Kristin Wallace’s first novel, Marry Me, will soon be released by Astraea Press. Growing up Kristin devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. She writes inspirational romance and women’s fiction filled with love, laughter and a leap of faith. Until Kristin is a full time author, she works as an advertising copywriter. She also enjoys singing in her church choir and worship team and playing flute in a community orchestra.
Kristin, when did you know you wanted to pursue the craft of writing professionally, and what were the circumstances surrounding that decision?
That’s a pretty looonnggg story. I was about 25 when I had the great epiphany that I was supposed to be a writer. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing and I got nowhere. After a couple years I put the writing aside and went back to school to study advertising copywriting. I figured I could still write, but actually get paid. Spent two years in school, followed by seven years of working in ad agencies and as a freelance writer. Somewhere in that time I had started writing down ideas for stories. Then one day I stopped. I realized ten years had gone by and I was still overcome with the urge to write books. So I decided to try again. I joined Romance Writers of America and the local chapter, Florida Romance Writers. I learned the craft of writing. I grew into a better writer. Wrote three books. I got an agent. And I still didn’t sell. Not for another seven years when I saw a notice for online pitches through the Savvy Authors website. One of those accepting pitches was Astraea Press, a digital first publishing company specializing in inspirational and sweet fiction and romance. I pitched to them and sold within a few days. So when I say “never give up on your dream” I mean it. You never know when the right circumstances will come together. The characters in my book would all say it’s part of a bigger Plan.
What are your goals associated with being a writer? Do you have one type of book that will be your crowning achievement?
I want to make a living as a full time author. That’s the first goal. I want to write books that are uplifting and have a positive message of healing, forgiveness, and a true eternal love. I also don’t ever want to hit somebody over the head with religion. I think anyone can read my books, even if they don’t follow a particular faith. I want to be a best selling author and I want to see one of my books on a bookshelf in a bookstore. This first book being released is a crowning achievement after 17 years of working for it. Hopefully, it will not be the ultimate crowning achievement, though.
If you could have one superhero power, what would it be, why did you choose it, and what would you use it for?
Maybe the ability to fly. It just seems cool and definitely faster getting everywhere.
Do you type straight through a manuscript, be it editing or writing a fresh draft, or do you take little breaks in between (like playing a hand of solitaire between each chapter?)
If I’m really into the story and the words are flowing I’ll keep going. My writing time is so limited because of that pesky, full-time, paying job that I can’t afford to lose the pace. Although, I will take a break here or there when I get to a point where I’ve reached a little closure with a scene and maybe I’m not exactly sure how the next scene is going to start.
How did the idea for your book come about? How did you develop your characters? Are they based on anyone you know?
MARRY ME started with the idea of a cynical, single woman who hates weddings somehow being recruited to take over a wedding planning business. That’s all I knew about for a while. Then I spent a lot of time asking questions. “Who is this woman?” “Why does she hate weddings?” “What would compel her to take over a wedding planning business?” It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Seth (my Hero) that the story really took shape. I asked myself who the love interest could be. Someone Julia would run into a lot as she’s planning the weddings. And then I thought of a minister. Once I had him, the rest of the story came together in a flash. Seth pushed the story in a totally different direction and that’s when I decided to make the book an inspirational romance. I’d never really considered writing inspirational before that.
I wouldn’t say the characters are based an actual person. My parents have been married to each other for over 45 years so I have no idea where I came up with a woman whose parents each had multiple divorces under their belts, lol
What would be the one piece of advice you would offer to an aspiring writer?
The first thing I would say is to “finish the book”. There are so many people who start out saying “I want to be a writer” and then they somehow get lost. They either never finish the book or they finish, but keep editing over and over while never doing anything with it. They can’t let it go. That might actually be some advice. Learn when to let go of a book and move on. Your first book will probably be bad, and that’s ok. Finishing it is the first goal. Because then you know you can finish. Also, I’d say to never give up and never delete anything. You never know when that abandoned manuscript can be dusted off. MARRY ME started out its life as a 1st Person POV book. I ended up revising it to 3rd Person, and I honestly think it’s a better book. Also, you also never know what will happen with the publishing industry. In the last 7-8 years since I’ve been actively pursuing a publishing career again, the entire industry has changed. It’s a huge shift, with the small epubs and indie publishing. MARRY ME had been sitting in my computer for several years after not selling, but then I ended up getting two offers for it last year within days of pitching and sending the manuscript.
What kind of audience do you see Marry Me attracting?
MARRY ME is the perfect book for…
Anyone who wants to read a humorous, uplifting book with a positive faith message about healing and forgiveness.
Anyone who wants to read a sweet romance without graphic sexual content. (However, there is still great romantic chemistry between my couple, Julia and Seth.)
Anyone one who enjoys quirky, small town settings.
Kristin, thank you for taking the time to let future readers know more about you. I wish you all the success in your writing career!
MARRY ME by Kristin Wallace
Julia Richardson is no fan of weddings. A lifetime of watching her parents treat relationships like the flavor of the month has taught her that love is for fools. Then she learns her former stepsister is having a crisis with her pregnancy. The crisis has Julia returning to the small Southern town she’s been avoiding for years. Before she knows it, Julia’s been pressed into service running her stepsister’s wedding planning business. Julia doesn’t know a garter from a garden hose, but now she must navigate couples along the bumpy path down the aisle. In the midst of it all, Julia makes the most unexpected discovery of all…love, with widowed minister, Seth Graham. Julia’s been running from love and everything spiritual for most of her life. It’s not until she finds the courage to stop running and learns to believe in the power of love, faith and family that she finds her own “I Do” moment.
This excerpt from Marry Me describes Julia and Seth seeing other for the first time since they were teenagers:
“Come on, Seth is around here somewhere,” Eric said. “Let me introduce you. Oh, wait… I forgot. You two know each other, don’t you?”
Kristen Stokes Photography
Julia followed Eric, and in the distance she spotted a group of men helping to set up the field. She searched for a geeky-looking beanpole, but her eyes stopped on a beautifully built, dark-haired man. All she could see was the back of him. He was tall, with shoulders a mile wide, and long, powerful legs.
Who knew they grew such delicious specimens down here in Covington Falls?
“Hey, Seth!” Eric called out. “Look who I found.”
All the men turned, including the delicious one. Oh, yeah. Mr. Tall Guy was wonderful from the front, too. Nicely crafted masculine features. Julia couldn’t quite make out the eye color, but she had a feeling they were spectacular as well. Their eyes met, and she felt a little jolt. “This one,” a voice reflected in her head. His eyes widened, and Julia knew he felt it, too. If they were in a movie this would be the moment when violins swept into a chorus and drums started pounding.
Then he frowned, and his expression became shuttered. He broke away from the group and started over in her direction. That’s when it dawned on her exactly who she’d been drooling over.
The drums turned to clanging bells.
The breath lodged in her throat. There was no way the geeky boy she’d known had grown into… him! But somehow he had. She stiffened even more when she recalled this gorgeous man was also a minister.
Can you get struck by lightning for thinking impure thoughts about a minister? Isn’t lust one of the seven deadly sins?
Oh, this was not good. Not good at all.
It’s not good for a woman to look so amazing in a pair of denim shorts, Seth Graham thought. Not good at all.
How was it possible? Fifteen years and she still made him feel like… well… like he was fifteen. He’d grown up, answered the call to the ministry, and married and buried a wife. Yet somehow prickly, bitter, keep-your-distance Julia Richardson still scared the life out of him. Because prickly, bitter, keep-your-distance Julia Richardson was also still the sexiest female he’d ever met. A sexy woman who was now his stepmother’s ex-stepdaughter, making her his… well… he didn’t quite know what it made her. He only knew it was bizarre and twisted.
(Editor’s Note: Okay, so it’s a young Mel Gibson, but Seth could look like that!)
Yeah, Julia, the putz you remember did grow into this.
Follow Kristin at her website or blog page and she’ll let you know as soon as she gets a release date for Marry Me!