Authors Kirstin Cronn-Mills and Rebecca Fjelland Davis will both be presenting at the North Mankato Taylor Library Fall Author Series on October 22nd, 6:00 pm in the Police Annex.
When MankatoLIFE is preparing to interview someone for a story, we ask some questions ahead of time. Both Kirstin and Becky put so much of themselves into their answers that we’re going to step out of the way and let them speak for themselves!
A Little Background Information
MankatoLIFE: Where were you born?
Virginia, when my dad was in the Navy, but I was raised in Nebraska
MankatoLIFE: What do you want to tell us about your family, friends or pets?
I live in North Mankato with my husband, son, a dog and two cats (all pets named for female Harry Potter characters).
MankatoLIFE: Do you have a website?
About the Writing
MankatoLIFE: Tell us about what you do.
I write young adult novels and teach at South Central College.
“Write. Edit. Submit. Get feedback. Rewrite. Edit. Submit. Get feedback. Rewrite. Edit. Submit. Then someone finally says YES.”
MankatoLIFE: When and how did you start writing?
I’ve written poetry since I was a girl. I started writing fiction in 2003, about eighteen months after a high school classmate called me and told me she’d had a crush on me in high school. The two thoughts that went through my head when she made that admission were 1) that explains a LOT, and 2) that would make a good novel.
MankatoLIFE: How did you learn to write?
I practiced. A lot. I read and I wrote.
MankatoLIFE: What is the process for completing a finished work?
Write. Edit. Submit. Get feedback. Rewrite. Edit. Submit. Get feedback. Rewrite. Edit. Submit. Then someone finally says YES.
MankatoLIFE: How long does it take to complete a novel?
Writing a book can take years, especially when you’re like me and have a full-time job.
The quickest I’ve ever written, sold, and published a book is 3.75 years. The longest writing/sale/publishing process was eight years.
There’s usually 18 months to 2 years between book sale and publication, so when it takes a while to write a book, the time frames just get REALLY long.
“We have stellar writers in Minnesota, and it’s an honor to be part of their community.”
MankatoLIFE: Are there others doing this locally?
Oh yes–we have a great writing community in Mankato, and in Minnesota as a whole.
We have stellar writers in Minnesota, and it’s an honor to be part of their community. I belong to a writing group, and we’ve been meeting for almost 15 years. So we are the local writers we care most about.
MankatoLIFE: What is your favorite part of the process?
Revising after the first draft, and making the story better.
MankatoLIFE: What has surprised you?
I had no idea I could write a novel. None. I was shocked as hell when I finished my first one. Now I’m getting ready to start my sixth. Four have been sold, three have been published, one will be published in April.
MankatoLIFE: Is your work available for sale? Where can we find it?
MankatoLIFE: Do you have any short stories to tell?
Too many to list.
A woman found my first book in a midtown Manhattan Barnes & Noble and emailed to tell me my grandmother had been her music teacher. She’d been raised in Nebraska, where my first book is set, and my first novel is dedicated to my grandma.
I found out an invention I mention in my second novel was created by a client of the wife of the first man I did research with for the book.
The serendipity involved in writing is pretty great. Readers are also pretty great–the best, actually.
“I love the beauty of Minnesota. Folks are generally kind, and everything is manageable. Kato is also a GREAT place to raise a son! We have fantastic schools”
MankatoLIFE: How long have you been in the Mankato area? Where did you come from?
I’ve lived in North Kato for 18 years, 5 years in Lake Crystal before that, before that in Mankato and St. Peter.
I was raised in Cozad, Nebraska (on the eastern edge of western Nebraska), and then I went to school in Lincoln. I got here because my Lake Crystal-raised husband was also going to school in Lincoln. We weren’t intending to come back here, but we did.
We left Nebraska on Sunday, August 16, 1992, and our son was born on Sunday, August 16, 1998.
“If we know each other’s story, we’re much less likely to hate each other.”
MankatoLIFE: What are your favorite things about living and working here?
Mankato is a great size (North Kato is even better), and it’s a workable distance from the Cities.
I miss my Great Plains every day, but I love the beauty of Minnesota. Folks are generally kind, and everything is manageable. Kato is also a GREAT place to raise a son! We have fantastic schools.
MankatoLIFE: What else do we need to know about you?
Stories are the most important things we have as humans. They’re the way we understand the world, the way we teach ourselves about the world, and if we know each other’s story, we’re much less likely to hate each other. One of the keys to creating a better world is to stop and listen to each other’s stories.