Today I would like to welcome Kristi Cook, author of HAVEN on the blog. I thoroughly enjoyed reading HAVEN when it debuted back in February, and I really enjoyed interacting with Kristi via Twitter, so getting an opportunity to ask her a few questions has really made my week! I hope you enjoy getting to know Kristi and remember about the giveaway of the copy of HAVEN
1. Why did you begin writing? When did you realize it was going to become a career?
Oh, I’ve been writing as long as I can remember! When I was a little kid, I wrote (really bad!) picture books. When I was 12, I started writing a (not quite as bad!) sequel to my favorite book, GONE WITH THE WIND. In college, I took a creative writing class and wrote a few short stories. It wasn’t until after the birth of my second child—I was a stay-at-home mom at the time with an infant and a toddler—that I tried to write my first book. It was a historical romance, and that first manuscript became my first published book, UNLACED (written as Kristina Cook). It’s been a roller-coaster ride ever since.
2. How long does the book writing process take and how do you plan your stories (do they just happen, storyboard, etc.)?
It’s totally different for each book. Sometimes it’s as little as a couple of months, sometimes longer. It took me several years to write HAVEN, because I was mostly writing it around my contracted historical romances.
I’d say mostly my stories just happen. I usually start out with characters, and go from there. I’m not much of a plotter—which is difficult when I have to write a synopsis before I write a book. The end product is usually very different from the synopsis!
3. What kind of schedule do you keep when you are writing? Do you have any “rituals” to get you in the groove?
I wish I had a schedule! I’m trying to get better about writing regularly. In theory, my writing time is when my kids are in school, but my muse often doesn’t cooperate, and I generally find I write better at night. I don’t have any rituals, really, except for listening to music. Sometimes I’ll put one song on loop—one that really captures the atmosphere—and listen to it over and over again while I write.
4. Did you intend to write YA or did it just happen? Will you continue writing YA or will you branch out into different genres?
Oh, I was dying to write YA! I had reached a point where I was mostly reading YA, and so it seemed logical to move in that direction as a writer. I’m just finishing up the last adult historical romances I have under contract, and I think from this point on, I’m only going to write YA.
5. What inspired you to write Haven?
I know it sounds corny, but I saw this one scene in my head—what ultimately became the beginning of Chapter Two—and I was intrigued by it. I wanted to discover who those characters were, and what they meant to each other. Once I started writing it, there was no turning back!
6. When you are not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Besides reading?! Let’s see…I like to take ballet classes, though that’s sort-of fallen by the wayside lately. I love to watch movies, listen to music, ice skate, and travel.
7. Is there a particular character of yours that you feel deeply connected with? Who? What connects you to the character?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. In HAVEN, the character most like me (or most like the high- school me, really) is Sophie. Like Sophie, I was really focused on academics, and an excellent student. Though I was a little bit like Kate, too—slightly obsessed with my high-school boyfriends. While none of the characters as a whole are anything like me, I think there’s something about each of them that I can connect to.
8. Are any of your characters based on people you know or have come in contact with?
Not really! They’re basically all straight from my imagination.
9. What kinds of books do you enjoy reading when you aren’t writing?
I read anything and everything YA, though weirdly enough I think I enjoy realistic fiction more than paranormal (weird because I write paranormal!). I also enjoy really well-done dystopians, like THE HUNGER GAMES.
10. While you were writing Haven, did you have any visions of particular people for your characters? I know that I certainly did while I was reading it! How about theme songs?
Oh, yeah! Well, at least for Aidan. I always saw a young Hayden Christensen in my mind as Aidan. Actually, I have two photos of Hayden taped to my desk, and those two pictures really embody Aidan for me. I even wrote Hayden’s rainbow-striped scarf into the book!
But if I had to pick just one theme song, it would probably be Broken Bells’ “October.”
11. Can you tell us a little bit about the group The Elevensies?
The Elevensies are an amazing group of authors who had their YA or middle-grade debuts in 2011. I think there’s about 80 of us—it’s a huge, diverse group, with something for just about every reader! But mostly I think of the Elevensies as a wonderful support “team”—basically helping keep each other sane as we go through this whirlwind of publication together. We also do group signings and lots of cross-promotion and giveaways as we celebrate everyone’s debut. Check us out at http://2011debuts.livejournal.com/
Here are some quickies….
12. If you could recommend one book as a “must read”, which book would it be?
Just one? Well, this week I’d probably say Patrick Ness’ A MONSTER CALLS. But ask me again next week, and I’ll have a different answer.
13. Best movie you have seen so far this year?
“The Descendants.” I saw it at an advance screening last month, and it is FABULOUS! George Clooney should definitely win an Oscar.
14. Best place you have traveled?
A tie between Ireland and the south of Spain. Oh, wait…and Hawaii. Can it be a three-way tie?!
15. Book that ‘hooked’ you as a reader?
I’ve probably read GONE WITH THE WIND about fifty times since I was 11, so I’ll have to go with that.
16. Favorite food?
Maybe homemade macaroni and cheese.
17. And last but not least…milk, white or dark chocolate?
Most definitely milk chocolate!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!
Thanks for having me!!
Remember the giveaway??? Well, up for grabs I have one hardcover copy of Kristi’s Haven. Here’s what you need to do to win:
Mandatory: Leave a meaningful comment about this post, be sure to leave an email address so that I can contact you.
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Author interview with Kristi Cook and Haven giveaway http://bit.ly/sulKCT @cicistheories
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Giveaway ends on Saturday, December 3 at 11:59 cst.
Good luck and thanks for reading!