Kirsten Lynn writes stories based on the people and history of the West, more specifically those who live in the shadow of the Bighorn Mountains. Combing her love of the West and the military, her stories often merge these two halves of her heart. When she’s not roping, riding, and rabble-rousing with the cowboys and cowgirls who reside in her endless imagination, Kirsten helps preserve the history of Northwest Wyoming working as a curator at a local museum.
Kirsten is thrilled to be a part of Prairie Rose Publications. "It’s a blessing when work feels like play and play feels like an adventure!"
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Isn’t this why I write, so I can live vicariously through my characters? Seriously, my adventures are common to many: moving to a different place and starting a new life type of undertakings, or the simple joys of trekking around the Bighorns or Tetons and visiting historical sites. Sorry, no K2 mountain climbing or reenacting Evel Knievel jumping the Grand Canyon for me.
What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?
I would love the opportunity to travel out of the States. My goal is to visit Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and South Africa.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What commonality do you see in them?
Of course there are the classics, the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen. Then I have to start with Julie Garwood. It was her book The Gift that started me on the road of reading romance. Boy, I hate to mention any others because I know I’ll miss some, but Gem Sivad, Stacey Kayne, Elaine Levine, Cheryl Pierson, and so many others, including my sister authors at Prairie Rose. I chose these because they were some of the first authors who influenced my writing.
What is shared with all these authors is the ability to write characters with whom readers become invested and who stay in a reader’s heart long after the book is closed.
I believe color says something about a person’s personality. What’s your favorite color?
My favorite color is green. It’s such a cool and calming color. It represents new life and hope, IMHO.
If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently? What would you do again?
About the only thing I can think of that I might do differently is I would enlist in the military. But I’m not sure about that. I try not to play the “what if” and “if only” game and focus on the “what can I do now and in the future.” I would do everything over again. Even those things and situations I thought were wasted, looking back I can see how each built on the other to get me to where I am today.
What is your writing process from conception to finished MS?
I can’t say I have much of process. Characters start talking to me and I get their story down pretty fast, ignoring most of the rules and just getting it down while they’re talking. Then I go back and layer where needed and do any editing.
Are you a planner, panster, or both?
I am a panster of the highest order. About the only planning I might do is if a secondary character pipes up and starts telling their story, I will start taking a few notes to get the basics down. Other than that, I’m flying by the seat of my pants and I let the story unfold as if it were the characters sitting in front of me giving me their oral history.
How did you research for your book?
I’m very fortunate that my stories take place in regions where I’ve lived or currently reside, so research is at my fingertips. I’m also a naval and western historian, so a lot of my research has been information I discovered while working my day jobs and contacts made through my jobs that are generous with their time and expertise.
What is your all-time favorite movie? TV show?
Hmmm. This is a hard one, because it depends on my mood. I love a good laugh, so The Princess Bride is a favorite. And a good period piece is hard to beat; two of my favorites being Lady Jane and North and South (both the Civil War miniseries and the movie based on the Elizabeth Gaskell book). Of course, there’s always room for a Western, and I never get tired of Rooster Cogburn.
TV shows: Justified, Grimm, and NCIS come to mind, and I am so looking forward to the beginning of the series based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.
(The answer to this question is subject to change daily depending on mood and memory)
How important do feel writing workshops are to any writer?
Unfortunately, I have not been able to attend any workshops to date, but I think conventions and workshops are important in any field. For writers, I think these opportunities would be even more essential since writing is such a solitary occupation attending a workshop would offer a chance to meet others in the field and feel less isolated while learning more about the trade.
When I first started writing, I took advantage of a few online workshops and found the information invaluable to someone just starting out on this journey.
If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to learn Krav Maga.
If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be?
That’s a hard one. I already support a few charities, so choosing between them would be a difficult choice. I’d have to say Fisher House, which provides housing to military families while their loved ones are hospitalized.
What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer?
It’s an oldie but a goodie: Finish your first draft! I always love the quote by Nora Roberts “You can fix anything but a blank page.”
Did anyone mentor you or help you along the way?
Please tell us about your mentor and what you feel they contributed to your writing career.
I was blessed with amazing people willing to help out a newbie and cheer me on. First, I have to give credit to the wonderful ladies at Seekerville (it’s a blog site, and I encourage everyone to check it out no matter what genre you write). These women were the first authors I met on my journey, and they provided so much information and encouragement. They read some of the first words I ever put to paper and didn’t hold back with the critiques.
Then I met another great group of ladies at Petticoats and Pistols who turned from just names on a blog to friends and colleagues. And last but certainly not least, Cheryl Pierson and Kathleen Rice Adams, who encouraged (read "pushed me off the cliff") to submit to Prairie Rose Publications and see my dreams come true.
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The worst they can say is “no.”
If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be? (Language is no barrier)
I’m living there, Wyoming. I’ve lived in many other places, but there really is no place like home.
Where do you write?
I write at home. I have a big comfy chair in the living room and I snuggle in and get to typing.
How much time do you devote to writing each week? Do you have a day every week that you take off?
Because I have day jobs, my writing time is limited to the nighttime. I usually write about three to four hours a night. I don’t have a certain day I take off. The thing I love most about writing is it’s my freedom, so there might be a day or two that I won’t write, but most of the time I can’t wait to sit down and start visiting with my characters.
What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try?
My very first manuscripts were romantic suspense. I would like to go back and edit those, see if they can’t see the light of day and maybe write a few more in that genre. I’d also like to try a paranormal, either historical or contemporary.
Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?
I can’t believe I didn’t start writing when I was two, but I’m thrilled I started when I did and now I’m able to share my stories with readers. I’m in love with the characters who gift me with their stories, and I hope readers will fall in love with them, too.
Find out more about Kirsten and her books on her website.
Thank you to The Romance Room for allowing us to reprint this interview.