Kristen says she has always been passionate about stories and took up writing at a young age. Many of her early novels, back in middle school, were actually rewrites of her favorite movies. “Of course I didn’t see that until later on! I rewrote The Swiss Family Robinson into The Island Tribe, a story about kids. I began getting published in 2005, first in a short story journal out of Australia called Skive and then a small press in Canada called Lachesis Publishing. Around that time, I joined the self publishing bandwagon and found I enjoy designing the book along with writing it. My books are mainly romance with other genres thrown in,” she says.
Kristen’s describes her writing style as conversational with vivid descriptions and characters that draw in the reader. She says most of her reviews mention how much the reader liked the characters and the mystery element in her romances. “Several things might set my novels apart such how I use Oregon and the beauty here, the warm characters, and my dialogue. I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on that.”
I asked Kristen where she finds inspiration and she answered, “To be completely honest, I actually have no idea where I get my ideas. There’s a giant bucket full of them in my head and I mix them up or tweak them. It can get out of hand sometimes and I’ll invent a huge, complex story to explain some little thing I saw.” An idea bucket? You gotta love that.
Apparently, she has the big bucket. Kristen says for her, it’s hard to narrow all her ideas down into a few that she will actually pursue. “I allow myself to develop ideas in my head into a mini movie to see if it might work as a novel.”
For Kristen, marketing is all about connecting with readers and being a fun person online. She says the industry is calling it “discoverability” now because the biggest roadblock is letting readers know about you. “I focus on reaching out to readers through Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I jump at the chance to join a blog’s giveaway or event. These time investments have paid off well. I tried some paid ads on Google and Facebook and not did see any real return on investment.”
Kristen has read other indie authors and says her favorite Indie book is Tamara’s Child by B.K. Mayo, which won several Indie Awards. “I read quite a few indie books in the pre-publishing stage for editing, and I’ve actually enjoyed quite a few. One in particular was a coming of age story about a young boy living with his grandparents. Maybe it’ll be out in 2012,” she added. Then she went on to say off the record that my book was actually her favorite. Okay, I totally made that up.
Her advice to aspiring writers is to read, write, network with writers, get feedback, and repeat cycle. She adds, “Forget about ‘writing for the market’ or even defining your market. Everyone says define your market. But Stephen King wrote books he loved, and they were rejected like crazy. But once someone took a chance on him, people loved his work. He wrote what he was meant to write. He didn’t worry about defining his audience. I think I read something similar in a recent Nora Roberts interview. She says she writes what she wants too. The reason we have big, runaway bestsellers is because the author wrote something new and different.”
Kristen describes her latest title as a fun little novella called The Fairy and her Giant. “I have no idea why I wrote it several years ago, but I’ve always loved it. I recently realized, even if it doesn’t fit in with my other works, I wanted to share it. In the story, Stephen saves an old pirate Captain from a mob and is rewarded with a tiny fairy. He’s already on a small quest to find his troublesome brother, so Trisha (the fairy) offers her help. Things quickly turn dangerous, of course. There’s pirates, romance and a few surprises.” I expect this will be a bestseller. People love books with characters named Stephen. This book is available from Amazon.
Kristen also authored More Than Memories, a romantic suspense book, currently ranked #103 (and climbing) on Amazon.
However, since it it the Christmas season, I also want to talk about Kristen’s book A Cowboy for Christmas:
When her estranged brother passes, Missy is suddenly an unwanted co-owner to Ocean View Stables by Florence, Oregon. Missy wants to start over somewhere new after her old boss burned her. She’s jobless and has a wrongly ruined reputation, so this works out perfectly . . . until she meets the cowboy running the place. Brent built his dream with determination and his two hands; he’s responsible for everything that happens there. Secretly, he feels responsible that his former partner died. He also doesn’t hide his belief that Missy won’t stick around. Women tend to take off on him so why would she be any different? They both have a past that can ruin their future. Can he trust her to stay? Can she trust him with her heart?
A Cowboy for Christmas is available from Amazon in print or Kindle format. How’s that for a stocking stuffer? You can learn more about author Kristen James at her blog. You can also find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.