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Monday, July 21, 2014

Meet Debut Author, Kimberli Buffaloe

Available at Amazon
I first met Kimberli Buffaloe when she joined the Penwrights Critique group where I was already a member. I soon fell in love with her writing and as our friendship grew, came to love her as a friend. She recently joined the ranks of indie authors with her debut novel Learning to Live Again, written under the pen name of Kimberli McCay, and I’m happy to introduce her to you now, with this interview.

* * *

Kimberli, this is your debut novel. What sparked the story?

The original plot was inspired by a debate I had with my husband, with me setting up the story as I would a chessboard and attempting to move the characters toward checkmate. I was a newbie writer at the time with an agenda, so it was a game I lost. As my writing matured, I dug deeper into the characters’ lives and motivations and found the real story.

What would you do differently if you were starting your publishing career today?

Pray harder, speak less, listen more.

Share a bit of your journey to publication.

After several false starts, my journey began ten years ago after we moved to South Carolina so my husband could attend seminary full-time. We suddenly became empty nesters, and though I worked, I found myself with time on my hands. I joined an online writers’ group, which led me to American Christian Fiction Writers. The story after that is typical of most authors—high points and low, earning publishing credits, and meeting great people.

Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

We live on a half-acre in a neighborhood surrounded by farmland, so I camp out on my sofa with my feet propped on the coffee table where I can gaze out the window and daydream when I need to think through a scene.

What would you do if you didn't write?

I enjoy Carolina history so much, my husband claims I should teach the subject. But I’m a pastor’s wife, so my work has to be flexible and portable. I would love to work at the Caroliniana Room at the University of South Carolina, though.

What issue makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

Discouragement, of course, but when I look back over the years, I can see how that discouragement led to personal and professional growth.

What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer?

Present yourself as a professional, whether at a conference or in an online group. It’s easy to grow comfortable and vent or share too much of your personal life.

Always assume you have more to learn. Listen to those in the industry and to those who provide feedback.

My youngest daughter, a former Airman, participates in Spartan Races. She loves that participants often help one another over difficult obstacles and that they encourage one another toward the finish line. The writing life can easily be compared to those brutal races (though the Spartan finish line is far closer!) so do ye likewise.

Then what 3 things would recommend not doing?

Don’t pass up the opportunity to attend a few writers conferences.

Don’t hope an agent or editor will love your story so much, they’ll overlook the flaws in your writing. They won’t. If an agent or editor requests material, send a well written, polished manuscript.

Don’t ignore an agent or editor’s guidelines.

Some say a writer is born and others say anyone can learn. What do you think?

I believe it’s both. Certainly some authors have a gift for prose, but some have a gift for storytelling, and still others have a story to tell.

What's the strangest or funniest experience you've had in writing?

I embarrassed myself in front an author at a Blue Ridge Conference. Next question.

Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? How do you feel about research?

My preference has switched over the years, and I now prefer editing. That’s where the real crafting begins. Research? Love it.

Do you consider yourself a visual writer? If so, what visuals do you use?

No. Visuals would only confuse me.

Do you work best under pressure or do you write at a leisurely pace??

Definitely under pressure. After my husband accepted a call to a church in an agrarian community, I found myself in the enviable position of having all the time in the world to write. I went from pounding out a draft in thirty to forty days while working full time, to pecking one out in a year as a stay-at-home pastor’s wife.

What are your writing rituals?

If I wanted to accomplish anything, I had to make changes. Following the lead of a professor I know, I started writing for an hour a day. Within the first five days, I had written close to five thousand words. That was motivation enough to continue the schedule. Now I clean my house, then write. I’m generally done before two in the afternoon.

What are your thoughts on critique partners?

I have very warm and fuzzy thoughts about them, especially mine. They do more than offer suggestions and corrections. They challenge me to grow and offer encouragement. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

Any final thoughts?

We sit alone and write, and then we’re faced with the task of promoting ourselves and rising above the competition. Like the Spartan racers, don’t overlook the joy of boosting a straggler over a wall toward the finish line.

Learning to Live Again -- What's it about?

Some women have to forgive their husbands for being unfaithful. Vicky Morgan has to forgive hers for dying.

A year after a botched carjacking turned her into a widow at the age of twenty-five, Vicky meets a former police officer with connections to the crime that wrecked lives and sent her into hiding. She not only learns the fate of the officer injured in the attack, she has support from the only person who can understand what she suffered through that fateful night.

Clay Waters faces an uncertain future after his wife takes an extended vacation from their marriage. Unwilling to risk leaving their son without a parent, he quits his job at the police department. A decision that leaves him feeling useless until he meets the petite recluse who barely survived a face-off with a murderer.

Vicky gives Clay the sense of purpose he wants, and he provides her with protection she needs as she gradually expands her world and renews a faith she once tossed aside for a man. But when friendship turns to love, will the faith teaching them to forgive now keep them apart?

Kimberli's book is available on Amazon

A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, author Pamela S. Meyers lives in suburban Chicago with her two rescue cats, an hour's drive away from her hometown which she visits often to dig into its historical legacy. Her novels include Thyme for Love, and Love Will Find a Way, contemporary romantic mysteries and her 1933 historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. She can often be found speaking at events around Lake Geneva or nosing in Wisconsin and other Midwestern spots for new story ideas.


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