Name: Kris Tualla
Age: 60 (!)
Where are you from: I live in Phoenix. I’m from Wisconsin.
A little about yourself: I’m a retired high school teacher, married for over 36 years, with four adult children, no grandchildren, and a new standard poodle puppy!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Kris: I currently have a boxed set available on Kindle through DECEMBER 31st – five full-length books about 3 generations of Hansen men. The books are normally $5.99 each, but the set is only $9.99!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?
Kris: I started writing in 2006 because I am a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series. She said that the best way to learn to write a book was to write a book. So I did.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Kris: Six months into this journey, I actually had the opportunity to spend six hours at a conference in a small critique group with Diana Gabaldon. Since then, we have kept in contact and she has been extremely encouraging! In fact, she will be the keynote speaker at Buildin’ the Dream next May!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Kris: When I finished my first manuscript – at over 100,000 words – and my beta readers LOVED it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Kris: Yes – it’s pretty fast paced. Only as much description as is necessary, and cut the scenes that aren’t!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Kris: Well… I have 12 books out, and 3 more I’ve just begun. When I title a book, I always look on Amazon to see if there are any books already out with the same title. After I read this question, I realized that I tend to refer to my heroes in the titles.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Kris:On the seven self-published novels, I did. On the five with Desert Breeze Publishing, co-founder Jenifer Ranieri did.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Kris: The same as all romance novels, I suppose: happy endings can come true, even if things look hopeless.
Fiona: How much of the books are realistic?
Kris: I always try to make all of my characters’ situations and reactions realistic. And, because I write historicals, I strive to keep the setting details realistic as well. I never want any of my readers to say, “Well that would never happen!”
Fiona: What is the hardest part about writing your books? Do you see writing as a career?
Kris: Absolutely! And it’s becoming harder and harder to find time to keep my butt in the chair. With twelve books to promote, classes to teach online and in person, opportunities to speak, traveling to conferences, and various other writing-related tasks, I work more hours a week than when I was teaching!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Kris: I have five books about a deaf private investigator in the 1700s. Remembering that he can’t hear – and won’t be awakened by a knock on the door, for example – was one part. The other was finding a way to let the reader know how he is communicating: is the dialog signed? Written? Or is someone speaking?
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Mostly I learned to listen to my characters. They often know better than I.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Kris: Romance Writers of America – the local chapters!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Kris: Don’t write in a vacuum, and don’t publish without outside editing and proofing!!!
Fiona: What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Kris: I just started writing “A Nordic Knight in Henry’s Court” – Part 1 of 3 in a trilogy set in England, Spain, and the Baltic. Here is part of the opening scene:
“Spain? Why are you sending me to Spain?” Jakob Hansen demanded, adding a hasty, “Your highness.”
King Christian glared at the knight. “The Order of the Golden Fleece. Have you heard of it?”
“No, your Grace, I’m afraid I have not.” Jakob shifted his stance to take weight off his aching leg.
“It’s an elite order, made up of various sovereigns and noblemen from the whole of Europe.” The king adjusted his ermine-trimmed tunic. “I have decided to become a member.”
Jakob gave the king a nod of understanding. “And you wish me to accompany you to the gathering for your safety.”
Christian snorted his disgust. “No, you nitwit. I am sending you in my stead.”
“In your stead?” Jakob scowled. “Is that acceptable?”
“Of course it’s acceptable. Such important men cannot be expected to abandon their thrones and their many responsibilities to meet in some stuffy cathedral for months on end.” Christian flipped a jeweled and dismissive hand. “They all send their most trusted knights, of course.”
The king’s unanticipated compliment was admittedly satisfying. Even so, it didn’t make the prospect of the long journey any more palatable.
Jakob struggled to keep his irritation concealed. “When am I expected?”
“You’ll leave in seven days. On the way, I want you to visit Henry in England on my behalf. I neglected to make a fuss over the live birth of his daughter, Mary.” Christian squinted and stared at nothing. “I believe she has just passed her second birthday.”
At the very least, the prospect of visiting King Henry the Eighth should prove interesting. “How long will I be absent from your service?”
Christian’s piercing glance shot back to his. “Make no mistake, Hansen. Your will be in my service the entire time you are away. You are to work on my behalf at all times, do you understand?”
Jakob rocked back on his heels and dipped his chin. “Of course.”
Christian’s brow puckered in the way it always did when the Danish king was about to impart unpleasant news. “The Order will convene on January 1st of next year, in Barcelona Cathedral.”
“Seven months?” Jakob blurted. “I leave next week to assume a position that is yet seven months distant?”
“I intend for you to make Henry a strong ally while you spend time in his court.” Christian shrugged. “Charm the man. Charm the queen. Act as though Mary was the most beautiful baby ever born. Do what you must to make him a friend of Denmark.”
“Don’t forget Norway,” Jakob grumbled.
One corner of Christian’s mouth curled. “You never allow me to.”
Jakob dipped his chin again. “We Norsemen are your loyal subjects as well, your Grace.”
Fiona: Do you have a website?
Thanks for having me!