Interview: Kristina Stanley

Please welcome Kristina Stanley, author of the Stone Mountain Mystery series.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Years ago, I said to my husband, “All I want from life is to spend time with you, walk the dog, and write.” So I have to say that’s my dream day.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
I think Farley, my soft-coated wheaten terrier, is my signature accessory. He’s seven, and I’d bet BLAZE CoverI’ve spent 90% of the last seven years with him at my side. He is inches from my feet as I write this.

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Can I name a place? I’ll assume the answer is yes. Panorama Mountain Village and the Purcell Mountains inspired me to write. The place captured my heart and when I left to go sailing, writing was the way I brought it with me. I spent 5 years sailing on a catamaran in the Bahamas, and it’s there I wrote four novels.

Do you listen to music when you write?
I listen to my dog snoring and dreaming, but other than that I like to work in silence.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
You’re going to laugh at me, but I don’t really like chocolate. If I could go with potato chips, I’d say salt & vinegar because of the strength in the flavor, and Kalin Thompson, the protagonist of the Stone Mountain Mysteries, is strong but also exciting to be with.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
For Descent: The ski industry, and I love to downhill ski.

For Blaze: I was the director on duty at the resort I worked at when a fire burnt 16 condos to the ground. I spent the night at the site of the fire organizing guests so they had a place to stay, managing people traffic and getting food and water for the firefighters, and watching my firefighter friends save our village.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Discovering what would make a balanced person commit murder is the theme I most enjoy.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Kalin Thompson is an avid skier. She’s a widow who is estranged from her younger brother. Losing her husband in an accident and her brother to an unresolved fight makes Kalin worry about those she loves. Sometimes she feels guilty about her love for the new man in her life, Ben, because Jack’s life was cut short in a violent manner.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Yikes. I have no idea how answer this question. I’ve never thought of Kalin Thompson in terms of a famous person. I even did an internet search for famous actors in their 30s, read through their bios and couldn’t come up with a group of names would make up Kalin.

If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
I’ve chosen the following five authors because they’ve had the most influence on my writing career:

Cheryl Kaye Tardiff – publisher at Imajin Books
Garry Ryan – my mentor via Crime Writers of Canada
Joan Barfoot – my mentor via the Humber School for Writers Post Graduate Correspondence course.
Mary Gaitskill – workshop leader at Humber School for Writers
Mary Higgins Clark – Author of Moonlight Becomes You – She doesn’t know it, but the day I read her book was the day I decided to write mystery novels.

What’s next for you?
I’m fine-tuning Avalanche (A Stone Mountain Mystery #3). I’m 20,000 words into a novel I have yet to name (A Stone Mountain Mystery #4), and I’ve sent Look the Other Way to beta readers. Look the Other Way is a murder mystery that takes place in the Bahamas. I hope to publish all three in 2016. And that’s the first time I’ve made my 2016 goal public.

I love to connect with other readers and writers. I can be found at
http://www.KristinaStanley.com. From there you can reach me many different ways via social media.

If you’re looking for something to read and you haven’t read Descent yet, now is your chance before Blaze comes out. Find it at myBook.to/Descent.

And if you have read Descent, I’d be very excited if you pre-ordered Blaze.

***

Kristina Stanley is the author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her books have garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. Crime Writers of Canada nominated Descent for the Unhanged Arthur award. The Crime Writers’ Association nominated Blaze for the Debut Dagger. She is published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

Before writing her series, Kristina was the director of security, human resources and guest services at a resort in the depths of the British Columbian mountains. The job and lifestyle captured her heart, and she decided to write mysteries about life in an isolated resort. While writing the first four novels, she spent five years living aboard a sailboat in the US and the Bahamas.

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20 thoughts on “Interview: Kristina Stanley”

  1. Ah, just reading your blurbs gives me a breath of fresh air in this awful hot summer we are trapped in (95 yesterday). Interesting that being so far from snow country in the Bahamas resulting in some the snowy setting of your books. Kalin is an intriguing character. One I’d like to know better.

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  2. We share something in common. I read WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN many years ago and that was the first time I felt the “I want to write stories like this” drive. I met Ms. Clark (very briefly) at Bouchercon in 2012. Still consider it a highlight of my writing life.

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  3. Good morning all. Thank you for having me on Mysteristas.

    Mary – I’m a little jealous that you met Ms. Clark. It’s amazing how a stranger can change your life and not even know it. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Kait, thanks for commenting. I live in the mountains and we are already waking up to frost every morning. When I sailed in the Bahamas, I missed the mountains so it seemed like a good time to write about. It’s easier to imagine being cold than being cold 🙂 I hope your temp cools down a bit.

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  5. What a lovely interview! Sounds as though you have had a life filled with adventures–what amazing “research” for your books. And I love the answer to your perfect day. Thanks for visiting us.

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  6. A woman after my own heart! Your life sounds like a dream, between Bahamas and BC mountain resort, 2 of my favorite places. Looking forward to checking out your books.

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  7. Sue, thank you for stopping by. I don’t take for granted I’ve been lucky enough to live in the Bahamas and BC. Both are lovely and yet so different. If you read Descent or Blaze, I hope you like them.

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  8. Cynthia, It’s wonderful to be here. My favourite part of research is living the event. Interviewing and online research definitely falls in second place when it comes to learning something new. Writing gives me an excuse to try new things – although I’m not as adventurous as Kalin Thompson. My husband liked my perfect day answer too 🙂

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  9. Three books! I admire your ability to keep involved in three stories in different stages! Anchorage got snow this week but it melted, thankfully, but it’s a-coming. Your perfect day is perfect.

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  10. Hi Keena, I’ve been to Alaska once. In the summer. Loved the long days. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of the three books. I’d be lost without it. My husband is also very good a beta reading and remembering details.

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  11. Welcome, Kristina! Your goal is public now, which means you’re that much more committed to achieving it. Best of luck to you (and I love the potato chip substitution to describe your book 🙂

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  12. First of all, I also am in shock that you prefer EVIL potato chips over chocolate. How could you!?!

    I find that your favorite theme “what makes a balanced person commit murder” makes for a very interesting book. As a reader, I tend to relate to characters in books as people I might run into in the grocery store. (Sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes not so good.) Characters who are “on the edge” and teetering between “good and evil” are always interesting to read about. I just hope the ones who go over the edge don’t buy the house next door to me.

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  13. Potato chips are evil, but I love them anyway. As for my neighbours, now I’m going to have to take a closer look at them. Maybe they could be in my next book, but I might have to move… I find it scarier to read about a balanced person doing something completely unbalanced than if the character is already evil – just like potato chips.

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  14. Oh wow, Kristina. I am truly honored to be on that list. That would be an amazing dinner party!!! 🙂

    Salt and Vinegar kettle chips are one of my faves too! 😉

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  15. Really, we must stop with the fab author interviews–my TBR pile is threatening to topple! Kristina, I so enjoyed this interview, and I’m quite excited to check out your books! Love the public sharing of your goal, too (and WOW! heck of a goal). Thanks for visiting!

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  16. Pamela, thanks so much for the lovely comments and for expressing interest in my books. That’s such a pleasure to hear. Public goals are very motivating! It’s the way I avoid procrastinating. Now I have to do it.

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