“I’m Kristen. I’m a Fort Worthian by birth, Atlantan by childhood, but Houston is home. I’m about finished with college, and I will be so happy when school is finally over. I’m an only child with a huge family. I’ve been to 26 states, and for the first time in my life, I left North America last summer when I went to London for a month with a study abroad class.
“I was always a much bigger reader than writer. I read my first book on my own when I was three, always scored high in reading assessments, and was never without a book. That all changed when I came to college and found I just did not have the free time to read outside of class. I picked up creative writing for an elective, and by the end of that semester, I had switched majors from public relations to creative writing. What’s funny is that I’m planning on going into PR when I graduate.
“I have three dogs and three cats: Cal, our 14 year old cat, Duke, our 13 year old mutt (a foundling), Rockie, our soon-to-be nine year old Miniature Schnauzer (another foundling), Nait and Phog, the soon-to-be seven year old twin cats, and Piccadilly, my one year old American Pit Bull Terrier who lives with me at school (also a foundling).
“In my spare time, when I’m not writing or stressing over school, I’m either playing something on the PS3, spending time with my friends, or at the on-campus gym. Nothing fancy, nothing inspiring. I’m just your typical mid-20’s gal.”
For anyone who has read Kristen’s (aka _kris10) ultra-popular inkpop project, Hannah Boudreaux and the Council of Ancients, however, it is obvious that “typical mid-20’s gal” is putting it lightly; she’s more of a writing powerhouse, having crafted an intricate debut that clocks in at a whopping 100,000+ words – and it’s still incomplete!
★ Your project Hannah Boudreaux and the Council of Ancients is currently ranked as # 24. How does it feel to be so close to making it into the Top 5? What is currently going through your mind?
_kris10: Well, Hannah’s been up since December 2009, and in that time, I’ve teetered between 25 and 55 (I believe 25 was the highest rank it’s gotten). I haven’t swapped or made promos for it in a while, considering school, so I haven’t thought much to the rank. I believe some of my friends on inkpop want the Top 5 for Hannah more than I do, haha. An editorial review would be nice, but right now, I really want peer reviews, considering most of the people on inkpop would be my target audience.
★ Hannah Boudreaux and the Council of Ancients is very unique in that the main character has the option of choosing whether she wants to play the role of heroine, or simply turn a blind eye on the world. Do you feel that this originality on your part is one of the things that has made Hannah Boudreaux and the Council of Ancients such a popular project on inkpop?
_kris10: I think so. Going by the comments I’ve received, Hannah has been perceived as original due to her characterization being so different from other heroines in YA. She knows she has to do what’s right, but at the same time, her insecurities make her feel that there are others out there more qualified as her to be the heroine. She’s not cocky, she’s not the strongest nor the smartest, she’s just Hannah.
★ In your profile you mention that you have a new novel entitled Fallouts coming to inkpop in June of 2011. Can you tell us anything about this new book (genre, what it’s about, etc.)?
_kris10: Fallouts is about a group of teenage superheroes set in 1984. It’s a bit of sci-fi dramedy with action-adventure and a little romance sprinkled in. It has nine main characters, and the narrative flows through different characters’ points of view in third-limited. The team consists of Whitmire Adler and his twin sister, Lachlan, both of which have telepathy (Whitmire also has telekinesis), Casey Stone, who can manipulate fire, Isabel Blakeley, who can phase through solids and become invisible, Travis Deleon, who is super strong and has superhuman reflexes and healing, Nick Goodloe, who has super speed, Ronnie Salinas, who can make ice and withstand subzero temperatures, Abigail Gauthier, who can shoot beams from her eyes, and Victoria Lai, who can absorb memories, powers, and energy through touch.
The background history of the story is that in 1945, some nuclear weapons tests cause more fallout than expected and affect people born the following year. Those born with new, strange abilities are labeled “Fallout Babies,” and as time goes on, they have to deal with prejudice and hate against them. In 1984, a vigilante group called the Fallouts try to keep the peace between Fallout Babies and Unaffecteds, people born “normal,” especially when the hate could start a war.
★ Can you tell us a bit about the creative process for Hannah Boudreaux and the Council of Ancients?
_kris10: When I was in the sixth grade, my mother gave me this book that would eventually become a big part of my life and influence me to want to write my own urban fantasy book. It was called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I knew I could never write another Harry Potter, and I kind of shelved the idea of writing a book when I was in high school. By the summer of 2008, while at home for the summer, an idea was beginning to form in my head. I had a heroine in mind, who was a mix of two characters I had written for a writing workshop the semester before, but I didn’t have an enemy or story just yet.
I started jotting down the characters, and a story came to mind, but that first draft didn’t go anywhere. One afternoon, I was watching 30 Days of Night for the umpteenth time on Starz, and I loved the idea of a normal, everyday girl fighting a war against vampires. This was not too long before the Twilight craze took off, so I thought I was good in terms of an “original” idea, haha. Granted, I was not planning to write a romance, and I wasn’t going to have my heroine fall in love with a centuries old vampire who appeared young.
I continued to write Hannah’s story, the first draft getting finished on September 5, 2008. I had outlined three books, but on September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike struck Galveston, affecting Houston. Since the series is set in Houston between 2004 and 2007 in the first three books, I decided to add a fourth book and expand the timeline to 2008. Hurricane Ike would serve as the catalyst for the end, but when I realized a bit of a timeline fail, I ended up adding a fifth book, making the series a quintet now.
From June 2008 to the fall of 2010, Hannah has been through five major drafts. I took about a year off from revisions after I finished the first draft, and in that time, I had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD. When I started the second draft of Hannah, I decided she, too, would have those disorders. I did this for two reasons: 1. Awareness, as it’s common for girls to be diagnosed later in life with either one, as both disorders manifest different in girls than boys, and 2. As a kid, I never had a book character I could relate to as none were like me, so I hope that if a girl who has been diagnosed with either (or has either but not been diagnosed), she could relate to Hannah.
★ Who is your favorite character(s) in any of your work and why?
_kris10: I’m one of those writers who loves all of her characters, good and bad, main and secondary, but if I had to just pick one from Hannah, I’d have to say Hannah herself. After developing a character for three years and writing their background history and making their family tree, one kind of grows attached.
★ What made you fall in love with writing?
_kris10: As I mentioned before, I was a reader first. I read my first book by myself when I was three, and from then on, I read everything I could. I didn’t really attempt to creatively write until junior high, and it wasn’t until college when I took it seriously (seriously enough to switch majors to creative writing). I had taken Intro to Creative Writing as an elective, and the professor I had encouraged me to change majors. In a way, I’m glad I did because my writing improved a lot, but in another, so much of the work I did for other classes wasn’t worth it when I didn’t plan to make a career out of analyzing literature.
★ Who was your favorite childhood author and why?
_kris10: KA Applegate, definitely. Animorphs was one of my favorite book series as a kid, and when I read them again as an adult, they were still good. Applegate was a master of writing first person narrations of different characters and making five very distinct voices (six, including Ax). She wrote an intense story with great characters, a series I still enjoy now.
Pop, Pop, Pop! Rapid Fire Questions:
★ Favorite ice cream topping? Multi-colored sprinkles.
★ What’s on your iPod? “Civilization” – Danny Kaye and The Andrews Sisters, “Carol Brown” – Flight of the Conchords, “Bite Hard” – Franz Ferdinand, “Can’t Stop Feeling” – Franz Ferdinand, “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” – The Ink Spots, “Town Called Malice” – The Jam, “Like a Fool” – Lawrence Arabia, “Echoes” – The Rapture, “Machu Picchu” – The Strokes.
★ Favorite movie? I have three: Rushmore, Fargo, All About Eve.
★ London or Paris? L-Town all the way.
★ Book you could read over and over again? Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson.
Over to you…who do you think should be the next inkpopper of the Week?
Erika (aka inkpoperika)