comes from walking hand-in-hand with God along His exciting path. It’s a journey, not a destination.
Oh, corrections. I too spent four years in a state prison. As a C.O. and C.O. Sergeant, not an inmate!
Are you married? Single? Have kids?
I’ve been divorced for over twenty years and am happily single. My three step-children have remained in my life, and I’m Nana to ten. I have an amazing extended family-small but mighty-and we gather often, keeping in touch even as the generations have spread across the country. Ah, the beauty of Facebook, right?
I spend my days creating literary magic in my favorite place on earth, the She Shed, wading through marketing, and pursuing my fiendish passion, pickleball. It’s a marvelous tennis-like sport that can be played by any age (usually I’m the youngest at 60 and the oldsters are really, really good.) The sport fills many areas in my life that were lacking after I retired: great exercise, a community of friends, and the maintenance a competitive edge I never knew I had. If you’re not familiar with the fastest growing past-time around, Google it and you’ll soon be hooked.
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.
Favorite Song of All-Time: Old Time Rock and Roll (Bob Seger)
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Divine Romance
Favorite Bible Verse: Matthew 11:28-30
Favorite Movie: Sound of Music
Favorite Actor or Actress: Kevin Costner
Favorite TV Show: America’s Got Talent
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Gone With The Wind
Favorite Author (other than you): Ginny Dye
Favorite Sport: Pickleball
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): American Ninja Warrior (I know, weird, right?)
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: English (of course)
Favorite Subject Now: English still.
Favorite Teacher in School: Ms. Culy (English)
Favorite Time of the Year: Spring
Favorite Place to Vacation: I’d rather stay home
Favorite Drink: COFFEE!
Favorite Food: Carrot chips, cherry tomatoes, & hummus
For all the pet lovers out there, answer this question: Do you have any?
I’ve always had critters, but they were just part of my world more than something I was attached to. After many years of pet parenthood, I’d come to a place where I was going into retirement and through attrition, had downsized. Then Facebook happened… A post popped up from our local Humane Society, (that I never should’ve seen, by the way—a share of a share) and I knew he had to be mine. A week later, Toby, the Shih Tzu came to live with me. We immediately bonded, and he has been the light of my life for eight years. When I’m invited anywhere, I know better than to show up without him and often the invitations are for Toby with a disclaimer of, ‘Oh, you can come along too.’ I may have rescued him, but he totally rescued me.
If you could go back and have a “do over” concerning something in your life (we’re thinking about something non-writing related here), what would you have done differently?
There are several things I’d like a do-over on, but since they are all interconnected, I’ll start with the fact that I wish I had gone to college. It was never presented as an option, and after high school, I got lost for a while, which brought me to the bad choice of marrying an abusive alcoholic. While those years were difficult, I found the Lord, and they brought me to my second marriage. I won’t qualify that as a poor decision since I would have missed becoming a step-mother, but the marriage ended after ten years. Divorce is never something you want, but it happens. I’ve come to a peaceful place in my life, and despite all the heartache, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change any of it because without all that, I wouldn’t be where I am (or who I am) today.
Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?
I’ve always considered myself a contemporary fiction writer, but God had other ideas. It happens, right? I had three full-length manuscripts to work with, yet, He downloaded a story that took over my soul. I couldn’t walk away because it was about me. Through my own experiences and His miraculous emotional healing, He gave me an allegory that I would never have considered writing. Me? A fantasy writer? No way. I argued with Him, finally got on board, and Journey to ChiYah was released July 1st.
Check out the back cover blurb:
Jade Pepperdine has a problem: Her life is crumbling beneath the weight of the past, events of the present, and fears for her future. Things need to change, but she doesn’t know where to start. Answers come in the form of an unexpected opportunity when Jade finds herself stuck in a mythical land. She meets Mayor Dudley, who insinuates she is emotionally broken and in need of repair...a fact she’d just as soon ignore. He offers to help her get home if she is willing to face her issues through a process of restoration. Frightened and skeptical yet out of options, Jade grudgingly agrees. And soon figures out that change is a journey, not a destination. Come along on the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe you’ll find someone you never knew you lost: Yourself.
As a writer, if you had one thing you would do over again, what would it be?
Being an Independent Author was a whole new world for me. So much to learn. So many unknowns. And then there’s marketing. Whew. In November 2020, I had reached a point where my manuscript was with beta readers, and it was time for me to jump into the learning curve of Indie publishing. I spent several months exploring every resource I could get my hands on and, as I tend to do, researched myself into such a frenzy, I was paralyzed, unable to figure out which way to go. I finally came to a point where I sifted through the material and began to implement what I had discovered. Here’s a few highlights:
Everyone has a different opinion about Alpha and Beta readers. I used several Alphas prior to editing, when the manuscript was in its rawest form. While I can see the advantage of gathering opinions about the story line, sharing an unedited project isn’t for me-I would rather work with an editor on content. As for Betas, be sure to send to them before a paid editor or their input (and your output of cash) will be wasted. (A lesson I learned the hard way.)
Start early. I had many learning curves, and it was slow going to get it all set up. Plus you need to do lots of research to see what works for you (not just copy others or take every piece of advice thrown your way.) Be sure to evaluate ROI, (both time and money) and if something doesn’t work, make changes balanced by the fact that marketing is an investment that needs to be paced over time in order to experience gradual, steady returns.
I had planned on formatting myself out of my writing program, Scrivener, but there was quite a big learning curve, and I ran out of time. I ended up learning how to eBook format myself in Word and contracted out the paperback. The problem was, I got in too big of a hurry and sent it to the formatter prior to completion of ARC readers, who caught many typos. I also didn’t read it myself one last time because frankly, I was sick of it. Just being honest. But that decision created a situation where I ended up paying almost as much to fix errors in the paperback as I did for the original formatting. I plan on learning to format both eBook and paperback myself so that I have total control to fix pesky errors that always seem to weasel their way in.
I have returned to my first manuscript written over two years using NaNoWriMo from 2009-2011. I’m still excited about the story that came from a co-worker that went on vacation and found a digital camera then tracked down the owner, which got my creative juices all a dither.
Photo Finish has been through a lot: ripped apart multiple times and put back together, edited once, and abandoned to gather dust on a cyber shelf when life got in the way of writing. I then took a few years to publish Journey to ChiYah, but the time has finally arrived. I believe the project will touch readers with its message of hope, and I can’t wait to share it with the world.
Knowing what you know now about writing, publishing, etc., what piece of advice would you give to the person thinking about writing that novel they have always wanted to pursue since they were young, or the person who believes they have a non-fiction book in them that would be helpful to others?
NEVER rush to publish. I started writing in 2009 and just released my debut a few months ago. Everyone’s path is different as far as timing, however, with the advent of Independent publishing, I think authors hurry and skip steps that ensure they have the absolute best product prior to release-a lot can be learned during what NOT to do experiences. It’s tedious, but worth the effort. Here are a few highlights from my journey:
Self-editing - This one turned me into a convoluted pretzel as I tried to figure out what worked for me. I did a lot of circling the mountain, over-complicating the process. The goal was to clean up the manuscript as much as possible before a pro editor which saves time on both parts and you dollars in the end.
Cover - Never scrimp on a professional cover, created by a designer that knows your genre, and is well versed in the process. Fortunately for me, my great-niece is a graphics arts major, and even though this was the first foray for both of us, she researched diligently, consulted with her college prof, and hit it out of the park. Fun fact: The model on Journey to ChiYah’s cover is her younger sister. Yes, we made it a family affair.
As a writer, what is “success” to you? And has that “definition” changed over time as you have traveled down the writer’s path?
When I started writing, success wasn’t part of the equation. In fact, I was nothing but confused because I knew God was speaking to me, but I had no idea why. For the longest time, I never even told anyone—not even my family. I was so insecure about my skills and what others would think; I couldn’t even broach the subject. After I started entering the Weekly Writing Challenge at FaithWriters.com, everything changed. It is a writing contest with prompts where you enter 300 words for judging, with recognition in varying levels of achievement. I experienced success, including being published in several of their anthologies, and my confidence grew to the point that I could actually share my secret. Eventually I wrote here and there under a pen name, still afraid to come out to the world, until God told me, "Enough."
Publishing brought out a new level of fear to battle, and in a few weeks I will do my first local book signing—a bit step that has my knees quaking. It’s an on-going process, but I know He’ll help me through.
Success now is all about the assignment He’s given me. If my writing touches and helps others, I have accomplished the goal, hence my brand, “Sharing Hope Through Words.” Profits aren’t important and I have given away many more books than I’ve sold. It just doesn’t matter as long as my CEO is pleased.
What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?
Three years ago, I got on a plane with my two sisters, and we flew to Minnesota to meet our older brother Bill for the first time after finding him on Ancestry DNA. We knew there was another sibling, but never dreamed God would allow us to find him. He is ten years older than me, never knew he had a single blood relative on the planet, and now has all of us. (Yes, we can be a lot.) I always wanted a big brother, and now I have a Bill plus a bonus sister in his wife, Marsha. It took a few years, but I can finally buy him a birthday card without standing in the card aisle weeping.
Why do you live where you live?
I live in Coldwater, a small town in southern lower Michigan. It’s smack dab in the middle of the state, five miles from the Indiana line. (Hold your hand up like a mitten and it is easy to find-that’s a Michigan thing.) I was born less than five minutes from where I currently live, raised in the nearby small town of Quincy.
I’ve never felt the need to stray from home as the majority of my family was here even though we have dwindled over the years as the extendeds have spread out. I do detest Michigan winters, but also struggle with heat related issues so the mix of seasons mostly suits me. Besides, I don’t think I could ever leave my little gal’s house that I’ve lived in for over twenty years. My life is perfect. I have everything I want and need. I am content.
We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?
“The Story of With” by Allen Arnold. It is an allegory about learning to be a Creative Bohemian, creating with the Creator. The story teaches you about how our art (whatever form it may take) needs to be birthed by working in tandem with God and allowing him to open your mind to endless possibilities. It entirely changed my perspective about writing and was the inspiration for Journey to ChiYah.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?
A big thank you to Kevin for letting me hang out and sharing a little about my world. I leave you with the words the Lord gave me for book signings of Journey to ChiYah: May God hold you tightly as you continue on your own journey.
Kimberly, thank you for being a part of ABTS! And Readers, if you're wishing to connect with Kimberly and learn more about her writing, you can find her in the following locations in cyberspace:
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