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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Breathing Life into History: An Interview with Kimberley Woodhouse

Kim has been writing seriously for fifteen years. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters – you name it – she’s written it. It wasn’t until a dear friend challenged her to “do something with it”, that she pursued publication. She now has multiple books to her credit, with more on the way. So let's learn more about her writing

You’ve written books under your name only and in conjunction with your daughter or Tracie Peterson. How do you switch from having sole control of the story to writing it with someone else? 
That's a fun question! Writing with Kayla and Tracie has been a joy. Both were easy because we work so well together and the creative process is completely a team process. In both cases, we brainstorm and discuss everything together and decide together on which way the story goes. There's never a lack of ideas, which is always great - no block. 

You are in the midst of writing two different series – one about Alaska and another about the people on the Mayflower. How do you divide your time between the two?
I'm a bit of an organized freak so I love deadlines and planning my calendar. At any given time, I'll be juggling three to five books in different stages: research, synopsis writing, actual writing, editing, and galleys. I just plan out what I'm working on as I know about certain deadlines and approximate deadlines that are coming up.

Which storyline is harder to research – Alaska or New England?
Research on the Mayflower was much more difficult because there aren't as many sources from that era. My research for The Patriot Bride was a bit simpler because there's so much more historical information for the 1774-1776 years. I absolutely LOVED researching George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Then research for Curry, Alaska had some difficulty as well because Curry is no longer in existence.

Can you give me an example of something you discovered while doing your research that surprised you?
One of the things that surprised me during the research of the Mayflower was that William Bradford's wife died when they were anchored in the harbor. The poor woman had survived the horrendous voyage, had made it through all the devastating sickness, and then she fell off the ship and drowned. It broke my heart because William Bradford's journal was a huge part of my research and I felt very connected to him. He was a fascinating man. 

Which geographic area (New England or Alaska) and period can you relate to
I would have to say that I relate to Alaska better. After living there for several years, it became beloved to me. That's why I love to write about Alaska because it was home and few people get it correct. If you haven't lived there or even been there it's hard to capture. Alaska is one of the most fascinating places on the planet and very unique. Alaskans are amazing people and they love it when authors write about Alaska authentically.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The first draft is the toughest. I just have to crank it out. I've done tons of research before I start writing, so I write fast and furious and then LOVE to spend time in the editing phase. 

What does your editor remind you to do most often?
It's different depending on the story. I used to have to really work on allowing the reader to breathe because I put too much conflict in. Karen Ball taught me a lot in that area and writing historical helped with that as well. 

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
Letters from readers. It blesses me every time a reader takes the time to let me know that a story I've written has touched them. 

What do you know now about writing that you wished you had known sooner?
I wish I'd known from the very beginning that writing a long synopsis--scene by scene-- is a game changer.

What is some of the best writing advice that you’ve received or could give?
Write, write, write, write, write. Never stop learning.

What is the next book that will be coming out? 
The Patriot Bride - August 2018 

Can you give me a short synopsis?
Spies Work Together for the Patriot Cause…Faith Jackson is a wealthy widow, a friend of George Washington, and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Matthew Weber is friends with both Ben Franklin and his son William, who increasingly differ in their political views; and Matthew finds himself privy to information on both sides of the conflict.

When a message needs to get to a spy among the Loyalists, Faith bravely steps up and in turn meets Matthew Weber. Suddenly she believes she could love again. But someone else has his eye on the Faith she portrays in elite social circles. What will Matthew and Faith have to sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country? 

That’s all for today’s interview. If you’ve never been a fan of studying history, I urge you to read a couple historical novels. For me, it made me want to learn more about the history outside of the book.

If you’d like to learn more about Kim’s writing, start with these links…

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