Q&A With Kristin Kisska

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Q&A With Kristin Kisska

Starting off this weekend is my Q&A with author Kristin Kisska. Kristin’s book The Hint Of Light is her debut novel coming out on August 29th. If you don’t have a netgalley or a physical copy of it, preorder The Hint Of Light. 


Q: You mentioned in your authors note that the character of Kyle was based off of someone you knew who suffered from alcoholism. Were any of the other characters based off of people you know?

A: Great question. While no other characters were explicitly inspired by people I know, many scenes were drawn from a montage of my childhood memories. Also, I set the novel in Chicago, a city I lived in for five years. Two of my children were born there, so I’m particularly nostalgic about the setting.

Q: What made you choose to have your debut novel be about a mother grieving the death of her son and finding out she has a granddaughter? 

A: Actually, The Hint of Light was the third standalone novel I’ve written and the second that my literary agent has gone on submission to publishers. It’s also the only novel I’ve written that is multi-generational with a character-driven plot. So, while I didn’t intend this to be my debut novel, I guess it (and my publisher) picked me.

Q: What lessons do you hope readers take away from reading The Hint Of Light?

A: There are two themes I’d like readers to consider. First, different people can look at the same sequence of actions and legitimately draw opposing conclusions. We must understand and appreciate that each of our past experiences and loyalties can skew the lens we are using to assess the information. Secondly, I hope readers leave the novel considering when, if ever, they could believe in redemption, or as we would call it, second chances. 

Q: What is the plot of your second book that you are currently writing right now? 

A: The (as yet untitled) manuscript I’m working on right now is actually my fifth novel. While it’s similar to The Hint of Light in that it is also book club fiction with elements of domestic suspense, this new story centers on two sisters who were separated as children. When reunited as adults, they embarked on a journey to unearth the truth of what happened to their parents. 

But as far as which of my four pre-published novels will be published as my sophomore novel? That’s up to my publisher. Rest assured, as soon as I find out, I’ll let the whole world know! 

Q: Where is your favorite spot where you plot, write, and edit your work? 

A: Favorite writing spot? Under a beach umbrella in The Bahamas. Just kidding (but not really).  

I do my hard-core plotting at my dining room table with a pencil and a pack of colored sticky notes (one note per chapter, one color per POV character). Then, I do 99.9% of my writing and editing in my writer’s cave. I draft best in absolute silence, which can be a little tricky with three kids & a moody tabby cat in my household. So, when I’m on a tight deadline, I usually try to write before anyone wakes up. I’ve met a lot of writers on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) who are also early risers and use #5amWritersClub as a daily gathering space. 

Q: When did you know that being an author was your calling? Who in your family and friends were the most supportive of your talent and goal?

A: My formal education and career were in finance. I earned an MBA and was a banker on Wall Street and then worked in international finance. So, about fifteen years ago, I was as surprised as anyone when I first had the inkling of an idea for a potential novel. My inclination was to find an author to write it. As plot ideas around that inspiration flooded in, I decided to jot down my notes and attempt to write the beast myself. It took years for me to finish the first draft of that first novel, but I kept at it. As one might expect, the manuscript was pretty raw. So, I researched the craft of writing fiction, found a critique group, and set off to revise and edit it until it was polished.  

Back in the day, my husband had hoped my fiction writing days were a phase. But now that I’m on my fifth novel with my debut hitting bookstands, he and my kids are my most ardent supporters. Our cat, however, is less than enthusiastic at all the time I spend at my computer.