Guest Post: "I am an AUTHOR" by Kristi Ann Hunter

Welcome. Today I'm taking a break and letting the lovely Kristi Ann Hunter take over, and guess what? She has something to share.....


When AN UNCOMMON COURTSHIP hit the shelves last week, I had a moment of intense revelation. A thought occurred to me that had previously been playing at the edges of my brain. It might not seem very profound to readers, might even seem a little strange that it wasn't until my fourth book got into readers' hands that it occurred to me, but for me, it was a big deal. AND the big revelation was: I am an author.

I know what you're thinking, wouldn't the first book have solidified that? Yes, in a way it did, but AN UNCOMMON COURTSHIP was different than anything else I'd published. It was the first book I'd written entirely under contract. It was by far the hardest book I'd written. And when paired with the fact that I'd just turned in the manuscript for the last Hawthorne House novel, there was something about Trent's story that made me feel like writing books was now my career. I could look forward to more contracts, more books, more years of writing on my way to becoming like the authors who had inspired me to write in the first place.
Today, I'd like to share my journey to authordom in the way that only a writer can: through books.
I wanted to be an author in elementary school. Sadly I can't remember the name of the book that started my desire to write, but I clearly remember the day. While all I can remember about the book is that a boy blew a hole in part of the school sign and made it read something different (a plot point that became a problem when the book was translated into French), I recall the author talking about how the book started. It was an elementary school writing assignment.
Looking back I can see that while the story may have started as a school assignment, the book I read was probably far removed from that initial creative writing project. To my 8-year-old self, though, all I heard was that I could write a book. I played with that desire off and on for several years and it took a while to realize that dream, but I know the spark to keep trying came because I believed I could as a kid. 
Christian fiction didn't enter my world until I was a few years into college, so my first forays out of the YA section were on what's considered the general market side of the writing world. I'd read a few of my mom's books, but I will always remember the first book I ever bought with my own money. I was in a Barnes and Noble, wandering the shelves, excited to be browsing completely on my own. There was no one to rush me, no one to complain about my choices. I saw a book with a shoe and a glove on it that made me think of Cinderella. I bought it and I fell in love.
AnOffer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn started me down a path that defined what I really wanted to write. Not only was it a Regency, which called to me in so many ways, but it pulled me into a world. A world that I got to revisit with every subsequent book she put out. A good bit of my writing style, story structure, and voice can be traced back to the influence of those early Julia Quinn novels.
Still, writing was a hobby, a dream, a someday idea that didn't have a whole lot of direction. When I was in college studying computer science, a friend of mine gave me a Lori Wick novel to read. The Hawk and the Jewel. I was hooked. I read everything she put out. A whole new genre of reading had opened up to me. I realized that if I was going to write, it would be a book that contained characters of faith that people like me could relate to.

When I read Trish Perry's The Guy I'm Not Dating, I realized Christian books could be funny. They could be light hearted and fast paced. Once more the fire to write was kindled, with a little more direction. I played around with a few contemporary ideas, but could never get past a basic concept to a real storyline. Once more I put my manuscripts away and continued on with my life.
Years later, I turned to writing again. This time something about it stuck. I got traction and I wrote a book. Then I started to study writing. Still I struggled with what I wanted to write, how I wanted to write it. When a woman in my local Romance Writers of America chapter meeting suggested Karen Witemeyer to me, I had no idea she was putting the final piece of the puzzle in place. I read To Win Her Heart. Then I read A Tailor Made Bride. Then I stalked Amazon and my local bookstore for anything and everything else Karen had ever written. The blend of humor and faith in Karen's books finished showing me exactly where I wanted to go as a writer.

        
 I took my love of Regency and snarky dialogue, my craving to create a fictional world people could keep revisiting, and my desire to make a story based on the faith that created the foundation for my life and I started to write. I knew from reading books by Robin McKinley (Beauty and Spindle's End) that readers didn't need their stories dumbed down. My shelves began to fill up with works by Regina Jennings (Sixty Acres and a Bride), Judy Baer (The Whitney Chronicles), and Cathy Marie Hake (Fancy Pants). I read Becky Wade (My Stubborn Heart) and Melissa Tagg (Made to Last) and I found who I was as a writer.
        

To this day, these are the books I go back to when I can't remember why I do it, when the days feel hard and juggling four different books at various stages of development drives me insane. I read an old favorite that inspired me to write before I knew about motivation and conflict, when POV was simply first or third person, and the extent of my knowledge of publishing came from the insane representations in cheesy made for TV movies. It's then, in the familiar words and pages, that I remember why I write. Today, AN UNCOMMON COURTSHIP sits on the shelf next to those worn and weathered favorites. And someday, if I'm very lucky and blessed, I'll read an article where someone lists my book and says this is the one that made a difference. 

Don't miss the Facebook Launch Party tonight starting at 8:30 EST. 
Click on the image below to take you there!



Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. 

TO CONNECT WITH KRISTI:  Website | Facebook | Twitter  Instagram  Pinterest 




Title:  An Uncommon Courtship
Series: Hawthorne House, Book 3
Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers
Release Date:  January 3, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction 

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier he is not the duke in the family. Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister's shadow--which worked until her sister got married. But even with her socially ambitious mother's focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she's been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide's marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?


TO PURCHASE A COPY

   

Don't miss the 1st novel of the Hawethorne House series, A Noble Masquerade, now on sale for $1.99 for a limited time only. (Click on title to take you to my review.)

CONVERSATION

18 comments:

  1. Fascinating! And just up my alley! I'm not a writer but an avid reader(I'm retired). My favorite book as a child was The Secret Garden. My mother(who turned 100 on Sunday) was an antiques dealer and we lived in a cobblestone house built in 1836. We used to visit my father's hometown every summer and see all the historical sights in Pennsylvania. Virginia, Maryland, etc. I guess I was "groomed".

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    1. Paula! That sounds fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

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    2. I'd love to live in an old house. Actually I'd love to live in a replica of an old house because I'm rather attached to modern plumbing, wiring, and closet size.

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  2. Kristi Ann Hunter, thanks for sharing your journey of becoming an author. I have just started reading "A Noble Masquerade" which is my first time to read one of your books. One of the joys of life is finding another author that you love, and realizing she/he has many more books to read.

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    1. Hahah. Jeanne, you'll want to get your hands on Kristi's other books for sure! ;)

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    2. One of my joys in life is finding new readers to love. Welcome aboard, Jeanne!

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  3. Kristi, thank you for sharing your journey. Each author's journey is specially tailored to their personality. I find that very fascinating. I've not yet had the pleasure of readings your books. I'm hoping to read them this year.

    See you at the Facebook party!

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    1. Hi Caryl! It's a must to read Kristi's books!

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  4. Oh I love this!!!! Thank you for sharing Kristi! So soooo honored to be able to read your books AND to have met you!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your writing journey, Kristi. I love your books and your sense of humor. I enjoy reading books where I can get a feel for the author's personality, and yours certainly shines through in your books. I'm looking forward to reading An Uncommon Courtship.

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  6. I love Julia Quinn too! Good luck with your writing :)
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  7. So inspiring! I am a 6th grade language arts teacher and have so many student who haven't even considered writing a book until I suggest it to them. My daughter is really into writing fan fiction right now!
    Dianna

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    1. Wow! Didn't realize that! The younger generation needs to experience the joy of writing!

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  8. Loved reading about your writing journey, Kristi - thank you!!

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