I am originally from Champaign IL, but have lived in Louisville, Ky since 1967. I’m a graduate of the University of Louisville with a degree in elementary education with certification in Exceptional Child Education, and Masters in Learning Disabilities. Most of my career has been in education, teaching language arts to middle schoolers, concluding my career as an educational administrator. I live with my husband of 40 years and am the grandmother of three beautiful grandchildren. My favorite things to do are jogging, reading, writing, playing the piano, playing bridge, and my very favorite thing of all, grandmothering.
“Bird” begins when Ellen Williams is contacted by a Brunswick attorney and informed that she’s the beneficiary of a 7.8-million-dollar estate left to her by his wealthy deceased client, a widow by the name of Madeline Caldwell. Ellen’s beyond shocked because she has no earthly clue as to who this woman is or why she would be left such an unbelievable gift. All of this comes at a time when Ellen is struggling with directions in her own life. She sets out with her companion Lily, a three-year-old retriever on a journey to Brunswick, GA, and the Caldwell Estate. In her quest to find answers, she will reach out to Madeline’s friends, family, and acquaintances , only to find that this Brunswick socialite and wife of a prominent judge was not only a mystery to her, but to many who knew her. With each step closer, painful childhood memories begin to emerge of Ellen’s sister Jenny, a horrifying night in the past, and of Bird.
How do you create your characters?
Once I’ve established a framework for my plot, I begin developing my characters. For me, this is the most exciting part of the writing, because the characters become real to the writer. I find myself thinking about them throughout the day, as if they are family or friends. I usually start with a visual of what the person would look like, maybe use someone I’ve known, or even someone well known as a blueprint. I then begin by writing a bio for each character, describing physical traits, personality, and background (which takes in places where they may have lived, childhood, education, religion careers etc.). Once I’ve built a scaffold for each character, it becomes easier to bring them to life through dialogue and weave them successfully through the stories plot.
What inspires you and what got you started writing?
My father inspired me to write. He was an editor and a journalist who taught me to write about “what you know” and that “good writers are born from good readers.” When I became a teacher, it sealed my love of writing and I spent me teaching career sharing that love with my students. There’s something magical that happens when I sit down to write, time flies by, and I’m transported to a world of my own creation. That’s powerfully satisfying, to have that control of your own story and to become thoroughly submerged in what you’re creating.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks)?
I write in a space that I’ve specifically designed for myself, surrounded by my books, personal items, and lots of light. It’s my quiet sanctuary full of natural light that brings the outside in, which is so important to me. It’s also located on the other side of the house as to minimize everyday household activities that can sometimes be distracting. My magic elixir is “strong coffee” and the only sound I like to hear while writing is the waterfall from my pond outside my window, and the tick of my electric clock. I do play music when I take a break from my writing, usually soft rock, jazz, or confession, my total crush on singers like Al Green and Bill Withers.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Many of my ideas come from memories of past experiences or events that I’ve connected together and altered to make a good story plot. Sometimes I’ll hear music or see a picture, or an incident someone has shared that triggers an idea that’s worth pursuing. So many of my ideas come when I’m running my three miles in the morning. Exercise truly helps my creativity. Yet, ideas literally can come from anywhere. For example, the Caldwell Estate in “Bird” came from my fantasizing about finding a place to escape to for a while when I was caring around the clock for my gravely ill mother. So, I created a place where I could go and hide for a bit when things were truly getting difficult.
What do you like to read?
I love mysteries and thrillers, especially the novels with a historical element like those of Thomas Cook and Kate Morton. I’m also a huge Jennifer Weiner fan because she makes me laugh out loud, and Jody Picoult because she stirs my moral consciousness. Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help” was a favorite, along with “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. However, the greatest book ever written was and still is, in my opinion, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.
What would your advice be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Write daily, even when you don’t want to. Be intentional about writing, and carve out time to write. Also, think of yourself as an author, it will inspire and give you the confidence to challenge yourself and forge ahead. I won’t kid you, writing is hard work, it’s something you have to practice daily. Putting yourself out there for the public to be privy to your inner thoughts is frightening and makes you feel vulnerable, but it’s the only way you’re going to grow as a writer. Also, marketing your work is not easy. Have a good marketing plan or person who can assist you. That itself is a job!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I hope my writing allows folks to spend a few lovely hours getting totally lost in a good story. If I’m able to accomplish that for some, then I’ve set out to achieve my goal as a writer. Wishing everyone happy reading.
Visit my website: https://kimewilson.com/stories/