Please join me in welcoming Kristen Joy Wilks to the blog today to chat about her new novel Yellowstone Yondering!
Kristen Joy Wilks lives in the beautiful Cascade Mountains with her camp director husband, three fierce sons, and a large and slobbery Newfoundland dog. She has blow-dried a chicken, fought epic Nerf battles instead of washing dishes, and discovered a smuggled gardener snake in her sons’ bubble bath.
Her stories, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Nature Friend, Clubhouse, Thriving Family, Keys for Kids, The Christian Journal, Splickety, Spark, and Havok. Her story Day of the Cyclones is included in Nancy B. Kennedy’s book Miracles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Mothers. Pelican Book Group published her debut novella Copenhagen Cozenage, as well as The Volk Advent, Athens Ambuscade, Spider Gap, and upcoming release Yellowstone Yondering.
Kristen is an ACFW member, a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest, a finalist in the YARWA Rosemary contest, and a four time winner in the OCW Cascade contest. Copenhagen Cozenage placed third in the 2016 International Digital Awards and has been released in Norwegian while both Athens Ambuscade and Spider Gap are first place winners in the IDA contest (2018, 2019).
When Kristen is not shooing the pet chickens out of the house or trying to determine why one of her sons stored uneaten tuna in his shoe and then continued to wear it all day, she loves to write about the humor and grace that can be found hidden amidst the detritus of life. Much like the shiny quarter one member of their household swallowed and then found in the pot four days later. If God is good enough to grant us these gems, she figures that someone should be putting them to the page.
Kristen can be found wandering around Camas Meadows Bible Camp snapping photos for the camp blog, tucked under a tattered quilt in an overstuffed chair at 4:00am writing a wide variety of implausible tales, or at www.kristenjoywilks.com. If you would rather enjoy pictures of charging bison, Newfoundland dogs, and attacking squid then by all means visit her “What I’m Writing About” board on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/kristenjwilks7/what-im-writing-about/
You can also connect with Kristen on Facebook.
YELLOWSTONE YONDERING by Kristen Joy Wilks
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Pure Amore (Pelican Book Group)
RELEASE DATE: January 17, 2020
When a free-spirited wildlife photographer loses her Scottish terrier in a herd of bison, she sets out to rescue her furbaby before he is devoured. But will she succeed when Yellowstone National Park is chock full of boiling, bubbling, and rampaging hazards (both mammalian and geographical) — not to mention a rule-obsessed park ranger whose many rescues thwart her efforts to find her poor pup?
They say opposites attract, and when it comes to Kayla Dineen and Ranger Alexander Brandt, no two people have ever been more opposed…or attractive. Old Faithful isn’t the only thing making noise at Yellowstone this season.
Hi Kristen! Welcome to the blog!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Kristen: Raising an ironic eyebrow in the face of utter chaos. Is there a giant stick fight in the living room? A snake loose in the bathtub? A chicken smuggled onto a bunk bed? Or perhaps a deadly poisonous Newt has escaped in the house? Never fear, the amazing boy-mom is here. A sternly pointed finger and shout of motherly wisdom brings battles to a close and sends poisonous Newts out of doors. No, we really did have a poisonous newt loose in the house … yep!
Carrie: hahaha oh my goodness!
Q: When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
Kristen: When I walk into a bookstore, I head for the YA section first! I love the fast pacing, sarcastic characters, and fun worlds of YA.
Carrie: It’s a genre that has definitely been growing on me in recent years!
Q: Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Kristen: I write in a big chair-and-a-half, sitting sideways with my Star Trek quilt tucked around me and a cup of coffee in my giant 22 ounce Care bears mug! My dog sometimes joins me and tries to steal a slurp of my coffee.
Carrie: Your dog is so cute!!
Q: What surprised you about Yellowstone Yondering or your characters as you wrote their story?
Kristen: What surprised me the most about writing this book was how difficult it was to write a male character who had chosen abstinence. The Pure Amore series asks for at least one of the main characters to have chosen to wait for sex and I blithely jumped into the book determined to make the man that character. It was so much easier to make the girl choose to wait in Spider Gap. When I got edits back from my critique partner, she asked difficult questions like: “Why did he wait for sex?” “Why did your girl character have sex in college?” “What character trait and or wound does he have that enabled him to go 28 years without sex?” I realized that just saying, “He chose to honor God and wait,” like I had for my girl character in Spider Gap was somehow not believable in our culture. Also, my answer of, “She had sex because the opportunity presented itself,” did not work with my girl character like it had with my guy character from the last book. I truly did not realize how American Christian culture puts so much pressure on girls to make good sexual choices and yet presumes that guys will not. Wanting to write about this issue how the Bible presents it, was difficult coming from the culture I live in. But the fact that I write comedy saved the day and I was able to find funny ways to bring up hard to address truths.
Carrie: That’s a really insightful point & I imagine it would have been difficult to write believably … which is sad that our culture has made it so.
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Yellowstone Yondering?
Kristen: Well, I really would love to hear that they snorted something out of their noses while laughing. That is certainly one of my goals. I also hope that they will remember all of the warning signs at Yellowstone National Park and recall Kayla and Alexander’s difficulties once those signs were flagrantly ignored! Perhaps during vacation they will gaze upon a herd of bison and see visions of a bold Scottish terrier challenging a 2,000lb bull bison to fight.
I also hope and pray that my girl character who overcomes her difficult past to become a new creation in Christ and my guy character who uses his strength to honor God and choose sexual purity will inspire readers that yes, God loves them so so much regardless of their mistakes and yes, He can give them the strength to choose Him in every aspect of their lives! I live and work at a Bible camp and anyone who has done the same knows that camp ministry takes the theory of looking like a Christian and smashes it to pieces right over your head as you have to actually BE a Christian in front of the discerning eyes of children. I wrote this book with a particular cabin full of angry and heartbroken teen girls in mind. I want the teens I know and love and those like them all over our churches and schools to know that: Yes, God asks us to follow Him through some difficult standards and sacrifices. But Yes, Yes, Yes, He has the power to change our very hearts, help us up after a terrible crash, and send us into victory as a new creation in Him!
Carrie: Amen. Yes! Thankful for Him ♥
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Kristen: Well, everyone tells me that I need an amazing story to give away for free to lure people to my newsletter, ha! Well, I’m attempting to write that fabulous story. A beautiful young woman must drive a trailer full of pet chickens over a mountain pass when the absent-minded youth pastor forgets them during a move. His nephew has trained one particular hen to do tricks and loves that chicken dearly. But what will they do when our heroine swerves to miss a bear, crashes, and all the chickens escape into the forest? I’m also writing a companion middle grade story from Dandelion Floofums, the main chicken’s, perspective.
Carrie: hahahaha even i, with my chicken phobia, might have to read these books! 😉
Kristen Joy Wilks is offering an ebook copy of Yellowstone Yondering + a Theo chocolate bar (dark chocolate with candied ginger bits) to one of my readers! (chocolate bar is open to US only; ebook is open internationally, except where prohibited by law or logistics) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about Yellowstone Yondering and/or Kristen Joy Wilks?