Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hello, Kristin Battestella

1: Thank you so much for being here, Kristin! First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

Strangely, if it’s that obligatory, I’m not asked it that often, or as often as I should be!  I actually just filed some other work on my shelf and when I did so, discovered some of my incredibly old- as in juvenile- writing work.  Most of them said 89 and 90! So I suppose my first attempts were before 10 and before I knew much of anything.  One even said, I swear, ‘Illustrated by the Arthur’.  Really showed my spelling prowess there!  I don’t think I considered myself as a serious writer until I was in high school and accumulated a few lovely rejection slips! I write stories, but I don’t consider myself a big fancy author or anything.

2: What inspired you to write?

Honestly, the thing that inspires me to write most is me.  I just have an ever on brain- for better or worse- and I am in constant observation and thought about what makes individuals tick, how a person reacts to situations around them, and what kind of story needs to be told there. I have one of those idea notebooks, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to all the snips in it!  Dreams as well inspire me.  I wake up with something bizarre and have to write it down- maybe it will be something worthwhile, maybe not.  But I enjoy the pursuit of plot bunnies.  When I was younger, I tried to keep all these twisted tales in my head until one day I just came to the conclusion that I should write it all down.  Not only would I remember it all, but sometimes you are so excited by a good story that it must be told.  I definitely think any artistic inspiration has to come from within.  If you are writing just for the book sales or to strike while a theme is hot in ruthless media packaging, I think you’re in the wrong line of work.  Writing is personal, intimate, and the whole joy is sharing that mental communication with others, who may in turn be inspired and entertained. Whew!

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

Most, I like the euphoria and eureka of the composition.  That getting it out on the page in a fury as if this is what God placed you on earth to do.  I love the notions of telepathy and time travel.  When a reader reads something I wrote, they are going back to me where I was at that moment in a shared collective storytelling.  For me, that is the human condition- or as we should be- in a nutshell.  What I don’t like is the increasing need for social media as the number one tool of marketing. Yes authors have to promote themselves- none of that mysterious churning out of manuscripts from an isolated wintry cabin. Sometimes I just feel as if the social media chasing is spitting in the internet wind.  If everyone is doing it, how can one individual writing voice be heard? You spend all this time being unique and crafting something unique and special only to butcher it into catchy and misspelled 140 character bursts?  I’d much rather talk with a group of people in a chat or on a forum where you can make a virtual connection with whom you are speaking.  Internet community should bring us together, not have us resort to bad grammar. End rant.  But I do love idea, inspiration, from God’s lips to my hands and then readers’ eyes.  Amen!

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

At its height, writing is relaxing and fun.  If you don’t find some part of the craft enjoyable, again, you are in the wrong profession.  Otherwise I do other creative things.  I watch a lot of movies, review and non fiction work, read books of course- though not as much if I’m on a project.  I get in sewing streaks and collect records.  Just dumb and boring stuff like everyone else.  I play ice hockey and like to go ice skating, but there is an element of physicality in that, brute relaxation.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

I’m becoming more and more old fashioned and tend to return to the classics- again I get streaky and obsessive.  Recently I’ve been reading the Sharpe Series by Bernard Cornwell.  I love Dickens and Asimov, Tolkien.  Love love Hornblower, and Anne Rice was in there somewhere too.  I remember when she was the only vampire writer around.  Now they’re everywhere and no one reads the pulp sf classics of old.  I like Arthurian works as well, and used to be very into comic books back in the day.  Now I wouldn’t even know where to begin with those!  The same with the Star Wars books.  Once you loose track of the universe, it’s tough to jump back into it.  I’m sure I’m forgetting some authors, as I don’t always go by an author.  I go with whatever strikes me at the time.  Biblical and non fiction material.  Love the Brontes but major no to Jane Austen. Not my bag at all.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

Wow.  Honesty? Sincerity? I don’t know.  I remember going on a job interview once where I went on about spending time with a customer and giving them the attention they need.  Then I realized the guy was looking at me like I was completely full of shit. Afterward, that really angered me.  I felt like going back and saying, how dare you judge me and think I was giving you some line?  Eventually I would love to go back to school and be a minister, and he was some dude thinking I was being an ass by saying people were more important to me than the bottom line. If I say it, I mean.  I wouldn’t want to be intellectually dismissed or personally brushed off by anyone, and I try and treat people the same way. I’m not interested in plugging up my ears and twiddling my thumbs over some gizmo.  There’s so much more going on than that.  Know this, I suppose.  Awesome questions, Roseanne!

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

Fate and Fangs: Tales from the Vampire Family is my ongoing series with Muse it Up Publishing.  Book 3 Struggle: Elizabeth in America is out this month.  These novellas are each about a vampire theme and one or two individuals from my 2008 novel The Vampire Family, also still available in paperback with Eternal Press.  Struggle is a somewhat solitary tale, as Elizabeth explores who she is as a vampire and an animal against her humanity.  When confronted with Rain and his Native American ideas, it throws another wrench into it all. All the details plus more from Books 1 and 2, Love: Ann and the Viking and Punishment: Lilith’s Trials are also on my blog,

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

I think it is essential to write for yourself and the story you need to tell first and foremost.  Don’t write for the trend or because something is hot.  I’ve been doing several Publishing Q&As with the New Jersey Authors Network, and a lot of folks want to know about where to publish or agents and they don’t have completed works yet.  Do you research, know what you want to tell, but make the best dang tale possible first.  Really, some people don’t write for publication at all- years ago folks used to correspond or journal because they wanted to do so.  Some write still as therapy.  Tell your tale and write a dang good story.  Everything else will come.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

I imagine there must be ideas and twitches and suggestion from real life, but for the most part, no.  Characters are imagination to me.  I like the idea of establishing a character in one notion, then have it totally manifest itself through the writing as something else. 

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

I began working in The Vampire Family universe initially in high school.  I just began combining vampire myths and ideas that I wasn’t seeing elsewhere.  I wrote something that was interesting to me.  The analysis of light and dark and familial responsibilities and punishments using the mirror of the fantastic- now of course, it’s an entire different vampire genre.  I like my vamps old school, scary, with consequences and maturity.  The ideas come from everywhere and anywhere.  Take out the earpuds and put up the phone, stop and listen, smell the roses, and you’ll be surprised the twisted and wicked things that will enter one’s head!

11: What are you currently working on?

It’s taking me forever to finish the next full length vampfam material, as I’m always stopping to do other fiction and non fiction.  I was editing with fellow EPer Leigh Wood on some kinky fantasy horny unicorn thing.  It’s not normally what I like, but it was a great mature read with a lot of that consequence I mentioned. I have to vary up my work, not drone out the same thing straightaway.  I don’t want to be stale.  I set something aside and let my mind stew on it, yearn for the players and plot changes again.  It also gives me time to think of better titles.  Requiem for The Vampire Family and then maybe if it gets to big and is split, that would be The Vampire Family Forever.  I stink at titles. That is what I’m always working on!

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I just ate imitation Rice Krispies in Coconut Milk whilst watching GI Joe- the original, none of that Sgt. Slaughter crap.

Here’s a short sample from Struggle: Elizabeth in America

“The Spirit is both man and animal. You are both woman and the wolf, unsure of the light and the dark.”
 “Do you not fear the wolf?
“It is you who fears the wolf.  The woman is the light and the wolf is the darkness.  We will release the wolf and free The Spirit.”
Oddly enough, I found there was a logic to his beliefs.  Did the people here discover some sort of balance between nature and civilization, good and evil?  If I didn’t know better, I might think he spoke of a vampire already! Was there another here like our kind?  I wouldn’t put it past our maker Mestiphles or his henchwoman Lilith to feast upon these people.
“How can the Spirit release the wolf?” 
“My forefather told of my coming in the great storm at the big river’s crossing. He said I would live long, see many moons, but never grow old. So I wait for her.  The Spirit will answer all.”


gail roughton branan said...

Lord Kristin, you're so young! My first works say 88 and 89 but I was 35 at the time, and you weren't even in highschool! Great interview, thoroughly enjoyed it.

BarbaraB said...

Hi Roseanne,
Thanks for bringing Kristen on board today.
Hi Kristen,
I like the way you come up with twists to your chosen genre. Your imagination is serving you well.

Kristin Snouffer said...

Hi Barbara! Big thanks to Roseanne for having us indeed!

These were some great questions forcing me to think outside the box.

Gail, today at the library a lady thought I was 20!

Ginger Simpson said...

I enjoyed the interview. As usual, I'm playing catch up and apologize to all the authors I've missed this month on Ro's blog. She does a great interview that produces some awesome answers. Kristin did a wonderful job. For someone so young, she's pretty savvy. :)