My fellow-Lost Genre Guild member Kimberli Renee Campbell lives with her husband and two sons in Nebraska, where she writes speculative fiction for young adults.
A. I have been writing for over 10 years. However, I still have a lot to learn.
Q. When did you feel called to write?
A. I can’t say I remember a specific time when the Lord put the desire in my heart. All I know now is I have a deep need to write the stories he gives me.
Q. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
A. Boy, the ideas come from everywhere. The series I’m writing now came from a dream. I have a romance/suspense story from watching an old blue pickup truck stopped in front of me at a stoplight. It’s fun watching people in hopes the images will produce a story.
Q. What are your thoughts on critique groups?
A. I think they are extremely important if there is a mixture of experience levels. Unfortunately, as people get busy with life, it’s difficult to stay consistent with critiques. You also need to be able to receive constructive criticism. It’s painful, but needed.
Q. Was it hard to develop a writing style?
A. If I developed a style, it probably came from the type of books I like to read. Down-to-earth and relaxed.
Q. Who is your favorite author?
A. I enjoy reading books by Donita K. Paul, Terri Blackstock, and Ted Dekker…just to name a few.
Q. Have you dealt with writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?
A. I don’t think I’ve had to deal with writer’s block. However, I have let things keep me from writing. After a full day, instead of writing, I spend my time doing mindless things – surf the web, playing games on the iPad. Although there are times when a person does need to take some downtime, I tend to play longer than I should. When I do notice myself doing this, I force myself to get back to writing.
Q. Do you find a part of your personality sneaking into any of your characters?
A. Yes. I think it gives the characters more depth…not that I’m a complex person. 🙂
Q. Were there any scenes you found difficult to write? Made you angry or made you cry?
A. One of the issues the main character and his friends deal with is bullying. Bullying makes me angry. As for crying, in the third book of the series, there is a part where I teared up. I didn’t have to break out the tissues, but it was close.
Q. Do you use outlines or let the story develop on its own?
A. I’m an outline kind of gal. I need structure. Hats off to those that let the story develop on its own. If I wrote that way, the story would probably start with the ending.
Q. What do you want your readers to take from your book(s)?
A. I would love for the readers to come away with a spirit of victory and that they’ve been on an awesome adventure. Learning the importance of a relationship with the Lord, family, and friends is also something I’d like them to walk away with. And, let’s not forget the desire to read the next book.
Q. Can you share any upcoming projects with us?
A. I would love to share. My book, Redemption: Shayia’s Adventures – Book Two, will prayerfully be out this year. I am currently working on book three of the series. I have no title at this time. I am not sure if the Lord has a book four, so I’ll have to see what he has next.
Q. What makes Redemption: Shayia’s Adventures – Book Two a must read for young readers?
A. Aside from the back-to-back action and suspense, this book touches on issues like bullying, feeling alone, and sharing the Good News. It would be great to see the book used in a classroom setting to help children dealing with any of these issues.
Q. How do you respond when someone comments that certain elements (magic, vampires, zombies, etc.) in your story does not fit in what they consider to be Christian?
A. Hm…I do have sorcery in my books, but it’s clearly stated that it’s wrong. As for what they consider magic, I don’t see it as magic. Shayia’s sword glows and the Word appears on it. I believe those to be the manifestation of God’s awesome power. He used the staff of Moses, caused a donkey to speak, and so much more. I think this is a topic that people will always see differently, which is all right. I must write what I feel the Lord has asked me to write. I do so to bring him glory and to draw his children closer to him.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your temperament, etc.?
A I’m a quiet person. However, if you were to see me acting on stage, you would disagree. I would be content sitting quietly in a room (not padded) with a book and/or my iPad. I drive the speed limit and obey the rules of the road to the point that it gets on people’s nerves. I HATE emotional mind games. In other words, if you have something to say, please say it…in love. 🙂 Going for walks in nice weather is something I enjoy when not writing. There is more, but that’s a good start.
Q. With a full schedule, how do you find time to write?
A. I’ve been blessed to be at home. Although the time may broken up into little sessions, I’m able to get writing done between regular housework and family time. When my little one goes to school full-time, I will be able to get more writing time.
Q. When creating a character, where do you begin? Do you give them a background even if it may never be mentioned in the storyline?
A. I think dreaming is a writer’s best friend. When I create characters, I like to dream about them, so I can picture how they look and act. I don’t normally write a background on the characters. I do note the memories they have in case something comes up later.
A. I encourage writers to get connected with other writers – critique groups, forums, etc. They are a great place to get encouragement and be challenged. Also, continue to write and sharpen your craft. No excuses. 🙂
Q. Where can readers find your books and contact information?
Q. Do you spend time in prayer before you write or begin a project?
A. My relationship with the Lord is most important. I don’t feel that I can really write to my fullest potential unless the Lord and I communicate. We are a team.
Q. What is your writing routine? Do you need peace and quiet, soft music, or does it matter?
A. I don’t have a writing routine….anymore. Now I write when I can. Having it nice and quiet would be my first choice, but the only quiet time we have in our house is when everyone is sleeping. I have learned to adjust to the noise.
Thank you, Kimberli, for sharing your thoughts!