Hi! This is Kim Fielding, here to celebrate the release of Convicted. It’s Book 5 in the Bureau series, but as with the other books, you can read it as a standalone.
Have you ever taken a trip to research a story? Tell me about it.
I guess it would be more accurate to say that my trips inspire my stories, and everything I do while I’m on a journey becomes research fodder. For instance, I’ve visited a lot of prisons (my day job is as a criminal justice professor), and those experiences helped me accurately describe Des’s prison life in Convicted.
I’m soon going to begin a book set in Iceland. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days there this summer, which gave me the plot bunny. (And I had a handsome guide who’s willing to become one of my characters!) I really wish I could fly back there right now to do more research, but unfortunately life is busy and Iceland is far away.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Not to make dumb assumptions. Although I’ve been writing short stories since I was a kid, for some reason I thought I couldn’t write a novel. Until I did. Now I have 25 novels in print, with more to come. I also thought I’d never be good enough or lucky enough to get published. And here I am. I was stupid to wait so long before I tried.
What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
I keep notepaper and pencils at my bedside because I often get ideas just before falling asleep. I try to also keep a notepad in my purse, but I’ve resorted more than once to jotting notes on the back of receipts. I also use the notes app on my phone fairly frequently.
The one issue I haven’t tackled is shower ideas. I get them all the time—and other people must too, because I know they make waterproof notepads. I haven’t invested in one of those yet.
Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?
Almost always a character. Just as with real people, I begin knowing only a little about that character, gradually getting to know them better as the story unfolds. It’s kind of an exciting process, really, because sometimes I’ll suddenly discover something about a character that puts their past actions and feelings in a fresh light.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Everyone has their own process, and one of the great things about writing is that its requirements are very few: something to write with and something to write on. That said, there are lots of things that can help someone become a better writer.
The one thing—well, the one person!—I absolutely could not do without is a good editor. I don’t care how good a writer is and how firm her grasp of grammar and punctuation. A good editor is essential for making a story shine.
What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
I have two light holiday tales coming out soon, both of them short stories. Christmas Present is a modern take on the Dickens classic and releases November 12. Get Lit, a Hanukkah story, will be out in December. I’m especially proud of that title. And on January 14, Love Has No Direction—the third book in the Love Can’t series—will be available.