WORTH THE TRADE by KRISTINA MATHEWS
**AUTHOR PEEK** Interview
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full-time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.
I’m from Northern California, I live in a fairly small town in the heart of Gold Country. I grew up in the Central Valley, the Bay Area, and Lake Tahoe before moving to Reno to attend the University of Nevada. I met my husband in college and he brought me home to his family, literally. I lived with his parents for five months before the wedding. He lived at the house that would eventually be our first home. My mother-in-law is the one who got me hooked on romance novels. I was an elementary teacher for six years until I had my second child. I now work part time at their former elementary school as a paraeducator and yard duty. One of the best parts of my job is helping primary grade students become better readers. I also love greeting the kids as they get dropped off in the mornings and I get to inspect their projects before anyone else. I’m also a big baseball fan. Huge, huge fan of the San Francisco Giants.
1. How did you get started writing?
In high school, I mostly wrote in journals. I don’t think I would have survived the teenage years without dozens of blank books and a way to express myself. My Junior/Senior English teacher really encouraged me in my writing, although I’m sure I frustrated her by either turning papers in late, or if I didn’t particularly care about the subject matter, not at all. She did read a portion of one of my papers (turned in on time, for a change) in front of the class, and I guess that’s when I knew I wanted to write. Becoming a teacher seemed like a safer bet, however.
2. What appeals to you about the genre that you write?
I love contemporary romance because it’s real. The stories could be about my best friends or neighbors. I spent most of my life searching for answers in books. Having a magic wand or going back in time wasn’t going to happen for me, but reading about flawed characters who can overcome their pasts and their misconceptions about love made me believe I could find love, too.
I write about baseball players because I love the game and the characters who play it. Plus, I have to watch or at least listen to the games, it’s research. Just like that trip to the ballpark.
3. What is your favorite part of writing?
I love getting caught up in the world of my characters. They become real to me, and I love helping them find their happily ever after. I love when the writing flows and I get excited about what’s going to happen next.
4. If you had to give up writing and do something else, what would you do instead?
I enjoy being a paraeducator, it’s kind of like being a grandparent. I get to cheer on my students’ success and help them grow, but without the total responsibility of a teacher. Plus, I don’t have to do report cards. The assessment I do actually helps the teacher and I come up with the best plan to help them learn.
5. What’s your favorite meal of the day?
Dinner. Especially a steak dinner, with roasted potatoes, green beans, and a simple salad. Add a glass of red wine or an IPA, and I’m good.
6. Which are your favorite characters to write, the female characters or the male characters? The heroes and heroines, or the villains?
I like to write the male characters. They come a little easier for me. Maybe it’s because I’m the only female human in my house, or maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time at the fraternity house in college, but I feel like I get guys. I’m always the one at the Super Bowl party watching the game with the men. At weddings, I’m over by the bar picking some guy’s brain about the new outfielder my team has acquired from his favorite team.
I also like to write men who I hope will be good role models for my sons. They have their father, uncles, and grandfather to look up to, but in popular culture, men are either real jerks or real wimps. I hope I can show men who are strong, kind, and loving. They make mistakes in trying to wrestle with changing views of what a real man should be, especially when faced with how to deal with the women in their lives.
7. Are you an avid reader? When you do read someone else’s writing, what is your favorite genre?
I read almost daily. I mostly read contemporaries, but I’ll pick up a paranormal, romantic suspense, or historical if it’s an author I like. I don’t like dark or depressing books. There’s too much of that in real life. I prefer to read about the way things should be, instead of the way they are.
8. Many writers dream of having the ideal location to write. If you could live anywhere in the world or live a particular lifestyle, where would you be answering these questions right now?
I can write in different locations. My living room, the front seat of my car while waiting for my sons to finish baseball practice or film class. I like to write at my family’s cabin near Mt. Shasta because I have to go into town to get internet, so there is less distraction. I have written in a tent, on the beach, even in the teacher’s lounge. But I would like to have a door that actually stays shut, so that my family doesn’t interrupt during the good parts. Although, somehow I don’t think they will leave me alone even then.
As for the ideal lifestyle, I think I would like to be able to travel more with my family. I would love to visit all the Major League ballparks someday and go to Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall Of Fame.
9. If you were a color, what color would you be and why?
During baseball season, it’s tempting to say Orange, but the only reason I wear the bright color is because I love my team. I actually prefer a dark rose color, that color that seems to look good on almost anyone, no matter their coloring.
10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
I don’t have a release date yet for the next book in the series. I’m hoping to finish Making A Comeback in the next few weeks and get final approval. It features Annabelle Jones, trying to resurrect her modeling career after her divorce and Nathan Cooper, the pitcher who was suspended for steroid use and is now recovering from an injury. Annabelle is forced to rely on her neighbor after a car accident and he must prove to himself and the girl of his dreams that he’s not a bad guy after all.
I’m also working on Bryce Baxter’s story. He is the bad-boy shortstop in the first two books who can’t keep his hands of the lovely sideline reporter Rachel Parker. When he signs the contract of his life, he’s not sure he can live up to it. But it’s even more important for him to step up as a father.
Kristina Mathews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing.
While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books.
Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a “Ball Dudette” for the San Francisco Giants.
Links to Kristina’s website, blog, books, etc.
BE SURE TO COME BACK to read more about Kristina and her new release, WORTH THE TRADE, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench. Happy Reading!
**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Kristina is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway across all of her blogs so be sure to check back in on Wednesday’s Killer Book Bench as well as her other blogs on the tour. And don’t miss this chance to read this great story! Thanks, Kristina, for sharing your stories with us!