Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hanging out with Jericha Kingston

Interview with Jericha Kingston
PT: Hi, Jericha. Welcome to the Diamond Mine!

JK: Thanks for having me, Peggy. 

PT: You wrote an Easter story set in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. How did that come about? 

JK: Great question. I’ve always been fascinated by that era in our nation’s history, captivated by the photographs and documentaries about Black Sunday. I began writing about it. I’d entered a few contests with the opening chapter, and it scored well, so I thought I was onto something. One day, I reviewed the submission guidelines for Pelican Book Group’s Easter stories. Talk about a diamond mine - the publisher laid the ground rules, detailing exactly what they were looking for in a story. 

 PT: So you crafted your story based on the publisher’s prerequisites? 

 JK: Pretty much.

 PT: Was that difficult? 

 JK: Not as difficult as I thought. In fact, I loved the process. 

 PT: How so? 

 JK: Writing-to-spec caused me to create a story that surprised even me. When I’d previously written, I drew from my own ideas, knew where the story was going. Sometimes it’s difficult to translate the thrill of a scene you’ve repeatedly envisioned. But writing-to-spec, my characters constantly surprised me. I delivered the thrill. The process was a blessing, really. And in the end, if Pelican rejected my story, at least it wouldn’t be because I hadn’t followed the guidelines. 

 PT: (Laughs) But that could’ve backfired. If your story was rejected, wouldn’t you have a hard time getting it published elsewhere?

 JK: (Laughs) True. If the story was rejected, I’d have needed to increase word count, change the plot… even changed my heroine’s name. But you raise a good point, Peggy, because risk-taking is part of an author’s DNA. We’re mad, really. Which of us doesn’t labor at a computer for months at a time for the possibility of having our work published? Yet that’s what we do. We write stories because we must. Stories are trapped inside of us, clawing their way out. 

 PT: What do you try to deliver to your readers? 

 JK: A great story. A new setting, someplace we don’t read about all the time. I’m a reader. I understand how difficult it is to find a fresh read. Especially in inspirational romance.

 PT: Explain that.

 JK: An inspirational romance is a guy and a girl. They get together in the end. How am I going to weave a story that hasn’t been done before? I dig deep. Create complex characters. Develop an engaging setting and an intriguing plot. And always remember that if it’s boring me, it’s going to bore readers, too. Simple as that.

PT: What can we expect from you in the future? 

 JK: I’m editing a story I really love, a contemporary military romance. It’s good. And I know it’s good because it’s ripping my heart out. If I’m not in a puddle by the end, it’s back to the drawing board until I get it right.

 PT: Until you can translate the thrill?

 JK: (Laughs) Exactly.

 PT: We look forward to it. Thanks for being with us today here at the Diamond Mine. 

 JK: Thank you for hosting me, Peggy. I’ve enjoyed it. 

PT: Here's a quick excerpt:

     She looked to the front porch where James stood, his face leached of color.
     “Walk toward me as fast as you can.” His voice cracked. “Now, Lily.”
     What? The bully was at it again, this time issuing orders. She sighed and stepped off her rung on the fence. Mr. Bloom was about to learn she didn’t obey tyrants. She released the top plank and would’ve turned to go, but something in his voice startled her.
     “Don’t look back, Lily. I’m begging you. Come to me.”
     She glared at him.
     His face crumpled, and he bounded off the porch and ran toward her.
     The beast was chasing her! And he looked…crazed. No. Terrified. The only other time she’d seen such a look was when—
     Everything turned red. She was enveloped in a cloud. Fine dust stung her eyes and throat, choking her. She gasped, inhaled dirt, and coughed. Her mouth snapped shut, sand grinding between her teeth. She closed her eyes and hid her face behind the flimsy sleeve of her dress, protecting her nose and mouth. But it was no use.
     Shaking. The earth was shaking. Wind gusted, shrieked and moaned, almost as loud as her racing heart. Would it burst right through her chest? What’s happened? Is this a tornado?
     Wind-driven sheets of dust blasted into her flesh like piercing needles. She tasted dirt, smelled dirt, cried dirt.
     “Lily, grab the fence.” James coughed and sputtered. “The fence!”

     She tripped over her own feet to reach the corral and latch on. She clung there, wind and dust swirling around her, lifting her braid up into the air. Please, God, help me!

 Here's your chance to win an e-book of Jericha's novel, Waiting for Lily Bloom. Leave a comment to be entered!

James Bloom has prayed three years for rain and five years for a wife. His dreams are demolished on Palm Sunday, 1935, when a catastrophic dust storm hits Oklahoma, and his neighbor’s niece has to ride out the storm at his house–-overnight. The next day, he’s forced to marry her, an East coast city girl who can’t speak. Could this be God’s plan?

Married to a stranger in the dusty Oklahoma wasteland, Lily Driggers longs for her home. Yet somehow, her new husband is the only one who understands her silence.

As Easter approaches, Lily and James wonder if there is hope after the storm.

You can catch up with Jericha Kingston on:  

You can purchase Waiting for Lily Bloom on,

Jericha Kingston--tomboy gone rogue--loves the visual, performing, and literary arts. She's the winner of the 2013 Touched by Love Award contest (Short Contemporary), the 2nd place winner in the 2013 Laurie contest (Inspirational), and a Finalist in the 2012 and 2013 ACFW First Impressions contest (Historical and Romance). Her Easter novella, Waiting for Lily Bloom, released April 18, 2014 from Pelican Book Group.

A Georgia native, Jericha is comfortable in the solitude of the woods, or singing and acting before audiences. Her heart was stolen at age 16, and it's never been returned. She and her husband have been married for a quarter of a century, and they have two grown sons. Ousting her inner tomboy has been futile, so Jericha is often found fishing, camping, or hiking with her Australian Cattle Dog.


Peggy Trotter said...

Thanks so much, Jericha for being with us this week! Great interview. I simply cannot wait to read it. The premise just hooked me. Anyone have any questions or comments for Jericha?

Unknown said...

I'm definitely interested in reading her book now. :)

Peggy Trotter said...

I so agree, Misty!

Unknown said...

The pleasure was mine, Peggy! Thank you for having me. Misty, I'm so glad you enjoyed the excerpt. You now have a chance to win my eBook, Waiting for Lily Bloom!

Amryn Cross said...

Great interview! Loved your thoughts on writing. Thanks for stopping by. :-)

Unknown said...

Thanks, Amryn! Love your name :) You also have a chance to win!

Erin Unger said...

Waiting for Lily Bloom sounds amazing. Thanks for a great post you two.

Unknown said...

WOW, my mouth fell open as I read this interview. I had an almost identical experience with a novella I wrote about the dust bowl era. I based it on the fairy tale 'The Ugly Duckling' and since the story framework was in place, I had a great time fleshing it out with my own story. Also, my character is named Lillian, or Lilli for short! Amory (Amryn) mentioned the Pelican Easter series last fall, after I'd already started the story and I remember thinking it was funny that I was writing a historical story with a character named Lilli. But my story isn't a romance, so it wouldn't have fit. But that's so funny that we both wrote a dust bowl story from a prior semi-outline. Sounds like we're kindred spirits!
I'm re-thinking my lack of using outlines, since I had such fun with that story. But it's weird isn't it, that romance has a formula, which sometimes makes it a bit harder to come up with a story that will be unique!
I really enjoyed this interview Jericha, and your book sounds great!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Erin! It's a pleasure to be here.

Unknown said...

Nancy, how neat is that? We're definitely kindred spirits! I learned so much while writing this story--foremost, beware myopia! I have a love/hate relationship with outlines, but I respect semi-outlines :) Thanks for sharing!

LiteOfTheNite said...

It's hard to think "inside" the box when you've written outside of it for so long. Thanks for sharing your story, Jericha. It helps to see the box isn't as confining as it seems. :) Although, I still don't see myself using an outline... bullet points, maybe... outlines remind me too much of school (no offense, Peg LOL).

Peggy Trotter said...

None taken! :)

Unknown said...

The best method is the one that works, Renee! Some swear by outlines, and some loathe them. I like a sketchy outline...nothing too formal or confining. Which is strange, because I love synopses :) Thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely interview. Jericha is a new author to me. I am very interested in reading Waiting for Lily Bloom after this interview. Thank yuo for this chance to win a copy. ~ Blessings ~

LiteOfTheNite said...

Welcome to the Mine, Lisa. It looks like a true diamond, doesn't it?

Unknown said...

Thank you for joining us, Lisa! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, and are interested in the story. It was a joy to write. I'm fascinated by the Dust Bowl era and the resilient people who lived through it. Thanks for the encouragement--you're entered in the giveaway!

Gay N Lewis said...

This book is a must read for me. Although nothing like this one, I'm writing a novel with a mention of the dust bowl and black Sunday. I loved the interview. Good job, ladies.

LiteOfTheNite said...

Thanks for stopping by, Gay. Wasn't it an awesome interview? :)

Unknown said...

Thank you, Gay! I don't understand why this era hasn't been mined for the gems therein. Maybe we'll see an upswing of Dust Bowl fiction! Have you titled your novel yet?

Peggy Trotter said...

Guess what I'm reading?! Waiting for Lily Bloom! Love the one button download! Genius! I'm loving the characters and the tight spot they've found themselves! Gotta go. Gotta read!

Unknown said...

You've made my day, Peggy!

Debbie Curto said...

I would love to win this book! I tried once before! I love the title

Unknown said...

You've got a second chance, Debbie! Thanks for stopping by :)

LiteOfTheNite said...

Awesome! I can't wait until we find out who the winner is now... Do we really have to wait? (whine, whine...)

Renette Steele said...

Old sounds like a real gem of a story, cant wait to read it! What made you chose lilly to be mute? I have a real heart for characters with disabilities.

Unknown said...

So do I, Renette. Characters with disabilities draw us, because we're all challenged in some way. My first son was born with a cleft lip and palate (a facial deformity), so I have first-hand knowledge of his emotions through the trials he experienced. The Lord allowed me to recycle my son's fighting spirit, and apply it to Lily.

Renette, I hand-picked Lily to be mute. I've not read many stories about mute individuals, and for good reason. It's a challenge to depict a character who can't speak. But Lily is incredible. She's profound. I thank her for helping me become a better writer!

My current manuscript involves a character with a non-congenital disability. I'd love to expound...but I'm still perfecting him. Stay tuned!

Renette Steele said...

Thank you for the answer. I taught special needs for 5 years, i learned so much from them.

Naomi Musch said...

Love the concept of this story and the interview response about writing on spec. Interesting to hear others' experiences that way. God bless~ Hope I win!

Peggy Trotter said...

Ahhh. Just finished it last night! Had to stay up late, cause I coudn't put it down! You will love Waiting for Lily Bloom! And it's a sweeeeet short read, with such memorable characters. I knew when I learned about this book, I'd want to read it! Great job, Jericha!

Unknown said...

So glad you enjoyed it, Naomi. God bless you, too! Best wishes :)

Unknown said...

Thank you, Peggy! To God be the glory.

Jackie said...

Great interview. I'm so glad I stopped by!

Unknown said...

Thanks for joining us, Jackie!