Friday, August 5, 2011

Author Spotlight: Kris Yankee and an Eyeball Story

Today's Author Spotlight features Kris Yankee! Take it away, Kris. :)

A huge thanks to Lydia for having me in her Author Spotlight- virtual chocolate chip cookies to her!

(Nom, nom. Fanks, Krifff!)

The Writing Process: How do you write? Is there noise, silence, music, people around?

I started writing when my kids were really little and my grandma would come over and watch them. They were all so loud that I took to listening to my iPod while at the keyboard. I still write that way many, many years later – even when I’m in the house alone. For each new project, I create a playlist of songs that reflect the storyline and the characters. Recently I started an edgy YA and my playlist was filled with Eminem songs. After awhile I had to stop listening to that playlist because it was too depressing and negative – which was not what I wanted to come across in the story.

The Publishing Process: If you decided to self-publish, what was the final push that allowed that decision?

It was my agent, Christine Witthohn, who pushed me over the ledge. She suggested that I get Saving Redwind: A Wallpaper Adventure out while we waited to hear back on stories that were already out on submission. Admittedly, I was reluctant. I’ve always believed that if my writing wasn’t good enough for NY, then I needed to hone my writing skills. But I believe in Christine, and she believes in me, so I did what she told me to do. Saving Redwind is out in print and digital formats. Here’s the back cover blurb:

All eleven-year-old Nick Stevenson wants is an adventure like his dad’s. Oh, and for the creepy ceiling in his new bedroom to stop storming and spinning. When he’s asked to help save a world that exists inside his bedroom’s wallpaper, Nick thinks he’s found his very own adventure. But he has no idea it will involve talking rocks, dream-stealing birds, and becoming friends with wizards. Can Nick save Redwind and his new friends before his mom calls him home for hockey practice?

Writing and Food: Strangest food you’ve ever eaten.

Okay, this is a weird one and I’m sure there will be a few groans (because even I groan now when I think about it). The answer is …ta da…a fish eye! Wait, before you judge, let me explain! I had just arrived in Portugal with a group of girls from our University of Michigan – Cornell, Junior Year Abroad Program. We’d just spent the last 30 days in Madrid and we had a week off before we were to meet up in Seville and move into our host families homes. We had no idea we had this week off, so we decided to go to Portugal. We’d heard that there were cheap hostels and beautiful beaches. We didn’t arrive in Portimao until very late – almost 2 am. We found a hostel, and there was a bar next to it. The bar owners were very excited to showcase their “famous” dish to a bunch of American girls, as well as treat us to all their local wines. After several drinks (read bottles), they brought out a huge fish. They told us that the eyes were considered a delicacy. Maybe they were kidding, but I took the dare from the rest of my companions and ate one. I don’t remember what it tasted like, just that there was a little rubber ball left in my mouth after all of the squishy stuff was gone. Gross, I know.

Random or Weird questions: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

If you’re still with me after that question above, thank you. I’m not that strange (at least not anymore!). My favorite guilty pleasure has to be the summer TV shows on USA. I love Royal Pains, Burn Notice, Necessary Roughness, and Psych. A glass of wine (or a bottle of Summer Shandy), my DVR, and I’m all set.

Thank you Kris! I hope those were chocolate chips in my cookies and not fish eyeballs. Bleah!

Kris's middle grade novel, Saving Redwind is available as a print book, here on Amazon.

And here, as an e-book.

Please visit Kris at her blog, Adventures that Score, and she's also on Twitter!

Oh, and I forgot to mention...It's Kris's birthday! Happy Birthday Kris!

72 comments:

shelly said...

Her book sound like something my nine-year-old stepdaughter might read. Hey! I might read it!

Kris Yankee said...

Hi Shelly! Thanks for stopping by. Your step-daughter is the target audience age, for sure, but I've had a lot of adults tell me like it as well.

Kris Yankee said...

Thanks again, Lydia! And, yes those were chocolate chips --NOT fish eyes. Ewww!

Samantha VĂ©rant said...

Kris- I hope you have a fantastic birthday dinner, sans fish eyes! This was a really fun interview! And Saving Redwind sounds like a fun and wild read. Lydia, could you please share some of those cookies???

Old Kitty said...

Fish eyes.

I'm glad you had tons of wine beforehand!!! :-)

Good luck with your book, Kris and all the best!!!

Thanks Lydia for the interview! Take care
x

Connie Keller said...

What a creative idea! I'll never look at wallpaper the same way again.

Clarissa Draper said...

Love the cover of that book! I find it fascinating that you plan a soundtrack. You're even willing to listen to Eminem. Wow! That's sacrifice for your craft. You seem to have a really great agent that cares for your career.

Kris Yankee said...

Samantha, Thanks for the birthday wishes. I had a great time writing that story, and I hope that comes through to the readers. Thanks for stopping by!

Kris Yankee said...

Old Kitty, The wine definitely helped! I really don't think I'd have been so stup---adventurous without it. Thanks for stopping by!

Ciara said...

I listen to my iPod for the same reason. :) I'm trying to write and edit with kids in the house. They go back to school in a week. Yeah! I mean, "I'll miss them." :)

Kris Yankee said...

Connie~ I'd never lived in a house with wallpaper before, so it was a bit weird trying to take it down. Maybe all the fumes gave me the idea... Thanks for stopping by!

Kris Yankee said...

Clarissa~ I work as an editor/project manager for a small press, so I have a bit of experience in covers. It was important that we showed the boy (with his hockey stick!) leaving our world and going into Redwind. Jeff Covieo, the illustrator, captured it completely. And, yes, the songs help me identify with my characters. No Eminem for this book, though! Thanks for stopping by!

Kris Yankee said...

Ciara~ My kids don't go back until after Labor Day. I love 'em, but....all that fighting! Music has inspired me my whole life, and I like to imagine what songs my characters would enjoy. Plus, it gets rid of all the noise of my two sons! Thanks for stopping by!

Kelley said...

Great Q and A :)
And I love the title of this blog. Very cute.

From your newb blog follower :)

Lydia K said...

Hi Kelley! Welcome! And yes Samantha, virtual cookies for all. Who said you can't have cookies for brekkie?

Kris, I totally want to read this book!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Great interview! Thanks for introducing us to Kris! Saving Redwind sounds like a great read!

Matthew MacNish said...

Personally I can't write to music, too distracting, but that's got nothing to do with this book. It sounds like a great story.

Excellent interview, thanks Lydia and Kris!

Melissa Sarno said...

That fish eye story is hilarious! It seems people around me at restaurants are always ordering whole fishes and that eye stares back at me while I eat. (shivers) Good luck with Saving Redwind. Crazy wallpaper sounds awesome.

Kris Yankee said...

Kelley~ Thanks for stopping by! Glad you could make it.

Pk Hrezo said...

What an interesting journey to publication, Kris. I don't think I've heard of one quite like this before. But I think it's wonderful! Each path is so unique.... and why not take full advantage of the internet and get your story out there?? Your story sounds great too... can't wait to read it. :)

Kris Yankee said...

Lydia~ I might have a copy for you for hosting me! : )

Kris Yankee said...

Creepy Query Girl~ Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad to meet you all.

Kris Yankee said...

Matthew~ I have to admit when I first create the playlist, I spend too much time singing and dancing to actually write! But after I've heard it a few times, it just becomes background noise. Thanks for stopping by and for the nice comments about Saving Redwind!

Kris Yankee said...

Melissa~ What's even creepier is that when I finally got to my host family in Seville, they would serve whole fish. I didn't know if I should eat the eye or not! I skipped it. Thanks for stopping by!

Kris Yankee said...

Pk~ I really didn't want to go that route. Christine had to convince me. But I've gotten over myself and am glad the story is out there. I'm still on submission, and Christine still believes in my writing, so that keeps me going. Thanks for stopping by!

Chris Phillips said...

Great interview. I'm pretty sure you shouldn't trust the Portuguese, especially after midnight.

Kris Yankee said...

Chris~ Yeah, I learned that pretty quickly! Thanks for stopping by.

VR Barkowski said...

Kris, have I told you your premise rocks? Love the idea of escaping into wallpaper—so much easier than stripping it, which is an adventure all its own.:) Always surprises to hear someone writes to music. Voices I can shut out, but if I hear music, I have to stop and listen.

Kris Yankee said...

VR~ Thanks for the kind words. I can't shut out the voices - well, maybe not after so many years of hearing them I can! - but the whole, "MOM!" breaks my concentration. I sort of get into a mode when the music is on. It's there, but I don't really hear it. Thanks for stopping by!

Rachna Chhabria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachna Chhabria said...

Kris Yankee's book sounds cool. Just the kind of book I know I will enjoy.

Bossy Betty said...

Great information. I love the idea of creating a soundtrack for the characters. Brilliant!

Kris Yankee said...

Rachna~Wow! I hope you do enjoy it. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Kris Yankee said...

Bossy Betty (love your name!)~ Throughout the blogsphere, I've read about a lot of authors who write to music, and others who do not. I think it helps quiet all of my thoughts. Thanks for stopping by!

Crystal Collier said...

I'm right there with you on Burn Notice. =)

Love the book concept. Going to see if I can't get my hands on an e-reader and hand this one off to my 10 yr old son. He'd absolutely LOVE it.

Heather said...

I'm hearing about more and more agents who are recommending their clients go this route. My fingers are crossed for you! Saving Redwind sounds excellent and I'll be looking for it.

Kris Yankee said...

Crystal~ Glad to meet a fellow aficionado of Burn Notice! I would love to hear what your son has to say about the story. He's my target audience! Thanks for stopping by!

Kris Yankee said...

Heather, I was surprised when Christine suggested it. But, I understand. The publishing industry is in a state of flux. I told her that I felt like I was 5 years too late! I'm not giving up hope. Thanks for stopping by!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Happy Birthday, Kris! Think I'll pass on the fish eye though.

Kris Yankee said...

Alex~C'mon, you know you wanna try one! Thanks for the wishes and for stopping by.

Krispy said...

The book sounds very fun! Thanks for the interview, ladies! :)

Also, eck fish eye! That is one weird thing I will never try. Icks me out too much!

Carol Kilgore said...

Nice to meet you and learn about your writing, Kris. And Happy Birthday. Just don't eat another fisheye, ok?

Hi, Lydia!

Happy Weekend, All :)

Kris Yankee said...

Krispy~ I was young and stupid! Thanks for stopping by!

Kris Yankee said...

Carol~Nice to meet you, too! I will head over to your blog right now. And, I promise I won't bring any fish eyes. Ewww... : )

Kris Yankee said...

Hey all, not sure what happened, but the link for the book to Amazon is wonky. Here's where you can read reviews and purchase a print copy of Saving Redwind.
http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Redwind-Wallpaper-Adventure-1/dp/1463616678/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311295300&sr=1-2

Thanks so much!
Kris

Anita Clenney said...

Oh my gosh, a fish eye. Yuck! But congrats on releasing Saving Redwind. I have it and am hoping to read it in the next few weeks. I'm fighting a deadline right now.

Kris Yankee said...

Everyone --> Anita Clenney is in the house! You have to check out her new awesome book, Awaken the Highlander! But ahem, this is about me...
Anita~ Hopefully you won't hold the fish eye against me!

Beth said...

Congratulations, and good luck to Kris!

lbdiamond said...

Nice interview! Congrats, Kris and happy birthday!

Kris Yankee said...

Beth~ Thank you so much! And, thanks for stopping by.

Kris Yankee said...

lbdiamond~ Thanks for the birthday wishes and for stopping by!

Janet Johnson said...

Happy Birthday, Kris! And wow, I am definitely grossing out over the eyeball thing. :)

Kris Yankee said...

Janet~ I hope you don't hold it against me. I was young and stupid! Thanks for the bday wishes and for stopping by!

Theresa Milstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theresa Milstein said...

Kris, I bet eating a giant fish after all that drinking was a great idea. Good luck with your book! And happy birthday!

Nice guest post, Lydia!

Kris Yankee said...

Theresa~I didn't feel so good the next day, that was for sure! Thanks for the wishes and for stopping by!

julie fedderson said...

Kris--I'm a huge fan of the manuscript inspired playlist. Fish eyeballs? Not so much. If that's how you roll, this could be a wild birthday!

Great series, Lydia!

Kris Yankee said...

Julie~ Nice to meet a fellow playlist listener! I'm finding we are few and far between. But the fish eyeball? It's one of those, "When I was young and stupid" stories, but it's funny in a gross sort of way. Thanks for stopping by!

petemorin said...

I had that very same fish eye experience in Portugal - in 1984.

I also used to listen to Eminem while writing. How weird is that?

And, I am another CHristine Witthohn client who was encouraged to self-publish!

That's a threefer.

petemorin said...

I had that very same fish eye experience in Portugal - in 1984.

I also used to listen to Eminem while writing. How weird is that?

And, I am another CHristine Witthohn client who was encouraged to self-publish!

That's a threefer.

petemorin said...

I had that very same fish eye experience in Portugal - in 1984.

I also used to listen to Eminem while writing. How weird is that?

And, I am another CHristine Witthohn client who was encouraged to self-publish!

That's a threefer.

DEZMOND said...

a fish eye??? That's just nasty. Hope it didn't wink at you.

Happy B-day, Kris! :)

Kris Yankee said...

Pete! You're so funny! But alas, our paths didn't pass in Portugal - I was there in 1989. Thanks for stopping by.

Kris Yankee said...

Dezmond~ Yes, it was nasty. But I was not in the right state of mind, if you know what I mean! Thanks for the bday wishes and stopping by!

Talli Roland said...

Happy birthday, Kris! Fabulous interview, ladies.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Interesting interview, Lydia, I liked your questions. And Kris, your book sounds great, especially for middle grade. Glad to see it is out in both print and ebook. I'll go check it out. Meanwhile, good luck!

Kris Yankee said...

Talli~ Thanks for the birthday wishes and for stopping by.

Kris Yankee said...

Elizabeth~ Lydia had a ton of questions for me to choose from. I had fun picking and answering. Thanks for stopping by!

Nas Dean said...

Great interview. Happy Birthday, Kris.

But seriously, fish eye?

Kris Yankee said...

Nas~ Yes, a fish eye. Gross, I know! Thanks for stopping by.

Shelley Munro said...

Belated birthday wishes to you, Kris. I think I'll pass on the fish eyes. Yuck!

Kris Yankee said...

Shelley~ I would pass on them, too! Thanks for the wishes and for stopping by!

 
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