Pssst! What are you reading this weekend?
I know by the time I get the kids to bed, I’m ready for something to relax me, whisk me away a la calgon — and nothing beats the combined beauty treatment of a bubble bath and inspirational chick-lit novel — good for the skin and soul.
If you’re already a Spa Girls fan, then you KNOW how funny Kristin Billerbeck’s novels are. If you’ve never read one, then allow me to introduce her to you.
Kristin is an award-winning novelist and mother of four children (ages 11, 10, 8, 6) who makes her home near Sacramento. She says on her website, “Iâ€™m a California girl (fourth-generation) and I remember the Bay Area before it was Silicon Valley. Before everyone drove Beamers and drank decaf soy lattes and bubble teas.”
She’s one of the first Christian chick-lit authors and has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and World Magazine for her work. What a Girl Wants won the 2004 American Christian Romance Writers’ Contemporary Book of the Year. This year, Kristin’s novel, With this Ring, I’m Confused won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Lit Book of the Year.
Welcome to Mom 2 Mom Connection! We’re all big fans of inspirational books here, and we’d love to learn more about your Spa Girls trilogy. Can you tell us a little about it?
The Spa Girls Collection is my tribute to women friendships. My best friend has been my best friend since we were four. As you get older, you learn to appreciate all your friends in the seasons of life and what they contribute to make you a better person. These stories are about how we can remain in our little world, but when we get too off-track, our friends are there to rescue us.
I recently read Calm, Cool, and Adjusted, which was released this month. It was so much fun to read! Who is Poppy Clayton, and what is going on in her life?
Poppy Clayton is a natural health buff and chiropractor. She’s a bit obsessive-compulsive and feels she knows what’s best for everyone. In a loving, and fun way of course, but we all know someone who wants us to drink green shakes and has the tastebuds of a squirrel. That’s Poppy and she’s not in search of a husband, but she is in search of freedom from having to find one. When she’s not looking, God has a different plan for her.
How did you come up with her character? Is she at all similar to you?
Truthfully, she’s based a tad on my husband if that makes any sense — and a bit of Colleen Coble, my writing partner. They’re both convinced they know what’s best for me and are not afraid to say it.
Throughout the book, Poppy ranks herself on a desperation scale. I’m sure many of us can relate. Can you tell us more about that?
I had this vision of how the book starts with a female monkey in a tree, chasing after an abundance of male monkeys, only to find her chase has left her alone, and feeling desperate. I really wanted to capture that feeling of how when we go after what we want, we’re often left alone to question our very being. I want women to find themselves acceptable in Him and that’s what the book is about.
How does Poppy become more calm, cool, and adjusted as the plot moves along?
She learns that she does not control the universe, though she tries desperately. The more she lets go of her rules and makes them “guidelines,” the happier she becomes.
What do you want readers to take away from reading this book, or others in your Spa Girls trilogy?
I want them to have a fun sense of escapism, but also appreciate the friends who populate their lives. I hope they’ll see their own friendships in the Spa Girls.
I love reading the Girls Write Out blog, which you participate in along with novelists Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter. For those who haven’t visited yet, what types of things do you blog about?
We blog about everything — from chocolate, to writing, to our friendship and how wonderfully strange it is. We all started out writing together and we have worked hard to become better writers and hopefully, better people. I think it’s good to share our successes and our foibles because that’s part of life.
Some of us here are also aspiring to become better writers. Do you recommend the American Christian Fiction Writers organization? What are the advantages of joining?
I do recommend it. I remember when it was a seed in Lynn Coleman’s mind as an alternative to secular writing groups for those of us who shared a call. We are now around 1200 members. The forums (available if you join) are a treasure trove of information on point of view, sales & marketing and other writing-related tips.
Can you give us a quick scoop on the national ACFW conference that was just held in Dallas?
The conference was fabulous, as always. Since it only incorporates fiction in its teaching, the editors and agents are just there to find writers of novels. What a blessing! This year, Liz Curtis Higgs was the keynote speaker, and that was worth every cent without all the classes!
Oh, I’d love to hear Liz Curtis Higgs speak someday. Congratulations on your Lit Book of the Year Award, by the way!
What are you working on next?
Right now, I’m working on Split Ends, which is a stand-alone novel about a young woman from a small town who has big dreams of becoming a Hollywood hairstylist. She’s convinced if she can find success, she can overcome her past — but it turns out, her success only creates new problems she hadn’t anticipated.
We can’t wait until you’re through so we can read it. Thanks for stopping by, Kristin!
Kristin Billerbeck can be reached at her website, where you can sign up for her “Kristin’s Handbag” newsletters. You can also keep up with her real-life sagas at the always-entertaining blog, Girls Write Out.