Welcome Kristen Joy Wilks
 
What is your writing schedule like?
 
Since we live out of town in the mountains and I have to get my sons up at 6:00 AM and then drive five miles to the bus stop, that often means a 4:00 AM writing time. Sometimes I have to start the generator so that I'll have lights and power for my laptop. But it is indeed possible to brave the crisp, early morning air and get that sluggish machine going if I have a good cup of coffee and a warm quilt waiting when I rush back inside.
 
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
 
I notice the funny things in life that other people miss and turn them into the bits and pieces that brighten my story. Like that time a homeless man refused to take a bag of snacks from me because I offered him an NIV Bible. He only read King James and not only despised the granola bars that had been tainted by my chosen version of the Bible, but also gave me a stern lecture about the state of my soul! Then there was the time my husband gave me a piggy back ride over the river … and dropped me. Or when we had a rampaging squirrel loose in our house. Or how much fun my sons had reading the terrifying warning signs in Yellowstone National Park. There was even a sign which showed in pictures not to throw cigarettes, pop cans, or Airedale dogs into the hot springs! Although, some may have interpreted it as saying not to litter or take your pet onto the boardwalks.
 
How much of the book is based in real life?
 
A fictionalized version of our family does drive through the story if you can spot them. Our family did go on Vacation to Yellowstone when my sons were 12, 10, and 8. We left our dog behind, but saw lots of ways she could have gotten into trouble while there. We did indeed drive to Yellowstone in an old van with the windows stuck half down, no AC, and Weird Al music blaring.At least two nights we were so busy that we forgot to eat dinner and then realized that all the restaurants were closed so we subsisted on oreos dipped in PB.
 
My grandmother actually did have a bear bluff charge her just like in the story. It was a black bear near our house, but grizzlies will do the same thing.
 
When my mother was a girl, and it was legal to feed bears, she once watched her father feeding marshmallows to a bear (the park used to encourage this) and then her Dad decided that the bear had had enough but the bear disagreed and chased him around and around the campfire while his wife and children hid in the camper laughing at him. The bear won. He finally tossed the bag of marshmallows over his shoulder and made a run for their vehicle. The scene in Yellowstone Yondering with the grizzly, the marshmallows, and the campfire was inspired by this real family story.
 
What makes this book special to you?
 
In Pure Amore titles, one character must have chosen sexual abstinence. After talking with one of our amazing camp counselors about her experience with her teen campers one summer, I made that character the guy in Yellowstone Yondering. I actually found that it is far harder to write this way. It's interesting how God asks for this from both men and women, but our culture makes it seem like a girl's choice when it is simply a godly choice for both genders. It stretched me as a writer and I hope that my girl character who overcomes her difficult past to become a new creation in Christ and my guy who uses his strength to honor God and choose sexual purity will inspire readers that yes, God loves them so so much regardless of their mistakes and yes, He can give them the strength to choose Him in every aspect of their lives!
 
What is the spiritual takeaway for your reader?
 
There is victory over your past and future in Jesus.
 
What is your hero's main character flaw?
 
He is a perfectionist.
 
What is your heroine's main character flaw?
 
She lives life by the seat of her pants, dealing with it as it rushes down upon her and not a moment sooner.
 
What can readers learn from your villain?
 
The dangers of living for themselves.
 
What makes your hero heroic?
 
He sacrifices himself to care for her.
 
what makes your heroine heroic?
 
She may not see the dangers of the park right away, but she notices the dangerous chemistry between her and the hero and keeps them from making a mistake physically.

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