Interview with author Kristin Battestella


Tell us about yourself.

Oh this is always the tough part! I always feel pretentious when talking about myself or my books- and that’s half of all the promotion! There’s not much to tell really. I’d still say I’m a newlywed over 3 years on. I’m currently watching Bob Ross. I collect records, and need more bookcases. That is all.

How long have you been writing?

Fore-eva! Professionally, it has probably been 10 or 12 years, but I started seriously writing in high school, submitting to contests, and looking at writing as a grown up. As a child, however, I had the basics of storytelling, even if the stories were complete crap. I was always acting something out and writing plays to go along with them. I suppose people define ‘writer’ or ‘author’ or the professional or success by things like how much money you make or books you sell, but for me, I’ve always been a storyteller, and will always write whether it is expressly for publication or not.

You write horror novels. How did you get started?

Simply put, the ones I was reading were crap! I love scary movies of course as well, science fiction, and genre. I like the crazy possibilities and wonder why it is that we have such connections with adrenaline, flight or fight, and being scared as entertainment. I kept watching dumb shoes and reading books that just seemed so simplistic, plain, not asking the big psychological questions of fear and torment. I simply said to myself one day that my ideas were better, or at least I could entertain myself with the things I wrote. When the kids at school began passing around my work and students I didn’t even know were coming to me and asking me for more, I realized there might be something special for other readers.


What’s different about your vampires?

I’m old school. I know everyone says ‘vampire family’ like it is nothing these days, but when I began my world, there was Anne Rice and Lauren K. Hamilton and Forever Knight and Dark Shadows. I liked when vamps were niche, underground, scary, and reflective of ourselves. The Welshire are a family by blood and by vampirism, and neither is easy for them through the centuries. Why are some happy to be creatures of the night? How can others crumble under damnation? Can one born of evil be good? I like the dark questions. To be a vampire is to question! I don’t know how this new boy vamps are just about girls and high school. That seems so boring and mundane to me, and a bit pedophile! Who wants to be in high school forever? That is so instant of the moment. My vamps are about far more lasting fate, fangs, and consequences.

Wow are your favorite writers in your genre?

I actually have more sf and fantasy influences than horror, perhaps. I grew up on classics, Dickens, Tolkien, Asimov. Early on I was in a total Arthurian phase, Malory, Tennyson, I loved Howard Pyle and Robert Louis Stevenson, too. Robin Hood, comic books, too, and Poe! Then I switched at some point to hard SF and all the 50s pulps and Tarzan. I love historicals like Hornblower, too, and Sharpe I’m reading now. I had my Anne Rice phase, too, but I don’t like Stephen King. While it is critical to know what has been done in your genre, I don’t like to be pigeonholed or get into routine with my writing, and my reading tastes are so varied anyway. I think one should read outside of their genre more perhaps, gain ideas and trends and bring them back to your work. I tend to alternate my books and reads, and don’t read and write in the same genre at the same time. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop. I love non fiction and spiritual material, too. Really, what’s not to read?

What do you do in your spare time?

I have nothing but spare time! Not. Well, I work at home now so sometimes my fun time and work time do blur. When I need to get stuff done or things get crazy and interfere, that isn’t good. But when the writing is going magical and you do what you love, it’s easy to consider your work your fun. But I sleep a lot and do love me some sleep. I have to be in a streak to sew, but when I do, it’s pretty amazing stuff. And I like to Wii and pretend like I can play ice hockey again like in my younger glorious days. My husband and I do get on movie marathon streaks as well, and do little weekend travel trips when we can.


What’s the best writing advice you ever got? The worst?

The worst is easy, simply because it is relative. What works for some will be disasterous with others. The Best advice is to just write, and be true to the material. If you took in every piece of what another author, editor, book, or publisher said, you’d probably find a lot of contradictions and never get anything done. We have such a rushed society, and at the seminars I’ve done with the New Jersey Authors Network, sometimes I’ve met aspiring writers who want to know about publishing and marketing but they haven’t completed a work yet. First and foremost, you have to write. The business research and all the bells and whistles can come later. Just sit down and tell the tale you have to tell. Fuck everything else. To thine own self be true! Then again, am I Stephenie Meyer, no, so maybe my advice tips should be taken with a grain of salt, hehe. The advice that works for you depends on what kind of writer you want to be. Not, do this for short fiction or this for non fiction, but are you going to write from your soul or sell out? So many people want to put the cart before the horse these days. Love your art, warts and all!

Do you have a writing routine?

In theory. Now, my little spot where I usually sit with my exercise ball is being taken up by my Christmas tree, so I’m a little squashed with all my stuff piled up by my usual recliner. I’m a night owl. I’d like to be normal and write in the day time, and be tan and do those things that sunshiney people do, but I enjoy the productivity that comes overnight. I have certain days and times when regular writing work needs to get done, but when edits or the muse takes over, it takes over! I’ll handwrite a first draft, then get a double session of fleshing out and editing as I type it at the keyboard, then there will be a dozen edits and read throughs before I go through my work by reading it out loud. That is my last touch where I get to hear how things sound, know if the rhythm matches the people or the place or where the plot lags.

How do you go about planning a new novel?

It depends. Sometimes ideas stew in my head or lie in my notebook for years, other times I have to immediately get a rough outline or draft done. Sometimes a great snip of dialogue will come to me, and once I start writing down, I find myself adding tags, descriptions, and I’m off. I also have to do goofy charts and side character materials. I will cut out photos or save entire folders of what a character would wear, jewelry, furniture. I’ll draw things, graph intersecting appearances and storylines. I do outline, sometimes just what happens from one seen to another, other times, completely finite stuff that takes up entire walls. Mainly, though, I don’t limit myself in any planning or composition. No, I have to adhere to this photo or the outline says this- forget that! You go where the story takes you then worry about the trimming next time around.

What are you working on now?

I’m trying to satisfy myself with the next two full length novels following Fate and Fangs: Tales from the Vampire Family 7 book series with Muse It Up Publishing. I’ve been off and on this vampire material for years. I think some folks might think I’m always hawking the same thing! But I just wrote a lot of stuff over a long period of time. The 7 novellas in Fate and Fangs are comprised of earlier material as well as more recent events. Requiem for the Vampire Family will pick up where the final tale in Fate and Fangs- Resurrection, due out in February- leaves off, and now it is going to be split in two with the final act being The Vampire Family Forever. I do write more than horror, well, not just vampires at least! I have big space operas that just keep getting bigger, but those need a lot of work! I did step aside and do an edit with another local author Leigh Wood. Again it is important to step outside your comfort zone. I did a read through on her new fantasy erotica Horns of Myleness. Way out of my zone- unicorns and medieval love triangles! It was totally mature even with such high fantasy romps, serious, deep. I love the world building. I enjoy being able to move through time with my vampires, immerse myself in their world for a little while. You get sick of it, and I go slow with the hand writing and you write and read again and again and think you are sick of your story! But then you leave it for something else and find you miss it. It keeps you coming back for more! Whew!

What do you want readers to take away from your books?

I’d like a reader to think about what they read after it’s done. I adore books that change you. I love to read and be a different person from whom I was at the start on Page One. I like questions, conversations, examinations. What does my opinion of this book say about me? Who am I in comparison to the villain of this piece? I like literature that informs, inspires, and entertains, showcasing a mirror of who we are and what we can do! Yes I get all philosophical and lofty and would die of happiness of someone ever said something I wrote was life changing! On my review blog I Think, Therefore I Review, a gentleman commented on a article I wrote for Highlander: The Series last year. He said he had worked overnights many years ago and the highlight of the night was watching the show. Finding my review brought back some great memories and he said, ‘and I thank you for that.’ It was the greatest thing ever!! I never want a reader to feel shy. Come to me, talk to me, discuss. To me my book, any book, is not set in stone, it is a dialogue, a conversation on the human condition that should be shared. I don’t think you can get that from a 140 character limit. Thank you. I love you! Read me! Authors are needed people with something to say.

Any last words?

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

teehee!

You can find Kristin at http://vampfam.blogspot.com/

and check out Humanity, her latest book
http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=307&category_id=64&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1

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