Kristine Twining has dreamed of writing books and publishing pretty much her whole life. She first put pen to paper in junior high, mostly in the form of poems (which she still has!), then wrote for high school and local newspapers and special publications (oh, she still has those too!). Throughout school, she was one of the odd ones that always knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. She was going to be a journalist. She was sidetracked for a bit and dabbled in radio as a disc jockey at a local country station, until she realized that the hours and pay stunk, and writing was still her favorite thing to do. Strangely enough, a quirk of fate landed her in the insurance field, and she has been trapped there ever since. But the need to write didn’t go away, and it wouldn’t be stilled. The characters in her head wouldn’t be quiet. They demanded that she tell their story, and she had no choice but to give in.
She started writing her first book long ago, longer than she’d care to remember. That turned out to be such a struggle that she chucked that entire idea and virtually gave up on writing the novel she had dreamed of, convinced she couldn’t do it. Then a gal from the 20th century invaded her head and asked what it would be like if she somehow ended up in the court of Queen Elizabeth (who happens to be Kristine’s favorite). And what if she found the man of her dreams in the bargain? Who could resist? Kristine finds a certain peace in writing, as if she’s answering her calling, doing the thing that she was meant to do. It was sort of a relief to finally get their story out of her head...only to find their stories aren’t over yet. She is currently working on two sequels to her first novel, Haunted.
Kristine lives on an 11-acre farmette about twenty minutes from Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, Larry, their two children, Traci and Tyler, and occasionally her stepdaughter, Tania. By day, she is a full time claims manager, and when she’s not investigating car crashes - mostly nights and weekends - she and her husband own and operate two businesses – a dog boarding kennel and a seasonal haunted attraction, The Haunted Barn. Kristine met Larry eighteen years ago, when he was doing maintenance at the apartment building she lived in, and he came to clean her carpets…and never left. He is the love of her life, and they have been married for sixteen years. They do almost everything together and share many interests, including a love of animals and scaring people. What little time is left she devotes to her children, reading, family, and friends.
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: Everywhere! Sometimes the characters just tell me what needs to happen. Other times, it can be as simple as something I see, something someone says, observing people and how they interact, a song lyric – almost anything can trigger an idea, and, if I’m lucky, an entire scene.
Q: What is your writing process like?
A: Process? What process? Seriously, I guess there is a bit of a routine to it. I don’t have a lot of free time, and since my characters sometimes just won’t be quiet and don’t give me a choice about it, I basically squeeze writing in when I can…usually in the evenings. I don’t use an outline, and I don’t set a word count requirement per day. My life is too unpredictable, and I’m not going to beat myself up if I am not able to get in the requiem word count. I know that there will be days I’ll write a ton, and there’ll be others that I won’t be able to get a word down. On those days, I edit.
Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?
A: I don’t. It happens to us all at some point. When it does, I’ll reread part of the book to get close to my characters again and hope they tell me what comes next, or I work on editing or do research. Sometimes it all just needs to stew for a while, and I’ve learned (the hard way!) that pushing won’t make it happen any faster. Sometimes I’ll read other books, or listen to music, or watch a movie. I often find inspiration there.
Q: What is the best advice you can give other writers?
A: The same advice that was given to me…don’t give up. Writing isn’t easy, and I’ve queried and been rejected more times that I’d like to remember over the years. Once you get past the depressing part, you have to look at your work and be critical…really look for those things that may not be appealing to a publisher, then find a way to change it. It’ll only be a washed up dream if you let it be.
Q: Do your characters take on a life of their own? Or do you control them?
A: Some of both, I think. I live in two worlds – mine and theirs. At times, they are very clear on who they are, what they look like, what their personalities are. I can see them in my head, and they know it. After that, if there was a direction I wanted them to go, they let me know if it didn’t fit their personas. And sometimes I twist them around to make the story what I need it to be.
Q: What is your favorite thing about writing romance?
A: Everything! The strong, independent heroines that know their own minds and bodies. The gorgeous men that make them breathless and passionate. The sexual tension, the culmination of strong, often conflicting, emotions, the final act that fuses their souls…just all of it. It’s so exciting to be intimately involved in that kind of love…and to be able to relive that wonderful rollercoaster ride over and over again.
Q: What genres do you read?
A: My favorite is historical romance (of course!). I also read nonfiction, mostly 16th Century England and Queen Elizabeth. I’ve picked up a few young adult novels that I really enjoyed, as well as paranormal romance. I love Beatrice Small (reading her books made me fall in love with romance) and Diana Gabaldon (who inspired me to keep going when I wanted to quit…just look at the size of her books!). Though my characters were never going to let that happen! The bulk of my modest library consists of their books, which I read over and over again. I also read poems…my favorite is Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken”. It just describes life so well, how some choices affect the rest of our lives, even though we may not be aware of their importance at that moment in time that we make them.
Q: What can we expect from you next?
A: I’m planning a few sequels to Haunted…two more…maybe three more books. Then…who knows!
Q: What is the best compliment anyone’s given you about your book?
A: A good friend of mine read one of many unpolished manuscripts, and she told me that after reading one of the sex scenes, she wanted to grab her husband and run to their bedroom. For me, that was one of the best compliments I could ever receive…one of the best things about writing romance (and eating, sleeping, and breathing romance!) is helping others find spark and romance and that intense first-time-we-ever-touched feeling in their real lives with their real loves. It is, after all, what this genre is all about!
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