This week's author is Wisconsin native Kris Radish. Her latest book, "The Sunday List of Dreams" came out earlier this year. She continues to live and work here in Wisconsin.
WN: Your new book came out in February. What’s it about and what kind of reader should make sure they read it?
RADISH: The Sunday List of Dreams is a story that catches the powerful spirit of a mother daughter relationship and addresses a woman's right to own her sexual self - no matter how old she is or what the rest of the world is trying to tell her. It is also a book about dreams - not just writing them down and thinking about them but actually living them. This story is very real. It will make you laugh out loud at the adventures dreams can give you and because the book is a reflection of so many women's lives - it's really true fiction. The story will also make you cry on a few pages as my work always deals with emotions that are real. The Sunday List will push anyone who dares to read it to not only make a list of dreams but to let go of the designs of life that someone else might have drawn for you - the journey is often more important than the destination. A reader who likes to be entertained, challenged and who wants to gain some personal insights shuld pick up this book like right now and start making her or his - if he is brave - list of dreams.
WN: Empowering women seems to be a theme in your books. Did you intend that when you started writing?
RADISH: Oh yes. I have always had fire in my heart and soul to tell it and write it like it is and to share my own life and feelings with women. I think knowing that someone else has been there, that anything is possible, that you are really never alone because there is a sister right down the street - is like a constant gift. I do not write just to write or to tell a story but to share my passions, and causes, and feelings and to empower women to be and do all they can be. Can you see me jumping up and down right now????? Go, hurry, fly like the wind....anything is possible.
WN: What different about writing novels and writing your column?
RADISH: Some days nothing is different because I am taking an issue and forming it into something readable and powerful. As a trained journalist I love knowing and being involved in current events and what I love about my fiction work is that I can blend all my life experiences as a woman, mother, sister, lover, friend, journalist, daughter- all the pieces that I am into my stories - as a journalists there is always - well there is supposed to be - a wall between you and the facts. I love them both but if I had to pick - I would pick novelist without blinking an eye. I love it - absolutely. If I had any more fun someone would arrest me.
WN: Did you always want to be a writer, or how did you end up being a novelist? Did you do anything else that helped you become a writer?
RADISH: I have been a writer my entire life. I knew when I was about 13, a little girl growing up in Big Bend, that I would one day be a writer and travel the world and write books and articles. I have a degree in journalism and have spent 30-plus years doing that and my work now as a novelist is a very natural extension for me. I have stories and characters and events and issues to tackle piled up all over my office - it's a wonder I can get in the door. I was also a voracious reader and still am. Reading was my launch pad for my life's work and really for everything that I do. Also, just like in The Sunday List of Dreams, I'm getting a little teared up here - honest - I never, ever let go of my dream to get to the place I am at now. I have worked so very hard to get here and even in the toughest of times I never took my fingers off the part of my heart that knew, just always knew, one day I would be right here.
WN: What’s the best part of being a writer to you? What’s the most challenging part of writing for you?
RADISH: There are so many "best" parts but what I am doing right this second - composing a sentence, putting words down onto paper - that is what makes my heart beat so fast. I love that moment when the character taps me on the shoulder and says, "Kris, take me to New York". I love when I read back through a chapter as a reader, not a writer, and I am crying and laughing and feeling - I so want to make my readers feel. But, I also very much love interacting with the women who read my work. They are a huge part of what I do and I have very strong connections to them. So I am maybe the only author who loves to tour and do events. It is where I get my fuel. I also answer all my emails - this is a part-time job in itself but very important for me and a way I can honor the women who contact me and share their own stories and hearts.
WN: What’s next for you as a writer?
RADISH: I am editing my next novel, Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA that will be released in January of 2008 and doing some research and travel for the book after that which I have started to write. I will be doing some summer touring as well and then I hope one day this summer I can sit in the backyard all day with a bottle of red wine.
WN: What is the best/most influential book you have ever read and why did it inspire you?
RADISH: It would have to be a toss up between The Secret of Shadow Ranch - yes, a Nancy Drew Mystery and my Girl Scout handbook. Nancy Drew because those were the books that inspired me to adventure and to write. I keep Shadow Ranch by my desk. The Girl Scout Handbook because I am 53 years-old and Girl Scouts was a huge part of my life before girls were allowed to do almost anything. My scouting years were empowering, fun, wild, fabulous and using the handbook - we designed a world that was whatever we wanted it to be. That is what I do now every single time I sit down to write.