Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chat with Fantasy Author Kris Yankee

Today I'm chatting with Kris Yankee, author of the middle grade fantasy novel Saving Redwind.

CE: Tell us a little about Saving Redwind.

KY: Saving Redwind is the story of a young boy who is called to do great things in a world that exists inside his bedroom wallpaper.

CE: Saving Redwind is subtitled “A Wallpaper Adventure.” I never thought of wallpaper being particularly adventurous. How did you come up with this idea?

KY: The idea came to me while stripping ugly wallpaper from my oldest son’s bedroom wallpaper. We had just moved in and I had never really lived in a house with wallpaper. I started to think about that old saying, “If walls could talk…” and the idea just came to me.

CE: How did you develop your fantasy world? Do you have any tips for readers who write fantasy?

KY: I drew a map of the Redwind so I could remember where things were located. I looked all over the internet for pictures of how I thought the land and the houses/castles would look like. I’m a visual person and not at all creative with drawing. I  love Robin Hood, and I sort of made the land the same, but different. World-building is a huge part of fantasy. I suggest that writers really take their time when creating their worlds. I know there are online world-building courses, perhaps take one of those.

CE: When Nick is in the normal world, he has to deal with everyday concerns such as an annoying little sister, a largely absent father, and hockey practice. Why did you choose to include these real-world challenges in your fantasy novel?

KY: Being a kid is busy and hard these days, and I wanted my main character to be a kid that others could identify with. Aren’t all little sisters annoying? :-) Many parents work jobs that take them out of the home (or even state) for periods of time, and all of my books involve some sort of hockey element. I know all kids don’t play hockey, but I believe that there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned from team sports.

CE: You also co-authored a children’s picture book, Tommy Starts Something Big: Giving Cuddles with Kindness. What was it like working with somebody else on a picture book? Would you work with the co-author again?

KY: I loved working on Tommy. I was a lot of fun bouncing ideas around with someone else. Of course I’d work with Chuck again. He has a lot of great concepts and is just a wonderful human being!

CE: How long have you been writing? How did you develop your skills? How did you know you were ready for publication?

KY: I’m not one of those authors who says, “I’ve been writing my whole life.” I can say that I’ve been reading that long. I’ve always been a reader. It took me a lot longer to realize that I was also a writer. I didn’t take myself seriously until 2004. I realized, though, that I needed help – I couldn’t remember much from any of my writing classes! I enrolled in a few online writing courses, became friends with Bonnie Hearn Hill (who became my mentor) and learned a great deal from her. After placing in a writing contest, I figured I was close to publication. It took me a long time to find an agent. I didn’t sign with Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency until Jan. 2008. I’ve been working hard to produce manuscripts that she can sell. Hopefully that will happen soon!

CE: Where can readers learn more about your books?

KY: To learn more about me and my books, please visit the Books tab of my website, or my blog.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Chris!

Kris Yankee is a freelance editor and writer. When she’s not sitting at her desk creating stories or editing someone else’s work, she can be found walking her dogs or perhaps sitting in the ice rink, cheering on her oldest son. Kris co-wrote the 2011 Eric Hoffer Honorable Mention for Children’s Picture Books, Tommy Starts Something Big: Giving Cuddles for Kindness with TV Personality, Chuck Gaidica.

No comments:

Post a Comment