If you haven't heard me screaming from the top of the Stratosphere lately, Krystal Wade's first YA novel, Wilde's Fire, has been published and is ready for you to fall in love with. Since Katriona Wilde is the young protagonist in this trilogy, I was very interested to know what bit of Krystal is in Katriona. So I asked:
Every now and then, people ask me if I incorporated any personal qualities into my characters. The first time I was asked, I quickly answered no. But I responded that way because until after the question was posed, I didn't realize how much of me is in KatrionaWilde. The unsuspecting, twenty-year-old heroine in Wilde's Fire loves nature. She adores horses, mountains, hiking, camping, and she enjoys doing these things with her family and friends.
My husband and I discovered Kate's home in Albemarle, Virginia many years ago. We were driving from Fredericksburg to my parents' house halfway across the country. Dawn loomed over the horizon, painting the sky with a light, gray hue. We traveled along Route 250 with miles and miles of white and black estate fencing bordering the road. The sun finally won its battle with the moon, and what daylight rewarded us with hasn't left my mind. Thousands of acres of horse farms, with the Blue Ridge Mountains in their back yards, rested on either side of the winding road. Driveways lined with flowering Dogwoods. Horses grazing in rolling, green pastures. Cows munching on grass. These images won't leave me, and I don't want them to.
A special place already existed in my heart for rural Virginia, but after seeing Albemarle, that part of my heart grew. Years before the drive that sparked my imagination and my passion, my husband and I were friends. Well, we were more than friends, but you know what I mean.
We gathered our camping gear, some hiking buds, and our dogs, and we spent a weekend on the trails off Skyline Drive. Kate and her friends visited these very same trails. She enjoyed watching deer chewing on flowers, just like my son and I had when we walked the North Fork of the Moormans River trail. When the sun drew sweat from our pores, we sat on the same rocks Kate and her best friend Brad shared when they were hot.
So, a tradition was born, and while my husband and I were usually the only ones to uphold said tradition, we didn't mind. One Valentine's day, when we were off-roading in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I wanted nothing more than my boyfriend to propose to me (my now husband). Not many women daydream of mud when they think of the perfect proposal, but we were in our spot, alone, and it didn't happen . . . until the next day when we were sitting on a group of boulders overlooking the Moormans River. I told him I was cold, and he offered me a shiny, bright diamond for warmth. No joke. He said it might warm me up. I nearly fell off the boulder!
So there you have it. Kate's happy life is my happiness. It's unfortunate I strip away all the good in her life. And, no, I'm not giving you any hints. You'll have to read to find out what I'm talking about!
Check out the Wilde's Fire Trailer
Stalk Krystal here: