About Kristina Stanley:
Kristina Stanley is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her books have garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. Crime Writers of Canada nominated DESCENT for the Unhanged Arthur award. The Crime Writers’ Association nominated BLAZE for the Debut Dagger. She is published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Voices for the Valleys Anthology.
Before writing her series, Kristina was the director of security, human resources and guest services at a resort in the depths of the British Columbian mountains. The job and lifestyle captured her heart, and she decided to write mysteries about life in an isolated resort. While writing the first four novels, she spent five years living aboard a sailboat in the US and the Bahamas.
What inspires you to write?
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. I write to entertain others.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m what you might call a “paster” for the first draft. I love the journey of exploring the story and the characters. Once I have a solid draft written, I have a spreadsheet with about 70 columns. This is where I keep track of scene elements. For example one column is “what is the purpose of the scene.” For every scene I ask myself why the scene is included in the novel. If I don’t know, or my answer is weak, it might be a scene that can be cut. I do this for each of the 70 items to make sure each scene is a good as I can make it. It’s time consuming, but well worth it.
I’m also a strong believer in beta readers. Each reader I have has a different skill set. Once understands character motivations, one is great with catching inconsistencies, one will tell me where they skimmed (i.e. the writing is boring), and another will tell me each time they think they’ve guessed the villain. All are helpful. I only give my draft to beta readers after I’ve run it through my spreadsheet. I want the beta readers to have the best version possible. Then after all the beta reading is done, I revise the manuscript based on the input.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I only interact with characters while I’m writing. For the process to work, I have to be typing in words. I can’t sit around and mull over ideas.
What advice would you give other writers?
Be persistent. This is the best advice I received early in my career. A speaker at a writer’s conference said, “It’s the writers who keep trying who will get their work published.” I believe this, whether you are traditionally published, indie published or some combination, the hard work will get you there.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
For me the journey to publication was a long one. I wrote four novels. I believe I needed to do this in order to improve my writing and bring it to the level where it deserved to be published.
While I was writing, I spent four years creating an online platform. Most publishers today want an author to have a platform before they will consider taking on a new author. The unexpected benefit for me was that I love connecting with people on the Internet. I have a wide range of contacts, all of who are interesting to interact with and learn from. Four years may seem like a long time, but to connect personally and develop relationships does take time.
In the early days, I was very lucky to receive detailed critiques from publishers who rejected AVALANCHE, the third novel in the Stone Mountain Mystery series. I studied the feedback and improved my writing. One suggestion was AVALANCHE should be the third book in the series not the first. I’m happy to say I followed this advice and have a publisher for DESCENT and BLAZE. Now my dream is for AVALANCHE to follow suit.
I found my publisher, Imajin Books, by reading a novel by Cheryl Kaye Tardif. Her style is similar to mine, so I checked to see who her publisher was. As it turned out, Cheryl is the CEO of Imajin Books. I waited until Imajin Books was open for submissions and sent in my work. I followed the guidelines carefully and had my work submitted seconds after the opening time. If you read the guidelines at www.Imajinbooks.com you’ll see how important having a social platform is to getting published.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
This is a wonderful time to be an author. The opportunities for publishing will continue to grow and change and each author should be able to find a way that suits their lifestyle.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Mystery, Women’s Sleuth
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.