Author Interviews

My interview with Kristine Raymond 2-13-15

How did you come up with the idea for Hidden Springs?
a) I wanted to write about a community of people who shared each other’s successes and pulled together during tragedy.
Why did you pick the location?
a) I lived in Northern Arizona for a few years and had visited the Verde Valley (which is the area that Hidden Springs is based on). Since I like the Old West, it seemed to be the perfect setting.
How many books do you have planned for the Hidden Springs series?
a) Eight. I’m currently working on book six.
What inspired you to write your first book?
a) I learned that a friend of mine had self-published and thought that it sounded like an intriguing idea. I figured that I’d give it a try; after all, I had nothing to lose. It turned out that people like the Hidden Springs series.
Do you have a specific writing style or one you prefer?
a) I have to write from beginning to end. I don’t jump around in my story, so if I get stuck on an idea, sometimes I am stuck for weeks. I also need it to be perfectly quiet.
How do you come up with the titles for your books?
a) Some of them come to me out of the blue, and others I come up with based on the plot of the story.
Are the experiences in your writing based on someone you know, or real life events?
a) No, the plots are imaginary, although some of the characters’ personalities are based on people in my life.
What books have most influenced your life?
a) All of them. Whether it’s been a book that I’ve enjoyed or disliked, I think that all of the books I’ve read have contributed to the person who I am today.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a “mentor”?
a) Laramie Briscoe is my mentor in that she is the one who got me started on this journey, and she’s been kind enough to take the time to answer my questions and help me out along the way. I’ve learned a lot from many different authors, though.
Do you see writing as a career or a hobby?
a) I would very much like it to be a career. That’s my goal. I guess it depends on what the readers think. lol
If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would change in your latest book?
a) There are always things that I’d like to change in my books after the fact. That’s because my mind is constantly thinking about ‘what if’ scenarios. I eventually have to accept that the finished product is the best it can be, and let it go, to coin Elsa in Frozen.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
a) I think my interest began from reading. I’ve read, or been read to, for as long as I can remember. English was always my favorite subject in school. I love how words fit together to create ideas and stories. I never seriously considered a writing career until late 2013, though.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
a) The fact that I can’t move on when I get stuck (see question 5.) I hate it when I’m unable to move forward in my plot. But eventually my brain works its way around, over, under, or through my mental roadblock and then I’m good to go again.
Who is your favorite author? What do you like most about their work?
a) I don’t have a single favorite author. There are many that I like because their stories engage and entertain me. If I have trouble getting into a story, chances are I won’t read it through.
Who designs your book covers?
a) Beth from Cover It Up Designs. She’s an amazingly talented designer, and an even better friend!
Who is your favorite character from your writing? Why?
a) Jack Tanner from Hearts on Fire. Jack is tough but vulnerable, and he has a cocky, sarcastic side to him that I like. He’s also extremely protective and loyal of those he loves. Oh, and he’s incredibly sexy, too!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
a) If you want to write, write. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, stop you. There is a lot to be learned from other people but it the end, find your own style; your authentic way of writing.

May I ask a few personal questions just for fun?

What is the last book you read?
a) Forgiven Love by B. Maddox
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
a) I don’t take vacations but I sure need to! Do book signings count?
What is your favorite dessert, food, and restaurant?
a) I don’t eat out much anymore due to the fact that there are not a lot of restaurants in my area that offer vegetarian food. And no, thank you, just because I am a vegetarian, I do NOT want a salad.
As far as favorite food, that would be mushroom pizza. And favorite dessert would be cheesecake…or lemon bars…or blueberry pie…or…
When you aren’t reading or writing, what do you enjoy doing?
a) When am I not writing? Lol. Honestly, writing and promoting take up almost all of my free time as late, so I’m not really sure what I’d enjoy doing. Maybe laying on a beach somewhere drinking a Pina Coloda; yeah, that sounds enjoyable.
Is there anything you would like us to know about you?
a) I tend to be a little on the quiet side, until you get to know me, that is.
How can we follow you online?
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Page
Twitter Name
Facebook Page
Email address

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me interview you!

Thank you for having me. It’s been fun!


My interview with Kat Ford~author of Giddy-Up Fairytale Cowgirl

1. How did you come up with the idea for this book?
During the fall of last year I made a very difficult decision to quit working for a company I love in order to continue my personal path as an artist. I had been working on my art under my own company, Corpirate, since 2008 and it had finally grown to a point where I needed to bite the bullet and put all my efforts into it. This was a very exciting and terrifying point in time with the realization that I was loosing a steady paycheck and gaining a limitless future.
Around this same time I took a trip to visit my parents in New Mexico. One day on a grocery trip with my mom, we came across a bright pink oversized unicorn stuffed animal. She refused to buy it for me, so I coaxed her into taking a picture of her 30-year-old daughter riding a giant stuffed unicorn in the grocery aisle. Thrilled with my digital treasure, I immediately began crafting the perfect caption for when I unveiled the masterpiece on Instagram. “Giddy-Up Fairytale Cowgirl” came to mind while driving in the car one morning. I was so pleased with my choice of words that I started humming this little melody diving deeper into the story. That morning in the car I came up with the first few lines of the song.
The rest of the words came to me with ease; the concept of following your own heart and dream was so raw and real during this point in my life. My husband is a musician and a songwriter and is wonderfully patient with me in my attempt at joint song writing. Basically he allows me to hum words to poems I write and some how manages to turn them into beautiful songs. He’s in a metal band and writes his own country tunes in the vein of Waylon Jennings, so when I came to him with a song about unicorns and mermaids… well, let’s say he was an excellent sport. When the song was finally finished I looked at him and said, “The imagery is so good, it really should be a book”. That’s how the whole thing started.

2. How did you come up with the title?
I guess I already answered this; the title was always there, ever since the beginning. Most of my work is done in the visual arts and I always like to think that the piece was complete inside of me before I created it. It’s almost as if the act of creating is really just me realizing something my subconscious already knows. I think that is what happened with Giddy-Up Fairytale Cowgirl. It was always there: it was always a book, always a song, always a video… It just took me a year to figure it out.

3. Who is the little girl in the book based on?
You. Me. Every woman I’ve ever known, every little girl I’ve yet to meet. When I first wrote the words I think I was talking to myself, encouraging myself to continue with the path I wanted. The truth is that every girl has a path. Sometimes we forget the path, sometimes we fall prey to believing that we are not worthy of the path we had hoped for. Sometimes others who are bitter that they didn’t choose the path they wanted direct us away from the path. But at the end of the day, we have to choose to walk that path. I think that the book does a good job of expressing some very big grown up concepts in very simple digestible words. I hope that one day a 30 year old business woman leaves a conference room full of negativity and goes back to her desk and calms herself by thinking “don’t worry about the dragons, they’re just scaredy-cats”. That’s why I chose to make the girls in the book pictures of real people, I wanted anyone to be able to envision themselves in these make believe places. The actual pictures of the girls in the book are childhood photos of my grandmothers, my aunts, my mother, and myself.

4. Why did you choose Kickstarter to promote your book?
Even before Giddy-Up Fairytale Cowgirl, I’ve been a big huge cheerleader for people who chase their dreams. I co-write a blog,, that interviews people who chase their dreams for the sole purpose that those collective experiences will encourage others to chase their own unique dream. When I first was introduced to Kickstarter I was so moved I almost had tears in my eyes. This is a website where people pledge money for the sole purpose of giving a stranger a shot at their dream. I mean, talk about having a renewed faith in the human race! On top of that, from an artist’s point of view, it blows the lid off of nearly every industry cap that was hindering the growth of creative minds without the money or networking ties to get ahead. How many creative geniuses has society lost because they didn’t meet the right A&R person? How many books that could have changed the heart of the world never got published because they didn’t find the right editor or agent? Now those people have a shot. Technology has allowed, and will continue to break down doors for, anyone with enough drive and the will to learn how to use the tools of a trade. Monster record companies that put out the same watered down music, production companies that put out the second and third remake of a movie because they won’t take a gamble on a new up and coming film maker… it’s all about to change. That’s why I chose Kickstarter; I really wanted this book to be tied to that concept. Ultimately, my Kickstarter funds will go to help pay for the ebook and finishing the sing along video and coloring book. I think it’s a great secondary marketing tool and format for launching a book.

5. Who designed the beautiful cover?
I did! Thank you for thinking so highly of it! I completely created every aspect of the book. I did all the illustrating, layout, formatting… all the way down to the cover. I do need to give my husband a lot of credit for the cover though. When it came down to designing it, I was so ready to finish the book that I would have settled for a white page with the title. I’m kidding, kind of... He sat behind me and kept encouraging/pestering me to do better. The famous line from that evening was “You don’t even have the sunshine boots on there!”

6. What other plans do you have for the book?
As of now, I’m working on animating the sing-along video (which I am also doing myself), creating the coloring book, and designing merchandise for the website. I’m also working on getting together book signings and readings at bookstores and elementary schools. I have so many hopes and dreams for this book. To say that the thought of making it into a movie hasn’t crossed my mind would be the understatement of the century.

7. Do you plan to write a second book for little cowboys?!
Yes! I’ve had so many people ask me for Giddy-Up Fairytale Cowboy. I even felt immense injustice for the boys when I was working on the illustrations for the book. I grew up with a little brother and my husband is all dude stuff, all the time. I want the boys book to capture the 5-year-old super hero and the 8-year-old monster truck boy in every man. It will come; I just need to find the right character.

8. What did you enjoy the most about writing a children’s book?
Freedom and simplicity. I don’t think I could have took this concept and made it anything but a children’s book. I needed a format where anything could be digested. There’s a prairie in the stars? Ok, that sounds about right… kids and the kid in us, are so willing to give it a try before judging. The simplicity of a children’s book also allowed for the words to be few but the content to be enormous, the gaps between the two are filled by the reader’s own experiences, dreams, and goals. I hope that the reader is able to write her own story within the words of mine.

9. What books have influenced your life the most?
Oh man… there’s so many. My mom was an elementary school teacher so there were always great books around when I was a kid. Early on the Berenstain Bears, Mercer Mayer, Dr. Seuss, and the Serendipity Book Series were big favorites. I was also a big fan of The Jolly Postman, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Where The Wild Things Are, and Dinotopia. As I got older books by Roald Dahl and the poems of Shel Silverstein along with Where The Red Fern Grows, The Hatchet, and The Giver were favorites. As an adult I like to read literary classics and biographies. Atlas Shrugged and the Alchemist are the only books I’ve read multiple times.

10. If you had to choose which writer would you consider a mentor?
Wow, that’s tough. As an adult I still get the most excited about Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss, the kind of writers that make something a kid read still get them excited well into their 30’s and 40’s… That’s the kind of writer I would want to be.

11. What are a few of your favorite children’s books?
Aside from the ones I’ve already mentioned, I love Eric Carle. I don’t remember his books being a huge influence when I was younger, but as an adult and an artist, I just love him.

12. Do you see writing as a career or a hobby?
Neither. I see it as a life. Just the same way as I see music, painting, acting, or any other art. We have a way as a society of putting labels on things so that they can go neatly in a box on the shelf. You’re only a good writer if you’re published, you can only write a book if you went to school in some subject that lends itself to that profession. I don’t buy into any of that. This is why I love the self-publishing movement. If you are a writer, write. Start a blog or publish your book by yourself, learn from your mistakes, get better, and write again. The whole concept of something needs to be perfect or have a certain level of acclaim in order to appreciate it…where did that come from?

13. Is there anything in your writing that you find challenging?
Two things stand out in particular: spelling and comma placement.

14. What do you enjoy when you aren’t writing or reading?
I enjoy creating in any form. I love to sculpt and sew and paint. I love photo shoots and videos, songwriting and singing. You can see some of my other works at When I’m not creating, I love to be with my family and friends, preferably in the woods or on the beach.

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