Thursday 11 July 2024

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A Cup of Conversation with YA author Kristy Jo Volchko


I have connected with many authors, writers and people involved in all things writing and Kristy has been one of those women who I clicked with immediately. We have the same can-do attitude, love our Twitter banter and are supportive of all our writer friends. So it is with much excitement that I introduce Kristy to you and I just know that you will love her just as much as I do as she reveals who influenced her own writing style, how the fun of the 80s growing up have slipped into her books and much more! 


A little word from Kristy…

Thank you for having me on A Cup of Conversation, it’s great to be here. Hello, readers! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far.

1. When did you start writing creatively?

I’ve created songs, poems, and stories since childhood. There was always some limerick, jingle, or budding tale bouncing around my brain. In my 20s, I entered poetry contests, read my unpublished stories to kids, wrote music (I was in a blues band). It wasn’t until the last few years I decided (and was able) to focus on writing full-time. The writing was always present; it just evolved from a simple pleasure to an unquenchable thirst. I love writing!

2. Which author has most influenced your own writing style?

I’m not sure I have any one particular style. Each project seems to have a life & style of its own. Every book and author I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way.

3. What personal experiences are reflected in your writing?

Well, for Mall Hair Maladies, it’s my undying love of the 80s! I absolutely love the pop culture of that decade.

4. Of all your published books, which is your favourite and why?

They’re all my babies, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be one of my children’s books, Operation Scrub-A-Dub Skunk. Siggy Skunk is ostracized everywhere he goes because of something he can’t help; his smell. When he finally makes friends, they try hard and change his odor but it’s impossible. He is, in fact, a skunk. How many times have we been left out? Left someone out? Tried to change someone? Had someone try and change us? The lessons in this book about acceptance and tolerance are wonderful.

5. Kristy, tell us a little about your latest book Mall Hair Maladies

It’s a teen/coming-of-age story set in the year 1985. When the radio DJ announces that Madonna is coming to Pittsburgh in May, best friends, Randi & Tanya will do just about anything to score those tickets! As the concert date approaches, they’re getting more desperate by the hour and things get out of control fast. They just have to see their idol live! In the meantime, they learn some valuable lessons about life, love, friendship, and how one night can change everything.

6. What are you working on at the moment/what’s next?

This week, I worked on revisions for the second installment of the Mall Hair Maladies series, illustration details for my fifth Cackleberry Creek release, and I’m about halfway through editing a young adult fantasy I’ve been working on.

7. Where do you write and do you have a writing routine?

Although I have a lovely home office, I end up dragging all my writing supplies/gear down to the living room where I set myself up on an ultra-comfy reclining sofa in front of a sunshiny bay window (where I can see and hear the birds), with pillows propped all around me—under legs, behind back, neck, between my right armpit…basically, I’m writing on a woman-made cloud. The scenery, breeze, lighting…it’s way better than my office. As for a writing routine? I wish I were that disciplined.

8. Are the designs for your covers inspired by your own creativity and vision or do you have a designer?

I envision the cover in my mind and do my best to convey that to the graphic artist.

9. Who edits your work? Is it something you do or do you have a professional editor?

I used two different editors for my last release—Eve Arroyo and Kat Helgeson.

10. What’s your favourite go-to snack when writing?

Chocolate chips, homemade apple juice (frozen into Italian ice cups), and apple rice cakes.

11. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy and why?

I’m not built to be confined. It’s so hard for me focus when it’s sunny and beautiful because I want to go out and play. And summer nights…I want to go out and play. Summertime is hardest for me to stay in and write when I just want to run, run, run. Who can come in the house, kick off their roller skates and start writing? Not me! A new episode of The Gong Show is about to start in five minutes. See? Balance is something I’m still hoping to master.

12. What advice would you give to someone looking to write their first book?

Do it, do it, do it! If it’s your dream, you owe it to yourself. Don’t be embarrassed, afraid, discouraged. But be warned, it’s addictive!

13. What two things frustrate you the most about the writing industry?

As with any industry, it’s not always about the art itself, but the marketing game, who you know, the cliques, review-trolls and saboteurs. This business isn’t for the thin-skinned, and most writers/artists are sensitive beings. I used to get furious seeing real, hard-earned reviews deleted by the dozens for no reason whatsoever. Now, who cares? Also, the stigma attached to self-publishing. It’s getting old.

14. Are you a planner or a pantser?

I wish I were more of a planner, but I’m 85% panster. I allow the story to unfold however it needs to.

15. What’s on your current to-do list?

Haha, do we have all day?

Thank you so much, Soulla. Have a fantastic summer, everyone!

And huge thanks from me too to all of you and until next time Happy Reading, Happy Writing, Happy YOU! Soulla xxx







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