I am Kristina, a 35 year old wife and mother who battles an illness called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which is very debilitating, leading to frequent collapses and wheelchair usage whenever I leave the house. Although by suffering from it does mean I get more time to write! When I am not writing I do other creative things like spin, knit, crochet and sew, and of course, read!
I find lots of things inspire my ideas. The places I visit, the books I read, the people I meet and the events that happen in my life. My characters are often the first thing that come to me, before they even have a story to fit into. Firstly, they have a name, then they have characteristics and develop their own personalities, often in a very short period of time. They have been known the wake me up at 4 a.m. and talk to me, if I have not paid attention to them during the day. When I write my short stories I use both the first person and third person. There is not one particular style that suits me better, well at least what I think suits me better. Others may have differing ideas.
My current release Feathers has been described as "the ultimate feel good book". These are stories about the main character overcoming some obstacle and ending up in a happy ending. I am a bit of a sucker for a happy ending, that is why I wrote these. Some have a little light romance, some are amusing, all I hope will make the reader 'feel good'.
My next release, due out around the 14th May, is Whispers a collection of paranormal short stories, full of ghostly apparitions and odd happenings. Some are a little spooky, one has a monk that tries to murder women in the graveyard of a church near where I live! Where others are amusing. At the moment my début novel, The Fools Journey, is scheduled for release on Halloween. This is about a Witch, not the fantasy sort, the pagan path-following sort, and her journey through one phase of her life. Each chapter is one of the archetypal majors within the Tarot deck. The characteristics of the card shape what happens within that particulalr chapter. We start off with The Fool, the main character taking a leap into the unknown and heading out in a new direction, some thinking she has acted in folly. Ending up with The World, when that phase of her life reaches completion. The journey is not a smooth one. The book incorporates, ghost, history and tarot cards!
I feel I am a very emotive writer. I try and conjure up the places I visit, or how I feel in my writing. This way I hope the reader gets transported there, and for the length of time it takes to read what they are reading, they are someone else or somewhere else. I often find when I visit somewhere I think, Oh now here would be good to set... I have a document of little bits of inspiration I gather when out and about. One good thing about using a wheelchair, the perspective of the world shifts and you do see more. Every book has some settings which are in Wales, where I am currently living. Although The Fools Journey starts off here, there might be a shift in location, as The Tower card has an effect on her life.
Once I have written something, before I start on it again I read through what I have just written, making any adjustments before I carry on. Someone I met on the forums on Facebook suggested this process, and I have now made it my own. However, for the final edit and proofread I send it onto my professional editor. Downside to living with illness is the inability to focus for long and having days where your brain feels like a pink blancmange. So I choose to have someone make sure I have not made any clangers.
The characters in my short stories are wide and varying. In Feathers there is Ifan who is so caught up in grief after his mothers' death he only seems to see the world through his window, rather than going out and living his life. A gift from the grave changes everything. Grace's shock death of her Mother opens a whole new life to her in surprising ways. From Whispers there is Jane who went to investigate a church yard at dusk, Claire who falls over a cliff after hearing ghostly footsteps on the path. The main character in The Fools Journey is Moira, ah now there is a woman full of vigour and drive. She is creative, fiery, passionate and perhaps even a little scary at times. She also has a very caring heart, which is sometimes easily hurt, as she cannot understand some people's perspective on the world!
My own beliefs and experiences have shaped a lot of the stories. I've loved ghosts and things paranormal since a child. As I grew up I knew my beliefs where not conformist to a particular religion. It was only by encountering someone on my path, did I know there was a name to what I felt. I read Tarot cards, I am a practising Witch, not of the black-fingered cackling kind, well unless the mood takes me.
I love Terry Pratchett, for he is someone who can create such fantastic characters and manage to hold up a mirror to reality and twist the image. He is battling his own problem and determined to make the most of what he has whilst he still has it. He inspires me in many ways, although we are perhaps genres apart.
Once I have released Whispers, and then The Fools Journey. I am working with a couple of paranormal investigators and have planned a series of books, which follows a paranormal investigator and their findings and life. They involve historic 'flashbacks' where the reader gets to see what happened in the lead up to the death of the spirit's human body.
As I am a fairly creative being, apart from my writing I've worked on my own covers, and obtained images through dreamstime.com. The latest image, however, came from a friend.
I am a fairly spontaneous person who will often say, 'let's go to...', but I don't like having an end goal or a particular direction to head off in. This has influenced my writing. For my short stories I get an idea, then I think about how I want this idea to go, then I write it. The Fools Journey has been planned. I have set out what I want from each chapter, what key points I want to happen, but the rest is left to inspiration.
The biggest thing I have had to overcome is my self-doubt. I think it was because I grew up with the majority of people telling me I was not good enough, waste of time, etc., I guess I am a very stubborn person, and when I set my heart and mind to something I usually achieve it. Although I do think Fate gave me a helping hand.
I've always written, or wanted to write. I was published in a school magazine. I then wrote poetry, and have six poems published. I've done a short course on how to structure a novel. Now, I generally I seek advice as I go along of those who have been here before.
If anyone is out there thinking about writing and either publishing themselves or through an indie press - Do it! Set yourself small achievable targets, and create stepping stones to where it is you want to be. If you want to aim for the stars, then do it.
I usually write in my 'room', which is my craft-room come writing-room. Although on bad-health days, after a bad collapse I usually write from the confines of my sofa. Fairly frequently my cat Bono is found helping me. I write whenever I get the chance, even at 4 a.m. in the morning. I make coffee, light incense and meditate for a few minutes centring myself away from outside hassles, then just do it. Breaking for more coffee or a stretch as the body starts to rebel.
The planning and research seems to take longer than the writing. I've been working on the concept of The Fools Journey for 18 months. The actual writing time I hope will take about 3 months.
Feathers I wrote partially as my 'look what I can do'. It is, after all, full of stories about overcoming adversity. Perhaps it may seem slightly egotistical, but when my friend Sarah set up Ethics Trading as an Indie Press, where she formats and publishes the book and you retain all rights to your book, it seemed the ideal time to write it.
I would like to target someone who enjoys reading. I try and create books in the way I like to read them, creating escapism. I love the escapism I get when I write, similar to what I get when I am reading. I loose myself in the book and the story. I hate editing and finding 'urgh that's not right'. I try and write between 500 - 1000 words a day depending on circumstance. Often I achieve more. When it comes to actually settling down to write, I try not to get sidetracked once I have started. Unfortunately, life as wife and mother does throw in a few surprises. I must admit I have not tried for traditional publishers, I think any rejection letters would end up in the ash pit of the fire. I might put The Fools Journey into audio format, but not really certain until it is finished. Short stories don't make good audio! I am not sure whether I write like anyone else out there. I guess I am fairly individual If I am stuck in a scene I will listen to music.
Incubus Sukkubus is good for creating a scene which is Witchy related (they are a pagan rock group) and classical if I want to conjurer up a particular emotion. To write by I prefer silence It is noisy enough in my own head as it is! When I am not writing I like to read. JRR Tolkien and Terry Pratchett are my all-time two favourite authors. I am fairly eclectic in my taste of books, trying most things once. Although I'll probably get bitten on the neck for saying this, I really don't get Vampires!
I am proud that I can write. I have had to give up so much since developing POTS, because I cannot physically do things. Like playing ball with the kids, taking them to the beach or out shopping. Writing is the one thing I can still do and will do as long as I have ideas in my head.
I wrote a nanowrimo book called Charlotte, but it would need 75% re-writing if it were ever to see the light of day. My strongest area as a writer is the ability to let people experience what is going on in the book. However, the biggest thing I would like to still improve is my self-doubt! I know it seems silly, I am a Leo, I quite enjoy being the centre of attention and have been known to be the life and soul of a party. Although when I work I prefer solitude, that aside I still lack confidence in what I do. Maybe this is due to having to deal with illness or maybe not.
I think if I was stuck on a Desert Island I would take five books with me. 1) Terry Pratchett's Guards trilogy (yes that is cheating); 2) Terry Pratchett's Witches trilogy (yes another cheat); 3) Lord of the rings (semi cheat); 4) The Hobbit; and 5) A book on how to build a boat and get off the desert island! No hot running water, no baths, no wine and no family and friends, eek!