This week I wanted to introduce you to a really good fantasy writer, Kristen Kooistra. She is a stay-at-home mom who feels like she was probably born in the wrong era. Being home with her kids and doing things that most people her age would hate, means she has fun with life. She loves to dance to techno-pop, Star Wars, Renaissance Festivals, and Dr. Pepper is a weakness. If it involves fun on the water, she’s there jetskiing, swimming, or any water sport on a dare.
Please let me introduce you to, Kristen Kooistra.
Hey, thanks for taking the time to stop by for a chat. Let’s get right to it.
What are you currently working on and what is it about?
Kristen: I’m currently working on books 2 and 3 of my Corison Chronicles. I’m editing Heart of the Sorceress and writing the first draft of Heart of the Warrior. I published the first book, Heart of the Winterland, in June and found that I still had more stories to share in that world.
Heart of the Sorceress is based in the same world as Winterland but has almost an entirely new cast. It takes place in Sjadia, a land divided. A warrior and a sorceress have decided the land has been in darkness too long and they set out to raise an army to take down the current Empress. They approach one of the suppressed races for help, hoping that they’ll put aside their differences to fight for the common good.
That sounds like a fun read! What drew you into writing in the Fantasy genre?
Kristen: There are a few other genres I enjoy reading, but fantasy has always been my favorite. I like the freedom that writing fantasy gives me, and I’m not so sure I could write a mystery (I have a hard enough time trying to solve them as a reader!) or have the patience to write historical fiction (so much research!). Fantasy allows me to put the story first. I don’t have to make sure I’m using the right terms or that everyone’s wearing the appropriate clothing or acting just so or that the events around the time are correct. I can focus on the characters and their story and build the world around them as needed.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in Fantasy writing as far as content?
Kristen: I’d say the world-building. There’s something fun about not being limited by what exists in the real world. I don’t have to make sure that all my facts about a location are accurate, but that also means that I have to create a detailed visual picture for readers as they have no image to go on. If I said the story took place in New York, most people would at least have a sense of what that’d look like.
So there is a tricky balance of finding that spot between too much description and not enough. You have to stop and take the time to envision this place you’re writing about and clearly describe it in a natural way.
I consider the setting to be a main character in a story. Traveling helps. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
Kristen: This is always a toss-up for me. I’d absolutely love to go dive the Great Barrier Reef. It’s the place that’s been on my bucket list forever. I don’t get the chance to dive very often, and I live in Michigan so my experience doesn’t extend beyond lakes. I’d love to dive lots of places, but considering all of the costs and having a family, if I had to pick one, that’s where I’d go.
The other place is Scotland. I have a friend there that I’d love to meet and have him show me the sites. That’d be a trip more for a person than for the location.
What is your favorite movie and why?
Kristen: Pride and Prejudice (BBC version of course!). I think this one surprises people since I’m a fantasy writer and a Star Wars fanatic. But when I was little, a friend had an old copy of P&P that she gave to us. We watched that movie so many times. To the point where it wore out (It was recorded on VHS) and there were huge missing patches and static.
I bought my own copy finally and wow, so much better quality and it’s not missing things! I love the characters the best. Their dialogue is riveting, the costumes are exquisite, and the whole thing has this charm to it. I recently read the book for the first time and quite loved that as well.
Thanks so much for stopping by. Great interview!
Kristen Kooistra fell in love with reading at a young age and never resurfaced. She loved solving mysteries, riding across the prairie, and sailing on the open sea. But her favorite books were those that held the fantastical. So when the time came for her to seriously approach publishing a book, it had to be fantasy!
Living in Michigan (her own Winterland) with her husband, three kids, and two cats, she has lots of free time . . . Okay, so more like she squeezes in writing time late at night when only the cats are awake to pester her.
“Heart of the Winterland” is Kristen’s first novel, and though it started as a whim, it grew into so much more and has inspired a sequel (in progress), “Heart of the Sorceress”.
Tucked into a quiet countryside, Kristen spends most of her time being Mommy. She loves spending time with her family and hopes that her writing will entertain and inspire them as well.
Besides writing, Kristen enjoys reading (of course!), chatting with her writer’s group, sewing, swimming, gardening, and cooking (please no baking!). She’s also developed a fondness for water gun fights with her three-year-old. Actually, she’s found that most everything become a lot more fun with little kids.
Click on the cover for a link.