Interview with Kristy Kiernan

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'd like to thank Kristy Kiernan, author of Between Friends, Matters of Faith, and Catching Genius for allowing me to interview her! Also, thanks to her publicist, Kathryn, for arranging this!

1. I really enjoyed reading this book! The topics in the book varied and made me think. What was your inspiration for this book?

Between Friends is about many different things, and so there were many different inspirations,but one that I remember clearly was visiting a friend who lives in Gainesville, which is a bog college town. In almost every public restroom I went in, there was a big ad on the back of the stall door for an infertility clinic that was paying a lot of money for egg donations. It got me to thinking about the ethics of paying to make a life versus organ donation, in which it is illegal to pay to save a life.

2. Yup, I know Gainesville.. my sister went to school there. =) I really thought the topic of paying for egg donations vs. paying for organ donation was very thought provoking! What kind of research did you do, if any, about fertility and reproduction? Did you learn anything you didn't expect?

I do a tremendous amount of research for my books. Sometimes I get lost in the research and forget that I need to actually write a book. All of the research doesn't wind up in the books, but I think readers can tell whether you know what you're talking about or not, and if they question it, then they question the story, and worse, they question the characters. My research consists of any and everything I can get my hands on. I read non-fiction, magazine articles, online articles and discussions boards, watch documentaries, e-mail with experts, visit locales (which is really tough as I most often write about the beach). The only thing I don't do is read fiction about what I'm writing about. I don't want to inadvertently use something. Or, worse, find out that someone else has done something similar, freak out, and get stuck or abandon the project altogether.

3. I agree... I have read books before where I thought the author really didn't do the research and it was frustrating because they had some facts wrong! (I can think of one book in particular that I stopped reading for that issue).

I loved how the different storylines/issues you wrote about all sort of came together unexpectedly in the end! When you write, do you tend to map out the entire book first, or did any of the events just come to you after you had already started writing? How much did the book change from what you initially envisioned when you started writing it?

I map out the book ahead of time in broad strokes, but the details tend to change as I write. There were two major plot points that completely changed about half-way through that surprised me, but they were clearly what had to happen. I don't want to give anything away, but if, after you've read the book, you really have to know, send me a note.

4. I think I might go ahead and send you a note. =)

Each of your books has been told from alternating characters. How did you come to the decision to write the books in this way? Do you find yourself able to relate better to any of the characters when you do this?

It never seems to be a conscious decision on my part. I tend to start a book with one character's POV, and then realize that I really want to know--and I want readers to know--what the other characters are thinking, and what their motivations are. I find that people do have reasons for the things they do and say, but you have to be patient and ask a lot of questions about their life and how they grew up and what their desires and fears are before you can understand their actions. And exploring alternate points of view helps me to do that.

5. How was writing this book similar to or different from your past two books? Was it easier or more difficult having already written (and published) two books?

The writing part hasn't gotten easier yet. If anything it's become more difficult because I keep learning and struggle to apply those lessons. The publishing part, the stress of it, has definitely gotten easier. I have gotten all ridiculously Zen about it, in fact. My friends are concerned that I'm repressing my anxiety and on publication day might actually explode. But I think I'll be good. Check the news on April 6th for "Author Explodes" headlines.

6. The 6th passed and I didn't see any headlines! Looks like everything was okay! =)

What, if anything, do you hope readers take away from reading
Between Friends?

This is always a tough question. I want readers to take away as much as they want to take away from my books. Some people want a character-heavy exploration of family dynamics, and I think I can provide that. Some readers want a juicy story, and I think I can do that, too. I've had reader reviews that said my books were deep, and ones that said they were light. I believe it's the reader who decides what to take away from a book, and that can depend on mood and stage of life. If I could ever send a message that would really be heard with my books, I would most like for it to be: Take it easy on each other. You have no idea what another person's life is really like. Give the benefit of the doubt. Be kind, be generous, and forgive when your loved ones are
selfish...because you're selfish, too, sometimes.

7. Very true!
One of the things I enjoyed about Between Friends and Matters of Faith was the pacing. Was this something that was specifically learned?

Definitely. If you read Catching Genius you'll definitely note that it's a slower pace. I do have to work on pacing, because in "today's fast paced world" readers seem to want a very fast pace, with something big happening on ever third page, and short chapters. The problem is that I'm an old-fashioned reader. If the characters are written well enough, I don't even need a plot. I'll read a 700 page novel filled with beautiful language and absolutely nothing happening and I'll love it. So, yes, pace is a learned skill for me, and I tend to fight it a bit.

8. I know what you mean, and I'm guilty of wanting the fast pace too. =( But there are times when I enjoy the character aspect alone as well.

Now, I know (from your author bio) that you are a fellow Floridian! I've noticed that all your books so far have taken place in Florida. I've written about how I love reading books that take place in cities. But I also think it's fun to read books that take place locally, and I love Florida! What made you decide to keep the settings local? And what settings do you like to read about in other books?

I've been in southwest Florida for forty years, and I have a genuine and abiding love for it. I find my home continually fascinating, and beautiful, and awful all at once. Why would I want to write about anyplace else? I have to say that I don't care about setting when I read. I mean, I want a setting, and I want it authentic, and beautifully rendered, and an integral part of the story, but I don't care about where it is, as long as it's well-written.

9. For fun, let's say Between Friends is being made into a movie...
who would you choose to play each of the characters?

I am so bad at this, because I imagine and write my characters completely as new human beings, but I'm doing a guest blog on this very subject, so I've had to give it some thought, and here's what I've come up with so far:

Ali - Eva Mendes
Cora - Cameron Diaz
Benny - Benjamin Bratt
Letty - Abigail Breslin

I'm stuck on Seth though. All the teenage boy actors today seem to be cut from the Justin Bieber-so-sanitized-and-pretty-as-to-be-slightly-creepy mold. They just don't have that dangerous edge that Seth has. Any suggestions from anyone? Any arguments about who I've chosen, and suggestions as to replacements?

Great choices! I agree about the Seth thing though... Although, I think Zac Efron might be able to pull it off....OH, how about Taylor Lautner?? Actually, yeah, I'll go with him. ;)

10. Is there anything else you would like the readers to know about
Between Friends?

That buying a copy will make your teeth whiter, your skin clearer, and you'll immediately drop ten pounds. If you buy a copy to give to your best friend, your mother, or your daughter, you'll
double the benefit. Send me before and after pics.

Haha, awesome!!! AND on top of that it's a great book with wonderful characters! Yay!

Thanks for allowing me the interview!!
Hopefully I'll get a chance to stop by one of your tour stops!

Giveaway Info
I will be giving away my own gently used copy of the book to one lucky winner. Anyone can enter. You do not need to be a follower of the blog. HOWEVER, I will not be e-mailing winners. The winners will be posted here at the end of the contest and will have 48 hours to e-mail me their addresses. This contest will go through Friday, April 16, 2010, and the winner will be announced on Saturday the 17th!

(Once you've entered, I suggest stopping by Crazy-For-Books for 10 more chances to win!)

To enter this giveaway, just fill out the form below:


Jennifer (Crazy-for-Books) said...

Great interview! I just love Kristy! She's awesome! :)

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Between you and Jennifer, I am now fascinated by this author and am determined to win a copy!

Really good interview, Jenny. I liked the mix of questions. It flowed like you were having a real face to face conversation with her!

Take care,

Jenny said...

Jen -- I tried to ask mostly all different questions than you, lol!!

Michelle -- Thanks! I really think you'll like her... she's similar to Jodi Picoult!

Juju at Tales of said...

FAB interview. Seriously!

This book keeps sounding better and better.

I love when she talked about being patient with selfishness. Very cool advice.

Jenny said...

Juju -- thanks! And I agree about that part and remembering that other people have things they are dealing with too.

Kristy Kiernan said...

Jenny, thank you so much for letting me hang here with you and your friends!

Liz said...

thankS :D

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