Kristina Beard currently lives in England with her selectively sweet dog and aging grey tomcat who is slowly going silver. “Timo and the Sabotage of the Sewer System,” is her second published short story and is linked here.
Kristina, we really enjoyed “Timo and the Sabotage of the Sewer System.” It has a really pleasing blend of funny, awkward, and disappointing moments in which the reader empathizes with your characters. That’s a real accomplishment. It doesn’t happen without great characters. How did you come up with / find Timo and Ulla?
I’d been living out in the Finnish countryside for a few years, around all these isolated old farmhouses. Most were abandoned but some were occupied by a few bachelor farmers that were pretty reclusive. So, Timo isn’t based on any one person or even a composite of people, but more my idea of a bachelor farmer who still lived in his childhood home and how he might have developed and related to newcomers. Ulla is in some ways who I wish I could be. Completely open, extraverted, determined.
Do you have an intended audience for your writing?
I like humor – so when I write I’m thinking about what people might find funny or at least mildly amusing.
How and when did you begin writing?
I’d always been an avid reader, and started writing fiction when I was in middle school. Then I just stopped when I hit high school. I’m not sure what happened. Boys? After a long absence I came back to it about 3 years ago.
What do you find inspires your writing?
I watch people (but try not to appear creepy).
Would you tell us about your writing routine?
I have a day job unrelated to writing and so even though I feel like I should try to write every day, I don’t. Once I start a story I get a little obsessed with it and write almost non-stop over a weekend or vacation to get a first draft, then put it aside for weeks, then re-read and cringe at how bad it is. Then I rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite some more.
Who are your favorite authors?
Alice Munro (I’d read everything by her even before the Nobel). Steve Almond (he can be hilarious). Gary Paulsen for nonfiction – I like animals and like reading about animals, and Winterdance is one of the best (it’s also very humorous).
What was the last book / story you read?
Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. I was completely engaged by it, which surprised me. I was never exposed to the classics in secondary school so I’m playing catch up now.
Kristina, thank you for your responses, time, and of course your wonderful story. Good Luck and please keep in touch.