It was the summer of my 8th grade year. I was walking around the neighborhood where I lived at the time, and stumbled upon a box of books someone had thrown out on their curb. I picked up the first one that I could see, "Sins of the Blood" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A book I've never heard of, an author I'd never heard of. I flipped it over to read the back. One word popped out, vampires! I left all the others, and quickly took the book home with me and began reading it until I finished the last page. This book is the reason I became a vampire fan. Not because of Dracula, or mystery or anything else. The way she had written this book made it so appealing to become a vampire fan. I haven't forgotten the day I found it! Below is an inside look to this mult-talented author of many genres. See what she has to say.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer, from my earliest memories on. But I think there were mitigating factors. I come from a family of writers—my brother, who is twenty years older, is a writer, as is my brother-in-law (who is older than my brother). My father always wanted to be a writer, and so did my sister, who ended up a professor of writing. I am the youngest of four by 16 years, so I grew up with adults who read a lot and wanted to write. I think it was a bid for attention. Plus I got so much support from my siblings who hadn’t done it themselves that I felt like I could.
How long have you been writing for?
All my life. But seriously, professionally, since I was sixteen. I got the high school column in the local paper, and got paid for it, so that’s when my pro writing career really started. I sold my first short story in my early twenties, my first novel at twenty-nine. Before that, I had made my living writing non-fiction, so I’ve been writing nonstop since I was sixteen.
Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
I’m most fond of the book I’m currently working on, whatever it is. But I think I’m proudest of my Smokey Dalton mystery series (written as Kris Nelscott) because those books do exactly what I had hoped they would do from a story and craft point of view.
As an author, who is your favorite to read from?
I love to read, and do a recommended reading list on my blog every month. http://kriswrites.com/category/reading/ You can see what I like when you look at that. Overall, I’m a huge Le Guin fan. I reread F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby once a year whether I need to or not, as well as Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. Don’t know why, but I do.
What is your favorite genre?
I don’t have one. I didn’t know what a genre was until college, and by then, I was corrupted. I read—literally—everything.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer. :)
Read. Go to movies. Hang out with friends. Sing, swim, run, and travel—not necessarily in that order.
Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
I’ve collaborated with my husband, Dean Wesley Smith, a great deal, and with my very good friend, Kevin J. Anderson, on a few projects. I’ve also written with a few other people, mostly short stories. I don’t play well with others, so the people I collaborate with have to be quite forgiving, which Dean and Kev are.
Do you have any pen names? If so why do you choose to use a pen name?
I have half a dozen pen names, both known and hidden. Kris Nelscott in mystery, Kristine Grayson in paranormal romance, Kristine Dexter for romantic suspense, Sandy Schofield and Kathryn Wesley with my husband Dean. I chose the pen names to delineate genre and so that my readers don’t think they’re getting a happy funny romance novel when they’re really going to read a very bloody mystery.
Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Thank you for reading the books and supporting writers! We wouldn’t be here without the readers and fans, and I appreciate all of them very much.
Kristine, I will never forget "Sins of the Blood" for as long as I live. I don't know if I should thank you or begrudge you for getting me hooked on such a wonderful genre of fiction. I had no idea you wrote so many books until I browsed your site, and found the many pen names. It was an honor to have done this interview with you. I will be checking your book recommendations. Thank you again for allowing me the time to get to know you, and allow my readers the same pleasure.