Our interview with Kirtyanne Ross!

Family History For BeginnersProfile Picture
It was our pleasure to interview Kirstyanne! She has a couple of different takes on books she has published. She has published fiction and also a beginners guide to doing your family tree! Without further delay, we are pleased to introduce to you Kirstyanne~ Please give a warm welcome!
1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from dreams and other books that I read. I think sometimes you need to just look at daily situations that you see around you. The news makes for a very good place for finding inspiration as do the people you meet, one exercise I like to do if I meet someone casually, say I bump into them, or even just stand behind them in a shopping queue is to try and imagine what their story is. Is it a lady in her pyjama’s pulling some children behind her? Is she ill, why hasn’t she got dressed? Is she just popping for milk for the kiddies cereal or is she truly one of those people who is comfortable going out without getting dressed?
The man that is running for a bus, is he late for work? A meeting? Maybe he is meeting his partner and running late? Where are they going? All these types of questions give you lots of inspiration and material to build from. As for a good hook… you need a character that people can sympathise with – or even empathise with throughout the story.
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I’m not organised in the slightest! I have notepads everywhere but I am trying to get more organised. I have a new programme on my netbook to try and help me organise my writing. I know about my characters and keep character sheets that I can add to as I go along but I am a big fan of free writing. The only problem with free writing is you can’t always direct it to a specific plot that you have in mind. For example with the novella I am currently writing I have the beginning chapter, the final four chapters and I am now working on the bits in the middle.
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I work full time and study part time so it is very rare that I get a full day to write. I try and set aside around four hours a week to write – if I don’t have an assignment due then I try and set the weekend aside. If I have just a few hours I sit and free write. I like to see where it takes me, if I have a full day I try and plan. I very often use colourful mind maps to plan scenes and chapters. I’m a very visual person.
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
That’s a hard one. Can I say more than one person? Sir Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite authors, I love his love of life. All his novels have a brilliant sense of humour and make me smile. I book that can make me smile is worth a fortune. Some of my other favourites are Margaret Atwood, Iain M Banks, and Robert Jordan. Not one individual one of them inspired me to write alone, I love how all of these people have realised they had a story (or many) to tell and sat down with the determination that one day they would share it with the rest of the world.
5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
I hate editing. I know many writers that say that, many like to get the story down on paper and think that it should be good enough first time. If you can do that, it’s brilliant, but I’m not one of those people. I have to start with a piece of rough stone and gradually carve it into shape. That said, I do leave all the editing until the very end so I can swap and change things as I go along with my writing. Maybe editing as I go would be a better way? I’ll have to give that a try.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
Absolutely! No one can hope to be a good writer if they don’t read. The two go hand in hand and I am currently between books due to my studies (although I suppose you could count the English grammar course book as reading). The last books I read were by Michael G. Thomas and they were all from the Star Crusades series – in fact it was the entire series. I would heartily recommend having a read of his faced pace novels. They kept me turning the page constantly. I just had to know what happened next.
7. How did you get into writing a book helping others with their family history? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
The book is put together from a number of articles I wrote when I was first starting university. I have always been interested in family history and have so far managed to trace my paternal family line back to the 1600’s. When I was first starting out in tracing my family tree I struggled to find articles or books to help teenagers get into the hobby. It was hard for me to work out what to do with the census or how to search parish registers. So once I had become more proficient in the searches and putting the information together I decided to put some very basic articles together on individual topics. Searching through my family history even helped find my gran’s nephew who had been put up for adoption when his parents passed away and he was only a baby.
8. Your books have been published with Amazon.com and Kindle Direct Publishing, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
Although I do like the Amazon version of publishing, you can find my fictional novella in print as well through Amazon and Lulu. As for the publishing industry, well that’s more of a personal preference. I love my Kindle and would never be without it now but I don’t think of the books on there as books. I like to be able to hold a book and turn real pages, there is an entirely different experience dependant on which you decide. While there are people who are still in favour of books, books will never disappear.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
My blog is constantly updated at kirstyross85.wordpress.com and there are some of my scenes on there from my upcoming book as well as other musings.
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
I am currently writing the second in the Old Magick trilogy. It is a second in a paranormal romance.
11. If your book were to become a “How to” video, who would you choose to be the voice for the narrator?
If the Family History were changed into a ‘How to’ video it would have to narrated by Stephen Fry! Not only is he one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever heard of but he has the perfect voice and English accent.
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
Another hard one. Any time in history? A young Elizabeth I, before her father died. I would love to know what her favourite thing to read was back in the 1500’s.