by Jennifer Dyer
I’m so excited to welcome Kristen Joy Wilks to my series called Authors, Books, & Chocolate where we get to know authors and their books. We’ll be talking about THE VOLK ADVENT, her Gothic Christmas Mystery.
What a beautiful cover. I can almost feel the snow and the biting cold, something we didn’t experience in my part of Texas this year. And I love wolves.
About the author…
I’m so excited to have you here today, Kristen! Tell us a little about yourself:
What’s the craziest thing you’ve eaten?
Kristen: My Korean friend Meesook showed me how to cook grasshoppers fried in honey, a fun treat from the farm where she grew up and of course when my younger brother cooked frog’s legs (yes he also caught the frog, but he assured me that its demise was quick) then yes, I sampled his cooking.
Um…well…um… Yep. That’s pretty adventurous of you! And I’m sure some of the things I eat probably sound adventurous to other people, right?
What’s your favorite reading spot?
Kristen: We live in the mountains on an alpine meadow and there is this spot beside an old bleached out log in the forest where a small glade of razor grass grows. Occasional tiger lilies grow up through the pine needles and the sunlight is warm on your back as you stretch out on an old quilt with a cup of iced tea and a package of Ramen noodles to nibble for a snack. Reading perfection.
I wanna come visit you!
What’s your favorite writing spot?
Kristen: My Hubby bought this overstuffed chair and a half that I park myself in early in the morning before my 3 rowdy boys awaken. I grab a cup of Scottish breakfast tea and a scrambled egg for breakfast, read a few industry blogs while my eyes creak open, and then get to work all wrapped up in an old quilt with my furry dog sleeping nearby. Sure, the laundry isn’t exactly folded yet, but the house is silent and when the first light of dawn brushes against the night sky, it is a beautiful place to write.
An overstuffed chair with a furry dog nearby sounds awesome!
About the book…
So, tell us about your awesome book, THE VOLK ADVENT…
An orphaned Siberian teen loses her job and home on Christmas Eve. Left on the streets to freeze, Faina flees to an abandoned castle for shelter. At the castle, she discovers the animal-torn body of a local recluse. No wonder Eurasian wolves are not recommended for the first-time pet owner. Can a girl with no past, preserve her future from accusations of murderer and a pack of escaped wolves?
Sounds like a great and suspenseful read! I can’t image how difficult it would be to flee through the Siberian winter to find shelter.
As far as age level and intensity goes, would you describe your book as…
Kristen: Milk chocolate: Rated PG, ages 8 & up, although The Volk Advent was written for teens, my eight-year-old read and enjoyed [it] and there isn’t anything that was inappropriate for him.
Did you cry while writing this book?
Kristen: Yes. I wept when I wrote this [following] moment because something like that, you pull from deep inside and give it to this character that you are attempting to bring to life. You may not have lived it, but you have felt it, somewhere, sometime, and you gift all of this to your character and hope that she will shine.
I had arrived in Siberia on the wings of tragedy. Chaos and murder and the best of intentions gone wrong. But I had not stayed there. No longer was I that broken little girl, trapped in a place without love. I had given my heart to those around me. I had rocked babies until my love was spent and learned to keep rocking them, even then. I had left Ms. Melora and her cold, efficient ways behind and forged something new.
The evil in life is so palpable that it could snatch away one’s breath and freeze one as surely as the relentless cold of a Russian storm.
But God had not walked away when tragedy took me by the hand.
I had become something else in the moment our plane crashed. And now I was changing again. I had become a Russian, an orphan, a different girl than before. It wasn’t for a grand noble reason. It was all an accident.
But He had done the same for me. God put off his royal robes and donned a dusty tunic. He had accepted the insults of the priests devoted to serve Him, and a bloody end nailed high for all to see.
Could I refuse to live the life I found myself in, when I knew that He had lived out such a terrible change for my salvation? For the salvation of us all?
He had helped me chose love when I could have filled myself with hate. God had showed me that good things come even in the midst of the darkness.
Though nothing made sense, I was not abandoned. God was at work. His powers extended beyond our ability to destroy.
Is there a character you wanted to smack and why?
Oh my, Ms. Melora, my villainess in The Volk Advent is a traditional evil headmistress character and was so fun to write. But I also tried to understand how disappointed she would be, having followed all the rules of her government, trying to do her best, only to have that government fall to pieces around her and have all the rules change in an instant. It would be so hard and very easy to descent into bitterness.
Yeah, I wanted to smack Ms. Melora too. But you’re right about her being a victim too. Good point. She reminded me a bit of Miss Hannigan from Annie.
You and your main character are in a restaurant that only serves chocolate. What would you both order and why?
Kristen: Faina from The Volk Advent would order this really yummy Russian chocolate I found online. Vecherniy Zvon, Praline chocolate candies with crushed peanut and grated cashew and a Hazelnut on the top of a dome covered in chocolate.
Um! Yum! I had to look it up. Yeah, I could order some of those myself.
Since we’ve been talking about food, do you have a favorite Volk Advent-themed recipe to share with us?
Kristen: Here is a Russian Recipe, my hubby’s favorite from when I tested the ones that I included in the books. It’s very yummy.
Kristen Joy Wilks lives in the beautiful woods of the Cascade mountains with her camp director husband, three fierce sons, and a large and slobbery Newfoundland dog. She spent her misguided youth falling in love with Commander Spock via Star Trek reruns, being suspended upside down over a homemade pit filled with gardener snakes, and stampeding herds of elk while on horseback. Now most of her adventures consist of preventing her hubby from filling another wall of their dining room with board games, thwarting her 3 boys’ efforts to sneak their pet chickens onto their bunk beds whenever she turns her back to fold laundry, and trying not to trip over the random teenagers that swarm her house to play all those board games. Kristen can be found tucked under a tattered quilt in an overstuffed chair at 4:00am writing a wide variety of dramatic tales or at www.kristenjoywilks.com.
Order her awesome book, THE VOLK ADVENT, here.
Thanks for joining us. And thank you to Kristen for taking the time to join us.
Kristen, I can’t wait for you to finish your next book so we can interview you again and hear the story about you digging the pit and filling it with gardener snakes so that you could dangle each other over top of it like villains in the movies…
And you, dear readers…
Have you read any of Kristen’s novellas?
Do you have a favorite Russian recipe?
And what would you order at an all-chocolate restaurant?
See you in the comments!
More interviews coming soon!
See our interview with YA supernatural suspense author Beth Teliho here.