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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Author Interview: Krista Lynne Jensen, "Of Grace and Chocolate"

Me: This question is becoming a habit for me, but since you know so many of my favorite people in the world (My best friend, Brook Grant; my aunt, Arlene Brimhall; my cousin, Donna Banks . . . to name a few!) I feel like it' especially pertinent to you. Would you like to be my best friend? :)

Krista: I love friends. I'm flattered you asked! Brook, Arlene, and Donna are some of the best people I know. If you lived closer we could go to lunch. At Rib & Chop! Yum. {And I would also join your writing group, whether you wanted me or not. :D}
Me: Really I'm just jealous that although you live in a fairly isolated part of Wyoming, like me, you still have an in-person writing group, which I don't. How did you get involved in your group and what is it like being a member? Are your writing tastes vastly different or eerily similar?

Krista: I was new to Cody when a small group of women from church invited me to Time Out for Women, a sort of motivational retreat put on by Deseret Books. They had an extra ticket and thought of me, the new girl. I went and found myself getting to know them and that they were writers. As they talked about their stories and how they started writing, I felt an amazing pull. I was pretty shy, but I couldn't help admitting that writing a book had always been a secret dream of mine. Not long after, we started a writing group and invited anyone who was interested. We had several women, some poets, some readers, some working on non-fiction projects. We had once a month "classes" and learned about grammar, plot, character development, any topic we thought we needed help with. That group lasted a year and that is where I wrote my first three books. Three of us continue to meet weekly. I truly owe these women thanks for giving me the platform and guts to write, edit, and submit. Carla writes contemporary romance and Norma writes sci-fi. We all read a wide variety of genres and love sharing books. We are so lucky to have each other in such a small community. We spur each other on.
Me: I happen to know that you don't just write romance, but in fact are working on a fantasy novel as well. Can you tell us about it?

Krista: Oh, sure. I grew up with a love for fantasy and sci-fi through my dad. While I love writing contemporary romance, I also have two teenage boys who are avid readers and I wanted to try and write something they would love to read. The story is about a silk merchant's daughter and a beekeeper's son and the destinies they have no idea they are to fulfill. It's called SILK. I think. There's magic. And new world mythology. And troublesome older brothers. And a really evil chick. I'm having fun. 
Me: Ice cream. I have to know your favorite flavor and your feelings about Cold Stone. Perhaps the possibility of opening one with me in Cody. (I'd definitely be willing to travel for that.)
Krista: A Cold Stone Creamery would be welcome in Cody! We have DQ. The previous owners closed it every winter and went to Florida or somewhere, but now the new owners keep it open year around. {This is very good to know. . .} Yay! And our Albertson's now carries Tillamook ice cream, which is my favorite. Udderly Chocolate is a perfectly creamy blend of white and milk chocolate and smooth chocolate flakes. Wow, that's good. I should write for them.
Me: Me and some of the aspiring writers who frequent my blog are always interested in hearing about how writers got their work published. Can you tell us about how "Of Grace and Chocolate" came to be?
Krista: "Of Grace and Chocolate" kind of came to be . . . backwards. {Please note Krista's correct use of an ellipsis. I did not correct that. :)} I already had two books accepted by Covenant and was awaiting a release date on the first one when I submitted OGaC. As I was writing it, I had thought, "Hm, this would be a good debut novel. Oh well, too bad." And I finished it and sent it off. Then when it was, gratefully, accepted, my publisher proposed that it go first! It's a stand-alone novel, whereas the other two are part of a series and longer, and we all agreed this little 3rd book would be my debut novel. So now it's first and I'm thrilled.
Me: As writers we're often told, "write what you know." Jillian Parrish is patterned after experiences your mother had and you've mentioned that Scott Gentry has a bit of your brother. Are their any scenes that came from real life?

Krista:Most of the scenes in Costa Rica, the general tour, the buses of kids, the zipline, even the monkeys, came from my own experience traveling with my husband and a group of his Spanish students. Amazing trip! I was so excited it made its way into the story. I hadn't intended it to.
Me: If "Of Grace and Chocolate" was made into a movie, what character would you want to play?
Krista: Who would I want to play? Wow, that's tough. Probably Jill's friend, Marci. She's a firecracker. I'm a closet firecracker.
Me: What do we get to expect next from Krista Lynne Jensen and how long are we expected to wait? ;)
Krista: I can't wait until my next book comes out! As I said, it was my first submission, and that was a few years ago, and it's the first in a series, and two more have already been written in the series. It's tentatively called "The Orchard". It's a contemporary romance set in the Flathead Valley of Montana and is loosely based on Jane Austen's Persuasion, which is my favorite of hers. {Oh, yes. Me too. Sarah Eden wrote a lovely blog post about it that must be read.} I've been told it will be out early next year, but one can hope a slot opens up sooner! In the meantime I just keep writing. I love writing more than ice cream. Truth. {Sometimes it's a toss up for me . . .} 

Thanks, Krista! It was sure fun getting to know you, and I'm probably not the only one crossing my fingers Covenant will bless us with "The Orchard" sooner. :)

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About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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