Wednesday, February 8, 2012

fun interview with Kindle Mystery Authors!

An interview with Kristiana Gregory, author of Stalked

KMA: Welcome, Kristiana. Stalked has something to do with Ellis Island, I understand. Can you explain to our readers the significance of Ellis Island?

Kristiana Gregory: From 1892-1954 it was the busiest inspection port for millions of immigrants coming to America, including my Danish ancestors.

KMA: Why did you set the book in the past rather than the present day?

Kristiana Gregory: Stalked is inspired by my great-grandmother Maren Kristine Sorensen who sailed from Denmark in 1893. I made several trips to Ellis Island and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, fascinated by what it must have been like to arrive in this new country not knowing a soul or speaking the language. I imagine that the stress, fear and excitement is similar to what modern immigrants and refugees must experience.

KMA: How did you go about creating an interesting cast of characters?

Kristiana Gregory: One family story is that my great-grandmother worked in the royal palace in Copenhagen. While doing research with my cousin however, we learned a different story, a true one: Maren Kristine married a Dane who ended up spending much of his life in a Wisconsin insane asylum and dying in his bed there of an infected carbuncle. This filled me with so many questions! How did a young man full of hope and dreams go crazy? If he’d been unstable during immigration, how did he pass the strict medical inspectors at Ellis Island? It made me wonder about psychopaths and sociopaths. Since they can be such good actors, how can a 6-minute exam weed them out? This is a good question for today as well.

KMA: Will any of these characters return in a future story?

Kristiana Gregory: I would love to continue Rikke’s story. The turn of the 20th Century was such a fascinating era, especially for a 15-year old girl.

KMA: Whom do you see as your ideal reader?

Kristiana Gregory: Ages 10 and up, but I get a lot of letters from adults who appreciate my stories because they’re easy to read. Gosh, I hope that’s a compliment!

KMA: When you’re not writing, what would we find you reading?

Kristiana Gregory: Usually non-fiction & biographies, news articles. This might sound weird, but as a child I spent hours & hours reading our family’s World Book Encyclopedias, and National Geographic when I could find copies. I love Ray Bradbury and Mark Twain.

KMA: What did you learn from writing this story?

Kristiana Gregory: I was surprised to learn that many immigrants were found “unsuitable” on Ellis Island and returned to their countries, usually at the expense of their original ship captain. Also I learned that summer heat in the tenements was unbearable, driving many to the rooftops at night. Sometimes a poor soul would roll of the edge in his sleep, to his death.

KMA: Who has been your biggest supporter?

Kristiana Gregory: Definitely my husband and our two adult sons. Since the boys were little they have read every manuscript and aren’t afraid to give an honest opinion. There is nothing like a child to tell you your story is tooooo long, for an author to make some swift edits! And my mother has been my cheerleader since I first was learning to put a sentence on paper.

KMA: How are you promoting your work?

Kristiana Gregory: Since Stalked is my first venture with self-publishing on Kindle, I’m trying to figure this out as we ‘speak’. I’m on Twitter [@kgregorybooks], Goodreads, have a fan page on Facebook, a website []; also I write a blog, Notes From the Sunroom, A Writer’s Journey[]. And I’m grateful to be talking to you!

KMA: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Kristiana Gregory: 1) Write your heart’s desire and don’t give up. 2) Don’t read reviews of your books: if they’re negative they hurt your feelings, and if they’re positive they give you a big floaty head. It’s better to just keep going forward.

KMA: As you know, our website is centered around Kindle novels. Can you tell us why you chose to publish your book for the Kindle, or give other authors advice about the process?

Kristiana Gregory: I have 30 children’s books with traditional publishers – Harcourt, Scholastic, Holiday House – and thought it would be fun to try something different, though I really miss the friendship and support of my editors. Stalked took two years to write and edit then my artist son, Cody Rutty, did the cover. Instead of waiting another year for a contract and publishing schedule, it was exhilarating to upload my manuscript in a matter of minutes and have it available to e-readers in a snap. Wow, it was a thrill! I’m still learning how all this works.

KMA: Where can our readers find a copy of the book?

Kristiana Gregory: It’s on kindle, here.

KMA: And finally, as an author, do you have any quirks or habits that help you write the story?

Kristiana Gregory: Quiet mornings and strong coffee then I’m ready to go! Actually, I’m fastidious about freshly sharpened pencils—long ones, no stubbies—and before I start a story I’ve GOT to have a title.

KMA: Thanks for talking to us. We wish you the best of luck with your writing.

Kristiana Gregory: Thank you so much. I’m really happy to be part of Kindle Mystery Authors.


Diane B. said...

What a great interview!
The only down side I can think of for only using Kindle is that you can't autograph the book!
Keep up the good writing -
a big thumbs up for strong coffee!

Kristiana Gregory said...

Thanks Diane ... yeah, thumbs up for strong coffee and good ol' dogs to supervise.