Author Spotlight: Kristy Cambron

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Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from the last Author Spotlight giveaway is DEBRA STEVENS! Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com with your mailing address to claim your prize.

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Welcome Kristy Cambron, author of The Butterfly and the Violin, to Author Spotlight! To enter to win a copy, leave a comment on this post.

Profile_dockShare a little bit about yourself . . . married with kids? Empty nester?

My husband and I met when we were very young, and we’ve been married for thirteen years. We have three young sons who have loads of energy – and are always hungry! 🙂

Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I do work full-time. I’ve been in Corporate America as a professional writer, facilitator and instructional designer for nearly fifteen years. As for squeezing in writing—that’s a very literal thing for me. I find that most of my books are written on my iPhone, wherever I happen to be at the time.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest . . . 

I write Regency and WWII Era fiction, but believe it or not, I actually started with contemporary fiction. I’d completed a few manuscripts before I realized that everything I was writing had a vintage tie-in to it—European settings and connections to Jane Austen Era literature, for example. It was like a light bulb went off in my mind, and I realized I should be writing historical fiction. I tried it with my first Regency manuscript and I was hooked from that moment–it was like coming home somehow. I expect I’ll stay in the historical genre for some time if I can.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

More than a decade ago, I worked in a call center job on second and third shifts. You can imagine that at those hours, we didn’t field many phone calls. We’d sometimes have thirty minutes or more in-between calls. I’d complete my college homework during those times – that is until a new manager came to our team and changed the guidelines for the team. We were no longer allowed to read or have conversations over our cubicle walls. I recall going home to discuss this with my husband and had a thought: “You know – she never said we couldn’t write . . . .” My husband took me out not long after and bought a refurbished laptop for $200. It was on that old thing that I completed my first novel. It’s lost on a floppy disk somewhere now, but the dream to become a writer sparked then and the fire has never died.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

I’m open about my journey to publication because I have a strong desire to encourage other aspiring writers to their dreams. (CLICK HERE to read about the journey on my website.) The journey can be discouraging at times, and the length of it varies for each writer. From the time I began seriously pursuing publication and signed with an agent, it took two years to get that first contract. In that time, I grew more in my Christian walk than I’d ever imagined I could. There were contest wins and contest crash-and-burns. There were countless hours of lost sleep and prayers for guidance, just so I could continue to fit this writing dream into my packed schedule. And I experienced rejection– a lot of it. But instead of giving up on the dream, I used each experience to polish my craft and improve wherever I could. No matter how difficult the journey was, I had to think uncommonly about it. I referred to myself as a Christian author for three years before I’d ever published a thing. Now I praise God for the journey because as a follower of Christ, it’s enriched my life and my faith at the same time.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?

Prayer. It always starts with and ends with prayer. This entire writing journey has been so full of ups and downs, that I couldn’t have made it through without His guidance for each step. (That and coffee. Lots and lots of coconut mocha coffee . . .)

Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I spend about two hours a day writing. My routine is wonderful in its simplicity; I don’t give myself too much structure or timetables . . . I just go with it. There’s that lovely combination of writing I do when on-the-go–which translates to chapters written on my iPhone–and quiet time when I can sit down in front of my computer at night, after I’ve come home from work and put the kids to bed. The cool thing is that the brain never truly shuts off that drive to write. No matter where I am, my characters can come alive and keep me plotting their journey in my mind. When I do have time to sit down and put pen to paper, the writing time is really productive because I’ve already been working the story out.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

Without a doubt, that source of help would be my writing partner, best friend and cheerleader–my husband. He’s always there to manage the household chores and watch over the kids on those nights that I have to stay up and write after work. I even spilled an entire mug of coffee on my laptop when I was two days away from a deadline and you guessed it–my hero came through. We went out early the next morning and came home with a large mocha latte in one hand and a new laptop in the other. I have a fantastic critique group and am an advocate for the resources from the ACFW, but in my life, my husband makes it all possible.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? 

It’s very surreal; that I will admit. This writing journey to publication has been such a huge dream in our family, that it took a while to absorb the fact that it’s really come true. So what do you do when your goal floats down from the clouds and turns into reality – a job? You grab a hold of that dream . . . fast! And you continue to cultivate the love of learning for the place you’re in.

What are your biggest distractions?

Time! While it’s not really a distraction, it is a major factor in my writing life. I’ve found that time is fickle; it can be a true friend one moment and a horrible foe the next. The key is to balance it out. I have very limited time to actually sit down and write so when I do, that time is cherished. True distractions haven’t really been a problem so far, just because I’ve had to learn to adapt to when I can write. Most of that has been done while tuning other things out–the bustle of airports, the rambunctiousness of three small children, the sound of the clock ticking in the middle of the night – they all have their own challenges and you just have to work around them.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?The Butterfly and the Violin

The best moment of my career thus far was finally hearing that elusive “Yes” from a publisher that we’d been waiting for over the past couple of years. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. After the years of rejections, iffy contest showings, tons of blogging and even more learning about the craft of writing . . . It felt wonderful to finally have the dream we’d gone after become reality. But unfortunately, it didn’t last as long as we would have liked. The worst moment of my career came an hour later when my Dad called, and told me that he may have leukemia. Talk about a roller coaster day. I’ll never forget the feeling of elation first, mixed with fear and anxiety. But the beauty of those moments (whether god or bad), is that we experienced God’s faithfulness first-hand. The ups and downs of a writing career amount to nothing if I’m not surrendering both the good and the bad to Christ along the way. (To read our family’s story, CLICK HERE.)

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

While it’s always fun to decide on the title for a book or see your cover art for the first time, I think the absolute coolest thing about being a writer is connecting with readers! They are why we do what we do. And I’ve found them to be gracious, their own stories interesting, and their hearts open to welcoming a debut author into their reading world. For that, I cherish every interaction on social media and every person who walks through the line at a book signing.

The toughest thing I’ve had to become acclimated to so far is the criticism you may find in not-so-positive reviews. I had no idea how much of themselves an author will pour into every book they write. For me, it was surprising to learn that. The Butterfly and the Violin was edited in part at the local cancer center while my Dad was undergoing chemo. The remainder was edited the weeks after he passed away. So while those events are in my life and not my characters’, it can still feel like the book we’re writing is somehow wrapped up in who we are. We want to inspire, encourage and entertain through our words. If you find out that as an author you haven’t done that for someone, it can sting a little.

What advice would you give to new writers?

If you aspire to become an author, you’ve got to think uncommonly about it. Refer to yourself as an author. (You are one after all, just the pre-published kind!) I referred to myself as a Christian author for three years before I ever signed a contract. There’s just something in voicing your dream that takes it from a “wish” down to a tangible goal you’re working for. You’ll hold yourself accountable to it. You may have to sacrifice time, effort, emotions and probably a little money to see it through, but keeping that dream close will help when you start to enter the tougher moments. Contest feedback and rejections might be part of the journey, but if you’re already prayed up, if you keep your focus on the dream God has engraved upon your heart and absolutely refuse to give up, you’ll get there. I’d offer a page from Sir Winston Churchill’s book of advice: “Never, ever give up.”

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

A modern-day Manhattan gallery owner, driven to find peace in her past . . . The darling of the Viennese musical scene in war-torn Austria, whose whole world is about to change . . . In a story that spans two continents and more than seventy years, a mysterious painting connects the women whose lives were forever altered by the prisoner art–the art of authentic worship–in a place called Auschwitz.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

Absolutely! My next book is A Sparrow in Terezin, Book #2 in the Hidden Masterpiece series. The story centers around the children’s art of the Theresienstadt transport camp (also known as Terezín), the Nazis’ propaganda camp north of Prague. It follows a key character from the historical storyline in The Butterfly and the Violin (which I can’t share because it would be a major spoiler). It also introduces Kája Makovský, a Czech-born journalist who survives the worst of The London Blitz in 1940, only to be later transported to Terezín when trying to help her family flee Nazi-occupied Prague at the height of the war. Here in the camp, Kája uses her love of art and of storytelling to help the children–all under the age of fifteen–cope through the horrific experiences of the Holocaust.

A Sparrow in Terezin will release from Thomas Nelson (Harper Collins Christian Publishing) in April, 2015.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

You can connect with me at:

Twitter: @kcambronauthor
Facebook: Kristy L. Cambron
GoodReads: Kristy Cambron
Website: KristyCambron.com


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. I have to say that the cover is ever so lovely ! Your ideas and words motivating ! Thank you for being such an inspiring sister in the Lord.
    Linda

    • Hi Linda ~ I loved the cover too! The team at Thomas Nelson actually surprised me with it on my birthday last year. They showed me the cover as a gift. You know I cried! ; )

  2. Thanks so much for sharing – I love that you called yourself a Christian author before you ever landed a contract… that’s where I am at today, and I feel like I am demeaning myself by saying I’m an “aspiring author” – but I wonder if I am looked at as silly by calling myself an author without anything published… so Christian fiction author it is! 🙂

    • I would say — go for it! I’m sure I was thought the be silly more than once. I think the drive to continue doing what God’s placed on your heart will outweigh the “silly” in the end (especially when you hold your first book in your hands). Besides – we are here to support you! ; )

  3. Linda McFarland says:

    I love Suzanne’s Author Spotlights. I always come away with lots of info about new-to-me-authors. The Butterfly & the Violin looks like a definite must-read…the cover is beautiful. Thanks for the opportunity to win….Linda

  4. Connie Saunders says:

    I enjoy historical facts woven into a story and I know I will enjoy this book. Thank you for this insightful interview and great giveaway.
    Blessings to both of you.
    Connie

  5. Charii says:

    If there is anything I love more then reading a great book it is getting to know the author and gaining wonderful advice and inspiration through their own stories. Thank you so much for sharing with us! 😀

    • Thank you so much! You know the coolest thing? We get to meet our readers – that’s something I’ve been excited about for the last few years. I’m so glad you’re here too!

  6. Tina says:

    I, too, love the cover… it just grabs me! This book has been on my “to read” list and if I don’t win a copy, I will definitely be buying one.

    Blessings,

    Tina

  7. sara miller says:

    Beautiful story and cover! God Bless!

  8. felecia says:

    I love this title!

  9. Amy Bateman says:

    This looks like a great book. I love discovering new authors and adding to my “t0-read” list.

  10. Hi Kristy! Thanks for taking time for this interview and sharing your writing life with my blog readers. I’m excited to see what God has in store for you. Your writing career is off to a great start! Warmly, Suzanne

    • Hi Suzanne ~ I’m just so glad to be here! I always knew your readers were awesome, but now I get to connect with them too. ; ) We’re working on book two in the series now, so we’ve got more to come. I’d love to ask for prayers from everyone here as we move through the next couple of months. And if you leave a request, I’d love to pray for you too!
      Hugs – Kristy

  11. Beth says:

    Lovely interview! Thank you for the chance to win!

    Beth

  12. Ola Norman says:

    This cover makes me want to read it! Great interview.

  13. Ola Norman says:

    This cover makes me want to read it! Great interview. Maybe I’ll win.

  14. Lisa Medeiros says:

    I cannot WAIT to read this book! All I have heard is good reviews and I love the cover! 🙂

  15. Rita Navarre says:

    The story sounds great..love the cover of the book…another new author for me to try

  16. amyc says:

    I look forward to read this book! Thank you for the interview and giveaway!

  17. Vivian says:

    What a great interview! I love finding new authors whose books I can love. It sounds like your book touches the Holocaust, which is a subject I find very interesting. It truly breaks my heart, yet there are stories of real heroism and strength tucked in here and there like tiny unexpected treasures that warm your heart. I would love to read The Butterfly and the Violin. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

    • Hi Vivian ~ Yes, I was always interested in this chapter in history also. It’s still hard to believe that God connected me with an Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor who allowed me to interview during the writing of this book. It gave me chills to think that we were discussing events that occurred to her, more than 70 years before! Thanks for stopping by today. ; )

  18. Renee says:

    Great interview! Looking forward to this book as well as the one next year.

  19. Hello Suzanne. Thanks for asking Kristy to visit. I have been following this book. I too like to read the books about the holocaust. Such a tragic thing to have happened, and many are teaching kids it is all made up. The first book I read about it, tho f course I knew of it was The Hiding Place by Corrie tenBoom. She and her family were were in the camps where this horror was taking place. Most of her family were killed in the gas chambers. Only by God’s mercy she was let go just one day before she was to be gassed. Some called it a mistake but she said GOD doesn’t make mistakes. Please read it. I would love to win Kristy’s new book. I love seeing the photos of her little boys. This book has really had me trying to win it. Hope I can. God bless you Suzanne and Kristy. Thanks for this chance. Maxie

    • Hi Maxie! I’m so glad to see you here, my friend. I also love Corrie Ten Boom. I highly recommend reading her story – God was so faithful in her journey. Thanks for stopping by and God bless you too!

  20. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win.

  21. Heidi says:

    I loved reading this thoughtful interview! I appreciated learning about her pre-publication experiences.

    • Hi Heidi ~ Are you an aspiring writer too? And I love sharing the pre-publication experiences. They’re a part of my journey and I think it’s important to share that path with others – especially if you’re an aspiring author too. God’s faithfulness on the journey is certainly somethig to talk about. Bless you!

  22. Thanks to all of you for stopping by! It’s a true blessing to be here, sharing our family’s journey with Suzanne. (For those of you who don’t know, Suzanne was one of the first authors to reach out and encourage me in my writing. She’s just as genuine in person and you see here on her blog. Another reason to love this woman – right?)

    Many blessings, friends!
    ~ Kristy

  23. Patty H says:

    Love her answer to the promo she would give to a customer in a book store! I think I would buy the book after that. Will have to put it on my wish list.

  24. Merry Z says:

    The Butterfly and the Violin sounds like a heart gripping story. Please include me in the drawing, thanks!

  25. Daisy Mae says:

    i wish more authors wrote about the holocaust and nazi germany. it’s been a passion of mine since i was first introduced to anne frank’s diary at the age of 9.

    • Me too, Daisy. It is a time in history that deserves such respect. I can’t say that it’s easy to learn about, but it feels necessary in a way. My heart seems to want to understand the “why”, though I’m not sure we’ll get there on this side of heaven.

  26. Rebecca B says:

    Hi Suzanne and Kristy….thank you Suzanne for having this interview with Kristy. I truely enjoyed learning how she started her writing career. Kristy, I am sorry to hear that you lost your father to leaukemia. I lost my father to cancer when I was seventeen years old. I can’t wait to read, The Butterfly and the Violin. It enjoy historical Christian fiction from WWII. Blessings to both of you. ♥

    • Hi Rebecca ~ Thanks so much for your comment. I think we will both continue to miss our Daddy, hmm? Praying for you. I know it must be difficult still. Blessings to you too! 🙂

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