Today's author interview is with Kristina Riggle.
Kristina Riggle is a novelist and published short story writer from West Michigan. Her debut novel, REAL LIFE & LIARS, was a Great Lakes, Great Reads selection in 2009. Her latest novel THE LIFE YOU'VE IMAGINED was honored as an IndieNext Notable pick by independent booksellers.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you have been writing?
I'm a recovering journalist and I've been writing as long as I can remember. I started writing fiction seriously with an eye to publication in 2003, and my first book deal was struck in February 2008.
Do you have a regular writing schedule or place where you write?
I do my most focused writing four mornings a week, always on my laptop, which is usually in my office, though if the weather is pleasant enough I move out to my deck.
Why did you decide to write your books?
Any given book has a different motivation, but speaking generally, I write the kinds of books I like to read: stories of complicated personal dynamics with a big cast of colorful characters and a vivid setting.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while writing?
Same as for any writer: making the time and keeping your back up straight when rejections beat you down. But I carried on so as not to waste all my previous efforts. If I'd have quit, what would it have mattered, all those earlier hours and struggle?
What was most enjoyable about your writing process?
Creating fascinating people, putting them through their paces, and watching what unfolds. I basically play Let's Pretend for a living.
Have you ever received advice from another writer that influenced you or that you still remember?
My good friend Eliza Graham (a very talented British writer) told me once not to reveal too much, too soon. Now when I'm ready to let the reader in on a secret, I usually make myself wait and it's always an improvement in pacing and tension.
What one piece of advice (or maybe two) would you give to other writers?
It's a learn-by-doing business, so get writing and keep writing. Learn to take an honest critique without defensiveness. When you get knocked down, wallow for a day but get back up. I have this quote framed on my desk: "A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit." Richard Bach.
What are the titles of your books and where can readers find them.
REAL LIFE & LIARS and THE LIFE YOU'VE IMAGINED are available in bookstores and online. My next novel will be out in June 2011, called THINGS WE DIDN'T SAY.
Thank you very much for this interview, Kris. Since I've already read your first two books, I'll be looking forward to reading your new book in June of next year.