Courtney Kristel graduated from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, but she couldn't shake her true passion for writing. She's currently working on the second novel of the Beautifully Series, Beautifully Mended. When she isn't creating stories to share with the world, Courtney usually has a book in her hands or is searching for new music to add to her writing playlist.
Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Beautifully Shattered.
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Can you tell us what your book is about?
Adalynn is the main character in Beautifully Shattered and she’s trying to survive an unbearable loss she suffered six years ago. She’s finally realizing that she’s still breathing, she hasn’t given up completely yet, she’s still alive, and she’s going to fight to get her life back. After years of therapy, Addie finds herself in a love triangle between her brother’s best friend, and the mysterious doctor who lives in her building. In her desperate search for that all-consuming love her parents had, to have someone not hide their feelings for her, she has one more choice to make. Will it be ripped away from her like everything else? Will her past always haunt her and cause her to pay the ultimate price?
Why did you write your book?
I wanted to write a book that meant something to readers. I wanted to show them that no matter what happens in life, what obstacles they have to overcome, life is worth living, to keep breathing. I hope that I gave them an escape from any harsh reality they were living in, even for a little while. That’s
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Both. The hardships my characters go through are based on personal experience and then morphed into a more dramatic flare for the series. The character’s spunk start off from people in my life and then the more I write, the more the characters come to life right before my eyes. When that happens their true self is written.
Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?
I bullet point every chapter before I write, and then everything flows out as I’m writing. The bullet-points are more so I don’t forget any of the key points I want to go over before the book is finished. They aren’t written in stone, so some are moved to different points in the book or removed completely. It all depends on how the story plays out as I’m writing. That’s the beauty of it, that I can have it thought out and yet the finished product is different and better than I’ve ever imagined.
Your book is set in New York City. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
I love that New York City has over 8 million people in it. I think it’s important for readers to see that even in a crowded city like NYC, Adalynn still isolated herself and forgot the beauty of the New York until Jax gave her a piece of herself she fought tirelessly to forget. NYC is a magical place and I’m thrilled that it’s the setting of the Beautifully Series, I can’t wait to watch Adalynn find herself and see what the city has to offer since she’s not keeping to herself anymore.
Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
Connor is telling Adalynn that he know’s about her and Jax. Up until this point, Adalynn always assumed her love for Jax wasn’t obvious to anyone else but Jax. They’ve hidden their relationship from everyone in their lives... or so she thought. This is the biggest “trust fall” with her best friend Connor. Now, she’s able to turn to someone who knows Jax just as well as her. The next thing happening on this page, that Addie of course tries to sweep under the rug, is her camera bag. Her brother, Logan spots it on the floor but doesn’t comment. Allowing her time to adjust being back behind the lens for the first time since the accident.
Which holiday is your favorite and why?
Halloween has always been my favorite day of the year since I was a kid. It’s the one day of the year that you can forget about everything going on in your life for a little while. It’s the one time you can become anything or anybody and to me, there’s something magical about halloween.
What do you like the most about being an author?
I love hearing from my readers, the good and the bad reviews, emails, basically anything from them. Honestly, it makes my day just hear what they thought of the book. It amazes me that they people are buying my book and falling in love with the characters. Their excitement for the story makes my day each and every time. Oh and of course I’m loving all the guesses about Adalynn’s missing memory.
What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?
For me, it was the night I realized I was going to publish Beautifully Shattered. My sister Heather couldn’t put my laptop down and when she finished reading what I had so far she was pissed that she had to wait for me to finish it. That was the night she talked me into finishing it and then publishing it. I made her promise me that she wouldn’t tell anyone because I didn’t know if I would ever go through with it, but deep down I could see myself going through with it. That was terrifying for me, but I’m so glad I did. That night, changed my life and I’m so thankful for my sister believing in me.
What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?
To never give up on your dreams, if you do, you’ll have nothing left to fight for. Always strive to reach them, and when you do, keep going further. The biggest obstacle in anyone’s life is themselves. Of course make sure you find the right editor, cover artist, formatter, etc., because you’re going to be talking to them A LOT! So make sure you have a great team and keep writing, every day write something. Most importantly, have fun with the story. If you’re not having fun writing it, or getting sad at the emotional parts, then chances are readers aren’t either.