Hi Krihstin, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? Thanks, Courtney! I’m Krihstin Zink: the bestselling author of Scarlet’s Torment (a dramatic romantic suspense) and the owner of Heliotrope Editing. When I’m not editing, reading/reviewing, or writing—I’m making memories with my family. For the most part, I’m a homebody who loves to escape into books. Love your name!
Discuss your newest book. My latest release, Scarlet Unleashed, is the continuation of Scarlet’s Torment. In SU, Scarlet Rodrick is hurtled into her own personal hell. While Scarlet’s Torment is a dramatic romantic suspense, Scarlet Unleashed is an erotic thriller—and only for mature readers.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? As a child, I enjoyed journaling and spinning telltales. I found comfort in books because, at that time, I found the escape I needed from my childhood hardships.
What are your current projects? At the moment, I’m completing the rough draft of 3 Grams: it’s Ophelia Santos and Lena Avila’s survival from their horrific experience as victims of human trafficking.
What books have most influenced your life most? To be honest, I couldn’t just pick one or even five. I believe every book I’ve read or edited has changed my prior perspective to the premise depicted.
What inspired you to write your first book? I completed Scarlet’s Torment’s rough draft during a difficult time in my life. Writing had become a therapeutic outlet, which allowed me to distract myself long enough to not worry about the things that kept me up at night. Who needs a spa day when we have writing!
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Scarlet Rodrick is a twenty-four-year-old with a tormented past: she endured years of childhood neglect and was later abandoned, and then adopted by a loving and wealthy family. She used her childhood as fuel to achieve her career goals, but severely neglected her love life. Because of her childhood experiences, Scarlet became a materialistic workaholic. Once she’s introduced to Dr. David Jensen, she’s quickly forced to evaluate what’s truly important and what’s worth letting go.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Yes, the impact that one’s childhood has on overall adult behavior. Although Scarlet’s Torment is a romantic suspense—and most readers focus on the romance—I had hoped to introduce how damaging a negative childhood could become. With Scarlet Unleashed, my intent had been to showcase the dangers of negative choices.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Honestly, I’m not sure . . . I’d be happy just to have my books made into a movie.
When did you decide to become a writer? I never decided to become a writer, it just happened. I picked up a pen and released my thoughts onto paper, and then never looked back.
Why do you write? In the past, I used writing as an escape, but now, I write to entertain.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? Starting anything is the easy part, completing a project is where things become tricky. I started Scarlet’s Torment as a distraction, but I completed ST as a way to prove to myself and those whom didn’t believe in me—that I could accomplish what I had aimed to do.
Do you write full-time or part-time? At the moment, I write part-time because I’m also a stay-at-home-parent and my children are my main priority. However, I do make time to write—every day. Once my youngest starts full-time school, I plan to make more time to write. Well, if my editing schedule allows it.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Finding time to write for prolonged hours at a time.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? I would rather leave those experiences in the past, however, I’d say the hardest thing about writing any book is working with a book team whom believes in you. An editor should be a guiding mentor who sees your strengths and helps you succeed. Too often, especially within the self-publishing industry—authors are forced to work with freelance editors whom aren’t as experienced as they claim to be, and that can lead to disasters. Nonetheless, my past experiences influence my drive to be the best editor I can be.
What is the easiest thing about writing? Creating characters: I enjoy fostering characters that induce readers to reflect on their own behavior and past experiences.
What book are you reading now? With my editing and writing schedule, I do not leisure read as much as I would like. However, I am slowly making my way through Shadows of Jane by Amy Hale—I highly recommend it.
What is one random thing about you? Typos make me uncomfortable to the point that if I don’t correct them, I’ll become mildly anxious.
What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? I’m old-fashioned: I enjoy pen-to-paper. Old School, I like it!
What does your writing process look like? Long! Haha! First, I long-hand write my rough draft. After a few weeks/months, I return to the draft and type it out. Following several rounds of rewrites and self-editing, and once the story feels ready—I email it to my editor.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? Well, sometimes I take breaks and do yoga—but I don’t find that strange.
How important are names to you in your books? Vitally important—like I will research to make sure no other character has the name I selected.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? I’d say, finding more time to write.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? Yes, I would avoid trusting individuals whom say that they are professional—but are far from it.
What is your favorite motivational phrase? My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.
What is your favorite book and why? Honestly, I do not have a favorite book. As mentioned earlier, I learn from every book I edit or read. I’m a bibliophile whom finds the good in every book.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Yes. Never rush a book: take time to pour all the love and attention you can offer—into your stories. Readers expect stories that will keep them flipping pages, and thus, stories that succeed are those that show time and effort.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Edit. Ha! If I’m not editing, I’m reading/reviewing or spending time with my family. I’m a bit of a workaholic.
From where do you gain your inspiration? My writing reflects my life experiences: every character I’ve created steams from my past.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? Self-publishing is an investment of time and money. It should never be tackled by any person whom just expects to hit publish and then become famous. Unless your story is spectacular and unique—it doesn’t happen that way. Self-publishing is a sacrifice and a job that never ends. Independent authors have to be their own everything: publisher, agent, marketing guru—etc.
How do you market your books? Fanatic Review’s by Jess promotes my books on social media, and when I have the time I also use social media to promote my work.
Why did you choose this route? Because it is a daunting task to promote myself. Also, I once paid for Facebook ads, but someone hacked my credit card and tried to charge a trip to India. So now, I have to depend on a promotional agent to help.
Would you or do you use a PR agency? If I reached the caliber to need a PR agent, yes—definitely.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Yes, take the time to prepare a well-edited book before you self-publish. Also, focus more time on writing than promoting. Readers want to read, and authors who continuously publish well-edited books are the ones whom have the largest fan base.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? Honestly, it’s sporadic—as in, whenever the time presents itself.
What do you do to get book reviews? I have offered books—for free—in exchange for a review, however, some readers just take my books. So now, I periodically market my books as free and just hope for the best. Be kind, review it!
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Disappointing. I try to focus more on writing and editing than reviews, otherwise, I’d lose hours to worrying about why people make promises they can’t keep.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? In the past, yes—but now I just hope for the best.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Reviews are for customers . . . however, I do value readers’ input and do apply what I can to improve my writing.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Besides Facebook banning me from posting in groups—for two weeks—no.
What’s your views on social media for marketing? Honestly, social media can be a great outlet to connect with readers. However, only authors who write what’s trending succeed with social media.
Which social network worked best for you? Facebook.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Keep your opinions about negative reviews to yourself and avoid being banned from sharing.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? No, I just shared on my social media. And yes, I believe it has.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I’d want to meet Jesus, and ask what he did after birth/before his death.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Hm. I’ll have to get back to you on this one.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Find an editor whom believes in you, and everything else will work out as it should.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Through my like page: Krihstin Zink