Author Interview with Kirstin Pulioff
I’m hosting an interview with author Kirstin Pulioff today, the author of YA/MG fantasy novel “The Escape of Princess Madeline”. I’m glad Kirstin was willing to answer some of my questions!
1) When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I think a part of me has always known that I wanted to be a writer. Growing up, in elementary school I used to listen to plays or watch movies and then re-write them from my perspective into little notebooks. I began to write my first story in 7th grade, then again throughout high school and college. Writing has always been my form of creative expression. Some people draw, some cook, and I write.
As a stay at home mom, I am constantly teaching my kids to follow their dreams, that no one can limit them on what they can do. Then one day, I told myself the same thing- it was time to live my dreams and really focus on what I wanted for my career.
2) What inspired you to write The Escape of Princess Madeline?
“The Escape of Princess Madeline” began as an escape for me. I actually wrote this book several years ago, while working in an office. That position didn’t fulfill my creative needs, so on my lunch breaks, I began writing. One day, over my tomato and cucumber salad, as I was doodling in my notebook, a light bulb went off in my head. Suddenly, this story began unfolding in my mind … every day during lunch, I picked up where I had left off, and a month and a half later, the first draft was finished.
I have always gravitated towards the fantasy genre. Growing up, even as young as elementary school, I wanted to be whisked away to a far off land with princesses and castles and knights, but what I found was that most fantasy novels were a struggle to read due to them being above my reading level. So when I began writing and as ideas began to flow through my mind, I really wanted to capture something that a younger reader, a teen, and even an adult would enjoy.
3) Who was your favorite character to write about and why? Which character did you like the least?
I loved creating Princess Madeline. To me, she combined so many struggles that women face growing up and became a protagonist that was easily relatable to as a positive example. It was important to balance the hard and soft qualities of her – her rashness with intelligence, her stubbornness with strength, and her defiance with vulnerability.
My least favorite character is one of the suitors, Prince Paulsen. He is a calculating, devious, and handsome man. He’s that bad boy that you need to watch out for.
4) What was the most difficult thing about writing The Escape of Princess Madeline?
The most difficult part of writing the book was deciding what I wanted to do with it. It was one thing to write this book for myself, but it was an entirely different thing getting myself ready to send it out. Sending your book out for editing, for reviews, for publication really subjects yourself to a new level of scrutiny, rejection, and insecurity. It’s putting a piece of yourself out there, and waiting to see if it gets stomped on or picked up. While I loved my book, there was no guarantee that others would, or that my vision would translate to another person as complete as it did for me. It was a new level of vulnerability that I needed to get used to.
5) How long did it take you to write The Escape of Princess Madeline from start to finish?
Start to finish was a long time-7 years. The first draft took a month and a half to write, during lunch breaks. At that point, I was just writing for fun. After a few months break, I picked it back up and edited it, and put it away again. Shortly after that, I became pregnant, and the next 5 years was spent entirely focusing on the family and being a mom to our two kids.
After having an epiphany that directed me towards pursuing my writing career, I got back to work. I put the final edits together, sent off queries, and crossed my fingers for a year before I got my acceptance letter from Malachite Quills Publishing.
6) Do you write every day, or only certain days a week?
I try to write every day. My primary job is being a stay at home mom to my kids, and that takes 100% of my focus during the day. In the evenings after the kid’s bedtime, I am lucky if I am able to write for a couple of hours. My primary writing time is on the weekend, when I can leave for a few hours and write while my husband watches the kids.
7) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
My only advice is to always stay true to yourself and never give up. The only person who can live your dreams is you, so don’t give up.
8) Are you working on something right now? If so, can you tell us more about it?
I am currently working on the sequel, “The Battle for Princess Madeline.” Now that Princess Madeline has found her future, how far will she go to protect it- a true battle between good and evil.
Thanks for answering my questions, Kirstin!
About The Escape of Princess Madeline
The Kingdom of Soron is known for many things, its rolling landscape, haunting history, fiery sunsets, and its beautiful princess. Princess Madeline woke on her sixteenth birthday to realize that her future had been planned out, a life full of privilege, royalty, and boredom… a life with a husband and knight champion that she did not choose. Using her charm, strength and stubbornness, she defies the King at every turn, determined to keep her freedom on her terms.
Freedom quickly turns to disaster as she finds herself seized by a group of wandering bandits. With the kingdom in turmoil over her capture- her Knight Champion eager to prove himself, a group of dedicated suitors determined to win her hand, and a group of exiled wizards join forces to rescue her. Follow Princess Madeline in this adventure to find freedom and love.
Kirstin Pulioff is a storyteller at heart. Born and raised in Southern California, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to follow her dreams and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Forest Management. Happily married and a mother of two, she lives in North Plains, Oregon, and enjoys being a stay at home mom. When she’s not writing, she is busy with her kids, church and the family business.