Kristine Plum lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with her husband, son and canine children. Her childhood was spent on a family farm in rural central Iowa with animals, especially puppies!
Kristine has been interested in history and the supernatural as far back as she can remember, and her imagination has always been wild. Her interests led her to degrees in History, Spanish, Music and Education from Cornell College, whose atmosphere helped to open her mind beyond the bubble of her small town upbringing, and helped further shape her into the person she is today. She passed on her aspirations of owning a “living-history” castle-museum in Europe to be a high school Spanish teacher.
She has been blessed to have the opportunity to travel within the United States and to Europe multiple times. Spain and Italy hold special places in her heart.
When she’s not spending time with her family or grading Spanish tests, Kristine enjoys watching reruns (or dvds) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Friends, and Hallmark Christmas movies, as well as reading. Her husband would say, “When isn’t she reading?” She enjoys different genres but prefers those with a little darkness.
1. Will you tell us about your most recent published work?
Book 1 in The Maiden Series (The Maiden: Revelations) was published in 2017. It is a paranormal story about a powerful witch, leader of a world-wide coven, who finds herself questioning everything she has believed about herself after encountering a sexy vampire of whom she can’t seem to rid herself. It falls into the romance category, but I sometimes struggle with that label. There is romance, and the relationship between Ryen and Cash is a constant thread throughout the whole series, but to me it’s more a story about Ryen and her journey of self-discovery and coming to terms with all of the revelations about her past and future.
2. What personal challenges do you face as a writer?
There’s always self-doubt, whether or not I’m capable of writing something worthy of being published. Sometimes I feel intimidated by writers with English degrees. I struggle with balance also. My day job of teaching often bleeds into my evenings with papers/quizzes to grade or lesson plans to make. On top of that, I want to be a good wife and mother. My writing tends to get pushed to the back burner. My husband usually understands when I need to take some creative time, but my six year old doesn’t understand. My solution is often sacrificing sleep to get up before everyone else… I also suck at computer programs, so formatting is not my forte!
3. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I’m a perfectionist, so I want the best product as soon as I put my hands to the keyboard. I’m not someone who can just put the words down and easily come back later for revisions. Unfortunately, this leaves me staring at the computer or getting frustrated with my characters. My first book came out fairly easily, but I scrapped and restarted the second one four or five times before I was happy with where it was picking up in the story. Editing is also difficult for the same reasons. I’m constantly rewording sentences, wondering if they sound better this way or that way. In the first book, it was hard for me when my initial vision changed. I started writing separate scenes as I imagined them. As I sat down to write the whole book I worked chronologically. Thing changed and evolved and I had to revise scenes I had previously been in love with because the story had taken on a direction of its own.
4. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
My soul! LOL! I already give up sleep, sanity and time with my family!!! If I could afford to stay home and make writing my primary job, I totally would.
5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Publishing is so permanent. There’s no going back or changing something (at least not easily). It has made me much more intentional and even more OCD than I was before. It’s the worst when you are working with a series, and something comes up you’d like to go back to clarify or add.
6. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Will you tell us about them?
Book 2 in The Maiden series (The Maiden: Rising) is due out December 1. It’s in its very final stages of editing, and I have a cover design artist working on the cover still. This installment will bring new dangers and challenges for Ryen, and cause growth whether she likes it or not. You’ll also get to see where things lead with her and Cash.
Book 3 is already started, picking up right where book 2 ends. When you read the end of book 2 you’ll understand why I couldn’t just stop there.
After the Maiden wraps up, I may or may not do some novellas about some of the minor characters. I’ve had some reader requests, and it would be fun to tell a little more of the other stories. We’ll see.
There’s a stand-alone paranormal story in its beginning, journaling stages. All witches, no vampires in this one. It’s a story I’ve been developing as long as Ryen and Cash, maybe longer.
I also have an idea for a possible YA thriller inspired by a dream I had a couple years ago, and the freakiness of walking around inside a school at night when no one else is there.
7. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes!! I love reading reviews. It makes me so happy to read/hear that other people are enjoying Ryen and Cash’s story and not just me! I got a message from a reader on my birthday and it made my day. To know people are messaging me or waiting for my next book like I wait for my favorite authors is a crazy cool feeling. Some of my favorite comments have been from people who don’t normally read paranormal, but say they totally forgot about the characters being witches and vampires because they were wrapped up in the story.
I try to take anything constructive I can out of the bad ones. Not everyone likes everything. I haven’t been head over heels about every book I’ve read, so that’s normal. I have a beta reader who is constantly frustrated with Ryen and her inability to make decisions about her personal life. I love it!! She’s supposed to be frustrating.
8. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Sometimes. There’s a Friends reference in The Maiden: Revelations. One of my friends caught it because we are both Friends fans.
9. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have met SOOOOO many amazing people through my participation in the I.O.W.A author event and the social media groups I’ve been introduced to through that one event. Terri and Dana opened doors for me that I wouldn’t have even known how to find. Ursla, at M and M Books has also been a great connector for me between other authors and readers. In the world of social media they are my “friends”, but I’m not to the “see frequently/hang out with all of the time” stage with any of the super cool people I’ve met yet. I’m just this “one book self-published” girl in a world with multi-book published authors. I stand in awe of everyone. Wanting to feel like I’m in the same caliber as them pushes me to do better.
10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
You have a crazy imagination. Use it! Don’t let the pressures of the world stuff your imagination and ideas down inside of you. Share them. The world can never have too many stories or books. And also, pay more attention in English class!!
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Getting ahead of yourself. Worrying about publishing before the story is ever on paper. Losing the focus of your goal, sharing your story. Sometimes publishing and marketing is so daunting you forget your why. Try to do something related to your book every day. Write, journal, research, market, edit, whatever it is.
12. What’s the best way to market your books?
No clue! If you know, please tell me. Making a personal connection with readers, face to face, has been the most successful for me. Getting your book into the hands of people who will recommend it to others?? As a reader, Amazon does a great job on Facebook suggesting books for me, especially free downloads and the first book in a series... My “to read” shelf (both physical and digital) is mountains high! If I could figure out how to make that work to my advantage as an author without spending my entire savings/maxing out my credit card, then I’d have answers for you.
13. What is your favorite childhood book?
In elementary school, I read “Wait til Helen Comes”. It’s still a favorite and one I recommend to my nieces and nephews. In middle school, I read L.J. Smith’s series “The Secret Circle”. I try to reread them once a year!