Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Interview with romantic suspense author Kristi Loucks

Today's guest makes pastries during the day and writes romantic suspense at night. Kristi Loucks is here to tell us a bit about her debut novel, A Life Interrupted. You can learn more by visiting her other tour stops, too.

Kristi Loucks is a Pastry Chef and Cake Designer with a degree from Le Cordon Bleu Chicago. Her writing and storytelling has always been a way to manage the day to day stresses of working in the world of restaurants and food service. Kristi started writing in High School and has continued to share her work with friends over the years. While she never planned to pursue writing professionally, a supportive friend armed with a copy of her debut novel, A Life Interrupted happened to share it with the right person. Since her debut was released in September of 2012, she has also released a novella, Delivery of Fate and is currently working on a new full length novel called The Rose Red Reaper, the first in a new series based in her home town of Chicago, IL.

Ms. Loucks currently resides in a suburb of Chicago and runs a bakery in a North Shore Suburb.

Welcome, Kristi. What inspired you to write this book?
Writing is something I've always done, but in the last few years a group of friends started what we've referred to as a writing challenge. One person gives a set of prompts and a number of chapters. A Life Interrupted started as one of these challenges. It was supposed to be ten chapters, but when I hit ten chapters it wasn't even close to finished and I was on a roll. So I kept going with it. When I was about twenty chapters in, one of my friends suggested trying to publish it and I laughed it off. So, she decided to pass it off to a friend who works as an editor. I was at work when I got a call from an assistant to that editor asking if I would send the rest of the chapters. I sent the chapters and spoke to him a few days later and the rest started to fall into place rather quickly.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on what I believe will be a series of 2-3 books. The first is called The Rose Red Reaper and it's set in my hometown of Chicago. This book follows a Serial Crimes Unit that is focused on a cold case from a year earlier that is very personal to one of the team members. The killer taunts them with a signature kill style and a calling card that leaves little doubt that he's claimed each one. In addition, there appears to be no obvious connection from one victim to the next making him very unpredictable. Once the victims become connected, the team will have to move quickly to keep history from repeating. I’m hoping to have the first book ready for release by December of this year.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don't know that I ever really stopped to think about it. It's something I've always done to wind down after a busy day or week; I have always found writing to be a good way to disconnect from stress. I guess, I would say around February of this year though. That is when I started to work on publishing A Life Interrupted which coincidentally went live on my birthday July 12.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don't write full time, but I do write every day. I work full time as a Cake Designer and Pastry Chef which is another creative field. I run a small bakery that handles both retail and commercial baking. Our main focuses are fresh breads and custom cakes that range from traditional to one of a kind. After a long day, you would think I would just go right to sleep, but I am a bit of an insomniac. So, most nights, I come home and write for a few hours to wind down. I do my best work in the middle of the night when the phones don't ring and there are no outside distractions.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I start a new story, I tend to write the last chapter in my head and then figure out how to get there. I'm not sure why or how that started, but it seems to work. It's kind of like buying a plane ticket I guess, obviously you know where you are going, and it helps you figure out how to pack and what you might do on that trip. I'm guessing that it's not the norm, but I've spent my entire life shying away from what most people would deem normal. I think that can be attributed to being the last of six kids, I had to find a way to create my own voice in order to be heard over my four brothers and my sister I suppose. And having a twin brother probably created that need to be different, too. As a twin everyone thinks of you as part of a matched set, so we did everything we could to prove that theory wrong. Yet, today I am really close to my brother.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Gosh, it seemed like every week I wanted to be something different. I would say a veterinarian. I used to compete on the show jumping circuit and spent most of my time outside of school around horses, so that seemed like the best fit. That stuck with me through high school, but I had a hard time giving up the horses to go to school. Eventually, an illness and injuries made the decision for me. What I didn't realize early on was that I loved to cook. It had become something of an overlooked habit until a couple of friends went to culinary school, but eventually I made the decision to go to pastry school. Oddly, I hated cake decorating (I was TERRIBLE at it in school) and swore it was something I would never do outside of school. Two years later, my cakes were ending up in local magazines and I was no longer able to deny that I loved it.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Of course! First and foremost, thank you for taking your time to read one of my books and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I've enjoyed writing them. And thank you all for following the blogs and seeking out new and interesting authors, too. There is no better time to be a writer, because we have so many amazing avenues to gain exposure with all of the blogs that review and recommend new works. Being an avid reader myself, I've found lots of authors that were new to me through blog posts, magazines, and friends. There really is no better advertisement than word of mouth and these days there is a much broader reach with all of the digital media and social media outlets.

Thank you, Lisa, for taking the time to put together this interview and sharing it with your readers. I really appreciate it. It was actually fun to sit down and think about the choices I made that brought me to where I am now.

It's been my pleasure, Kristi. I think you're the first pastry chef I've had - and your writing isn't bakery-related! Happy touring! Readers, you can learn even more about Kristi by visiting her other tour stops.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is odd that my work is not bakery related. Though cooking often has a role in my books. It is just so hard to make a bakery sound ominous and dark. It would be like trying to convince people that the cookie monster is a serial killer. Probably not going to work so well :)