My Interview with Kristin Siebenaler

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Kristin D. Van Risseghem

Author bio:

Kristin D. Van Risseghem grew up in a small river town in Minnesota with her parents and older sister. And after receiving a double Bachelor of Science degree from Winona State University in Paralegal and Corrections, she worked as a Paralegal for various law firms around the Twin Cities for 14 years. Then she left the legal field and is now a Senior Buyer for a technology company.

Currently, Kristin lives in Eagan with her husband and two Calico cats. She also loves attending book clubs, going shopping, and hanging out with friends. She has come to realize that she absolutely has an addiction to purses and shoes. They are her weakness and probably has way too many of both.

In the summer months, Kristin can usually be found lounging on her boat, drinking an ice cold something. Being an avid reader of YA and Women’s Literature stories, she still finds time to read a ton of books in-between writing. And in the winter months, her main goal is to stay warm from the Minnesota cold!

Kristin’s first book, The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos, will be published in May 2015 by Kasian Publishing!

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The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos

Here are the links to her book:

Amazon

Smashwords

Kobo

Recently, Kristin was kind enough to answer a few questions of mine.

Here’s my interview with her.

What drew you to writing?

I took a lit course in highschool and a reading one in college. Didn’t think anything of it but enjoyed writing and reading back then. I started reading as something to do before I met my husband. Then when Twilight came out, a group of friends created a book club and it’s been downhill ever since. I read a ton. My cousin started writing and she asked me to (beta) read for her. I did but didn’t really know what I was doing. One of her friends asked me to read one of hers too so I did b/c my cousin said that my comments were spot on.
Then in January 2013 I dreamed of the warehouse scene. Didn’t think anything of it until the next night I had the same dream in the warehouse. Woke my husband up and told him about it. He said I should write it down. Of course I didn’t. The 3rd night, I dreamed of the tattoo and knew I had to start getting it down on paper so to speak. I started writing when I got home from work and wrote until the wee hours of the morning, so 7-8 hours at a time. Go to sleep a few hours and get up for work. Did that for 3 weeks.

Do you have a degree in writing?

Nope

Do you believe that matters?

Nope

Why/Why not?

I don’t think you need to have one to write.

How long did it take you to create your first book?

3 weeks for the first draft to be completed.

How long did it take you to create the last?

4 weeks.

What have you learned in between?

The sentence structure and grammar.

What are you currently learning to further develop your craft?

Right now, anything marketing.

Do you prefer creating short stories, or novels?

Novellas

What Genre do you write and why?

YA. I’m not really sure exactly but I think its fun. Gets me to think about my own experiences and compare it to how it’s changed these days

Can you pick a favorite line from your latest work (or the work being highlighted) and tell us why this is your favorite?

It’s not a line but a scene: This close, my rescuer—Shay Curator, apparently—had long, powerful legs which fit nicely in his black jeans. He wore black biker boots, and a black T-shirt hugged his upper torso, the sleeves barely contained a set of rippling biceps. I imagined he was trying unsuccessfully to hide what would no doubt be an impressive six pack. In sharp contrast to his dark clothes, he had fair skin. Even though he was over six feet tall, he had moved with catlike grace.

I think this captures exactly what I see Shay like and I hope I’ve conveyed it well enough to the reader.
What about your life influenced your drive to create? I got all out in everything I do. Never half do stuff. It’s an all or nothing attitude.

Tell us something personal you’ve enjoyed due to being an author.

I love being able to hand out business cards with my name on it and being proud I’ve made a name for myself.

What is next on your current writing agenda?

I need to finish the series but have been thinking about a YA Dystopian from a male perspective.

What kind of books to you enjoy reading?

YA and Woman’s Lit

What are you reading now?

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

In the Indie vs Traditional debate – does it matter to you?

Nope.

If so why? 

Depends on the reasons why you chose what route you went. The same way isn’t for everyone. I’m glad there are options now.

What makes a story interesting to you?

If I can relate to the characters/scene. It has to be believable.

What might make you pick up a book outside your own comfort choices?

The cover and the jacket flap.

Do you have a favorite author(s)?

Not in any order: Richelle Meade, Julie Kagawa, Kristin Cast, Cassandra Claire, Kristin Hannah, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Sophie Kinsella.
JK Rowling gets her own line.

Where is your favorite place to read?

On the front of the boat in summer. In bed in the winter.

What’s next on your To Be Read list?

Probably the next book club book.

Describe the ideal situation for your reading time? (in detail – include location, time of day, drinks/food, etc)

Around 10AM, it’d be in the low 70’s and sunny. I’m out on the bow of the boat with my pillow propped up for my back. I have my pink cooler stocked with a couple bottles of ICE water, a bag of chips (Funonions) and a few bottles of beer or hard lemonade. And ready to read for a few hours. As the sun moves, I move with it for optimal sun exposure. Of course I’m in calling distance to my hubby to go get me more water, more snacks, more sun lotion…and of the battery charger b/c I forgot to charge the Kindle.

Pick 5 books and tell us why you loved them (or hated if you’d like to go that route):

(1) A long time ago, I went to Walmart and looked into the clearance book bin, that’s when I found Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I loved the cover. Of course I found out later after I bought the book that it’s like #12 in the series and I couldn’t start with that book…so I had to buy all the others and read through them. By the end of book 1, I was hooked and loved the series ever since.
(2) Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I read it and loved all the music mentions. Not only was the storyline fantastic but the music was made such an important piece of the story. I chose it for my book club piece and everyone cried at the end.
(3) Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. Not that I have a problem about shopping. OK, maybe I do (slightly) but the humor made me laugh and was very relatable for me.

(4) The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling – couldn’t finish this one either.
(5) The Shack – couldn’t stand it. Got to page 20 something and couldn’t continue. Tried it a few times thinking maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for that type of book. Nope.

If you could invite any 7 people (living or dead) for a day out, or a meal together, who would it be?

Wow, that’s a lot of people to think about. So let’s start with the dead: Plato (maybe b/c I want to go to Greece), Einstein, and Lincoln. For the living: Prince William (OK, Kate can tag along) at Buckingham Palace, my husband (I guess) b/c when I asked him this question to get ideas, he said “I only need to have my wife”, Bill Gates (just so I could see his house), and I’d have an open spot so we could have a revolving visitor.

Do you have other work experience?

What in? I graduated from Winona State University with a double bachelors degree in Paralegal and Corrections. After, I worked as a paralegal in litigation, civil, municipal, estate, appellate, and business. I worked as a paralegal for 15 years. In the last 8 years I worked for the same company and transferred into the business area. Currently, I’m a Buyer for a tech company.

What is your favorite past time?

In the summer, boating. In the winter, trying to stay warm in the MN winters.
What do you see as your greatest strength as a person? I hate these questions

What is your weakest link?

I usually don’t answer them

Are you a positive person, negative, or realistic?

I try to be a positive realist.

What is your favorite hot beverage?

Chai tea latte, but if it’s around October…then it’s pumpkin latte at Starbucks.

What is your favorite meal?

Chicken parmesean

Favorite Color?

PURPLE

Favorite Time of day?

4PM Why? It’s when I get off work

What was your last vacation like?

Being like a little kid. I went to Disneyworld.

Do you travel often?

I try to take an international and a domestic trip annually.

Do you work well under stress?

My legal background gave me the experience for deadlines and making sure that everything is as it should be. I don’t stress about things, or at least try not to, b/c there’s nothing you can do. Do what I can and do my part well.

How do you destress?

Do fun things and not whatever is the stressful situation

Are you active?

I try to be. I have a treadmill and elliptical machine in my basement. The better question would be do I use it???

Do you enjoy Chocolate?

Who doesn’t? I’m all about the Chocolate CAKE!!!!

Do you follow sports? If so, what teams do you enjoy?

Football. I’m on 2 fantasy football teams. Go MN Vikes!

Can you share a little about your family?

I’ve been married for 11 years. Met my hubby at a bar at the Mall of America when we both attended a mutual friends’ b-day party. I knew he was the one when I met him. He proposed 7 months later. We don’t have any human kids, but we’re proud parents of two calico cats (Daizy and Minnie). We had a dog (Sunny), but had to put her down in July 2014 for her own health reasons.

What season most inspires you?

Spring. It’s all about new growth

What hobbies do you enjoy?

5 years ago, I’d say reading. But since I’ve started writing, I haven’t found the time to read as I used to. I could easily do 100 books in a summer. Now, I’m lucky if I can get 10 in a summer.

Deadlines – solid dates to meet or unattainable goals to reach for?

I don’t miss deadlines, EVER!

What are 3 things that you’ve not often shared about yourself? I’m adopted from South Korea (not north), I was fortunate to attend private school from K-8 (which I’m glad I did), I’ve played the violin, the flute, symbols, bells, bass and snare drum.

Please provide a brief synopsis of your book. (Be sure to include the title and genre.)
YA Urban Fantasy: The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos

Zoe Jabril could be just another 17-year-old girl attending parties with her friends and checking out cute guys—except her best friend is a Guardian Angel, and the boy she crushes on is a Nephilim, half-Angel, both sent to Earth to protect her. A high school classmate happens to be a trendsetting shopaholic Fairy. And now there’s a new Werewolf in town.

Zoe has to deal with her feelings toward Shay, who spreads a strange electrical current through her body every time he touches her. She is under constant attack from Demons, trying to kill and stop her from fulfilling the Prophecy: a girl will be born who will unite the Enlightens to battle evil. Then on top of that, between boring homework and drama with girls at school, she has to control new found talents if she’s to prevent the Devil from escaping Hell.

In order to do so, Zoe must devise a kick-ass plan ASAP or watch everyone die, because she’s running out of time. She turns eighteen in two months—the date Armageddon kicks off.

Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing. (Why do you write? What made you want to become a writer? What purpose do you believe writers fulfill as artists?)

I took a lit course in highschool and a reading one in college. Didn’t think anything of it but enjoyed writing and reading back then. I started reading as something to do before I met my husband. Then when Twilight came out, a group of friends created a book club and it’s been downhill ever since. I read a ton. My cousin started writing and she asked me to (beta) read for her. I did but didn’t really know what I was doing. One of her friends asked me to read one of hers too so I did b/c my cousin said that my comments were spot on.

Then in January 2013 I dreamed of the warehouse scene. Didn’t think anything of it until the next night I had the same dream in the warehouse. Woke my husband up and told him about it. He said I should write it down. Of course I didn’t. The 3rd night, I dreamed of the tattoo and knew I had to start getting it down on paper so to speak. I started writing when I got home from work and wrote until the wee hours of the morning, so 7-8 hours at a time. Go to sleep a few hours and get up for work. Did that for 3 weeks.

Writing aside, what passions drive your life? (What makes you unique? What biographical information do you most want potential readers to know?)

Kristin D. Van Risseghem grew up in a small river town in Minnesota with her parents and older sister. And after receiving a double Bachelor of Science degree from Winona State University in Paralegal and Corrections, she worked as a Paralegal for various law firms around the Twin Cities for 14 years. Then she left the legal field and is now a Senior Buyer for a technology company.

Currently, Kristin lives in Eagan with her husband and two Calico cats. She also loves attending book clubs, going shopping, and hanging out with friends. She has come to realize that she absolutely has an addiction to purses and shoes. They are her weakness and probably has way too many of both.

In the summer months, Kristin can usually be found lounging on her boat, drinking an ice cold something. Being an avid reader of YA and Women’s Literature stories, she still finds time to read a ton of books in-between writing. And in the winter months, her main goal is to stay warm from the Minnesota cold!

Kristin’s first book, The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos, is published by Kasian Publishing.

It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why? (What makes a good story? What do you look for in a book? How does that transfer to your own writing?)

Gosh, there are just so many of them. But if I had to pick just one … it’d be Iron King by Julie Kagawa. I think I’ve read them five or six times (the full series). The story just drew me in and I love Ash. I think when I started writing, his character was always in my mind, and that’s how I knew that I’d incorporate fairies into my story.

What is the name of your blog (include the URL) and what can readers expect to find there? (If you don’t have a blog, explain why. Also consider adding insight as to how you have worked to develop a readership.)

My blogity blog about nothing really: http://www.kristinvanrisseghem.com/blog. I don’t blog regularly, but what you find are writing tips, author spotlights, cover reveals, and upcoming contests.

What does your drafting and/or editing process entail? (In general, how do you get the writing done? Are you disciplined or more spur of the moment? Do you participate in a critique group, utilize online critique partners or beta readers, or mostly self-edit? Do you hire a professional to critique or provide editing services?)

The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos was written in three weeks. I wrote at night and into the morning hours. It just seemed to flow out of me. In my head the story unfolded chronologically. Once it was fully written, I joined three writing groups and eventually created my own, too. But now I’m only in one of them and I found another that I really enjoy. I have used both beta and critique partners who do line-by-line edits, plus I have hired a professional editor to do the final read through.

Are you traditionally published or self-published? (Why did you choose that path? Do you hire help for tasks like text formatting, book covers, and promotion?)

I queried like I’m sure a lot of writers do, but didn’t get any hits. Then I sent subs directly to the publishers where I was offered three contracts, one of which I signed. But about four months later I asked to be released from the contract. When I started writing, I started a company under Kasian Publishing (pronounced K-Asian), so technically I’m both because I am my own publisher. I hired out for editing, formatting and covers, but I am doing all the promotion myself.

Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity? (What specifically has worked for you? What’s the best advice you’ve received in this area?)

This might be a very common answer, but social media is a must these days. You as an author need to be found by your readers. So I have a website, FB-Author page, Twitter and Goodreads accounts. I do keep a personal FB page separately though as I try to keep my professional/personal life separate from my writing life. Brand yourself! You need to sell yourself and be a believable and legit author before readers will take you seriously. There are many free websites and places to help you, just make sure that it looks professional. And when in doubt? Ask other writers. At some point we’ve all been there.

What future projects can we look forward to?

I have planned The Enlighten Series to be a trilogy with two novellas. I have the first novella, The Masquerade, an Altar, & a Fairy, scheduled to release in August 2015. But after this series? I’m not sure. I guess where ever the pen (or in my case, the keyboard) takes me.

Is there a certain type of scene that is harder for you to write than others?

For me, it’s the scene, the stuff that happens in-between the dialogue. I never know how much detail to provide and how much to leave to the imagination of the reader.

What is your least favorite part of the writing/publishing process?

Editing because it’s the most time consuming.

Have you read your work since it has been published?

Yes, actually I have. I’ve read both proofs (paperbacks) to make sure that they were perfect.

What is one place you want to visit that you have not visited yet?

London, England.

If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

Zoe: Nina Dobrev
Shay: Max Jones
Kieran: Zac Efron
Sidelle: Brenda Song

Do your characters’ personalities reflect your personality or the personalities of people you know?

Yes, some of the personality traits, mannerisms, and sayings all come from myself. But the female fairy is modeled after a friend.

What were you like as a child? What was your favorite toy?

I loved stuffed animals, had a crap ton of them. I think one of my favorites was the two foot My Pretty Pony. I still have it.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation. I don’t like waiting in lines and I want to be where I’m supposed to be immediately.

If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What would you wear?

I’m not good at catchy names, so I’m going to steal Wonder Woman. I’d be wearing a purple cape for sure and as for the rest of the outfit? For sure it won’t be spandex!

What literary character is most like you?

Probably any contemporary girl NA character who’s boring and minus the adventure or hardships.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be and why?

I’m not a fan of zoos, but I’d say any animal where they feed me, take care of me and clean me and my container.

What is one thing you would like to accomplish before you pass away?

I’d love to go every place I ever wanted to see. I love to travel and see things.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Loving daughter, sister, and wife. We love you.

What is your favorite word?

OK.

What is your least favorite word?

Moist.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Going someplace and people watching.

What turns you off?

When I’m too busy to think straight.

What is your favorite curse word?

Asshat

What sound or noise do you love?

Waves against a beach.

What sound or noise do you hate?

The 747s flying over my house at all hours of the day.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Retired.

What profession would you not like to do?

I’m not sure, I think I’d try just about anything.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Welcome and come on it, you’ve earned it.

Featured image

The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos

Amazon

Smashwords

Kobo

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Author: jb29taylor

I was born in Indiana where I still reside with my three lovely dogs. I have published multiple novels and have a few adapted into audiobooks. I am currently working on three stories.

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