Interview with Kristin Billerbeck

Today on Mind Chocolate, we're kicking off our Lit genre spotlight with award-winning author Kristin Billerbeck. She's a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the mother of four, and a very funny lady who isn't afraid to tell it like it is. Her books include the Ashley Stockingdale series, the Spa Girls series, and more.

Kristin, do you have a favorite chocolate indulgence? 

My favorite chocolate indulgence is an Iced Soy Mocha with two pumps of chocolate (not four) from Starbucks. It’s a weird enough order where they make it as I come in…ah, chocolate on demand, is there anything better?

Give your own definition of chick lit.

Chick lit embodies a multitude of women’s fiction. Some chick lit is deep and full of real angst, and some is lighthearted, fun beach reads. The thing they all have in common is “voice”. Chick lit is generally told in first person, and it’s about the way one character sees the world. It’s her worldview. Her character study. It has been said Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is the mother ship for all chick authors. She skewered the society of her day (when a woman’s value was only in how well she married). The humor is wry and ironic –very much like today’s chick lit.

You once made this prediction about chick lit: "I feel that it will peak, and that those who write good fiction will be left, and the genre as a talking point will die. Leaving those who really love the genre to get back to work." Do you feel like you were right? Do you have any other thoughts about the future of the genre?

I am actually surprised at how chick lit has survived and no one is calling it chick lit. I’ve heard humorous women’s fiction, young adult, Glitz, etc. Everything, but…but there are still plenty of chick authors out there and I just saw a commercial for the new Shopoholic book. I have been concentrating more on romance, but I miss the chick lit and the voice, so who knows what’s next?

Do you have any chick lit-like moments from your own life that you could share?

The reason I have no trouble coming up with chick lit moments is my life is made up of them. If they were pearls, I’d have a very long, expensive strand by now. It’s not just that life happens and involves me, it’s that I find great humor in humiliation, be it mine or someone else’s. I feel sympathy for others, and crack up at my own. Go figure.

Do you have any writing quirks?

I have a very short attention span, so I have to bribe myself to stay at the desk. I use espresso and David Crowder music mostly. And I reward words written with email. I have some local writer friends and we meet at a local coffee shop and write “together” – we reward scenes written with conversation.

If you were going to co-author a novel, who would you choose? Why?

I don’t know that I’d want to co-write. Most authors don’t play well with others, but if I had the ability to sit at someone’s feet and watch how they did it, I’d choose Maeve Binchy because her characters are so complete and whole. I’d love to see how she works them into her mind.

What are a couple of your favorite lit novels from the CBA?

There are really a lot I enjoy, but I love Rachel Hauck’s Love Starts with Elle, Tamara Leigh’s Faking Grace, Virginia Smith and Jenny B. Jones (whose voices I just love!). 

Where would you go on your dream “research” trip, and would you take anyone with you? Who?

My dream research trip would be to Thomas Hardy’s England and I’d go the way I saw Jane Austen’s England – ALONE. I like to be lost in my own world and taking in the sights and sounds and the smells.  I live with four kids and a dog, so I like the quiet. I don’t even mind eating in restaurants alone. I experience the world fully that way, and that is the way I like to research.

If you could live in a novel, which one would you choose?

Pride and Prejudice, naturally. I was an Austen-geek at fifteen, and nothing has changed. Now, I’m reading it to my daughter, and she’s well-acquainted with all things Darcy.

If you weren’t a writer, is there another dream career you might be chasing?

I am simply fascinated by how the human brain works, and how we’re all different and experiencing the world differently, so if I had another profession, it would be as a psychiatrist or brain researcher. Even if it were only as someone taking notes on doctors’ work, I find it fascinating.

Finally, share two pieces of advice—one writing-related and one not.

1. Writing is subjective. If it’s in your blood, write, write, write.  Don’t let anyone’s opinion sway you from your mission. Set a goal, make it happen.

2. My other advice would be don’t let other people define you. Strive to be who God made you to be in fullness and don’t pretend to be the Christian Martha Stewart if that’s not how God made you.  People’s judgment doesn’t matter in the end.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Kristin! To learn more about her, check out Kristin's website. She has also graciously offered to give away a copy of her recent release Perfectly Dateless, a fun YA novel. You can get your name put into the hat up to four times. 1. Tweet this link and let us know. 2. Post this link on your facebook and let us know. 3. Follow our blog. 4. Comment below, telling us about your favorite chocolate indulgence.    


Beth K. Vogt said...

Beleive it or not, I'm not a huge chocolate fan. But when I crave it, I want a nice, basic, old-fashioned 3 Musketeers candy bar. Has to be soft--not hard and stale. What a disappointment when that happens!
Fun interview and I liked the 2 pieces of advice at the end.

jenness said...

Oh, I love 3 Musketeers! :-) My favorite candy bar. Good choice, Beth.

Holly Walker said...

Godiva chocolate cheesecake... ;-) Oh, and the interview was great, too! (Priororities, you know?!)

Katie Johnson said...

I just love Kristin. She's a great writer and she has such a quirky sense of humor, she's always surprising me. Great questions you asked, by the way! My fav: dark chocolate covered almonds.

Jessica Geise said...

Loved this! Especially the advice. How exactly do you choose one favorite when it comes to chocolate!? A quick and easy "fix" for me is either Dove chocolate, or a Hershey's milk chocolate Bliss...of course. :)

elizabeth said...

If chocolate can't solve it, then honey you're in a fix! :) Love it.

Helen Bratko said...

Great interview! Go Kristen!

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