Kit Wilkinson won the 2008 Golden Heart® in the Inspirational category and two months later sold her winning entry to Love Inspired Suspense. Her debut novel is on the shelves, and she’s here to tell us about it as well as what’s been happening since her earlier visit in January.
In this interview, you’ll learn more about Kit’s journey and her book, now titled Protector’s Honor. But there’s more to Kit than creativity and class. She speaks fluent French and used to surf. No. Not, the Internet. Waves. And hard as it is to believe when you see the photo of this beautiful blond, she never went to a dance during high school.
Join me as we learn about more about Kit and her debut novel.
(Kit’s giving away two copies of Protector’s Honor. Details are at the at end of the post.)
Kit’s Journey Begins
•Please recap for us how you got started writing and what led you to create your debut novel, Protector’s Honor (formerly Running From Trouble).
I started writing romance fiction soon after I quit working as a teacher. The idea was to stay home with my kids (who are now 4 and 6 years old) but I really missed working. I missed having personal goals. So, with absolutely no agenda other than writing a novel from beginning to end, I sat down and wrote a contemporary romance. And I LOVED it—I loved writing that is. I joined Romance Writers of America® and later American Christian Fiction Writers and started entering contests. Through one of them, I received a request from an editor, which eventually ended in a sale. YAY!
The idea for Protector’s Honor didn’t come to me overnight. I knew I wanted to write a story with a dentist in it (my husband is a dentist) and I knew I wanted to do something with nanotechnology (I had a student once who was really into nano). But I didn’t want those things to be the main focus of the story. At some point, I decided on an NCIS agent for the hero and then things sort of fell into place.
From First Sale to First Book
You received The Call from your agent, Chip MacGregor, with news of your first sale a year ago this month. That event changed your life in many ways, I’m sure.
•What have been the most exciting aspects of having sold your first book?
Well, telling people that you have a novel coming out is pretty cool. The best was telling my parents. They were really proud, and let’s face it, even at 42, we want our parents to be proud of us.
Getting the actual book into my hand was completely surreal—seeing the cover, opening the pages, reading words I’d labored over…with that fresh book smell wafting up at me. Oh, yeah, that was great!
•What aspects of being a published author have surprised you?
Things DO change with The Call. And not all of it is exciting. Suddenly, your long-term goal has been achieved and you find yourself scrambling to figure out if you’ve got it in you to “do it again.” For me, this has been a real struggle over the last year. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to produce more writing than my lifestyle (with kids at home) can afford me. And honestly, it has caused a lot of stress to my family and me.
•What advice would you offer to not-yet-published writers about things they can do now to help them prepare for the day they get The Call?
Be opened minded about making changes to your manuscript. The work isn’t over when you get The Call. Go ahead and start thinking about author promo—get a website up, business cards, start Facebook, etc. I don’t think these things help you sell but they certainly save you time later. Time you could be writing that next book. 🙂
A Delightful Delivery
•When did you hold your book in your hands for the first time? What was your reaction?
It was a very hot and sunny summer afternoon. I was sitting outside in a bathing suit with my laptop watching my kids play (yeah, I knew it was a bad wardrobe decision, but sometimes I don’t listen to myself). And around the corner comes the hot UPS man with a box. I turned several shades of red before I saw the Harlequin insignia and got so excited I frightened the poor guy. He ran back to his truck. I grabbed an X-acto knife, ripped open the box and felt like I was in Heaven for a minute or two.
•Did you celebrate your release with a launch party?
My book launch is on September 24. I’m pretty excited about it. Mostly expecting family and friends.
•Promotion is a vital part of the writing business. What are you doing to get the word out?
Well, first, I hired idi studio to do a professional website for me, which included a blog. I also have invested in traveling to several conferences to network and promote. I think giveaways are great. I’m giving lots of books away this week. Blogging with others. I’ve also started speaking to local groups—churches, libraries, schools, and writer groups. I’ll be signing at the ACFW conference and then again at my launch and again at a literacy event in Waynesboro, Virginia. I also plan to start some sort of e-newsletter.
A Warm Welcome
•What’s it like to be part of the Love Inspired family?
The Love Inspired authors are a fun and diverse group of women writers. Among them are lots of newbies like me but also plenty of RITA® winners and other very experienced authors. Most of us have joined a loop where we can ask questions, compare notes and just share each other’s lives. It’s extremely supportive.
•Protector’s Honor has begun to receive rave reviews, including four stars from Romantic Times. What are some of your favorite comments so far?
“The action starts fast and furious. Kit pens a roller coaster ride to a great finish with an intriguing suspense thread that draws you immediately into the story.”
Margaret Daley, award-winning author of over 60 novels
“An impressive debut novel. Kit Wilkinson is an author to watch, and I look forward to future books.”
Irene Hannon, author of the bestselling Heroes of Quantico series
“Plenty of action, a heartwarming love story and a good mystery make this a compelling read.”
Romantic Times, 4 stars
Kit’s Debut Novel . . . and Beyond
•Please tell us about Protector’s Honor.
It’s instinct. When NCIS agent Rory Farrell hears a woman scream, he reacts. But even after he saves her from abduction, Rory can’t get the beautiful and fragile Tabitha Beaumont out of his mind. Especially when he finds a connection between Tabitha and his latest murder investigation. She needs protection—Rory’s protection—while Rory needs answers Tabitha doesn’t even realize she holds. Yet how can he find the truth without betraying Tabitha’s trust? Soon, Rory must decide what matters most—keeping his objective distance, or keeping Tabitha, in his arms and under his protection, forever.
•What can your readers look forward to next?
Sabotage, another Love Inspired Suspense due out in June 2010.
Who to trust? Emilie Gill, Equestrian Show Jumper, and her groom/exerciser, Derrick Randall, find themselves on the hunt for a killer who wants nothing more than to stop Emilie’s ride to the Olympics.
Five Fun Facts About Kit
~ I love to cook and entertain (even though I don’t do it as often as I should).
~ I own about 30 purses and always carry the same one.
~ I married a younger man 🙂
~ I have 4 university degrees that I don’t use.
~ I’m one of SIX children in a blended family.
Kit’s Question for You
•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Kit. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. Now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so go for it.
I would love to hear others’ promotional ideas and suggestions. In particular, what do you think of book trailers? Have you ever bought a book because of the trailer or because of a review? Why or why not?
To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.
Learn More About Kit
Visit her Web site and blog: http://www.kitwilkinson.com
Friend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kit.wilkinson
Leave a Comment for Three Chances to Win
To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.
Kit has generously offered to give away autographed copies of her debut novel, Protector’s Honor, to two lucky visitors.
To enter the drawing, leave a comment for Kit by midnight Pacific Time on September 10th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On September 11th, I’ll post the winners’ names here.
Congrats to Cynthia Chow and Karol, winners of Protector’s Honor.
My Regular Drawing
My next drawing will take place September 20th. The winner will receive a copy of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by September 20th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On September 21st, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.
You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook
If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and September 30th. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.
On October 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.
(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)