Kris Chandler’s first stories were told for cookies. When she was five years old, she was paid in cookies to tell stories to a toddler in her neighborhood. Fortunately, she didn’t stop there. We are delighted that she is teaching at WIFYR this June. Here’s more about Kristen.
Q: When did you know books for kids was the place for you?
A: I started out writing adult novels but teenagers kept taking over my books. Eventually I figured out my characters were trying to tell me something. Also, my first year of teaching I listened to To Kill A Mocking Bird on tape while I was commuting. I had resisted reading it in high school for some reason and just never gotten around to reading it until then. But hearing Scout’s voice in the solitude of my crummy car hypnotized me. I was late for class because I was sitting in the parking lot with my radio on. I realized then that voice was the whole shebang to me.
Q: What is your favorite line that you have ever written or read that someone else wrote and why?
A: YIKES! That’s so much pressure.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
I’m not alone in this of course. But yeah… I think it was Fitzgerald’s favorite line too and it ruined him.
When you are immersed in a book, what makes you know that this is the book you need to write?
I forget I’m writing.
Q: How did you get started in this industry?
A: My neighbor gave me cookies to tell stories to her daughter.
Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?
A: Truthfully? I love teaching! But I was really close to going into law. For ten years I said, “The LSAT’s in November.” Luckily I worked in a law firm to get through grad school so I knew that lawyers made more money than writers and teachers but they didn’t seem too happy about it.
Q: What is your favorite city and why?
A: I try to love wherever I am. But I’m a hardcore travel junkie. I wish I had a place in McLeod, Montana. Maybe because I’ve never been there.
Q: How often do you write a piece before it’s where you think it should be so you can show it to someone else?
A: It totally depends on how good it is and how needy I am.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received for this business we are in?
A: “Do something else if you can.” “Don’t quit your day job.” Totally blew off both suggestions.
Q: What is your best writing exercise to help someone get stronger as a writer?
A: Live and then tell the truth about it.
Q: What does your typical day look like?
A: It looks a lot like my computer. But I get up early and write before my kids get up and then write when they go to school and then do my other writing job at night when they settle down.
Q: What happens when the writing just isn’t coming out as you think it should?
A: I go running or take my dog for walk. Sometimes I whine. I read other writers. Then I work more.
Learn more about Kris, view her WIFYR bio and class information.