Today, my guest is romantic suspense author Kris Bock, talking about her recent release Whispers in the Dark.
AUTHOR: Kris Bock
BOOK TITLE: Rattled, Whispers in the Dark
PUBLISHER: Pig River Press
Please tell us about yourself?
As Kris Bock, I write romantic suspense, largely set in the Southwest. My tagline is “Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Adventures.”
I also write for children under the name Chris Eboch. My work, mostly for kids ages 8 to 12, includes historical fiction, nonfiction, and a paranormal series.
Tell us your latest news?
My new novel, Whispers in the Dark, is out this month! In Whispers in the Dark, a young archaeologist seeking peace after an assault stumbles into danger as mysteries unfold among ancient Southwest ruins. Can she overcome the fears from her past, learn to fight back, and open herself to a new romance?
When and why did you begin writing?
I studied photography in college, at the Rhode Island School of Design. I decided I didn’t want to be a professional photographer, but I got a good creative background and started writing for the school paper. That led me to consider writing as a career, though at the time I was thinking about magazine nonfiction.
What inspired you to write your first book?
After studying writing and publishing in grad school, I was living in New York City and looking for work. I decided to write a novel as a fun break from job hunting and temp work. I wrote a middle grade novel about a Mayan girl in the last days of a great Mayan empire. I realize now how lucky I was to sell that first novel, The Well of Sacrifice (written as Chris Eboch). It’s still in print 12 years later and used in many schools as supplemental material when they study the Maya.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
To some extent, all novels—or at least those with happy endings—are about overcoming adversity through hard work and courage. In Whispers in the Dark, Kylie has to learn to embrace life again, even if it means putting herself at risk. If she want a happy future, she can’t let the past control her. In Rattled, Erin is a shy history professor who uncovers a clue to a long-lost treasure. If she wants to find it and protect it from thieves, she has to fight for it—and she learns that she is stronger than she ever imagined.
I guess a lot of my books involve characters identifying their beliefs, deciding to fight for them, and uncovering new strengths. Even my children’s books are similar. In The Well of Sacrifice, Eveningstar realizes the high priest is lying to people, and then has to decide whether she’ll give in or fight for what’s right. In my middle grade mystery, The Eyes of Pharaoh, the young heroine must choose between her own goal of winning a dance contest or helping a friend who may be in trouble.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? (Has anyone ever realized it?)
I draw on personal experience to a certain extent, but I wouldn’t say the books are based on real events. Rather, I’ve had characters do things like rock climbing or riding in a helicopter, and used my own experiences there to make those scenes believable.
One character in Rattled is based on a real person, though I changed many qualities, including the gender. The real-life model did recognize himself in the character and was flattered.
What are your current projects?
I’m getting ready to start another romantic suspense, one that involves falconry and a murder. A couple of years ago, I met a man who has falcons and hawks. I find it fascinating, so I’ve pitched several articles about falconry, and now I’m looking forward to incorporating that into a novel. Some aspects of the murder are actually based on a real-life event as well, so this will be the book that has the most from my experience.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not for Whispers in the Dark, since it’s so new. Ask me in six months or a year, and I may have a different answer. I did recently update Rattled with a revised cover and blurb which I hope will attract more attention. As for the story/writing, I always want to be as good as possible, but at some point you have to let the work go. One of the reviews of Rattled said the main character was foolish. At least five others praised the book for the smart, capable women. If the numbers were the other way around, I might want to do something about it. As it is, I think it’s better to shrug and let it go. I need to write new books, not keep worrying about the old ones.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I want to keep getting better as a writer. I’m at the point where I’m doing a lot of teaching and critiquing for other people, and that does help me learn as well, but I wish I had a mentor who was helping me grow as a writer. When you get to a certain level of expertise, it’s hard to find people who will push you to go even farther. Other than that, publicity is the big challenge, both figuring out how to do it well, and finding the time.
Do you ever have problems with writers block? If so how do you get through it?
If I’m not sure where to go next, usually it means I haven’t developed the idea well enough, or I’m not sure what happens next. I like to take a walk, which seems to free up my creativity and help me brainstorm. I take a small digital tape recorder along for notes.
What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
Or critiquing manuscripts for clients, or teaching writing workshops? Reading, of course. I enjoy hiking, and I try to get some form of exercise every day. Most of my travel in the last couple of years has been for business, typically attending conferences where I’m giving workshops. I’d like to do more fun travel, including camping and I’d like to travel with my husband for a change.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love Mary Stewart. Even though most of her books are over 50 years old, they draw me into a world of mystery and intrigue, usually with an appealing foreign setting. Her heroines are typically average English women who find themselves drawn into mysterious events. I enjoy reading about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances more than I enjoy tough action hero types. That’s why I try to write about “Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Adventures.”
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Take the time to perfect your craft. Many people rush toward publication long before their work is ready, whether they’re submitting work to traditional publishers or self-publishing. Take classes, read books and magazines on writing, and get professional feedback. Don’t waste time worrying about publication until after you’ve really developed your writing skills.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Readers have praised my books as being page-turners, and that’s really my goal. I love nothing better than sitting down with a good book and getting caught up in another world for a few hours. I want to give readers that experience, so I hope people will try the books and enjoy them.
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Facebook: Kris Bock Author Page
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Whispers in the Dark
A young archaeologist seeking peace after an assault stumbles into danger as mysteries unfold among ancient Southwest ruins. Can she overcome the fears from her past, learn to fight back, and open herself to a new romance?
Tomorrow would be soon enough for scientific method, for testing and hypothesizing. Tonight I only wanted to touch the magic of this ancient world. I closed my eyes and tried to feel some ancient presence, to hear whispers from the past. The air seemed to tremble with possibilities. If only I believed in magic—
A shout slashed the air. I twisted so fast I tumbled onto my backside.
I gaped up at the man towering over me. Bare chest, muscular and bronzed. Black hair pulled back from a face full of sharp planes and angles. Dark eyes fierce under scowling brows.
My heart jolted painfully. I’d come face to face with an ancient warrior. He was gorgeous.