Jen: Today we welcome Kristin Wallace to Romancing the Book. Kristin, will you share a short bio with us?
Kristin: Growing up Kristin devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. 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. This is the second book in the Covington Falls Chronicles. Be sure to check out the first book in the series, MARRY ME.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Kristin: Acting Up is the second book in my Covington Falls Chronicles series. (Book one is Marry Me) The story centers on Addison Covington, television’s reigning Ice Queen (think Alexis Carrington from Dynasty). When Addison’s husband (who is the producer of her show) falls in love with her on screen daughter, she loses her marriage and career. She goes to Covington Falls to escape the press and figure out how to revive her career and winds up being asked to direct the high school musical. Her love interest is Ethan Thomas, widowed father and principal of the school. I think the idea for Acting Up really came out of my love for theatre and drama. I starred in several plays and musical in junior and senior high and even majored in Theatre in college. I loved the idea of setting the events of my book around a musical. It was fun getting to know the cast that makes up the cast of the show. I even got to make up lyrics to my fictional musical, which was great.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Kristin: I started writing stories as far back as high school, but I always did it clandestinely and for my own fun. It never occurred to me that I could make writing a career. I didn’t major in English or Journalism. I was a theatre major in college. After school I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then when I was around 25 I had a great epiphany that I was supposed to be an author. I wrote and submitted manuscripts for a few years and got nowhere. I ended up putting the writing aside to go back to school to study advertising copywriting. Then I worked for several years. I would still write stories occasionally and when I hit 35 I had another epiphany. I realized I’d been writing my stories for 10 years and if the impulse hadn’t gone away in all that time it must mean something. I decided to try again. I joined Romance Writers of America and a local chapter, Florida Romance Writers. I finally learned the craft of writing a novel. It still took many more years and many rejections to sell my first book. Then last year at this time I took part in an online pitch session on the Savvy Authors website. I got two requests for full manuscripts and within days I had two offers. One year later I have two books out and a third in July
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Kristin: Sometimes it’s hard for me picture a celebrity as my characters since they’re so specific in my mind. I could see Heather Locklear as Addison. Blond, gorgeous, sexy, and she’s already played the ultimate TV Ice Queen on Melrose Place. Or maybe Nicolette Sheridan in her Desperate Housewives glory. For Ethan Thomas I think Matthew McConaughey would be great. He’s got the perfect Southern drawl and sweet sex appeal.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Kristin: Well, I’ve only had the one book out till now so most of the comments are about that. Marry Me is about a cynical single woman (Julia Richardson) who hates weddings but who winds up running a wedding planning business. Her love interest is Seth Graham, the widowed local minister. I’ve loved the reaction to Seth from readers. I think they are surprised that he is so “human” and very much a man experiencing a newfound desire after losing his wife. I’ve had a couple people say that he’s very sexy and even a little naughty, which makes me laugh. I guess ministers aren’t supposed to be that way?
Jen: What’s been the highlight of your career to this point?
Kristin: That would definitely be the debut of my first book, MARRY ME, which came out in October 2013. It was such a long journey to that point; nearly 17 years from the time I first figured out I wanted to be a writer. When I finally sold that book to Astraea Press last year it was a real dream come true.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Kristin: I had a real launch party. We held it in a private room of a restaurant. I had people from my church, friends from my writer’s groups (Florida Romance Writers) and co-workers so it was quite the eclectic mix of people. Since the first book was about a reluctant wedding planner the decorations had a definite wedding theme. I borrowed bridesmaids’ dresses from friends and hung them up on the walls all over the room. The uglier the better. Someone gave me four 80s-era dresses and they were fantastic. Then I ordered a bunch of funny wedding cake toppers. One featured the bride sitting on the groom to keep him from running, and another had the groom with a ball and chain around his ankle. My mom helped me decorate Styrofoam “cakes” and we glued the toppers onto those. They looked so cute. I read an excerpt and then answered questions about the book and my writing. It was a great night.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Kristin: Book three in the series (Imagine That) comes out July 1st. That book centers around a bestselling children’s book author, Emily (E.J.) Sinclair who “loses” her imagination and then sets out on a quest to revive it. When her car dies on the outskirts of Covington Falls she decides to stay for awhile, hoping that the quirky charm of the town will provide the inspiration she needs to write again. Nate Cooper is a blue-collar house painter who doesn’t have much use for books, especially because his mother is battling cancer and he’s stepping in to help with kid brother. Emily and Nate are as different as possible and yet they are perfect for each other.