10 Questions With… Author Kristin Rae

By far the best thing about social media (in my opinion) has GOT to be the people you meet and the resulting relationships. If not for the blogging world, I would’ve never come across Texas writer Kristin Rae many years ago. And that, my friends, would be a travesty.

Not only is Kristin the author of WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN (available May 6, 2014 from Bloomsbury), she’s a photographer, a painter, a singer, a crafter, and an overall lovely, caring human being. What can I say? The girl puts the rest of us to shame with her creativity and multitasking abilities.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Kristin and chat about her upcoming book release, her lifelong love of music, and how it feels to have a book baby and a real baby due in the same year.

Hope you enjoy the interview!

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Welcome to All The Write Notes ‘10 Questions With…’ series, Kristin!

1 – Before we begin, can you tell our readers a little bit about WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN?

Girl goes to Italy for a boring summer art program, ditches it, lies to her parents, lies to the school, sets out on her own to explore Italy and work on her photography portfolio, hoping to fall in love with an Italian in the process. Enter cute American archaeology student that she keeps running into everywhere. You’ve heard of magical realism, well think of my little book as fairytale realism. I may have just made that up, but it feels accurate!

2 – I loved reading all about Italy and seeing the country through Pippa’s eyes. Is it true your own trip to Italy (and the photographs you took there) inspired certain scenes in the book?

Yes! I went to Italy with hubs and some friends of ours in 2009 and I took hundreds of photos, most of them of the Colosseum haha! When I sat down to write ITALIAN, I looked back through all my pictures and fell in love all over again with a portion of the Italian Riviera called the Cinque Terre. I knew I had to give Pippa a reason to spend a lot of time there. The photos I took also inspired me to give Pippa a love of photography as well. I thought that by describing the setting through the eyes of a photographer, the reader would be able to truly visualize everything along with her. I want readers to feel like they’ve seen a bit of Italy after reading my book.

Here’s a few of the Italy shots that inspired the story. (Note: if you love these and want to see more, you can always visit Kristin’s Etsy HERE.)

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3 – Speaking of Italy… are you still giving away swag to those who preorder a copy of the book before May 6, 2014?

Yes I am! For every pre-order, I’ll send you a personalized bookplate and two signed bookmarks. (Guys…I can attest that these are worth it! They’re adorable.)

CLICK HERE for all the details!

4 – Many writers are often inspired by music. Who are a few of your favorite artists and are there any particular songs that resonated with you while you were writing WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN?

I’m always listening to Switchfoot. This has been a constant since I was about eighteen. But as far as what music influenced my writing while working on ITALIAN, that would have to be Mindy Gledhill’s entire album Anchor. I listened to it so much, I like to think her music is in Pippa’s head as she explores Italy. It’s just so airy and sweet and perfect. I even thanked Mindy in my acknowledgements!

5 – I’m not sure many people know this about you…but you used to sing in a band, correct? (Um, yeah. That just happened. I totally outed you. Isn’t that what friends are for?)

Ha! Old school! Yes, I was in a band back in college and a couple years after. It was such a fun time in my life, creating that kind of art with friends.

6 –But you didn’t JUST sing in a band…you also wrote some of the songs, right? Is that what originally got you addicted to novel writing? How did that transition happen?

I did write most of the lyrics for our original songs, and I still enjoy stringing phrases together in song form. I have stacks of songs just waiting for a melody! When the band began to fizzle (members were getting married and starting families, careers, etc.), I was sad that this opportunity for me to sing fizzled with it. But I realized something: for as much as I enjoyed singing, I was just okay at it. It was the songwriting that I had more talent for. I’d already had a story idea in my head (the voices! So many voices! Haha), so I just shifted the focus on novels instead.

7 – Is there a certain song/lyric you wrote that still sticks with you today? One that you were super proud of and loved?

What’s Your Rush is probably my favorite song I had a hand in. I wrote most of the lyrics, and helped with the melody/harmonies. We recorded a demo of it just as our band was transitioning into a different band, but we couldn’t get our schedules organized enough to practice, so it was the last song we wrote. One of my favorite parts: “Shine a light to the night sky / watch the stars get brighter / we can send a wish out into the sea / and hope the night goes on forever.” I think it’s still with me because when I was young, I used to shine a flashlight up to the stars and I’d swear it made them brighter. I even worked that little story into one of my books. And of course, I love the chorus: “What’s your rush? You don’t have to go just yet / What’s your hurry, love? There are no hours tonight.” And yes, I’m planning to use the lyrics in a future book. They must live on!

8 – Any chance you’d let us hear a snippet of singer/songwriter Kristin?

Here’s a demo of What’s Your Rush. My friend Lesleigh sings lead and I did background vocals, but keep in mind we pretty much only did one take of this. It’s a true rough demo!

What’s your rush

(COPYRIGHT 2008 Kristin Rae and Lesleigh Zimmerman)

9 – You also recently had a BIG announcement about another type of baby. The real kind. Whoa. (And congratulations again!) How do you feel having your very first book baby and your very first real baby coming out in the same year?

Thank you! I’m so thrilled, there are no words. I’ve heard once the excitement of the book launch dies down, there’s a droopy feeling of “what now?” But since my book comes out in May, and I have events scheduled throughout the summer with baby showers mixed in, and then my little girl coming in August, I’m hoping the “what now?” won’t really be a factor!

10 – And lastly, where can people find you on the lovely interwebs?

Kristin RaeAbout the Author:

Kristin Rae was born and raised in Texas though her accent would suggest otherwise. She’s addicted to books, music, movies, crafty things, and chocolate. A former figure skating coach, LEGO merchandiser, and photographer, she’s now happy to create stories while pretending to ignore the carton of gelato in the freezer. Kristin lives in Houston with her husband and their two boxers.

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Thanks again to Kristin for the great interview! You can preorder her YA debut WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kristin’s local indie bookstore Blue Willow.