28 December 2009

Post Christmas Game of Tag

Hey, Friends!

I hope you had a great Christmas! Mine was great. Now I just need to recover from that deep fried turkey! Yum!

So, I've been tagged! Here are my answers to all of these literary questions. I didn't tag anyone because everyone I could think of has already answered these questions.

What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
The first thing I wrote that I still have... I think my first novel, which I've vowed to burn because it was just that bad, is still around somewhere...

The last thing I wrote… I’m working on a devotional for my program at AIM. We send students on two week, three week, and four week trips with a devotional for each day. They are all different so returning students will not repeat what they read the year before.

Write poetry?

Angsty poetry?
I love moody. :0)

Favorite genre of writing?
To write? Women’s fiction. I think there’s so much room to play in it and it’s just so rich. To read? I’ll read a lot of genres, but my favorite is probably women’s fiction as well.

Most annoying character you've ever created?
A character for a short story I wrote in my creative writing class. It was my “cathartic release”. We’d been studying Flannery O’Connor (love her!), so I decided to write something similar. At the time I worked in a dry cleaner’s and hated it. So I wrote a story about a college student in a dry cleaner's. Some of our most notorious customers made cameo appearances (I changed their issues but kept it similar) and finally, the Queen of Idiots came in. Let’s just say she got what was coming to her, Southern Gothic style.

Best Plot you've ever created?
Book #4 was the most technically challenging plot I ever created. It gave me such a headache, but when I finally figured it out, I felt like I’d climbed Everest. I really hope to see it published one day. It won’t make a great “first book” so I’m just sitting on it for now.

Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?
Definitely in book #5, the one I spent the fall hyper-editing. Let’s just say the twist is awesome. :0)

How often do you get writer's block?
Too often. I don’t want to talk about it. :0)

Write fan fiction?

Do you type or write by hand?
Hmm. Depends. If I do write poetry, it’s by hand. Papers in college were always by hand first, then typed. Books are typed. Which is why I can’t write outside. And since I love being outside and Nature is my muse, sometimes I get bitter about that. :0)

Do you save everything you write?

Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
Not really.

What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
Books 4 and 5. I love them both so much. I really hope Book #5 will be my first published book.

What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?
Hmm… Not many people read my books (because I'm partially still in the writing closet and keep my novels close), but so far it's a tie. Book #4 is really dark and has so much going technically—parallels, foreshadowing, intense conflict, etc. People have said that it’s haunting but has helped them find healing for things in their own lives. Book #5 hasn't had as many readers, but people seem to really like the themes in it.

Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
I wrote chick lit once. It was Book #3. The rest of my novels have romance in them, but that’s not the focus.

What's your favorite setting for your characters? The South. I love playing with all of its craziness.

How many writing projects are you working on right now? Novel #6 has two completed chapters. But for work, I’m writing a devotional that is almost finished.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
I won “English Paper of the Year” two years in a row in college. And I won second place for a poem, Snow Globe, in a different university-wide contest.

What are your five favorite words?
"Quite". And judging by how often I use it, "that". I'd love to campaign for it to have meaning again! Just kidding. Also, the words my friends and I made up in high school: "zephenous" and "guavadent".

What character have you created that is most like yourself? Hmm. Probably Brooke, my mc in Book #5. We both try to live by faith and really value our relationships.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?
Life in general.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Do you favor happy endings?
Only if it works. Some books with sad endings are my favorite because those endings are so rich and layered.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Yes. I really try to make it all work. My problems with grammar come when I edit and don’t completely replace the first draft lines with the revisions.

Does music help you write?
Yes. I listen to movie soundtracks while writing fiction. My favorites are Dreamer, Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic, Narnia, The Pianist, Road to Perdition, all of the Lord of the Rings, and anything by Aaron Zigman.

Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head?
I wrote this a year ago, on New Year's Eve, in India. It's posted on my old missions blog, but I think it's new to most of y'all. Enjoy!

A Feast Fit for a King

Conversation swirls around me as colors mix and flow through my line of sight: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, gold--garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, peppers. The scent of onions mixed with wood smoke makes my eyes burn. A small pile of garlic grows near my ankles, where I sit cross-legged in a circle of women, removing the "good" from the bad... a husking of sorts. A glass of chai sits by my side, purchased on the street and prepared with local water. When it is finally cool enough to sip, I am amazed at just how good it tastes.

Laughter erupts as a Hindi woman tries to get an American girl to eat a hot pepper. Half of the women close their eyes and look away. Some laugh and others protest loudly. "Nehi," Patima, an old woman with a leprous left hand, says. "Do not eat." Still, this daughter of Mississippi threatens to bite off the end to everyone's delight.

One piece of garlic, two, three... the work is methodical and easy. It's pleasure. As the conversation swirls around me, I find myself lost in the normality of the moment and the beauty of all around me; of gnarled hands shelling peas and bandaged disease-formed feet resting close to the food, almost in the pile. No one cares that we are American and Indian, sick and "whole". No one sees our differences. We are united in our common humanity--the need for food--and most of all, the need of Him.

See y'all Wednesday!


  1. Loved the vivid imagery of your excerpt, I could picture the words!

    Five books- woohoo! You are a class act Kristen!

  2. Great stuff! I can't believe you're on book number six!! That's awesome girl!!

  3. Fun to learn more about you! Keep up the good writing adventures:)

  4. The South is my favorite setting, too! Lots of material to work with down here. :)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. your excerpt is wonderful and I would love to read book 4 and 5. Mostly 4...Sarah

  6. Thank you, Tamika! I'm hoping one will see interest soon!

    Thanks, Katie! I'm excited about it... just wish I knew what was going to happen!

    Thanks, Karen! i definitely will!

    Many crazy people, Elizabeth. This place is a gold mine! :0)

    Thank you, Sarah. I think 4 would resonate with you. Right now it really needs editing, but I hope it goes somewhere so you can read it!

  7. Hi Kristen -

    I can't wait to read books 4 and 5. Maybe this will be your breakthrough year. :)


  8. Guess who???
    Hey friend! It's good to be back! I like these questions. I haven't seen them before. Interesting :) Love the excerpt. I'd read it before and it takes me back to India. Ahhh, crazy India! Six books, huh? Let's see...counting the trilogy I'm working on book 7 but books 1 and 2 should be burned. Cremated. And then have a funeral at sea.

    Happy Monday,

  9. I loved reading more about you, Kristen, and the lovely exerpt from your time in India.

    I too hope this is your year of favor for publication!

    Audience of ONE

  10. Wow! That's alot of books you've written! I'm so impressed!

  11. I loved reading your writing here, and getting to know more about you.

  12. Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing all this info about you and your writing. It's a pleasure to get to know you better.

  13. I loved your writing! I'm slightly obsessed with India. Everything about it is fascinating. I also really liked the way you captured the scene.

    I'm also really impressed that you've already finished five books. Very nice. I'm working on number 3 right now, but the first one didn't count since it's so bad...so really, I'm on #2. Hah.

    Great stuff! :)

  14. From your fingertips to God's ears, Susan R! Thank you!

    Yay, Friend! I'm glad you're back! I feel the same way about books 1-3. :0)

    Thank you, Jeannette, Susan Mills, Deb, and Sherrinda!

    Thanks, KM! Have you ever been there? I love it... such craziness!! I feel the same way about my first 3!

  15. Amazing post. Thanks for sharing that terrific passage. Happy New Year!

  16. You are a busy writer.
    I loved the India story I could picture it in my mind, like I was sitting with you.

  17. First visit and very interesting post! Great way to get to know you.


  18. I found your blog via Lisa & Laura. Love how cute the place is! :) I saw your post about Susie Mag. I think that magazine is fantastic too! I can't wait to read your article in there. (Also, I listen to movie soundtracks when I write as well. If I listen to songs with lyrics ... I start singing along :). Glad I discovered your blog!

  19. Thank you, Elizabeth and Diane! Happy New Year to Y'all!

    Thank you, Michelle! I'm coming by your blog very soon. I look forward to getting to know you!

    Natalie! AH! Okay, so I feel like I "know" you because of all the years you wrote for Brio. :0) Thank you so much for coming by! Sounds like we're writing twins. :0)

  20. No, I've never been (yet). I go to Thailand every year, and I've visited Ecuador and Vietnam both once. But India is at the top of my go-to list. :)

  21. Wow, I'd love to hear those stories! Especially Ecuador!

  22. Wow, Kristen, five books? That's exciting. I have loved getting to know more about some of my blogging buddies. Thanks. I hope your Christmas was wonderful!