The author of After the Green Withered talks about inspirations, what made her want to be a writer, the independent publishing process and more.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
My seventh grade English teacher was my conduit to the world of poetry
and narratives. It was in her class that I truly began to appreciate the
written word and writing craft. One assignment was the true catalyst to any
internal belief I had regarding an inherent writing ability. We had read the
short story, The Interlopers by Saki, and I had composed an essay based
upon the theme of the narrative. The feedback I received compared my
writing to the author of the story and that was it! My teacher had
engendered a positive self-fulfilling prophecy and I ran with it. From that
point on, I truly began to think deeply about my writing. Of course, much of my early days were spent writing terrible, angst-ridden poetry, but
eventually I began to branch out into bigger projects.
My first published piece of writing was actually curriculum for a zoo exhibit. It was after that event that my aspirations of authorship truly began. There has been numerous story starts over the years and lots of poetry (yes, they have improved since high school and can be found on Twitter and Instagram!). However, writing is currently a passion, not a profession. My hope is to write full time someday and my ultimate goal is to write someone’s favorite book.
Tell me a bit about the independent publishing process. How has it been
I feel so fortunate to be writing at a time when authors can take control of publishing through multiple platforms. The indie author community is
growing and self-published writers are gaining a broader audience and
recognition from the publishing industry. It is with this in mind, that I
decided to self-publish rather than go through a traditional publisher.
Authors who query could be waiting for months or years to be picked up. This
is not something that I wanted to experience. I have stories to tell and want those works in the hands of readers, not sitting in a slush pile. However, self-publishing is not an easy feat. There is a huge marketing
aspect to gaining a readership and I find this part of my journey to be the
most challenging. I am an unknown author and struggle to get my book
into the hands of readers due to the sheer volume of books on the indie and traditional market. And yet, I persevere and have no plans to query at this time. Of course, if an agent or publisher reached out to me, I would
have to strongly consider what path I would take.
Is Enora inspired by a real-life person?
After the Green Withered and Burden of Truth are purely fictional stories,
though they steeped in a world of man’s making – one we are potentially
creating in the present. While the research I did as I crafted the books has
ties to numerous scientific concepts, the context itself doesn’t reflect my
own experiences and the characters are not shaped by people that I
know. A couple of my close friends have mentioned that Enora, my main
character, shows glimpses of me in her dialogue. In fact, one person told
me that a couple of the lines she says are straight from my mouth. While
Enora and I share some foundational characteristics, our personalities are
quite different. The main character in my current work in progress, on the other hand, has a great deal of me in her personality. It’s been a lot of fun creating Terran. She’s a funny, complicated young woman who has many of my mannerisms and humor. People who are close to me will definitely see a
great deal of the person they know when they read about Terran.
Where did your inspiration come from for the ‘After the Green Withered’ story?
I was inspired to write After the Green Withered and the sequel, Burden of
Truth, while completing research for a graduate course I wrote in
environmental education. My course included concepts regarding earth’s
history and, within this, I learned a great deal about the impact humans
have had on the planet. As I studied and composed the course, an idea
began to germinate. What if there was a global drought due to the impact humans have had on the planet? What if water became the global currency? That seedling idea sat with me for a year or so as I finished my course writing and began to teach a few graduate courses. Eventually, I began to write the story but it took a whopping five years to get it from draft to publish! The final push actually came about after I read an article about Cape Town’s water crisis. At the time of the article, it was predicted that Cape Town’s water supply would run dry in April of 2018, not tens of years in the future. Reading this, I knew the story I wanted to tell was incredibly relevant so I buckled down and finished the first book.
Nature and how nature is treated plays a considerable part in ‘After the Green Withered’, has nature played a significant role in your life?
I grew up in a coastal town in Southern California, quite a difference from
where I live now in Connecticut! As a child, I spent summers at the beach,
playing in the sand or visiting the tide pools. One of my fondest memories
is of a time when I was trekking through the tide pools looking at the myriad of creatures tucked within these micro-ecosystems, when I looked
up and saw a seal perched on a rock about twenty feet away. We spent some time just watching each other, both seemingly curious about the
other. Eventually, the tide came in, forcing me to retreat. The seal watched
my departure before slipping off the rock and into the sea. Nature has always been a big part of my life and has truly shaped many of
the things I write. I’m an animal lover, and this trait was indulged in
childhood as my parents allowed me to have pets from lizards to rats. LOL. I still have quite a menagerie at home and enjoy being out in the
woods with my husband and three sons.
In terms of the future, what do you have planned from a writing
perspective? Is the goal to keep building the ‘After the Green Withered’ series, or branch off into something new?
There are numerous stories swirling around in the miasma of my brain! As
for Enora’s journey, her story concludes in the sequel, Burden of Truth. A
few readers have asked me if I would consider writing a third installment of this series and I have been mulling over writing a book in the same world, but with a different storyline and main character. It would actually be Ander’s story, from the sequel, and could include some appearances from characters in the original storyline.
My current work in progress is due out this year. Rise of Gaia is a YA SciFi-fantasy crossover with an environmental theme.
Here’s a quick blurb to give you a sense of the story:
Beneath rock and soil, trees and oceans, she lies.
Under concrete jungles and poisoned rivers, she slumbers.
She is Mother Earth.
And mankind has turned its back on its mother.
The visions begin on Terran’s seventeenth birthday. Horrifying images pummel her brain, while a voice commands her to see beyond
the world she thought she knew and into the heart of it. Gaia has
awakened, brought to consciousness by the greed of a species that has tainted every aspect of her being in a tide of indifference. With
this awareness, comes rage. Gaia calls upon her children to unleash
her fury, wreaking vengeance on humanity.
Terran will emerge in a world on the brink of collapse, to face a being
whose wrath is beyond imagining.
About the Author
Kristin Ward has loved writing since middle school but took thirty years to do something serious about it. The result is her Best Indie Book Award-winning novel, After the Green Withered, followed by the sequel, Burden of Truth. She lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, three sons, and many furry and feathered friends. A SciFi geek to the core, she is fueled by dark chocolate and coffee and can be heard quoting eighties movies on a regular basis.