I’ve mentioned this on my Facebook page before, but I think it’s the first time I’m posting about it here. A little over a year ago, a mutual friend introduced me to Kristine saying, “You’re both writers, you should meet.” So thank you, Mike, for introducing me to a great local writer and friend. Her new book, 27 Days to Midnight, is coming out May 3rd. With the date fast approaching, today is her cover release! I asked Kristine to do me the favor of answering a few questions I had for her to share some advice and talk a bit about her book. If you want to ask her some questions of your own, she’ll be doing a Twitter Q&A from 8-9pm EST tonight. Be sure to follow @kskruppa and use #27Days to participate.
Everyone in Dahlia’s world knows when they’re going to die. Except her.
Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father died to protect…and the time research that could bring him back to life.
Then she meets Farren Reed. She should hate him. He’s an enemy soldier, a cowardly deserter, and the most insufferable man Dahlia’s ever met. Still, she needs all the help she can get, and Farren is the only chance she has to find the man who murdered her father. But Farren has only twenty-seven days left on his watch.
In that time, Dahlia must recover her father’s time research, foil a psychotic general’s plot, and learn to survive in a world that will never be the same. But the research holds secrets more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She will have to choose what is most important: revenge, Farren’s life, or her own. And time is running out.
Kristine Kruppa is a mechanical engineer, writer, and world traveler. Her days are spent designing cool new car parts, but her evenings are filled with writing and cats. She has traveled solo to seventeen countries on five continents. Her other hobbies include hunting for the perfect cup of coffee, exploring used book stores, and accidentally climbing mountains. To keep up with her adventures, follow Kristine on Twitter @kskruppa.
And, finally, my Q&A with Kristine about her writing.
Sam: When did you start writing? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?
Kristine: I don’t remember when I started writing; it’s just something I’ve always done. As a kid, I wrote and illustrated little picture books. I think the earliest one involved a cat detective tracking down a pizza thief. After my family bought a computer–somewhere between sixth and seventh grade–I fell into the habit of waking up early, slipping downstairs, and typing away while the house was quiet. I broke countless staplers trying to wrestle the stacks of pages into something resembling a book.
Sam: How do you stay focused on your writing with life going on around you?
Kristine: This is something I struggle with. I try to set aside a little time every day to write, but this doesn’t always happen. Instead, I end up hauling my laptop to cafés on the weekend for a few hours of coffee and words. To stop myself from getting distracted by the internet or other people, I set a timer. I write for twenty minutes straight. Then I break for ten minutes of watching cat videos and chowing down on cookies before going back to writing. It’s easier to focus if I break up long sessions into small chunks. And it stops me from wandering off-track!
Sam: What advice would you give to writers who want the same success you’re enjoying?
Kristine: Finish your stories. Around the halfway point, I’m always tempted to set aside a novel-in-progress. Usually, it’s because I have a new story idea, something shiny and exciting that seems far better than the messy draft in front of me. I have to force myself to work on the draft for a while. Within a few chapters, the magic always comes back and I’m able to finish it. While it may be appealing to drop everything for a new idea, this technique will work against you in the long run. You can’t publish half a book!
Sam: Why did you decide to go into engineering? Would you ever consider leaving your day job for a writing career?
Kristine: I’d always been good at math and science, so engineering seemed the natural choice. I originally wanted to be a civil engineer, working on bridges or roads (or roller coasters!). But I switched to mechanical engineering when I realized I could do a wider variety of things with it. I don’t think I would ever give up my day job for a writing career (the stable salary funds my crazy vacations), but I’d certainly switch to part-time work if my writing really takes off.
Sam: Why have you decided to travel so extensively? Does what you see abroad show up in your work?
Kristine: I travel because I love it. Seeing the world, meeting new people, discovering different places and cultures…there’s nothing like it. Plus, travel gives me excellent writing material! Many of the settings in my stories are based on real places. The cliff town from 27 Days to Midnight was inspired by the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Dahlia’s hometown is reminiscent of Paris. And the marketplace in Janmasthala is similar to markets I’ve wandered in Peru and Southeast Asia (besides the mechanical tortoises, of course!).
Tune into her author chat/interview tonight to find out anything else you want to know about the upcoming release. Until next time, write on.