Please welcome Kristina Stanley, a Canadian author who has the screenshot to prove that her novel Descsent had the number one ranking on Amazon's Canada list of "Hot New Releases of Women Sleuth Mysteries." (In second place was Sue Grafton's X !) She describes herself as happy, hard-working, loyal, athletic, and an animal-lover. The five words she uses to describe her writing are adventurous, action-oriented, mystery, wilderness, and multi point of view. Here are her answers to the eight questions she chose:
Describe your most productive writing venue. What makes it best for you?
I write best on with a notebook or computer on my lap. If I set at a desk, I feel as if I’m at work. And that’s not the feeling I want while I’m writing. I definitely need to be alone, although I do love to write with my dog at my feet. If ideas count as writing, I keep my phone with me and record audio notes. Sometime ideas hit me while I’m skiing, snowshoeing or hiking and if I don’t capture them right away, I forget them.
What makes a great short story?
One where I’m attached to a character and by the end of the story, I care what’s happened to them. I think this is harder to accomplish in a short story than in novel and I greatly admire authors who can do this.
What is your most productive time of the day (and do you need caffeine)?
Let me just say not in the evening. I write well after exercising. Oxygen to my brain seems to make my imagination work, and I often write while I’m still sweating. As long as I’m alone, no one cares about the odor. I can proofread in the evening, but my creativity has usually gone to bed by seven, so I don’t try and force new words on the page.
Name three not well-known authors you would recommend and tell us what you like about their writing.
Rosemary McCracken, Garry Ryan and Brenda Chapman.
All three write mysteries that take place in Canada. They cover British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. I love the main characters. Pat Tierney (Rosemary McCracken), Detective Lane (Garry Ryan) and Jacques Rouleau and Kala Stonechild (Brenda Chapman) are all characters I felt a connection to and wanted to cheer for. That always makes me want to read more.
What themes do you regularly employ in your writing?
I try to employ a different theme for each novel. DESCENT (http://amzn.to/1J3FN3N ) is about family loyalty, BLAZE (Imajin Books, coming fall 2015) is about revenge, and AVALANCHE is about greed. I like to explore what would make a well-adjusted person commit a crime.
What motivates you to write?
For me, writing is a very selfish act. I love to write and sometimes feel a bit guilty that I get to spend so much time writing. Somewhere deep within myself is the need to write. I’m not sure where that comes from, but I know I happiest on the days I’ve spent time writing.
I have a degree in Computer Mathematics and spent a good part of my career working in high tech. One day, on the night before a business trip, I read Moonlight Becomes You by Mary Higgins-Clark. I read late into the night. Even knowing I had a car arriving at 4 am to take me to the airport, I couldn’t put the book down. When I finished the book, I decided I wanted to write something that makes a person ignore their life responsibilities just to keep the pages turning.
How did you develop the idea for your most recent work?
I lived and worked in a ski resort in British Columbia, Canada. The resort is my muse. When I left the resort to go sailing in the Bahamas, I missed living in the mountains more than I expected. I used the writing as a way to stay connected to the place. Even though I write about a fictitious resort, I brought all the good bits with me.
What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received and why was it so valuable?
I took the Humber School for Writers correspondence course and had Joan Barfoot as my mentor. She suggested I learn more about the craft of writing – meaning learn how to use punctuation and grammar to improve a story. I literally spent two months studying the comma. I don’t want a reader distracted from my story because of errors that shouldn’t be there.
Jim, Thank you for hosting me today. It’s a pleasure being on your blog. Your readers can find me at www.KristinaStanley.com. DESCENT is available for purchase or to download a sample at: http://amzn.to/1J3FN3N.
If you readers have any comments or questions, I’ll be around all day.
Here’s the back copy blurb for Desscent:
When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic-caliber skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on the super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.
Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity.