Name – Kim Van Kramer
Age – 51
Where are you from
I moved to Florida during high school and have lived here ever since but I was born and raised in Wisconsin. Until I was ten I lived in a rural farming town with my twin sister and my younger brother where my father – a soil science expert – had started his business. Much later into my teen years, we moved to Florida, where I finished high school in Jacksonville. Later I was accepted by the University Of Florida where I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just sent my publisher the third story of my sci-fi trilogy and they are in the process of editing the book for release this year. I am also working on a fourth science fiction story. I am extremely excited about that.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I first began writing in my late forties very suddenly. I sat up one morning after having a dream and decided I wanted to write about it. Before that point in time, I had recently illustrated two children’s books with a local writer, which we published together. Between the dream and my experience with the book illustrations, it was almost like a mathematical point of convergence that day. It was challenging to write out of the blue like that, but I had an internal sense, almost like a calling, that writing was something I was meant to do.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I consider myself more of a story teller, but the moment I considered myself a writer was probably when I got a letter from my publisher, Silver Leaf Books, saying they were interested in a contract – although from the time I began writing I knew I was seriously hooked on writing and felt I would never stop.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
In a dream I had, I envisioned a science fiction story that tied in with my family background in agriculture. Between my love for science fiction, and a flurry of ideas that swirl around in my head in general, I began to write. I’ve always been avid reader, and a big fan of writers, so it seamed natural in a way to begin writing myself.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My publisher told me that I use something called the “God Approach” where I have more than one character that I focus on for the reader. Although I center on my heroin, I also use multiple perspectives from the other main characters, so the reader can know everything. It’s almost as if you are watching a movie jumping from scene to scene. Other than that, I try to keep my writing very clean and direct.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I wanted Escape To Mars because the stories involve Mars, but that title was taken so I used Escape To Phobos instead. Phobos is the larger of the two moons of Mars. I was fine with that outcome, because I do talk about Phobos in my stories, and the title seemed more mysterious and unique that way.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want to entertain readers, and spark young imaginations with the possibilities of the future along with a number of important themes, such as human survival on Mars. Mars could be a back-up plan if Earth’s ecology is destroyed. I think human life will become multi-planetary.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I don’t know anyone personally involved in space flight, but I consider my stories as a real possibility in the future. I researched private space companies like Space X, Blue Origin, Nasa and Virgin Galatic, who all compete with space flight and spacecraft. I was especially inspired by Elon Musk and Dr. Robert Zubrin, who both advocate the manned exploration of Mars.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
My mother was my biggest mentor. She teamed up with me and worked extremely hard to help me with the editing. She has always promoted my creative endeavors.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
There are so many good writers, so I don’t really have a favorite per say. The first time I remember being inspired by a book was when I was about eight years old after I read “The Call Of The Wild”, by Jack London. As for the rest, I have a great love for many writers, too many to list out for the record anyway. I guess its only fair to mention someone great like William Nolan or Isaac Asimov. I also love stories like “The Last Of The Mohicans,” by James Fenimore Cooper who wrote an epic adventure, romance, connected to history all rolled into one.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
A number of colleagues and friends who gave me their time, and their honest opinions about the stories before I sent out the manuscripts.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I am not sure. I see myself writing more books and putting in a lot of creative effort. If a career happens along the way, that would be great.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
In college I realized was very good at two things with ease, writing and art, but I could only chose one major. At the time, I felt the right decision for me was to choose art and graphic design, so I went into graphic design. Based on that history, I would say, I was always interested in writing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am writing a new science fiction story about floating cities that circle inside Venus’s heavy thick atmosphere. I am inspired by real scientific research by a scientist named Jeffrey Landis who calculated that it would be possible someday.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Truly loving your characters, finding emotions, and how they feel, in between action adventure and science is truly challenging.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but when I do travel, its good to recharge my mind and rest. I do get ideas when I relax.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. I used photoshop, and hired a photographer for some of the images on the first book. It’s actually my son and my husband on the cover. I made Lirren, my main protagonist, by merging several female faces together. I used a friend and neighbor Coltun, a coast guard pilot as the face for “Dirk.”
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
One of the hardest things to do for my first book, was to have a strong sense of direction and stay on track with my plot. It was easy to get off track in the creative process and get lost in the oceans and tides.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that writing is one of the most difficult and creative things a person can ever do. To write a story and complete it is an accomplishment.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Well, I’d be ecstatic to get a move deal, but if it were someone like Kate Beckinsale, or Rachael Weisz for instance, that would ensure the film kicked some a**.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Hold onto your passions and your dreams and don’t ever give up.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Adventure is a great part of life. If you feel like you’ve been taken somewhere distant from your living rooms, made a connection to my characters and stories, or even learned something new, then I have done my job.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“The Agony And The Ecstasy,” by Irving Stone.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember a short story called ‘The Boy And The Badger.” I was six at the time just like the boy in the story.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My son is my source of laughter usually. He is always silly and trying to make me laugh. What sometimes makes me cry is seeing terrible news of any kind in the news
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I had to think about it for a while, but I’d have to choose a great philosopher like Aristotle or Socrates because they were the source of so much wisdom and knowledge, that has lasted over time. It would be fascinating to meet someone like that.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Something about love and passion. This is the meaning of life when it
comes down to it.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Yes, I paint watercolors. I’ve painted all my life.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything Sci-fi of course, but I’m a movie addict in general, and enjoy many different types of films.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I am not a picky eater. I like healthy whole foods, basic stuff like salt, meat, potatoes, fish, fresh bread and fresh cheese. Also wine, chocolate, and pears would be on the list. (Salt before sugar though or also a nice mix of the two!) Pears I like because it’s sort of an exotic flavor that’s hard to find in food. I like all colors equally. I love all music too. I listen to anything from classical to trance. I also enjoy movie soundtracks.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Agricutural science or biology.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I call it “Every Word Counts” because I believe they do. Words and what you say, can outlast time and help guide future generations. My blogs usually revolve around space and science but I have included a few personal experiences as well. I like it most when I can throw in a little sense of humor too.