The Enza Blog Tour is winding down, but not before Kristy K. James agreed to do an interview with me. Woot!
Reena Jacobs: Congratulations on your new release, Enza. Please tell us a little about it.
Kristy K. James: Thanks, Reena! And thank you for your generosity in helping me get the word out about Enza.
Enza is a story that is told from the perspective of five characters. The first part of the book is getting to know them, and everyone in their lives. The second part deals with their reactions when an influenza pandemic makes its way to their town.
RJ: Sounds devastating. How did you come up with the title?
KKJ: The idea for the story came about because of a documentary I watched on PBS. It told about the 1918 influenza pandemic, a horrible tragedy in world history. At different times throughout the program you could hear little girls chanting this poem:
I had a little bird, its name was Enza. I opened the window, and in-flew-Enza.
The more I learned, the more I realized that I had to write a story about this. And Enza was the obvious choice for a title.
RJ: That’s a beautifully tragic poem. I definitely appreciate the title more now. I love the hopefulness of the cover. Share with us the inspiration behind it.
KKJ: The title came about because of the poem. So I suppose it could be considered a little deceptive, not that I intended it to come across that way. I just kind of wanted it to be simple, yet dramatic.
RJ: It is. Cruising through your works, I noticed your stories tend to focus on family and mending. I rather like the themes. Will you tell us a bit about your writing style and how you’d describe your genre?
KKJ: Oh, this is a tough question. Someone else mentioned my writing style, and it threw me a little bit. As far as I knew, I didn’t know that I one. I was very honored when they compared Enza to the works of Mark Twain and Laura Ingalls Wilder. So, at least for this book, whatever style they had would work. As for the rest, I don’t really know. I just write the stories that need to be told.
Genre? Hmm. So far most of my stories would be considered romance. Enza is more historical/literary fiction. But I hope to branch out and begin writing a young adult/fantasy series sometime in the next year or so. People have called me eclectic for a long time. I guess that’s reflected in my writing life.
RJ: How much of you/your life do you put into your stories?
KKJ: I think all writers put part of their lives into their stories. We can research forever, but I think we still fall back to using some of the things we know. For instance in A Fine Mess, Ian doesn’t like pasta salad. Neither do I. And Annie has an awful fear of flying. She got that from me. In Enza, the outhouse scene with Marcus is based on a story my grandpa told me. We all have a rich storehouse of feelings, ideas and history, and sometimes those things can enrich our stories.
RJ: I know exactly what you mean. 🙂 Which of your characters do you relate to most?
KKJ: Another tough one. I think I tend to relate to the characters who try to solve problems the most. Thinking about that list, I’m a little dismayed to realize that those would mostly be the male characters in my stories. It’s not that I don’t write fairly strong female characters, I think it’s mostly that I’ve never outgrown the whole ‘knight in shining armor’ mentality. I was a die-hard romantic from the the moment I discovered paper dolls and Barbies.
RJ: In a strange way, I get that… taking some of my best qualities and instilling them into a fantasy dream man. 🙂 With hindsight being 20/20, is there anything you would have changed with your publishing journey?
KKJ: I wouldn’t have waited so long to look into indie publishing. A few people have noticed that I have four that were released around the same time. But they were written several years ago…and just collected dust because I was too busy being a mom to invest much time in courting agents and publishing houses. I could have had a five year head start if I’d listened to some timely advice. On the other hand, I tend to believe that things happen the way they do for a reason.
RJ: Do you have any advice for other writers?
My best advice for other writers is to read a lot. If you read enough good books, you’ll learn how to write well. Also, I know a lot of authors say they are ‘pansters,’ meaning they just sit down and write. I’m a firm believer in outlining, plotting and planning.
But the most important thing I think any writer can do is to develop very well-rounded characters, and then spend enough time getting to know them. I can always tell when I’ve skimped on that part of a story because the words just refuse to flow. When I spend adequate time imagining my characters in various situations, after writing detailed profiles on them, sometimes it feels like they hijack the story. When that happens, it’s magic happens.
RJ: Anything special you’d like to say to readers?
KKJ: Never give up. If writing is in your blood, if it’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing, keep writing. Keep reading and learning.
RJ: What are you working on now?
KKJ: I am getting the second book in my Coach’s Boys series ready for a May 30, 2012 release date. And I have two WIP’s that are each about a third of the way finished. One is the third in the series. The other is a tribute to the knight in shining armor dreams of my inner teenager. The plan is to have all three finished by the end of the year. Whether that actually happens is another story.
RJ: May is already here! How exciting. I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming release. 🙂
Order Your Copy of Enza: Amazon
About the Author
Kristy currently lives in Michigan with her two children, too many pets and a husband who gives her the freedom to write to her hearts content. She spends her time living in her make-believe worlds, cooking and baking up a storm, and doing her best to learn to say ‘no’ when stray animals wander into her large country yard.
Find Kristy K. James Online!
Giveaways for each blog on the tour will include 1 paperback and 3 digital copies of Enza. All comments from the tour will be entered into a drawing for ten-$10.00 and two-$25.00 Amazon gift certificates.
To enter here, simply leave a comment with your email. And of course, you’re encouraged to participate in the interview. 🙂 Surprise Ms. James with a question. Giveaway ends May 9, 2012.
Miss a Stop on the Tour?
Participants in the blog tour for Enza are:
Monday, April 23rd: Patricia @ Live and Dream a Little Dream
Tuesday, April 24th: Andi @ Radiant Light
Wednesday, April 25th: Heather @ It’s All About Me
Wednesday, April 25: Debra @ Sparks in the Fire…
Thursday, April 26th: Lisa @ Seeking With All Yur Heart
Thursday, April 26th: Shannon @ Cocktails and Books
Friday, April 27th: Paula @ The Phantom Paragrapher
Saturday, April 28th: Kathleen @ The Celtic Lady’s Reviews
Saturday, April 28th: Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews
Sunday, April 29th: Molly @ Reviews by Molly
Monday, April 30th: Hayley @ Hanging Off The Wire
Tuesday, May 1st: Tracy @ Booked Up
Wednesday, May 2nd Donna @ My Life. One Story at a Time
Thursday, May 3rd: Ruth @ My Devotional Thoughts
Thursday, May 3rd: Reena Jacobs, Ramblings of an Amateur Writer
Friday, May 4th: JakiCheli