Tricia: Hi, Kristen and thank you for visiting with me today. Please tell us a little about yourself. When and how did you begin writing?
Kristen: Kristen Stone is the pen name I chose for myself when I was still at school and that statement tells you how long I’ve been writing! It took me a while to get into reading and I still read quite slowly, I can’t scan read to save my life. Once I started to read exciting adventure stories I simply went on to create my own. I can vaguely remember writing a sci-fi about a boy who went to Mars; a fantasy novel about a slave in a completely made up world and loads of short stories for English homework.
Tricia: In addition to your career as an author, I understand you’re also a publisher. How do you balance the two?
Kristen: As you can imagine, with difficulty! I love writing and I love editing the work of other people, not just proof reading but making story suggestions, watching for inconsistencies. You’d be surprised at how many characters undergo accidental name changes! But as far as the publishing goes, we are taking it slowly, not rushing to publish more than we can handle promotion wise. The writing and editing is easy. It’s the promotion that takes the time and effort.
Tricia:. Your novels are all so different. Do you have a favorite genre?
Kristen: Still looking for it! I have enjoyed writing all my novels. I like creating people, giving them a whole life. But have yet to find something that shouts at me – WRITE MORE LIKE THIS.
Tricia: Which authors or books have influenced your writing style?
Kristen: I don’t think any book particular book or author has influenced me consciously. I may have picked up a few things without realising, but my reading tastes are varied. I could never hope to emulate some of the authors I have read, I haven’t had the hunting experience of Wilbur Smith, or the horseracing experience of Dick Francis and my mind certainly isn’t as devious as some authors. I write from my heart and my head. I don’t really think about what I’m doing or try to write in any particular style; the words just come and they are either right or not. I always check everything I write, even tweets and posts on forums. I would recommend that to anyone who is posting anywhere, always read back what you have just written, if nothing else it improves your typing skills! (Just spotted a typo and changed it!)
Tricia: With Halloween coming up let’s talk about DayStalker. I thought this book would be fun to explore. What is the premise for this book?
Challenge set, I decided MY vampire would defy all normal vampire conventions. He gets strength from the sun (we all need a bit of vitamin D). He didn’t catch ‘vampirism’ he was born as one. He isn’t immortal just long lived, nor is he undead. He can be killed by any mundane method apart from disease, it’s just that he has avoided being shot with an arrow, burned at the stake, decapitation by sword etc. He has a reflection. In fact most of the things you find in a vampire, he doesn’t. The book is set as he comes out of semi-hibernation in the spring and awakes to the need to procreate. This happens about every 50 years or so, when he finds a mate, has a child, always a boy, raises it and then sends it out into the world to carry on quietly sucking people dry. There are flashbacks to him as a youth and apart from lots of murder there is also quite a bit of sex as he picks on a prospective mate and tries to get her pregnant.
In Robert Gaunt we have a creature who is totally selfish and ruthless. A man who takes what he needs to survive, flatters but does not love, uses others for his own gratification. We should hate and despise him but somehow everyone who has read about him thinks he is likeable to say the least.
Tricia: Did you ever scare yourself or get goosebumps when writing it?
Kristen: No. Because I was creating the story. I knew what was coming next, I made up all the ghastly things he did. If I was reading DayStalker for the first time I might have a very different reaction.
It’s on Special Offer until the 1st November at 77p. http://www.amazon.com/DayStalker-ebook/dp/B00943OF8W
Tricia: Let’s talk about your other novels. Can you tell us about Edge of Extinction and how you got the idea for this book?
Kristen: Ah, Edge of Extinction. This book has been many years in the ‘making’. It has undergone a few name changes and at least three different versions before the final version that is out now, and even that had several re-writes. The idea came from a song we taught the Brownies years ago. It asked – if you had a tail what sort would it be – it gave lots of options and mentioned a prehensile tail with the ability to swing from tree to tree. And that sparked Kianda Mala. Once I had the character in mind I had to find somewhere feasible for him to live. The Amazon rainforest seemed perfect. It is so vast and there are so many parts that, even now, have not been explored by modern man that it seemed perfectly reasonable that there might be a whole mini-civilisation living hidden somewhere under the trees. So then I needed a reason to tell his story and a way for it to come out of the jungle. After all, if he never made contact with the 21st century how would anyone know about him in order to write his story. No more clues, if you want to find out any more go get the book! It has had some wonderful reviews but is difficult to attract readers because it doesn’t fit in a box. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edge-of-Extinction-ebook/dp/B007YNQ9YM
Tricia:. Is there a particular message you are trying to get across with this book?
Kristen: I didn’t write it with any noble aim of highlighting pollution or the way indigenous people are treated, I wrote it as an experiment to see if I could make something so impossible seem real. And judging by some of the reviews the book has received that has been a resounding success. If people have picked up any underlying message that we need to treat the world and its people in a better way, then that is good. I don’t think I have done any more than tell a story. I know similar things have happened in the past and may well still be happening, but in writing this story I was by no means on a mission.
Kristen: The Penhaligan File fits a little better into a box. It is a thriller about a journalist (a nice journalist) who is investigating a drug made by a pharmaceutical company that seems to be causing problems, even death. The journalist faces one slight problem – the pharmaceutical company is run by his father, who wanted him to join the company instead of going into journalism. The book is about finding the truth, about family conflicts and also about how this particular man copes when he is blinded by a letter bomb (I do some horrible things to my characters, they do suffer, you know).
Here’s the UK link.
Tricia: Let’s discuss Shattered Dreams. What genre does this book fall into and what is it about?
Kristen: Oh dear, that word ‘genre’ again. I do give my publishing partner a headache with my thoughtless lack of direction when I’m writing!
I would class this almost as a fictional biography. A people book. It is about people and relationships. It is about coping with sudden disability, rebuilding a life and reshaping ambitions. It also touches on death and the accompanying grief. But it also has some positive moments, I hope. It is almost two stories written in parallel about the same person. One chapter deals with the boy who was injured and is written from the POV of the people around him, with terse comments in the form of journal entries from the boy at the end of each chapter (including some deliberate spelling mistakes, so please don’t tell me it needs editing). The next chapter is written in the present in first person by the now successful man the boy has become. I know from comments that people have made in private that this book touches base on quite a few levels.
Tricia: Of all your novels, which character is your favorite and why?
Kristen: I love all my characters, even Robert Gaunt. I loved creating Kianda Mala in Edge of Extinction. Not only because he is so different but because it gave me a chance to look into what makes us human. Kianda is an innocent. He sees everything in black and white, right or wrong. And he tries to live by what is right. I think he is probably my favorite if I had to pick just one. I would love to think I had created him so well, no one would give him a second glance if they spotted him walking down the street, wearing Jon’s baggy suit, of course.
Tricia: Of all your novels, which was the most difficult to write? Why?
Kristen: Shattered Dream was probably the most technically difficult because of the alternating chapters. I knew what I wanted to happen but it was sometimes difficult to fit everything in. I needed to keep a fairly accurate timeline so that I knew what was happening and when.
Tricia: I know it isn’t fair to put you on the spot, but if you were forced to choose, which of your novels is your favorite?
Kristen: It’s a toss-up between Edge of Extinction and Shattered Dreams. Typical, I like the ones that don’t fit into neat little boxes the best!
Tricia:. What projects are you working on right now?
Kristen: As I write this I should be editing a book we hope to publish before the end of the year. And for my own work, there is a possible prequel to The Penhaligan File, a completely new novel called Stitched Up and maybe another story about Robert. So next year is going to be pretty busy!
Tricia: Where can my readers go to find out more about your novels?
Kristen: Full details of all my books, plus the others available from Blue Hour Publishing, can be found here: http://bluehourpublishing.blogspot.co.uk/. I recommend them all. Stephen Hulse is a wonderful writer with a wry sense of humour. And if you are a Bond fan I cannot recommend Licence:Reviewed highly enough.
I also have my own website: www.kristen-stone-the-writer.com and facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KristenStoneTheWriter
All I can say now is THANK YOU Tricia for letting me waffle on about all my books. If your readers have managed to get this far, thank you, too. I hope you have found something that might spark your interest over the next few months. Why not buy someone one of my books for Christmas? Kindle books can be given as gifts.