Ask the Author - Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

Discuss the January 2016 book of the month For the Love of Suzanne by Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill.
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Re: Ask the Author - Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

Post by bookowlie » 02 Feb 2016, 09:50

bookowlie wrote:This book contains a mix of genres - romance, historical fiction, and sci-fi/fantasy. There is also a dose of the Native American culture thrown in. Was there one particular theme that you liked more, even if it was difficult to write? Was there one particular theme that you found easier to write about?
Just didn't want this to get lost.
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Post by Shelle » 02 Feb 2016, 11:51

khudecek wrote:It's hard to pinpoint an exact time with it. Let me tell you why.

I wrote this book in 1996. I did some editing on it and shelved it. I don't really know why. I got married in 2001, moved to Kansas, had a couple of kids...you know, did the "life" thing.

Fast forward to 2015. My son and I are going through some boxes a year and a half after moving into this house and he pulled out a pile of paper bound in a rubber band.

He looked at it and said, "Hey, Mom. What's this?"
I looked at it and my jaw dropped. "It's a manuscript! Wow!"

I have to confess that I don't remember writing it. As I read it, nothing seemed familiar but I knew I'd written it because I'm the only writer in the family. I didn't remember Cody or Suzanne. I didn't remember anything about it.

I knew it had to be put on my computer, like the rest of my novels and short stories so I started retyping it.

As I retyped it, I added some things, took some things away, renamed it, added a little spice to it, changed the ending and was ready to put it back in the closet. It didn't get that far.

I think the time it took to retype it was maybe a month or so. Editing took much longer. Weeks. Editing always takes longer. Writing the first draft is always the easiest part and the most fun. Editing is a grueling but necessary process. I edited it three times before I submitted it to Scott for his edits. Then it was back and forth for awhile.

I signed my contract on May 24 (keep in mind, the story was already written) and the release day was October 26, 2015.

Thank you for your question. I hope I answered it for you. :)
This is super encouraging! I think we all get it stuck in our heads that "real" writers lock themselves in their writing cell and don't come out until the book is done. But you took your time, had babies and had a life, then came back to it. I heard something similar at a lecture by Anthony Doerr about how it took him 10 years to write All the Light We Cannot See. So, you're certainly in good company!

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Post by khudecek » 02 Feb 2016, 14:56

bookowlie wrote:
bookowlie wrote:This book contains a mix of genres - romance, historical fiction, and sci-fi/fantasy. There is also a dose of the Native American culture thrown in. Was there one particular theme that you liked more, even if it was difficult to write? Was there one particular theme that you found easier to write about?
Just didn't want this to get lost.
Thank you, bookowlie. I did miss this and I apologize for not answering sooner.

The Native American theme was the hardest for me to write because I wanted to stay true to the Chiricahua ways as much as possible. The last thing I want to do is to disrespect anyone or be careless enough to hurt someone. Anytime you write something concerning another ethnic group that is not your own, it's easy to cross the line into being offensive. I desperately wanted to avoid that and did a lot of research to ensure that I did.

But I pushed the envelope a little further and threw in the Christianity part of Cody's character. He'd been sent to a boarding school run by nuns and had learned some of the Catholic ways. He didn't forget that as he went through his life and mixed the spiritualism of his people with it. That's why he sometimes he calls upon the Creator and sometimes talks about God. They are the same to him.

The easiest theme to write about was the premise throughout the book: with love, all things are possible. Cody did screw up and caused some readers not to like him or trust him but he did love Suzanne and she loved him. They got their "happily ever after" despite the things they went through.

I hope that answers your question. Thank you for asking.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by bookowlie » 02 Feb 2016, 19:40

No worries. :) The discussion has become lively (that's a good thing!) So questions can get lost in the shuffle.

I can see how the cultural angle would be difficult to write for the exact reason you mentioned - to be completely accurate in order to not offend anyone. I have so much respect for authors who write historical fiction/non-fiction or any type of book that includes details about different cultures.
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Post by CCtheBrave » 12 Feb 2016, 10:57

I think it's really interesting go find out how many book manuscriprs are locked up in a drawer or box for years before the author feels inspired by them again. It must feel so nostalgic when you find it after all that time.

When you pick it up and read it, are you very critical about your writing and can you feel your growth as a writer after so much time has passed?
read well and write bravely

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Post by khudecek » 12 Feb 2016, 11:18

Thank you for the question.

I am very critical of my work. After the time that passed between the first draft of Suzanne and the novel coming to be, I could see where I'd at least, changed. The first draft wasn't fit for mankind. There were many technical problems, inconsistencies, and such a flat ending, there was no way I was going let anybody get a look at that.

As I retyped it (my son found the original manuscript in the bottom of a box), I fixed a lot of it. Before I submitted it for the first edit, I edited it three times myself.

I'm still critical of what I write. Maybe it's the nature of the beast when you write. Nothing is ever good enough.

Just as a side note; I haven't read this book in its final form. I'm sure I'll see mistakes that got by the editor or that I didn't catch and it would serve to only embarrass me and make me feel inferior all over again. I will read it again someday but for now, I can't.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by CCtheBrave » 12 Feb 2016, 11:22

You know, you're not the first author that I've heard hasn't read through their final product! Thanks for the reply!
read well and write bravely

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Post by khudecek » 12 Feb 2016, 14:26

Thank you for asking.

Enjoy your day. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by Vermont Reviews » 11 Apr 2016, 21:31

What are your currently working on?

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Post by khudecek » 12 Apr 2016, 06:52

Thank you for asking.

I'm working on a series with a tentative name of "Craig, the Dad". It's a contemporary romance about a bad boy biker and the woman he falls in love with. Craig is married with a son when the story starts. He isn't much of a father or husband. He likes his booze, loves his drugs, and is promiscuous. Don't judge him too harshly, though. His wife is cheating on him, too and she does drugs and drinks all the time. But even she has a breaking point when another woman abandons her child with Craig's wife because the kid is his. She takes their son and leaves him.

Meanwhile, he doesn't have a clue how to take care of this baby. He learns how to change diapers, mix formula, and dress her from You Tube. But he doesn't want to give up his life of booze, drugs, and women and is leaving the baby with whoever will take her, sometimes for days at a time. He nearly drowns the baby in the bathtub because he left her alone to talk on the phone.

Things weren't going well and he knew he had to do something and hired a nanny.

I think you can guess the rest.

I won't publish this one because I didn't know when I started it that biker stories are everywhere. I do think it's probably been done before and is probably cliche. However, I have several other series that are written and need edited. We'll have to wait and see about those.

Thanks again for the question. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by hsimone » 12 Apr 2016, 09:02

If the book came from you, I would read your biker story! :D
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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Post by gali » 12 Apr 2016, 09:05

khudecek wrote:Thank you for asking.

I'm working on a series with a tentative name of "Craig, the Dad". It's a contemporary romance about a bad boy biker and the woman he falls in love with. Craig is married with a son when the story starts. He isn't much of a father or husband. He likes his booze, loves his drugs, and is promiscuous. Don't judge him too harshly, though. His wife is cheating on him, too and she does drugs and drinks all the time. But even she has a breaking point when another woman abandons her child with Craig's wife because the kid is his. She takes their son and leaves him.

Meanwhile, he doesn't have a clue how to take care of this baby. He learns how to change diapers, mix formula, and dress her from You Tube. But he doesn't want to give up his life of booze, drugs, and women and is leaving the baby with whoever will take her, sometimes for days at a time. He nearly drowns the baby in the bathtub because he left her alone to talk on the phone.

Things weren't going well and he knew he had to do something and hired a nanny.

I think you can guess the rest.

I won't publish this one because I didn't know when I started it that biker stories are everywhere. I do think it's probably been done before and is probably cliche. However, I have several other series that are written and need edited. We'll have to wait and see about those.

Thanks again for the question. :)
It actually sounds good. :)

Good luck in all your endeavors!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by khudecek » 12 Apr 2016, 10:13

Thank you, everybody. I appreciate it. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by LivreAmour217 » 14 Jul 2016, 13:05

khudecek wrote:
falloutlunartic wrote:How do you decide what details to keep in a story and what details to take out?
The paranormal aspect of this story is fiction but it was based on something that happened to my grandfather in the Black Hills of South Dakota when he was a child. He and his mother lived on a ranch west of Deadwood and she fell ill in the middle of the night. She needed a doctor. The Black Hills are indeed, black, in the middle of the night. He got on a horse and rode to Deadwood to get the doctor and all the way, there was a light guiding him.

I wanted to keep that in the story and gosh darn the consequences. I believe in miracles and I believe love conquers all.

I hope this answers your question. Thank you for asking. :)
I loved this part of the novel, and I think that it is so cool that you based it on something that actually happened! I have a book of North American folklore, and there is a section about mysterious lights that have guided people. I think that most of the encounters occurred in the Southwest, too. I'll have to grab it off the shelf and look at that chapter again!
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

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Post by khudecek » 15 Jul 2016, 05:09

LivreAmour217 wrote:
khudecek wrote:
falloutlunartic wrote:How do you decide what details to keep in a story and what details to take out?
The paranormal aspect of this story is fiction but it was based on something that happened to my grandfather in the Black Hills of South Dakota when he was a child. He and his mother lived on a ranch west of Deadwood and she fell ill in the middle of the night. She needed a doctor. The Black Hills are indeed, black, in the middle of the night. He got on a horse and rode to Deadwood to get the doctor and all the way, there was a light guiding him.

I wanted to keep that in the story and gosh darn the consequences. I believe in miracles and I believe love conquers all.

I hope this answers your question. Thank you for asking. :)
I loved this part of the novel, and I think that it is so cool that you based it on something that actually happened! I have a book of North American folklore, and there is a section about mysterious lights that have guided people. I think that most of the encounters occurred in the Southwest, too. I'll have to grab it off the shelf and look at that chapter again!
I'm happy that you enjoyed that part of the story. Years ago, I wrote a short story about it. It's one of those stories that I never want to forget.

What is the name of the American Folklore book you read? I think I'd like to read it, too.

Thank you for your comment. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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