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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An Interview with Kit Wilkinson


by Diane Burke

I am happy to introduce you to a new author who is making her mark on the publishing world, Kit Wilkinson. I first met Kit at the RWA National Conference in San Francisco in 2008. I don't think either of us had a clue when we chatted in the lobby of the hotel that that meeting would lead to a critique partnership and a cherished friendship. At the time we met, Kit was an unpublished author who had been nominated for a Golden Heart. What a difference two little years can make! But I'll let Kit speak for herself. Welcome, Kit!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I'm a mom who loves to read and write. I'm tight with my family and friends. Love to travel. Enjoy meeting new people. Recently, I've been teaching an ESL course and have to admit that it has been pretty great being back in the front of the classroom again. I love to be outside. Love the beach. And I'm a huge animal lover.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No. I've always wanted to be a college professor. And still do. I didn't think about writing a novel until a few years ago. Ideally, I'd love to teach in the mornings and write in the afternoons. That would be my dream. Who knows? There's still time to make it happen.

How did it feel to win the Golden Heart in the Inspirational category? What thoughts raced through your mind as you made your way to the stage?

HA! It was a shock. Truly. You know how you get feelings about some things? Well, I didn't have one about that. I was completely surprised and very touched at the same time. And as I walked to the stage, I was feeling thankful and thinking about all the friends and family that had encouraged me to keep writing.

Tell us about getting "the call."

When I got the call, I was at home recuperating from an illness that had me in the hospital for six weeks. I was still very weak but so glad to be home and healing. Hearing about the contract was one more thing to be thankful for.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

I get my ideas from real people and all sorts of things that interest me. Horses, boats, the military, sports, etc. I especially enjoy thinking about what motivates people and then translating that into my stories. Two themes that I love to explore and write about over and over are fear and self-acceptance.

What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantster? Do you put aside a set time to work on your writing or do you grab what time you can when you can?

I'm more of a pantster. I like to write with just a basic idea of the story and sort of feel my way through it. And I CRINGE on this question...I currently do not have a set time to write and this is a terrible thing---something I'm really struggling with right now. Once this ESL class is over and the kids are out of school, I will be able to reclaim my mornings. At least, that is my plan!

Have you ever gotten stuck in a manuscript? If so, how do you push through?

Sure. Everyone gets stuck from time to time. And there are a couple of things I do. First of all, I talk the story through with someone. A little brainstorming. It's always good to get some fresh thoughts and a new perspective. Second, I take a day to think about what will happen in the story AFTER the part I'm stuck on and then I can figure out what has to occur to get there.

Your second book, Sabotage, is in the book stores now. Was writing the second book easier or harder than writing your first one?

Wow! I wrote them so long ago, it's hard to remember. I don't think I had a lot of trouble with either, but once they were contracted I had some revisions. If I had to pick, I'd say the first one was more difficult simply from the aspect of research. I'm not exactly an expert on nanotechnology and NCIS. BUT Sabotage is set in the horse world and I know a little about that.

In what ways, if any, has your life changed since you've been published? Good things? Bad things? Unexpected things?

I travel more, have met tons of new people, learned about an industry I knew nothing about, and have a whole new set of goals.

Good things? Well, it's nice to have the affirmation that someone besides my mother likes my writing. And I love hearing what my editor and agent think about a story I've done.

Bad things? Feeling doubts about my writing. Worrying that I won't ever get that next contract.

Unexpected? The AMAZING support of my friends.

What words of advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Think about why you like and don't like in a novel. Write as often as you can. And learn! Get in a critique group. Join a writer's organization. Go to conferences and workshops. Believe in yourself and don't give up!

Thank you, Kit, for sharing your time and writing insight with us today. And thanks for agreeing to stick around for any comments or questions.

15 comments:

  1. Great interview, Diane. Kit, I've heard your name from Diane--good to "meet" you and hear a bit about your writing life.
    Have a great day, Ladies.
    Connie Mann
    Author of TRAPPED!

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  2. Thanks for stopping by Kit. I love hearing other's publishing journey stories and the experience they've gleaned.

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  3. Nice Job Diane! Besides the writer stories (as Lisa said) I also get a kick out of finding out the who and whose of critique partners in this business. I love LIS, by the way.

    Thanks for visiting Kit! Winning the Golden Heart is quite an accomplishment.

    How many LIS have you published and are you on a schedule/ contracted for more right now? I can also ask Diane this --
    "if LI accepted/contracted with you for the max # of books you could do, would you try for 2 a year or..? Why or why not?"

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  4. Hi Kit,

    Aren't you coming down to visit us Virginia Beach people soon? Hopefully I can make it.

    Dina

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  5. Good morning, Kit & Diane. What a lovely interview! Kit, can you tell us a little bit more about SABOTAGE?

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  6. Great interview. Thanks for sharing your success story. I'm feeling inspired. If another busy mom with other work can do, why can't I?

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  7. Hi Diane and Kit,
    Great interview, Diane - you chose just the questions I would ask Kit. And Kit, your responses were inspiring, educational and down to earth. Congratulations on your Golden Heart nomination!

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  8. Thanks for hanging out with us today, Kit. I'm like you in that I don't have a set time for writing, but I really want to. I know I'd be more productive. Maybe one day...

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  9. Welcome, Kit. I believe I met you at the last Steeple Hill chat. Or maybe it was the one before...

    Sabotage came in my eHarl box the other day and I see hubby has placed it on the top of his TBR pile. He usually takes the LIS first and I start with the LIH. Then we switch. :)

    I'm looking forward to reading your work.

    Anita.

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  10. Great interview Kit! I try to read as much as I can and I love to write. I'm hoping to be you someday. ;)

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  11. Debra-- I'm gonna jump in and answer the question about how many books a year since you directed it to me as well. If I had it to do over again, I wish I had had 3-4 finished manuscripts when I got "the call." And I'd like to write three a year from here on in. Why? For many reasons. It takes a year from the time you sign a contract until the time it hits the book racks. A year is a LONG time to expect a reader to wait for your next project. It would've been so much better if I had had a finished one ready to go and put it in the pipeline. Also, once published your time gets pulled in additional directions such as booksignings, guest blogs, workshop presentations, local speeches at women's clubs, etc. and each thing steals a little bit more of that precious writing time. AND I hate to burst your bubble but once published doesn't mean always published. Proposals that you have already written a synopsis and three chapters can be turned down even AFTER you get published. Soooo my advice is to write as fast as you can, as much as you can, BUT give it your best shot each and every time because every new book is going to be held up to steep competition---not just the other books on the market but also the book YOU wrote before it.

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  12. Oh Diane, I so agree about feeling like I'd want to have a few "completed" before I even started submitting! Guess I better COMPLETE ONE, huh?

    Yup I know that published once does not mean always. I wondered if SH contracts one at a time.

    Anita gave your Midnight Caller hero quite an endorsement yesterday!

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  13. Hi Ladies! So many great comments and questions. Thank you ad thanks so much for having me here on the blog.

    Sorry to be so slow to get here but I'm actually in NYC today and had lunch with my editor. We discussed some of the very things that Debra asked. And I agree with Diane's response. It would be nice to do 3 books a year BUT it takes you a certain # of contracts with Harlequin before they will offer a multi-book contract. But I do hope to get there one day, God-willing ;-) Realistically, it will take another contract or two before I get there so that might be a goal for me,... in say... 2-3 years if all goes well.

    In the meantime, it's write, write, write :-)

    Many blessing all. (Back to being a tourist for a day)

    Kit

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  14. Great interview, Diane, and thanks for sharing with us, Kit! I love reading how authors received the call. I'm a mom who struggles with balancing, so it's always encouraging to learn how others cope.

    I'll be picking up your latest release! Thanks again, Kit!

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  15. Back home and finally online again. (Whew--I was having computer withdrawal ;)

    Dina, Yes will be in VA Beach the week of the 28th and hope to see you gals!

    Leigh, Sabotage is a LIS where the heroine is trying to prove herself innocent of murdering her best friend while still competing for a spot on the Olympic team. She also wrestles with the idea that anyone, especially God loves her. The hero battles with his feelings for her while trying to keep her alive and talk to her about faith.

    Mary, Of course, you can do it!!!

    Thanks, everyone! Loved being here!

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