Monday, May 10, 2010
Meet Author Krista Ball
Today my guest is Krista Ball, one of the authors at MuseItUp Publishing. Krista’s book, Harvest Moon is scheduled for release December, 2010.
1) Krista, Tell me a little about your book.
Harvest Moon is about Dancing Cat, a young woman who was cursed by her tribe. In a moment of desperation, she seeks council from the powerful medicine pouch of her people. It angers an ancestor and Dancing Cat’s life changes, including her body. It’s all downhill from there. Or, at least she thinks it is.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Two unrelated events. There was an anthology call out for stories looking for gender-bending situations. Then, at the same time, I was working at a homeless agency and had a wonderful relationship with a Cree man who would come by and help mentor other First Nations peoples. We hit it off and he told me traditional stories and tales. Somehow, the two aspects came together.
The story became so much more complex than something that could be covered in a couple thousand words. That’s the great thing about e-books. Writers can once again find homes for their awkward length stories that are too long for magazines and too short for print books.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I consider myself a full-time writer, though I do have a part-time, non-writing job that allows me to consistently pay my bills. For the longest time, I had treated writing as something you do when you have the time. I never seemed to have the time. I decided that it was time to write or stop talking about it. I turned writing into my part-time job.
I was horribly out of practice and quite bad at it, to be honest. But I had always wanted to be a commercial writer, someone who made money off their work. So, I kept at it and learned. In the last two years, it’s been a full-throttle push. I was writing full-time, even when I was working full-time. In January, I left my job so that I could take a part-time position and concentrate on my writing, while having a personal life. It’s been great.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I was twelve and my parents bought me a typewriter to do my homework. Instead, I sat down and wrote a 23-page story. I never looked back.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I want people to be entertained. There are people who like to be challenged in their entertainment, be it books or movies or music. For me, I want to sink into something that lets me escape the work and thinking about it for a few hours. So, my writing reflects that own need of mine.
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Fantasy and science fiction. I’ve dabbled a bit with some literary short stories, but my love is the speculative world. I used to only like space operas and military science fiction during my angst teenage years and admittedly, that’s still a love of mine. I’m picky about what I read and part of the reason I started writing in those genres was because I figured others would also be picky like me and would read my work. If nothing else, I’m writing what I enjoy.
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Dealing with and accepting burn out. In our day-to-day jobs, we’re allowed to get burned out. We’ve all had that day where we walk into work, look around, and march into our boss’ office and break into tears or go into a fit of rage over the tiniest thing. Writing is no different. Sometimes, writers confuse “writer’s block” and burn out. If you have been producing a lot over a long period and taking huge chunks of your life to do it, sometimes you need a break. I do that every so often. I set aside a timeframe where I’m off writing. Or, at least off a particular project. It helps a lot.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Not really. I simply wanted to present a First Nations story in a positive manner.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Ha! We are polar opposites. She’s nice, for one thing!
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Many of the aboriginal people I spoke with on a daily basis at my job told me stories and traditions. They helped me with many of the tiny details so that the world of Dancing Cat would come alive.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Harvest Moon doesn’t contain either, but I have written them for other works. In my unpublished novel, Tranquility’s Blaze, I had a few violent scenes and a violent rape scene. It was difficult writing some of them at times. I sometimes feel like my mother is looking over my shoulder, tsk-tsking at me. However, I sit back and asked (like I do with all of my scenes), “Is this scene needed?” If the answer is yes, I soldier through.
…And make sure to warn my mother not to read that story or novel.
12) What about your book makes it special?
It represents a tiny taste of the stories and traditions that I was told over endless cups of coffee at the inner city agency I worked at. While this is my own story, I hope that it is told the same way that they told me their stories.
13) What is your marketing plan?
I have a core group of fans online which I plan to get the word out to. But also, I’m hoping to generate some local interest within the GLBT community where I live as well.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My website – www.kristadball.com – is the central source of all things me. I put up monthly news on the front page of the website and my blog is active. I also have started an Author’s Clinic on my blog, where I post about being a new author.
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Join a critiquing group, either in person or online. It really helps having another set of eyes on your work. It can sting having five people saying that they don’t like your main character, but it’s better to hear it from them as opposed to the agent or publisher of your dreams.