Today I’ll be interviewing Kristen Kooistra, author of Heart of the Winterland, for the Blog World Tour: Fantasy Edition. I’m delighted to have her here on my blog–as a fellow writer, author, and blogger, she and I have shared many stories through our mutual writers’ group.
Welcome to my blog, Kristen! I’ve got some questions for you, the first being one of the most frequently asked questions during author interviews: Why do you write?
Because I have stories to tell and I like the process of perfecting them and getting them all down on paper. I’ve enjoyed reading my whole life and now I hope to pass that on to someone else.
That’s the best reason to write! I’m the same way. And, since you’ve already published your first book and are working on your second, could you explain how you approach publishing, and why?
I chose to go the Indie route. I like to have control of my life and my stuff. I didn’t like the idea of giving part of the profits to a company and I didn’t like the idea of giving over something I worked so hard on to let them do with as they pleased. Basically I’m a control freak! I wanted a cover that matched my vision and I didn’t want to rely on a company to do their best by my book.
That makes total sense. It’s the same reason I chose the Indie route myself. More work, but also more control! Speaking of control, when you write, do you prefer to work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m a diehard pantser. Any sort of planning frustrates me and leads to quitting. It’s not the planning that’s hard, it’s when things don’t go according to plan that I lose patience. I’ve decided it’s better not to have a plan that I won’t follow.
*high fives* Yay, another pantser! I have one more writing question for you, then a couple of personal ones… Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
A gift. I choose to be a writer. A curse would be something I couldn’t help. I have the gift, if and how I choose to use it are up to me. And if I ever get to a point where I forget that, then I’ll have lost sight of the joy writing brings and will try and step back to gain some perspective.
I love that answer. It’s perfect. *pauses to allow readers to soak it in* All right, time for some personal questions. First up, because all writers are (or should be) readers: For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paperback/hardcover books?
Paper/hardback all the way. I love being able to cuddle up anywhere with an actual book. See books on my shelves, browse through covers, turn pages, everything. I’ve never read an ebook in my life (though that’ll be changing shortly as a lot of writers only have ebooks) and I struggle reading anything on my phone or computer (in terms of fiction). I don’t process as well when reading on a device.
I totally get that. If I could carry my library with me in an interdimensional bag, I would. I do have a Kindle Paperwhite, though, and can recommend it as being a useful device (and easier on the eyes than a phone or computer.) Still can’t replace a printed book, though. *checks clock* Time for one more question. What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
Haha, okay, not sure why I’m sharing this because it’s embarrassing, but sadly embarrassing/amusing often goes hand-in-hand.
When I was a kid (12 yrs old at a guess), my mom and siblings went skiing. It was one of the more boring ski resorts, so one of my sisters (about 8 yrs old) and I were trying to liven things up by going off of the course and through patches of trees.
During one of these adventures I fell. Well, I didn’t just fall, I was laying face down in the snow with my legs spread-eagle uphill. And each ski was hooked on a different tree. So I’m laying there, completely stuck. Gravity’s working against me and I cannot move. It was soooo funny that my sister (who was ahead of me, but had stopped when I fell) and I were dying laughing. She was crying from laughing and holding herself to stop from peeing and through the laughter, I tried to ask her for help. She couldn’t take it anymore and left me stranded to rush downhill and to the bathroom!
The whole thing was so hilarious that yes, I did end up wetting myself from laughing. I finally got myself unhooked from the trees and as I was continuing down the hill, I used my walkie-talkie to (still laughing) tell my mom that I’d peed my pants. I sobered up real quick when she hissed, “Kristen, you just told everyone in the lodge, not to mention anyone else on the same channel.”
I wanted to die. It was so embarrassing. But now it’s mostly just funny.
Haha! I burst out laughing, too. What a hilarious (and, yes, embarrassing) tale. Thank you so much for sharing it! *clock chimes* And now it’s time to wrap this interview up.
Thank you for being here today, Kristen, and best of luck with your current and future writing projects!
Kristen Kooistra fell in love with reading at a young age and never resurfaced. She loved solving mysteries, riding across the prairie, and sailing on the open sea. But her favorite books were those that held the fantastical. So when the time came for her to seriously approach publishing a book, it had to be fantasy!
Living in Michigan (her own winterland) with her husband, three kids, and two cats, she has lots of free time . . . Okay, so more like she squeezes in writing time late at night when only the cats are awake to pester her.
Heart of the Winterland is Kristen’s first novel, and though it started as a whim, it grew into so much more and has inspired a sequel(in progress), Heart of the Sorceress.
Tucked into a quiet countryside, Kristen spends most of her time being Mommy. She loves spending time with her family and hopes that her writing will entertain and inspire them as well.
Besides writing, Kristen enjoys reading (of course!), chatting with her writer’s group, sewing, swimming, gardening, and cooking (please no baking!). She’s also developed a fondness for water gun fights with her three year old. Actually, she’s found that most everything become a lot more fun with little kids.