Christina Kilbourne | Author
I have the wonderful opportunity to meet and photograph all kinds of amazing human beings.
While they are in studio, it is a privilege to learn about their businesses, or the work they do, their family, their interests, and hear a little bit about their story.
Her writing has been translated into Slovenian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Spanish and Braille. She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers (CANSCAIP).
What inspired you to be an author?
Nothing in particular inspired me to be an author, it was just something I want to do since I was a child. In elementary school I kept a binder of my poems under my desk. I wrote my first chapter story in Grade two. I can’t explain the drive, or need. It’s just in me.
How have your priorities changed from when you first started?
When I first started I was just entertaining myself. Now I work harder to ensure I am creating something that entertains others. Perhaps I should go back to my original priorities! I had so much fun and focus.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
Thinking about my earliest published novels, I think what I should have done more of is to aggressively promote myself. It wasn’t as easy back then – there was no Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. But promoting yourself and your books, is very important. Every book that comes out, I learn more and more how important it is to partner with the publisher to promote a book.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
The challenges are still the same, actually. In fact, some in the business would say the publishing world is more challenging now. Big publishers are merging, leaving fewer options for writers. Small publishers continue to struggle without government grants. And of course, with the big online booksellers, independent booksellers have struggled over the past decade and the indie bookstores are integral to promoting small publishers and their authors. So I have to overcome these challenges with every book. In fact, the publisher of my last three novels has decided not to continue to publish Young Adult books any more, which means the playing field has shrunk once again.
How do you define success?
Personally, I think success is find a way to move through life being happy. But in the writing world, I perhaps I would measure success using the standard metrics – the number of books sold!
What is keeping you up at night?
Hot flashes! But seriously, if I scan the news before bed, that keeps me up at night. COVID, the war in Ukraine, climate change, polarizing politics. There are so many big scary things happening in the world and this is hard to accept. When I am writing a new book, that often keeps me up at night as well as I have to keep turning on the light to write notes in my notebook about plot ideas.
Describe some of your key routines or habits that you have to keep you going?
Regular exercise. I can’t survive without a few hard workouts a week. Getting out in nature as well. These are both crucial elements for me.
Do you, and/or, how do you find time to develop your creative process?
When I work on a book, or am in the middle of edits, I am intensely focused. The creativity sort of takes hold of me and doesn’t let go. So I suppose I don’t have much choice. It takes priority.
What are some hard choices that you had to make to get where you are?
Prioritizing writing over other past-times has at times felt like a sacrifice but in the long run, because I love writing, maybe it wasn’t that hard of a choice.
What book and/or podcast are you enjoying right now?
I am currently re-reading The Famished Road by Nigerian author and Booker Prize winner, Ben Okri. I had read it in 1993 around the time it was published and I was on a 5-month safari in Africa. It seemed like a good time to revisit. It’s an incredible book and I admire any author who can accomplish so much in one epic book. But I also have to give a shoutout to Douglas Stuart’s 2020 Booker Prize winning novel Shuggie Bain. Another epic read. Incredible story telling. Both are masters, naturals.
What is one thing people would never guess about you?
I flew to Vietnam and returned home after 23 hours on the ground because of COVID. We’d left about 12 hours before Canada called all citizens to come home so pretty much had to book flights home when we landed. What a fiasco! But seriously, my newest book, an optimistic dystopian, The Limitless Sky, is my 10th published novel!
What is one thing you wish people knew about you?
I’m actually an introvert! Nobody believes me but I am very shy by nature. (Peter - Umm Christina, not sure I believe this! :))
Where can you find Christina?
Be sure to follow Christina here:
Books written by Christina Kilbourne:
- The Limitless Sky
- Safe Harbor
- The Flickering Light
- They Called Me Red
- Where Lives Take Root
- Free Like Sunshine
- The Roads of Go Home Lake
- Day of the Dog-Tooth Violets
- Dear Jo
Peter Istvan Photography
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