Kristy Kiernan on Inconceivable Questions

Kristy Kiernan on Inconceivable Questions

Last month Publishers Weekly was the first to review Kristy Kiernan and her third novel, Between Friends coming April 6, 2010, and THE literary trade journal said:

Kiernan (Catching Genius, Matters of Faith) again demonstrates her ability to portray true-to-life relationships between women. Ali Gutierrez is mother to 15-year-old Letty thanks to the egg donation of her best friend, Cora. Ali wants to have another child, but first has to convince her husband, Benny, and then Cora, to endure the process one more time.

Cora, a free-spirit who’s just returned to America from a teaching excursion in Chile, has news of her own—she has a debilitating genetic kidney disease, and she’s not sure how to break the news to Ali. Meanwhile, Letty’s going through growing pains with her bad-news boyfriend, and when poor choices begin endangering her life, it takes all three of her parents—Benny, Ali, and Cora—to try to save her.

With realistic dialogue and pinpointed emotions, Kiernan paints a persuasive portrait of the bonds between mothers, daughters, and friends in this inspiring, heartbreaking tale.

Intriguing storyline? Kristy’s (early) readers thought so and, in today’s guest post, the author writes about their curious and inconceivable questions.

* * * * *

The most frequent question I get from women who’ve read BETWEEN FRIENDS is if I have dealt with fertility issues or I’ve had personal experience with in-vitro fertilization. I’m sure the fact that I don’t have children makes them even more curious, especially since all of my books have focused heavily on parent/child relationships.

Writers who don’t write women’s fiction always seem to be a bit stunned when I tell them the questions that are asked of me when I go to a speaking engagement or book club. And I’d be willing to be that James Patterson doesn’t have readers asking him if he’s tied up and sexually assaulted women in any underground bunkers.

But this kind of deeply personal exchange is exactly what I love most about the genre I write in and what I love most about my readers.

When readers get so involved in a story that they ask personal questions, it means that they felt the characters (whether they liked them or not) and the situations (whether they’re happy about them or not), were realistic enough that they think I surely must have a deep personal connection to them.

There could not possibly be a higher compliment paid to a writer.

And when friends express dismay about how personal the questions I sometimes get are, I just smile. I might not always choose to answer them, as anyone has the right to choose to not answer personal questions, but I do not consider them an intrusion on my privacy.

They are an honor, and a gift, and I hope to always field them with the dignity that they deserve.

8 thoughts on “Kristy Kiernan on Inconceivable Questions

  1. Kristy, thanks for this insider perspective on how you handle the personal questions. I love how you make the comparison to James Patterson. And you’re right… men don’t seem to be asked those surreal questions about the author’s reality. While I may sound sexist, I love that women readers seem to connect deeply to the soul of the story. I like that they are curious enough to want to know where the seeds of a story come from, and how the writer’s experience informs the story arc. Those questions connect reader to writer in a deeper way, and for me, that’s exactly what I want to have happen every time. Whether male or female, great stories are those we “feel.”

    What a nice write-up to start the post! I’m hooked on Between Friends!

  2. Wow, Kristy, I never thought about the fact that readers might actually ASK the questions directly to the author that they might discuss amongst themselves and their book groups! I have often thought how invasive people get with movies stars and other celebrities, but I guess it would be true for authors as well. I can see how you would take it as a compliment, as the questions would not be asked if the story was not believable and well received, but I cannot imagine fielding such personal questions. The book sounds fabulous and I cannot wait to pick it up!

  3. Hi, Kristy.

    I haven’t read the new book (it’s pre-ordered, though!), but one of the things I enjoyed about your first two novels was that you gave your readers a satisfying ending without having to tie everything up in a neat, preditable happy-ending bow. Women’s fiction for smart women.

    You write with an uncommon integrity and authority, and I can understand why you get the sort of questions from readers that you do. When I read your first two books, I wasn’t thinking as much about what you had experienced personally as how well you understood things that I had experienced or how much certain characters thought about or reacted to issues in the ways I would or in ways people I know well would.

    Waiting for the new book!

  4. Kristy– you have given voice to what I have experienced since the publication of my first book in January. At every reading, at every book group, at every Q & A and yes– even e-mail — readers want to know if this has happened to me– and then when I have to disappoint them by answering no — they want to know if I know anyone this has happened to. At first I was taken aback– now I know it is a great compliment that somehow the characters and situations I have created have become so real — they are sure it can’t be “made up.” I think — in my limited experience– that women writers seem to be more accessible than men — at least in terms of a readers emotional reaction to the story. This doesn’t mean women aren’t serious writers who write “weepies” and “trauma of the week” stories — I just think it has to do with voice — perhaps the empathetic voice — or the “every woman” voice — whatever it is — I am grateful to evoke such a reaction.

  5. Fantastic reading. The author has found a respectable method in which to field the personal and sometimes, odd, questions that one in the public eye receives. No doubt, the inquiries will increase as her obvious talent demands and garners much deserved attention.

  6. Kristy: Can you tell me the best hour of the day to get pregnant? Is it night time? Or early morning? Is it true that standing on your head helps the eggs find the sperm?

    Seriously, good luck with this great new novel. Another, deep, fascinating look at relationships. You have a gift, girl.

  7. Thanks all, for the read and the comments–just exactly what I’m talkin’ about! The connections, the conversation.

    Ad, there’s a very, very special place in the conversation for you 😀 And the answer is: 8:27 p.m.

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