Kirsten Fullmer - Stories that are Concise, Sweet, and Comedic
Kirsten is a dreamer with an eye for art and design. She worked in the engineering field, taught college, and consulted freelance. Due to health problems, she retired in 2012 to travel with her husband. They live and work full time in a 40' travel trailer with their little dog Bingo. Besides writing romance novels, she enjoys selling art on Etsy and spoiling their three grandchildren. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book Hometown Girl Memories.
Please give us a short introduction to what Hometown Girl Memories is about.
Hometown Girl Memories revisits Tara and Winnie, who are featured in book one of the series. In book one Tara falls in love with Justin, now in book six they have been married for several years and Tara is struggling to balance her career and motherhood, as well as keep a spark in her marriage. It’s a different, realistic look at romance rather than the falling in love type romance novel. Winnie, who has spent years alone, is reminded of her own first romance in the tumultuous 60s, giving us yet another look at romance through an older woman’s eyes, looking back and thinking about it as she’s aged.
Tell us more about Winnie. What makes her tick?
Through the first five books of the series, Winnie is the wise matriarch, the loving grandmother, with her own secrets and a past that is unknown to most. She is strong and unwavering. In this story, we find that some of Winnie’s wisdom has been born of pain and loss. Throughout the story, Winnie learns to weave together the separate parts of her life, to open up her heart to her painful past, and see how all of her experiences combined have made her the woman she is.
Why did you decide to write both Winnie and Tara's stories at the same time?
As I look at my ever-evolving relationship with my own husband and watch my grown children getting married and making lives with their families, I’m captivated by how relationships develop and grow. I wanted to write about romance and love at all ages from a woman’s perspective.
What appeals to you about the friends-to-enemies theme?
As I contemplated telling Winnie’s story and the time period she would have been young, the sixties felt very similar to the divisive times we now face. I didn’t want to write about friends becoming enemies as much as I wanted to write about polarizing times that split up families and friendships. I wanted to draw similarities between now and then, to offer some perspective and insight into the things that divide people and how it affects our lives.
Readers say that the book had them crying one minute and laughing the next. How did you pull this off?
Writing about Tara and Winnie together was a great way to switch back and forth between a serious topic and a funny one. Tara has a way of getting a little crazy when she on a roll, so she offered comic relief to the story.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
It’s no secret, but in the last few years I’ve been teaching myself to make digital art and I have opened an Etsy store to sell files for craft cutting machines. Surprisingly, my niche seems to be artwork depicting heavy equipment, like dump trucks and bulldozers. I guess there are not a lot of artists who make such files, but there are people making crafts featuring them!
Why did you pick a small town as the backdrop for your story?
I grew up in a small town so it comes naturally to me, but I find that an interesting, quirky group of characters makes for fun storylines.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I usually spend months thinking about a storyline and working it around in my mind. Once I start writing I work from an outline that helps me stay organized and on track. As I create the story I rework and change or add things, but I need a good strong outline to work from.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
I am not very disciplined until I get a story going, then I can write for hours each day and make a book come to life within a few weeks. I guess I am disciplined when I choose to be.
In this book you’re dealing with so many difficult themes – as a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility? If so, how do you deal with this?
I feel a sense of responsibility to resolve my character’s conflicts, as well as my own wishes about the book. I don’t write to cause conflict or to be controversial, I like to write about women figuring out their own issues in order to make their lives better. We need each other to be strong.
Do you have a favorite line from the book, and can you explain what that line means to you?
At one point in the story, Thomas points out that to have a balance in society we need all types of people with different ideas. This is very important to me because I believe change is important, necessary, and constant, but finding a balance between what is important to preserve and what should be changed in order to progress is a difficult balance to strike. This struggle is not new but has been an ongoing battle for eons. Mutual respect and working together is the only solution. I wanted to show how people’s ideas about issues may change, and this can pull us apart, but in the end, they are still the people we love.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?
My favorite part of the whole story is the relationship between Tara and Winnie. Women helping and supporting women is a theme in my stories and I love that in this book, the bond between the two helps them work through their different personal dilemmas.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on developing two more books for my women at work series.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I always enjoy hearing from readers. I post about upcoming books and can be reached through my website www.authorkirstenfullmer.com
Some readers find it interesting that I travel with my husband for his job. We live full time in a 40-foot travel trailer that I have remodeled inside, and we usually stay in one place for one month to six months at a time. I also have a writing buddy, my little rescue dog named Bingo.