My Next Interview with Kristina Stanley: Author of Descent – and now, Blaze

Welcome, Kristina, lovely to see you here again. For those who don’t know you please introduce yourself:

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Judith, how awesome of you to have me on your blog again. I write mysteries that take place in the remote wilderness of the British Columbian mountains. I’m the author of The Stone Mountain Mystery Series. DESCENT was published July 2015 by Imajin Books. BLAZE was published October 25th 2015, also by Imajin Books. AVALANCHE will come out in 2016.

2. Tell us about your new book.

Can you smell the burning plastic? Do you hear walls crashing to the ground? Are your eyes stinging? Is your skin sweating?
BLAZE is a story about arson. The fire attacks buildings and forests indiscriminately. And it looks like Kalin Thompson is the intended victim. Her beloved dog, Chica, is missing. Her fiancé, Ben, is fighting the fire, and Kalin is on the run from the flames. So what more could go wrong? You’ll have to read BLAZE to find out.

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BLAZE is the second in The Stone Mountain Mystery series. The series takes place in an isolated ski resort located in the depths of the Purcell Mountains. DESCENT, the first in the series, takes place in winter, and BLAZE follows with the heat of summer.

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I think to a writer, every novel they create has a special place in their heart. For me, BLAZE is a tribute to my friends who risk their lives as firefighters. I’ve seen them in action, watched them don their gear and stride fearlessly into a burning building.

3: Where do your ideas come from?
Ideas come from many places, but the ones that spark interest for me are the ones that come from a time where I’ve experienced extreme emotions. The idea for BLAZE came from a night I was on call as the director of security at a resort. The fire department took care of the fire. My job was to take care of guests and staff, find them places to stay, instigate crowd control and have someone provide food and water to the firefighters.
The fire that night was not caused by arson, there was no villain, and the flames did not expand into a raging forest fire, but it was enough of an experience for me to start asking myself questions. What if the fire was caused by arson? Why would someone do that? How would it hurt Stone Mountain? Why would my protagonist, Kalin Thompson, care? And from there, the story materialized.

4: How did you do in English in high school?
I’m embarrassed to say, English was not my strong suit. I’m a math woman at heart. I have an honors degree in computer mathematics and grammar in school used to drive me crazy.

5: What formal training, if any, have you had?
I attended Humber School For Writers in 2008 and received a Creative Writing by Correspondence Post Graduate Certificate. In this program, the author submits 40,000 words of a manuscript. After being paired with a mentor, the two work together on the manuscript over a period of 6 months. My mentor was Joan Barfoot, and wow, did I learn a lot. As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. I still have a binder full of advice from Joan that I reference today. Getting an objective, professional critique of my work improved my writing dramatically. I can’t thank Joan and Humber School for Writers enough for this one.
Two other wonderful things came from this. Although BLAZE is not the novel Joan worked on, she provided a blurb for the back cover. Part of writing is about making contacts and this is an example of how a great contact can help you. Joan agreed to read the advanced reader copy (ARC) of BLAZE and provide a blurb, but only if she liked it. And she did! Now her words are on my book cover. It doesn’t get better than that.
The second perk: DESCENT and BLAZE are both listed on Humber’s page for published Alumni.

6: How much research did you have to do for your novels?
I spent almost six years as the director of human resources, guest services and security at an isolated ski resort in British Columbia. Much of my technical knowledge comes from this experience. The job gave me connections with the fire department and the RCMP. These connections were very helpful with my research. The people I worked with at the ski resort still assist me with technical details about snowmaking, running lifts etc. I think making the right connections has been the most helpful in my research.

7: What single piece of advice would you give new authors?
I left this question in from the last time you interviewed me because I think every new writer needs to hear this. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you not to write. This is a long and hard journey, but so worth it. Someone once told me it’s the persistent authors who make it. I believe that.

8: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us in closing such as your website, an imminent book launch or what you’re working on presently?

Voices Of the Valley will be launched November 15th by Cobalt Books. My short story “Deirdre Hunting Season” will be published as part of this anthology written by authors from British Columbia Canada. The anthology covers many areas of the province and includes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

I love to connect with people on-line. I can be found at: http://www.KristinaStanley.com

Follow me on twitter, let me know you read this blog and I’ll follow you back.

Or comment on my Facebook page

If you’re interested, you can buy or download a sample of DESCENT at myBook.to/Descent

You can find BLAZE at:http://myBook.to/BLAZEbyKristinaStanley

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Today I’m Really Pleased to be Chatting with author, Kristina Stanley

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Please introduce yourself:

Judith, Thank you for hosting me today. I’m the author of The Stone Mountain Mystery Series. DESCENT was published July 2015 by Imajin Books (www.Imajinbooks.com). BLAZE is scheduled for publication this fall. And if I’m lucky, I’ll be offered a contract for AVALANCHE in 2016.

What first inspired you to start writing?

My degree is Computer Mathematics. I love adventure and am a very social person. So writing a novel, where you spend hours upon hours indoors, alone…I have no idea what I was thinking. If I had to pinpoint one moment of inspiration, I would say when I read MOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU by Mary Higgins Clark. My thought was I’d like to make people forget about their troubles for a while and be immersed in a story, just like this book did for me.

Tell us about your new book.

Death on the slopes can happen at any moment and still, speed is everything to an alpine racer. Olympic skiers attack a run at speeds in excess of 80 mph. The characters in DESCENT demand speed, and this demand causes injury and death.

Racers have specialized technicians who follow them on the World Cup circuit, striving to give each skier an advantage, to squeeze out that extra bit of speed from the equipment. The technicians file and wax multiple skis for each skier, always busy trying to give their athlete an edge over others. Resorts inject a run to turn the slope into a skating rink. Everyone wants to cross the finish line first. But at what cost?

You’ll have to read DESCENT to find out.

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What facets of your life, both personal and professional, are woven into your book, if any? 

One day, my heart broke. My beautiful Labrador Retriever, Chica, was diagnosed with cancer. She died three weeks later. I had no idea how much losing her would hurt. So as a tribute to her, she has a key role in all three Stone Mountain mysteries.

My grandmother died before I met her. She had one green and one brown eye. To make her part of my life, I gave my protagonist, Kalin Thompson, the same eyes.

Those are the only two real facets of my life included in the novels.

I worked as the director of security, human resources and guest services at a ski resort in British Columbia, Canada. I used the expertise I gained from that job as research for my novels. The stories are made up, as in a racer was not murdered while I was the director of security, but I did use the ski resort as my muse.

You’re a fly on the wall when readers are discussing your book.  What would you hope to hear them say about it?

I would love it if people said, “I couldn’t put it down.”

What single piece of advice would you give new authors?

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you not to write. This is a long and hard journey, but so worth it. Someone once told me it’s the persistent authors who make it. I believe that.

 Describe where you do most of your writing. What would I see if I was sitting beside you?

You would see me sitting on my couch, legs stretched out in front of me, computer on my lap, and Farley tucked between me and the back of the couch. Farley is my wheaten terrier, and he loves to put his head on my keyboard if I don’t pay enough attention to him. I’ve learned to type and pet him at the same time.

My view is of the ski hill. Sometimes a deer will walk passed my side door. The 8-point buck is my favourite.

I never write at a desk because I feel like I’m at work and my imagination won’t flow.

What’s your motto or favourite quote you like to live by?

Time’s fun when you’re having flies – Kermit the Frog.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us in closing such as your website, an imminent book launch or what you’re working on presently?

DESCENT is the first in the Stone Mountain Mystery series. The series takes place in an isolated mountain resort in the depths of the Purcell mountain range in British Columbia.

With all the forest fires this season, BLAZE, the second in the Stone Mountain Series deals with a current Canadian and American issue. Of course, BLAZE is a mystery and arson is the crime, but this time it looks like Kalin Thompson is the target. BLAZE is scheduled for release before the end of 2015 by Imajin Books.

The third in the series, AVALANCHE, has Kalin Thompson searching for a thief, struggling to prove her brother is innocent of a major theft. Unfortunately for Kalin, her brother disappears hours after the theft and is the prime suspect.

REQUEST FOR READER ASSISTANCE: I’m writing the fourth in the series. A business partner of Kalin’s is murdered while driving his ATV on a mountain trail. He’s forced into a frothing river… My problem with the fourth is I have to stop calling it “the fourth.” I need a title. If you have any suggestions for a title that fits with DESCENT, BLAZE and AVALANCHE, please leave a comment below.

I’m sure someone will contact you with a brilliant idea for a title, Kirstina. But for now, I’d like to say thank you so much for chatting with me today. Now, where can people find you?

I love to connect with people on-line. I can be found at: www.KristinaStanley.com

Follow me on twitter, let me know you read this blog and I’ll follow you back.

Or comment on my Facebook page

If you’re interested you can buy DESCENT or download a sample at: myBook.to/Descent