I’m a big fan of Regency historicals, too. Probably my favorite author right now is Kristan Higgins. She’s one of those writers who can make you laugh and cry all on the same page. Plus, I think she and a few other authors are in large part responsible for the resurgence of contemporary romance. A couple years ago the publishing world had declared that contemporaries were dead (as well as anything funny). It was all vampires or some poor woman running from crazed killers or an abusive ex (romantic suspense). The romance section was nothing but black covers and dark, dark, dark plots. Now there are books that are funny and sweet and a joy to read. Exactly the kind of books I like to write (and read). So I thank Kristan and other writers like Jill Shalvis and Rachel Gibson for that every day.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Kristin: Favorites are hard. I love all my characters. However, I have a special place in my heart for Seth Graham, my guy in MARRY ME because I always say he is largely responsible for direction of the book. I’d had the idea of a cynical woman who has to run a wedding planning business in my head for awhile, but I didn’t know much more about the book. Then I came up with the character of Seth, a widowed minister. Once I had him, the entire story came together almost instantly. I created a fictional town. I also knew who Julia was and why she would be compelled to run a wedding planning business. Seth’s presence in the book also allowed me to introduce a faith element in the story. I never thought I would write an inspirational romance before then. So I believe this book taught me the kind of writer I wanted to be and the kind of books I wanted to create.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Kristin: I have a women’s fiction series that I’m working on about three childhood friends who return to their small Florida home town (I like small town settings obviously) as adults and all end up getting involved reviving an old dinner theater called The Paradise. I have one book finished and two semi-plotted out.