Monday, February 9, 2015

Author Interview - Kristina Circelli

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I bring you another author interview from one of the fine ladies attending utopYA Con 2015! I did an interview with Kristina about a year ago (check it out here), and I had the pleasure of meeting her at the 2014 con. If you don't have your tickets yet, you need to get them now. Go here. Prices go up February 28th. You don't wanna be the only one left out of the party, do you? *grin* Anywho, grab your coffee and let's get going.



Jo: Welcome back to the blog, Kristina! I’m honored to have you here. It was so amazing to meet you at utopYA 2014, and I can’t wait to see you again this year. Are you ready to get rolling with this interview?

Kristina: You know it! I love to talk about writing :).

Jo: Yee haw! Let’s get to it. I totally didn’t realize you were a shy lady, and I was shocked to hear how you felt uncomfortable (didn’t pick up on that when I hugged you at ALL, but maybe I was just overly excited to meet you LOL). How are you planning to help yourself push through it this year? Any way we can all help?

Kristina: I’m always uncomfortable in large groups, haha. I am not exactly the best at small talk and close contact - but I have mastered the one-arm hug! To be honest, I push through it at every event, but I think I’m getting better now that I know more people, so I’m more comfortable just going up and saying hi.

Ways to help? I’m not really sure. But I will say that if you do approach me, I’ll talk your ear off about books, writing, movies, Disney, cats, elves that live in the forest. You’ll be wondering how to shut me up.


Jo: Heck no! I'll be asking for more. *grin* Now, I hear you’re writing a couple of horror books. Fill me in, lady! I want all the juicy details: Title of the series, main idea, and when we can (possibly) expect the first one.

Kristina: I am! I had actually planned on writing one horror book in a couple years, but I had the opportunity to pitch the book to a publisher, Permuted Press, at Indie BookFest last August. Permuted signed me, on the condition that instead of one book, I would make it five. So, the Five Flames series was born!

Without giving too much away, the premise is about a spirit that contains within it five demons, and when this spirit comes in contact with a human, those demons enter into a bidding war for the person’s soul. Five demons, five souls, five books. Though each book focuses on a different demon and person, they are all interconnected. So, a minor character from book one just might be the main character of book five, and so on.

The idea was born out of my own greatest fear - being possessed by an alien, ghost, or demon. My husband and I planned a trip to Savannah and went on a ghost tour, and the story built from there. The entire series centers around one house in Savannah, and its many horror stories.

The series will be out in 2016. The first book, Follow Me Home, will be out in November 2016 and then the others will be released in the following consecutive months.

Jo: It sounds incredible! I can't wait to read them. Congratulations on getting signed! How exciting is that? So, did you return to teaching at UNF? Why not? What did you learn by teaching writing?

Kristina: No, I never did return, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t. Between writing, editing, and my other job, it was too much and, in the end, not worth it financially. I enjoyed teaching but it was really more an opportunity that fell into my lap, and I didn’t want to pass it up because it was great experience and I learned a lot. I learned not only how to connect with students (which translates to connecting with readers and fans), but also how to better express myself. I’m great when I can write things down, but when I speak I can get jumbled and my words don’t come out right. Obviously as a teacher that’s frowned upon, ha. So I had to get better at presentation.

Jo: It's good to know exactly what you want and go for it. I applaud you. How’s the business going? Any awesome updates since the last time we chatted? I know you were wanting to expand your business and take on some new faces. Any luck on making that happen? What’s the plan?

Kristina: Business is great! I’ve taken on several new clients and worked with lots of current clients that I absolutely adore. I also began offering blurb writing services. I’m one of the rare few who loves writing blurbs :). That’s about it expansion wise. I actually took a few months off at the end of the year to write Follow Me Home, since it’s due at the publisher in February (book two is due in June), but now I’m back in it full swing. I don’t have plans to do anything big and crazy this year since I have a lot of books to write, so it’s business as usual for now.

Jo: I'm not a fan of writing blurbs, either. Great idea! I'm knee-deep in Markaza, and will be taking time for that one over the next month. I set a goal to have it written by March 10th. We'll see. Now, tell me about the book you wrote about your cousin that passed, and what writing A Single Swim did for you (kudos to you for writing that novel to raise awareness; I can’t imagine how difficult it was). By the way, it’s not on your Amazon author page. Is there a reason for that?

Kristina: Simple oversight - it’s on my Amazon author page now! Thanks for the heads up.

A Single Swim began as a book for my cousin who passed away, and her family. But the more I researched it, the more I saw an opportunity to really raise awareness on the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, so that people everywhere could protect their loved ones. I worked a lot with my cousin’s mom, PJ, and their organization, The Courtney Nash Amoeba Awareness Foundation in Florida, and with Heidi LaMeyer of Swim Above Water in Minnesota. With their help I learned about the amoeba and the families who lost young children, and a couple who lost adult family members (children are more common victims due to their immune system and the way the cribriform plate in the nose is constructed). I also met with infectious disease specialists who taught me the science behind the amoeba so I could better present that in the book.

It was heartbreaking to write, and hard because above all I wanted to do these families justice. I wanted to honor the victims, not create something that was sensationalist and used their stories for personal gain. So I sought to find a way to incorporate their stories and quotes from their loved ones, primarily the parents of young children, in a way that would speak to the hearts of readers.

The reception to the book has been phenomenal. People are aware, and they are thankful this issue has come to light, that stories are being told. I am actually planning to go back and add more to the book about awareness efforts. Now that I’ve been to events held by the organizations, I want to showcase them better, and offer updates on progress in terms of treatment.

Jo: You're welcome! Do you know you're one of my favorite people? How amazing of you to use your writing skills to try and save lives. *bows* You do so many awesome things to bring awareness with your books. *wipes away tear* Let's lighten the mood a little! Rapid fire question time! Aliens or ghosts?

Kristina: Oh man. Aliens, I suppose. I’m kinda terrified of a ghost possessing me. Aliens could too, but at least then I’d have proof of life from outer space.

Jo: Great answer! Cheese or mustard with soft pretzels?

Kristina: Cheese! Not a mustard fan.

Jo: Puppies or kittens?

Kristina: Kittens. I love puppies but my kittens (Lord Finnegin the Fierce and Master Malachi the Mighty) are the best.

Side note - if I ever get a dog, I’m going to name him Bohannon, Bo for short. Named after Cullen Bohannon from Hell on Wheels.


Jo: You totally need an itsy bitsy one! Great name for a tiny dog. haha! Time travel question (because the theme for 2015 demands it)! *grins* If you went back in time to the days when your Native American family was roaming what’s now the U.S., what do you think would be the most interesting thing you’d learn from them? What specific questions would you ask?

Kristina: Ooh, that’s a good one. I think the most interesting thing I’d learn is simply their way of life. Living off the land, truly being absorbed in the culture, everything from hunting to making crafts to spiritual beliefs.

I would ask a lot about that, spiritual beliefs and the cultural legends. I love origin stories, not necessarily of a people as a whole but of everything. Why the butterfly is silent, why only certain trees lose their leaves, and so on. Being able to connect to the spiritual aspect of the culture would mean the world to me, especially if I could then come back to my time and carry on those ways having personally experienced them. I try to do that now, particularly as a storyteller.

Jo: I agree. Spiritual beliefs are all kinds of interesting. Talk to me about the panel Tense Time Warp: Raise the Tension with Past & Present Tense & POV. What kinds of things will you guys be discussing and why should people attend?

Kristina: We … should probably start planning that, haha. I guess I can’t really speak to what all will be discussed just yet, but I can guarantee I’ll have some things to say :). This topic is a great one for me because I plan to come at it from the viewpoint of an editor rather than writer (because I write third person omniscient exclusively and don’t see that changing).

Regardless of what’s discussed, the panel will be extremely helpful to authors because it will help them get a feel for the tense and POV that is truly right for their story and genre, rather than choosing a tense/POV to follow or go against a trend. Knowing the benefits and pitfalls of each makes for a stronger book overall!

Jo: I noticed when reading Fragile Creatures. It's different, to be sure. I'm looking forward to attending! On a personal note, what did you think about Tom Hardy being Bane, and are you hoping he gets the role of Apocalypse in the new X-Men film? *wicked grin*

Kristina: Oh, you caught on that I have a little thing for Hardy, did ya? I could go on all day about the many wonders of Tom Hardy, but I’ll stick to the question at hand. What did I think of him as Bane? I think I’ve never been more attracted to a man wearing a mask that covers the majority of his face. Hardy in the X-Men? Be still, my heart.

PS - Reese was an idiot for choosing Chris Pine over Tom Hardy.

Jo: I figured that question would interest you. LOL! Yeah, my research goes deep! This interview could go on forever, but I’m out of space! Anything else you’d like to share with my readers before you go?

Kristina: Just to thank everyone for taking the time to read the interview! And, if anyone decides to check out my work, I hope you like it! I write something for everyone, which is why I am known for genre-hopping when it comes to my books. You never know what you’ll get!

Jo: I'm sure they'll love it. I know I'm digging your novel. What a great story! Thanks so much for joining me on the blog, Kristina! I’m looking forward to June so much. Can’t wait to see you!

Now, it’s time to tell you all about the featured book of the week!

Title: Fragile Creatures
Author: Kristina Circelli
Genre: YA Contemporary
Length (print): 274 Pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $2.99  ~  Smashwords $2.99  ~  iBooks $2.99  ~  B&N $2.99


Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Evangeline Frost had a great life, until the car accident that killed her father and turned her mother into a bitter alcoholic. Unable to bear the guilt, Evangeline attempts to take her own life, saved only by the memory of her beloved father.

Left with no other options, Evangeline is enrolled in a program for troubled teens at Kindred Hides Wildlife Preserve. There she meets Caster, a keeper as annoying as he is caring; Jett and Lettie, who treat her more like a daughter than troubled teen; and Ruke, a prized giraffe in mourning for his lost mate.

Immersed in the preserve with her new friends, Evangeline finally begins to heal. But the haunting memories of the accident and her mother’s unforgiving words threaten to destroy her progress. Only her new friends and their unconditional support, along with her own special connection with Ruke, can save her.

Evangeline must learn that there is redemption for her father’s death, and that the bonds between human, animal, and life are not as fragile as she once thought.

While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Kristina a follow on every social media platform I could think of when writing up the template for these interviews (plus some)?

Blog: An Awfully Big Adventure
Facebook: Author Kristina Circelli
Twitter: @KCircelli
Goodreads: Kristina Circelli
Website: Kristina Circelli
Amazon Author Page: Kristina Circelli

If you have any questions, pop them into the comments below. Kristina will be happy to answer them!

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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