Today’s post comes in the form of both a new release alert and author interview. Earlier this month, Kristina Beck’s debut novel, Lives Collide, hit virtual shelves. I am excited to announce that Kristina visits Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar today to talk to us about both her romance novel and the super interesting life she’s led thus far. Before we sit down with Kristina, let’s take a look at her book’s blurb:
You can plan your life, but sometimes life has a mind of its own…
Following Lisa’s near-death experience as a teenager, she is haunted by the emerald-green eyes of the stranger who saved her life. Her only connection to him is the leather jacket he left behind. Years later, she’s still reeling from the aftereffects of her injuries, convinced that no man will love her once he uncovers her secret. She lives a life of solitude and hides behind her days of monotony. And then James storms into her life.
After James helps a young girl in a car accident, he sets his life course—determined that nothing will stand in his way. Once he accomplishes his dreams, one unforeseen event changes his orderly existence into one of chaos. He spirals downward and can’t summon the strength to pull himself from the edge of despair. Until Lisa becomes a beautiful distraction.
Familiarity and a sense of peace draw them to one another. They soon discover they lived parallel lives that intertwined at the most crucial points. Can their revelations help them face their fears and move forward, or will history repeat itself?
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m from the USA and was born and raised in New Jersey. I have three brothers and two sisters. I’m the youngest. After I graduated high school, I went to college and graduate school while working in the pharmaceutical industry. I graduated college with a degree in biology. I pursued graduate school with the ultimate goal of receiving a master’s degree in Public Health. That goal was side-tracked because I met my future German husband. At one point, he had to move back to Germany for work. We had to make a decision as to where we should live after we got married. Without hesitation, I chose Germany.
It was a huge decision but it was made so easily. I needed change. Going to school and working full-time became exhausting as well as boring. I made the hard choice to stop graduate school. Moving to another country, starting a family and becoming a stay-at-home mom was never a thought in my mind before I met my husband. My ambition at the time was to climb the corporate ladder in the pharma industry.
I was up for an adventure and a change of pace. Within a year, I was living in Munich, Germany. Before I started my new job in Germany, I had one whole month with nothing to do other than to take German classes. I never lived so carefree. It was the best feeling. Talk about a one-eighty in lifestyle. My obsession with reading started during that month of freedom. I regret not reading more when I was younger. Now I can’t stop. My kids love to read as well.
Meeting my husband has changed my life in ways I never thought possible. Living in another country with my family has taught me so much more than any university could. I was never one for taking chances but I have no regrets taking this one. I have learned so much about different cultures. Each one has its positive and negatives including the USA. On top of that I have learned to speak another language.
After moving four times in thirteen years, we happily reside in the farthest southwest tip of Germany which borders France and Switzerland. Finally, we found a place we can call home.
2. When did you start writing?
I started writing about fifteen months ago. I read as much as possible which created my desire to write. I enjoy genres such as romance, science fiction and fantasy. My first novel, Lives Collide, is a new adult/contemporary romance novel. It is book one of the Collide series. I always had an idea for Lives Collide. After a lot of encouragement from my husband, Lives Collide was released in February.
3. Why did you start writing?
I was tired of reading books when I had an idea of my own. Living in Germany for so many years, I felt and still feel that I’m losing some of my English skills. Writing this novel has stimulated my brain and has improved my English above and beyond. I enjoyed every step of the process no matter how overwhelming it was. I should probably be improving my German language skills but writing this book was a lot more fun.
The world is under a lot of stress at the moment. I hope that my readers get lost in my books and can block out some of that negativity. I just want to make people smile.
4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
I don’t remember the exact moment I came up with the idea. I always knew how I would start the book. Then I just let my fingers speed type on my computer. When I look back at my first draft, it is embarrassing. Other than the first chapter, it looks nothing like the final book. It was amazing how the twists and turns of the book spun its web in my head.
5. How did you arrive at your book’s title?
Even my book’s title is different from the original one. My first title was The Reason and would be book one of the Chances Are series. I had this nagging feeling it wasn’t catchy enough or emotional enough. As I read my book over and over again, I saw the word collide a couple of times. Then it got me thinking, Lives Collide, Collide series. I pitched it to my editor and she loved it.
6. Does your story have a moral?
The main theme of my books in the Collide series is chance meetings. Are you meant to be with this person regardless how you met? Would you have met under different circumstances? Does timing have something to do with it? Is it all coincidence or is it destiny?
I love hearing how couples have met. Some have really interesting and bizarre stories that can give you goosebumps. I remember reading about one situation where a couple met and married. Years later they found a picture of when the man was little boy. In the background of the picture was the woman when she was a young girl. They never met until several years later.
7. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I need to be in a bright and comfortable place to write. One room of my house has a wall of windows. My desk faces those windows. I have a great view of my garden and of the Black Forest. It is a bit hot during the summer but very cozy when the sun shines in on cold winter days. This part of the room is centered in the middle of the main floor. I have access to everything within seconds.
I write mostly when my kids are at school or after they go to bed. In Germany, the school day is not very long in elementary school. Two out of three of my kids are home by one p.m. I need to take advantage of the quiet time in the morning. Most of the time I write in silence but once in a while I’ll play classical music. I can’t listen to someone singing because it distracts my thoughts. It’s as if someone is sitting next to me and constantly talking. I would get nothing done. Also, when my kids get home, there is constant noise. When I’m alone I need the quiet.
I do not push myself to write a certain amount of words a day. It doesn’t work that way when I have other responsibilities to deal with on top of writing. I’m happy when I even get ten minutes in. I can write with my kids running around me but it can really interrupt my creativity and speed. This is one reason why I chose self-publishing. I need to work at my own pace.
8. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I’m a disorganized person by nature. I could write an outline but I would never follow it. My head goes in different directions and then the outline would need to be written again. I need to just go with the flow and not follow anything too strictly. However, I do write descriptions of my characters beforehand.
9. What is your favorite book genre?
My preferred book genre is romance of all kinds. I prefer to read and write in first person point of view rotating between the woman and the man. I love reading what both are thinking. It makes the book more interesting to me.
10. Any project in the works?
I’m currently working on the second book in the Collide series. The title is Dreams Collide. I’m half way through the first draft. Now that the first book has been released, I can focus on Dreams Collide.
11. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t waste your time dreaming about writing your book….just do it. It is hard but worth the chance and is a lot of fun. You need to push yourself. I had bad days and great days. Don’t give up. I promised myself I wouldn’t give up and now my book out there to read. Fear shouldn’t stop you and learn how to take negative criticism. Use it as a way to learn, not a way to discourage you. It is truly a great accomplishment to have the final book in your hand. I promise.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
2. Dogs or cats?
Cats. I love when a cat lays on me and purrs. I don’t have any pets now but I do miss having a cat.
3. Summer or winter?
Summer. Less clothes, more ice-cream, glass of wine or a beer out on the terrace at night, eat outside at restaurants and cafes, taking power naps on a chair in the garden….
4. Cake or ice-cream?
Ice-cream – I eat it almost every day during the summer and not the low-fat kind. Delicious.
5. Car or motorcycle?
Car. I think motorcycles are dangerous.
6. Ebook or physical book?
I really like physical books but I like eBooks to save space. It is also easier to travel with. When I’m away for a long time, I don’t need to carry several books with me.
7. Living in the city or living in the country?
Living in the country – I like the quiet and fresh air. I would rather hear birds chirping rather than constant traffic. I like that my kids can run around outside in the orchards or vineyards around my house.
8. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Unfortunately sending a text. I’m not someone who likes to talk on the phone. I know it is very impersonal. I would rather talk face to face.
9. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
Definitely by car. I have a horrible fear of flying. I do it but I don’t like it. My body is tense the entire flight. I can’t relax. I wait to read books that I have been looking forward to reading. It makes the time go so much faster.
10. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
Hotel. I need my own bathroom.
11. To find true love or to win the lottery?
Of course, to find true love. I’m writing romance novels.
12. To find the love of your life (only to find out that you’re not the love of their life) or to have someone declare you the love of their life (note, however, that this someone is not a person whom you are romantically interested in)?
I would rather have someone declare me the love of their life. I know what heartache is and have no desire to feel it again. I don’t want people to suffer either but I need to be selfish when it comes to my heart.
13. Bungee jumping or going on the slingshot ride?
Neither. I have a fear of heights, hence why I hate to fly. It gives me the chills just thinking about it.
14. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind. I live in a country where I hear several languages all around me. It is exhausting sometimes. I wish I didn’t have to think so much and wonder what people are saying. It would make my life a lot easier.
15. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
Going without watching TV/Movies. The internet is more important to me for writing as well as communicating with my family and friends in the US.
16. To never speak again or to never eat solid food again?
To never eat solid food again. I like to talk to people and to socialize (just not on the phone). I could live off of smoothies all day long.
17. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
Walking for twenty-four hours straight. I hate how I feel when I haven’t slept for over twenty-four hours let alone forty-eight hours.
18. Misunderstanding everything that is told to you or being misunderstood every time that you speak?
This one is hard to answer. I have lived in situations where I’ve experienced both due to language barriers. I don’t like either one. It is truly frustrating when I’m misunderstood in a situation where it is crucial to get my point across. Sometimes I would go home crying.
19. Losing your ability to speak or losing your ability to hear?
Losing my ability to hear. As I have said, I like to talk. However, I always claim I have mother’s ears. I hear every little thing. To not have that anymore would be horrible.
20. To never read another book or to never watch another film?
To never watch another film. I could read 24 hours a day if I could. I can’t say that about movies or TV.
21. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
Hard decision. I eat and drink both every day. I think I would have to say never to eat chocolate again. There is always coffee in my house but I can’t say that about chocolate.