I am so excited to
introduce two amazing ladies. One is the author, Kristy Abbott,
and one is the
illustrator, Danusia Keusder, of the book you see on the right hand
side of my blog.
They are sisters-in-law
and have made their families their number one priority, but are now spreading their wings
and discovering new possibilities for their lives. I first met Kristy at
a USC football game
tailgate party. Several of us were planning a day-long
hike on San
Jacinto mountain. I
remember extending the invitation for Kristy to join us, but she
declined, laughing that her
brother was way too competitive and he would take
the fun out of the experience.
While the rest of us
turned our attention to the challenge of hiking San Jacinto,
Kristy was focusing her
attention on her most recent accomplishment,
publishing her first
novel. You can go to her website http://kristyabbott.com/ to learn more about the compelling
ghost story set against the backdrop of mystical Sedona, Arizona and Minnesota's I-35W
Bridge collapse on August 1, 2007.
Kristy has a passion for
helping others who are interested in publishing a book. On
she asks, "if you are a new writer (or you are thinking
about taking the plunge)
or if you've ever wondered what it's like to be a first time
novelist in today's
dynamic world of publishing, follow Kristy's blog "Writers Say
Kristy has graciously
agreed to let me interview her and offer a copy of her book for two
lucky readers just in
time for the Holidays. I seriously could not put the book down and
was totally moved to
tears through certain parts.
1. When did you
know you wanted to write a book?
I've always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story
in the second grade about a girl desperately wanting a horse--that turned out
to be a driving theme in my life. I ended up moving from Newport Beach to
a hobby farm in Minnesota where I bought horses off of the track and retrained
them, as well as breeding a baby of my own.
I've always been fascinated with the magic of someone having a
specific talent and then miraculously being able to connect--for example, a
young child who learns violin (as so many do) and then becomes a professional
violinist. I am lucky that I've always been connected with this gift
2. What was your
Writing this book was a cathartic experience that helped me work
through issues in my own life. There is nothing like creating a character
and watching them live their lives and realizing that the things that bother
you most about them are the things most present in you at the time.
3. What is your
background and how did you switch to writing?
I've been a writer in some form or another all my professional
life, whether in public relations, consulting or philanthropic work.
4. What did you
love about writing and getting published?
Ever since I was young I had a dream to write a book and see it
in a book store. You can't imagine the surreal experience of walking into
a Barnes & Noble and seeing your book on the shelf! This whole
journey has also boosted my confidence so much. I know that I can really
do anything I set my mind to.
5. Did you ever
have to fight the demons of self-doubt?
The demons of self-doubt are always flitting about. I
don't think anyone hasn't had to brush them away every now and then. The
process of pitching one's book and hoping that someone will find it worthwhile
is really difficult. However, I have learned that rejections may not be
based on the quality of the writing but rather on who the reader is checking
out your work. My #1 piece of advice to writers pitching
projects--know the audience of the person you are trying to sway and determine
whether your product is going to help their bottom line--because publishing is
a business, after all.
6. What were the
major challenges you found along the way?
A. Time Discipline--I was very streaky writing the book.
Sometimes I'd go for days without touching the keyboard and I'd have to
read back to remember where I was in the story.
B. Plot Continuity--I didn't outline the book specifically
before beginning. The process was an organic one. Because of that,
I had to go back many times to make sure the events flowed well and moved the
C. Character Development--Even though I knew those
characters well in my head, I had to make sure readers could see them clearly,
too. It's similar to when you are recounting a great story to a friend
and you struggle to give them the right picture so they can appreciate your experience.
D. Confidence--The question of confidence I think is
directly related to why one writes. I have an inherent need to tell
stories that inspire other people. My main goal comes from this place
inside. It never was to get published first. I think if you write
from your personal writer's voice, you'll have more confidence because your
success is not based on the outcome of your work. Your reward is the work
7. What advice
do you have for aspiring authors?
If you intend to become an "author" you should realize
it's different from being a writer. Because when you are published your
work becomes a product and you have to morph from artist to promoter.
This is very difficult for many writers because they may not naturally be
promoters. They may be introverts who enjoy the solitary craft of
creating. Marketing and selling your book is definitely NOT for the
faint of heart.
8. Do you have
another book planned?
I have a children's picture book due out in March 2014.
Finding Home is the heartwarming story of a homeless cat searching for a
name and a forever family. I was blessed to have my sister-in-law Danusia
Keusder create stunningly beautiful illustrations. She also painted the
cover of "The Ghosted Bridge."
I'm trying to rustle up a screenplay for The Ghosted Bridge and
I'm researching my next novel, set amidst the thoroughbred breeding and racing
industry in Minnesota.
9. What does
your family think about you publishing your first book?
My family has been incredibly supportive. Both my boys
read the manuscript in process and gave me such positive feedback! My
husband has been my manager and chief cheerleader. My sis-in-law Danusia
has held my hand throughout the whole process and the rest of my family has
provided endless love and encouragement, for which I am so thankful!
10. Who has been
your biggest supporter in this journey?
To be honest, one of the biggest supporters of the book is my
protagonist Madison Morgan herself. She is an actual psychic in Sedona,
Arizona, and I really met her in 2007. I was so entranced with her as a
character that I wrote a short character piece imagining what her life was like
as a psychic. I sent it to her a few weeks later knowing she'd never
remember me. She called me the next day and told me this was going to
become a novel and it would change my life. Ever since then she's become
a great friend and has been with me the whole way.
11. Do you have
In terms of writing I'd say my heroes include writers who
inspired me with their creativity--Gregory Maguir, Wicked, The Life and Times
of the Wicked Witch of the West. Spur me on with their attention to
detail--James Michener, The Source. Attack difficult, thought provoking
topics--Upton Sinclair, The Jungle. Appeal to my passions--Marguerite
Henry, White Stallion of Lipizza.
12. Did anyone
try to discourage you?
No one specifically tried to discourage me, however the vaguely
sympathetic smiles and non-committal, "Good for you's" that my
explanation that I was writing a novel represented only a lukewarm response and
never really provided much encouragement. I will always remember that.
When someone tells me they want to be a writer or are working on
something, I always make a point to be super excited for them.
Dear readers, for a chance to win a copy of The Ghosted Bridge,
Kristy is asking that
you comment on the following question: what is your gift and
how do you use it?
Please eithertweet Kristy at @kristyabbott16 or visit her Facebook page, like and comment.
The people who comment will be put into a pool and we'll draw
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