“Interview with Kristina Stanley, Author of DESCENT and BLAZE in the Stone Mountain Mystery Series” by Joan Y. Edwards
Hello, Kristina. Thank you for joining me on my blog today.
You’re welcome, Joan. I can’t wait to meet the readers on your blog and tell them about my new books, Descent and Blaze. I hope they’ll leave comments and ask questions.
I believe they will. Let’s get started.
- Where were you born?
Ottawa, but the real question is where did I grow up. By the time I finished high-school, I’d moved several times. Here’s the list: Ottawa, Boston, Kingston, Stockholm, Kingston, Stockholm, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Tokyo, Ottawa, Unteruhldingen, Ottawa, the Caribbean, Panorama, the Bahamas, Panorama. And on it goes, it hope.
- Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why?
The family cottage. Since I moved so often, it was the one constant in my life. This is where I hung with my family and friends and could just be free to play.
- Where is your favorite place to live now? Why?
That’s a hard question. We’ve lived so many places and all have beautiful things about them. I’d have to say I like to live where I can be physically active outdoors each day.
- How did you do in English in high school?
I’m embarrassed to say, English was not my strong suit. I’m a math woman at heart. I have an honors degree in computer mathematics. Grammar in school used to drive me crazy!
- When did you decide to become an author?
Late one night in Unteruhldingen, Germany I was reading MOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU by Mary Higgins Clark. The opening—a woman trapped in a grave. Darkness and silence surround her, and she doesn’t know where she is. I can still see her fingers clawing at the edges of the coffin.
Tucked in my bed, I knew a driver would arrive at 4 a.m. to carry me to the Zurich airport for a flight to London, England. The sensible thing to do was sleep. But I couldn’t. I turned pages until the car arrived. I was exhausted, bleary eyed and excited. At that moment I knew I wanted to write something that forced a person to read and to forget about life for a while.
When I finally started my first novel, I’d been living in a ski resort for five years. Skiing is one of my passions and seemed the obvious topic.
- Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as a writer?
Joan Barfoot, author of EXIT LINES and many other books, was my mentor through the Humber School for Writers Creative Writing by Correspondence Post Graduate course. She taught me to pay attention to the craft of writing and not just the art.
Her advice: Learn how to use punctuation and grammar! You wouldn’t try to paint without knowing how to create colors by mixing them, would you? Or play the piano without practicing the scales? This advice stayed with me, and I often refer to Joan’s notes on that novel, reminding myself what she taught me.
- Tell me about the Series?
DESCENT occurs in winter. BLAZE follows in the spring with arson. AVALANCHE occurs the following winter and is about a theft, and yes, you guessed it, an avalanche.
The fourth in the series, which I haven’t named yet, takes place in the summer and a murder occurs during an ATV adventure. Of course, the who, what, where, when and why of the murder could change by the time I finish the novel. If you happen to have an idea for the title of the fourth novel that fits with the preceding three and is one word, comment below and let me know.
- What’s your favorite book? Why?
My answer my sound trite, but it’s usually the book I’m reading. I love reading every day. Mostly I read in the mystery genre, but I like fantasy, sci-fi and the paranormal, too. I like to read books by authors I have connection with and that will take me to any genre.
- Did you outline and plan your stories before you wrote them or did these stories develop on their own as you wrote them?
First I created the crime. For DESCENT, I was enjoying the sun at the cottage. Water lapped on the rocks. Wind kept the temperature cool. My mind wandered…How to kill a ski racer? I won’t give the answer, or I’d spoil the story, but I had the how of the crime. Once I know the crime, I like to build my cast of characters and work with them for a while. What would drive a balanced person to murder? How do the characters know each other? How did a relationship change from love to hate? These questions lead me through the plot.
If I knew up front how the story ended, I don’t think I’d be interested in writing it.
- How much research did you have to do for writing and/or publishing your books or manuscript in progress? What helped you in doing your research?
I spent almost six years as the director of human resources, guest services and security at an isolated ski resort in British Columbia. Much of my technical knowledge comes from this experience. The job gave me connections with the fire department and the RCMP which were very helpful with my research. The people I worked with at the ski resort still assist me with technical details about snow making, running lifts, etc. I think making the right connections has been the most helpful in my research.
- What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer, so far?
This question made me think. I’ve had so many. I think the answer is when I submitted Avalanche to the Humber School for Writers Correspondence program. This was a big moment because I felt like I’d completed a novel, even though it was in draft form and not ready for public consumption. I think this was the moment I knew I was taking writing seriously.
- Did you have trouble saying goodbye to your characters once the book was finished?
This is an easy one. I write the Stone Mountain Mystery series, so I don’t have to say goodbye to a character if I don’t want too. They can live on in the next book.
- What is your favorite genre? Why?
Mystery, I love a mystery. I’m not a big fan of too much violence, so I love books where there is a crime, but most of the story is about finding the villain.
- What’s your favorite book you’ve written? Why?
Avalanche. I wrote it first, even though it is the third in the series, so it’s my “baby”.
- What are 5 things a writer should check when revising a manuscript?
- spelling and grammar – without this, you may lose readers.
- entry and exit points for each scene. Are you in control of how you get in and out of scenes and do you do this in a variety of way?
- what is the point of a scene – this is an important question to ask yourself for each scene. If you don’t know the point, then maybe delete the scene.
- empty stage – are your characters just talking and the reader doesn’t know anything about where they are.
- point of view – who has the point of view and do you stay consistent throughout a scene.
- How did you know your manuscript was ready for submission to an editor or agent?
After finishing the Humber School for Writers correspondence course, I wasn’t ready. After the summer workshop, Mary Gaitskill supported me in a submission to an agent. I think the answer is to get an opinion or two from a professional to help guide you.
- Which publisher or agent did you choose for your manuscripts? How did you find your publisher or agent?
I found my publisher, Imajin Books, by reading a novel by Cheryl Kaye Tardif. Her style is similar to mine, so I checked to see who her publisher was. As it turned out, Cheryl is the CEO of Imajin Books. I waited until Imajin Books was open for submissions and sent in my work. I followed the guidelines carefully and had my work submitted seconds after the opening time.
- Which blog posts do you have the most fun writing?
The posts I have the most fun writing are Farley’s Friday. I look for humorous days in my dog’s life to write stories from his point of view. I love writing from Farley’s point of view. Here’s one: http://kristinastanley.com/2015/07/24/farleys-friday-where-can-a-dog-go-shopping/
Kristina Stanley was the director of security at an isolated resort in the depths of the Purcell Mountains, British Columbia. Her time in that job and her love of skiing led her to write 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 (July 2015, Imajin Books) for the Unhanged Arthur award for the best unpublished crime novel. The Crime Writers’ Association nominated BLAZE for the Debut Dagger (to be published fall 2015, Imajin Books).
Purchase DESCENT as an E-book or paperback on Amazon in many countries.
The following link will take you to the Amazon in your geographic area: Kristina Stanley’s book/DESCENT http://www.amazon.com/Descent-Stone-Mountain-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B01053N6CA/ref=sr_1_1?tag=geolinker-20&s=books
BLAZE, Book 2 in the Stone Mountain Mystery Series
Instead of exchanging vows, Kalin Thompson spends her wedding day running from a forest fire near Stone Mountain Resort, and the pregnant friend trapped with her has just gone into labor. Meanwhile, Kalin’s fiancé, Ben Timlin, hangs from the rafters of a burning building, fighting for his life. Can the situation get any hotter?
When the fire is declared as arson, finding the firebug responsible becomes Kalin’s personal mission. In the course of her investigation as Director of Security, she discovers that some people will go to extreme measures to keep her from exposing their secrets.
Amazon Link: http://myBook.to/BLAZEbyKristinaStanley
Connect with Kristina on Social Media:
Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/KristinaStanley.Author
Thank you, Kristina Stanley for being a guest on my blog. It is an honor to have you here.
Thank you to all of you out there in Blogland for reading my blog. Please leave comments or questions for Kristina or for me. We would love to hear from you.
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Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
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Filed under: Interviews, Marketing, Writing | Tagged: Author, BLAZE, Canadian author, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, DESCENT, Farley's Friday, Humber School for Writers Creative Writing, Imajin Books, interview, Joan Barfoot, Kristina Stanley, mystery, Stone Mountain, Stone Mountain Mysteries | 40 Comments »