A little about Krisit from Bethany House's website. Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She is a founding member and the coordinator of the Regency Reflections blog and lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.
JC: Just Commonly
KAH: Kristi Ann Hunter
JC: I always like to start off with something fun. What's one funky thing about you that not many people know about?
KAH: I really like Kit Kats, but I eat them in layers. I break them into sections like you’re “supposed” to, but then I nibble them in layers from the bottom wafer up.
JC: Wow! That is the first. Those Kit Kats are good. Coca Cola or Pepsi?
KAH: I live in Atlanta. I think it’d be illegal to pick anything but Coke.
JC: Yay! We have another Coca Cola fan! Harry Potter or Hunger Games?
KAH: Hunger Games was a little rough for me, but I did enjoy Harry Potter for the most part.
JC: What is your favorite book of all time?
KAH: This is not an answerable question! If I have to pick one book, I think it would be The Guy I’m Not Dating by Trish Perry. I love this book because it is so relatable and the spiritual elements are worked in so naturally.
JC: Hmm, can't say I've read that one. Another add to the TBR pile. Thanks! Which Christian author(s) have inspired you the most?
KAH: Lori Wick was the first Christian fiction author I ever read. As my entrance into the genre, she had a huge impact in the type of book I like to read and write. Karen Witemeyer has been my biggest inspiration since I started writing. I love the way she incorporates the spiritual arcs into really rich characters and unique story lines.
JC: Agree. I'm a huge fan of Karen Witemeyer's ever since I came across "A Tailor-Made Bride" and loved every one of her novels.
JC: How and what inspired you to switch from the business world to the creative world of writing?
KAH: Stories and creativity have always been part of who I am, but I tended to push that part of me to the side, saving it for hobbies and spare time endeavors because creative careers aren’t stable. When life changes prompted my husband and I to make the decision for me to stay home with the kids, I had the freedom to really explore the creative world and let that part of my flourish.
JC: What made you decide to write inspirational fiction? Have you thought of any other genre to write of?
KAH: The decision of whether to write for the inspirational market or the general market was a very difficult one. In the end I decided to simply start writing and see what came out. The stories and characters that I developed leant themselves more to the inspirational market. Those specific scriptural and spiritual elements needed to be there. I would one day like to write some contemporaries as well as my historicals and I don’t rule out one day writing for the general market if God gives me those stories to share. Until then, I’m really happy where I am.
JC: In terms of sequence, A Lady of Esteem is the first book of the Hawthorne series. Why not make it a full novel?
KAH: So… funny story. It was a full novel. It was a full novel in four or five different versions. A Lady of Esteem was the first book I ever wrote, though it wasn’t originally called that. And it had a lot of first book issues. The fact was, that the book wasn’t strong enough to be the same length as A Noble Masquerade. It couldn’t carry 350 pages and be a strong lead in to the series. So then, with the decision to make it a novella, it had to go down to a certain length. So we cut and cut and trimmed and slashed. A few things got dropped that made me sad to cut out, like an entire subplot involving the servants, but in the end I feel it’s much stronger than it was and I’m happy with the decision.
JC: O wow, but I still enjoyed A Lady of Esteem very much. I read A Noble Masquerade first, and loved it so much, I went straight to A Lady of Esteem. My first impression of Amelia in A Noble Masquerade was one of strength, resourcefulness and efficiency. In A Lady of Esteem, I find the servants to be just as supportive and capable as Amelia in A Noble Masquerade. Will her relationship with the servants continue to be a prominent stratgem for the rest of the series?
KAH: Amelia and Miranda are very close. Since A Noble Masquerade is Miranda’s story, it makes sense for her to play a large part. She isn’t, however, very close to Georgina for obvious reasons, so don’t expect her to play much role in Georgina’s story.
JC: Amelia's sweetness and some naiveté quality in A Lady of Esteem was pleasant and unexpected. She seems to have matured in strength in A Noble Masquerade, and Miranda and her roles seems to have switched a bit. Was it your intention to have these ladies continued to be in each others' lives as confidantes versus the sister relationship between Miranda and Georgina?
KAH: Absolutely. The relationship between Miranda and Georgina is rather strained. If they weren’t sisters they probably wouldn’t have anything to do with each other. Miranda and Amelia on the other hand found each other and became friends as close as sisters. And you do see a bit of a reversal because Amelia has gotten married, she’s a marchioness now. That’s a big life change that she’s been through and come out stronger for. Miranda has yet to experience that sort of challenge.
JC: The ruse between Marlow and Miranda was one of the highlights. Did you have an alternative as to how the ruse will end or was this scenario always the one you had in mind?
KAH: Always. This ruse was the catalyst that the whole book spun out from. It was the first element I had in the book.
JC: (Secretly) I have a huge crush on Trent. He's funny, charming, mischievous and a true gentleman in every sense. His easy banter with his siblings, Anthony and Marshington was great. Is he your favorite "gentleman" character so far? If not, who is and why?
KAH: Trent has his own little fan club growing and they may not like my answer, but you have to remember I know the rest of the series while you’ve just finished book 1. I love all my men. I’d have to love them in order to write them, but there is a special little corner in my heart for Colin. I simply adore him. He is such a strong, fun, witty character that I think he’s going to give Trent a challenge in the fan club department in the next couple of books.
JC: Is there a character that you did not anticipate it to developed into who he/she is by the end of either books?
KAH: It’s a side character, but yes. I didn’t plan her. She wasn’t even supposed to exist. I had no idea what she was going to do next because she was completely coming to life as I drafted her first scene. And now, Jess is one of my absolute favorite characters. I wish I had seen her coming so I could have planned more for her, but she has her moment and it’s fabulous.
JC: The espionage aspect of A Noble Masquerade seems to play a back burner to the romance and family aspect. From the deleted prologue (click here if you have not read the deleted prologue yet), it seems like it was to play a larger role. What was your original intention? Will it continue to develop in the rest of the series?
KAH: The deleted prologue was written for contest impact. In unpublished contests you only send, at most, the first fifty pages. In those pages the spy aspect is very important. Not so much when you look at the book as a whole. I’m not a suspense writer. The spy bit is in there because that’s how they find each other. Without it they wouldn’t meet. Don’t expect the rest of the series to have spies because that’s not my strength. Trust me. The spy story was the most edited part of the book.
JC: Now, a little more about you to satisfy curious fans (like myself). What is your favorite thing to do besides writing and reading books?
KAH: Sleep. It’s a beautiful thing that I don’t see enough of. No, honestly, I try to spend a lot of time with my family. My husband and kids are the most important thing. I spend a lot of time at church working with youth. I love that. Sometimes I wish I wrote YA so that those two parts of my life would mesh, but those aren’t the stories or skills God gave me.
JC: What book(s) are you currently reading?
KAH: I’m heads down editing at the moment, but I recently finished Under a Georgia Moon by Cindy Roland Anderson. I’m trying to decide between Becky Wade and Tracie Peterson for the next book I pick up.
JC: On your past Facebook event, you've mentioned you have 6 works swimming in your mind. Are they
all for the Hawthorne House series? What can we expect from you next?
KAH: Well each Hawthorne sibling has a book. That contract’s been signed so they are coming. Georgina’s next in line and her book actually overlaps A Noble Masquerade a bit. I hope the readers find it as interesting as I do to see some of the final events from a different perspective.
As for what comes after the Hawthornes, we’ll just have to see.
JC: Any next live events you'll be participating that we can look forward to, location or Facebook event?
KAH: Once I get done editing, I’m hoping to play around with some Periscope events or live feeds. I’m also doing live chats with book clubs. The first ten book clubs that confirm a date get a prize pack and a live chat with me. You can confirm a date a few months away and still reserve your prize pack. Details can be found here: http://www.kristiannhunter.com/#!bookclubs/c1gbn
I’m hoping to do some more Facebook hangouts as well because there’s a really fun group growing over on my Facebook page.
JC: And with that we'll have to end here. Thank you, Kristi for joining us. It was great getting to know a little more about A Noble Masquerade and A Lady of Esteem.
KAH: Thanks for the fun interview!
FOR FANS, YOU CAN CONNECT WITH KRISTI ON: website, facebook, twitter, pinterest
To purchase a copy of A Lady of Esteem (Currently Free): Amazon, ChristianBook
|A Lady of Esteem (Hawthorne House): A Novella - eBook
By Kristi Ann Hunter / Bethany House Publishers
To purchase a copy of A Noble Masquerade: Amazon, ChristianBook, IndieBound
|#1: A Noble Masquerade
By Kristi Ann Hunter / Bethany House
Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, a duke--with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she's heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother's new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.
When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men--one she's never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.