Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Author Interview- Kristin von Kreisler- New Release An Unexpected Grace

Welcome to my last post of 2013 a showcase of the last MUST READ of 2013 or first of 2014 a novel about the healing power of love and the most special bond between a human and dog.
So without further delay sit back on this last day of 2013 and get to know Kristin just a little better while she tells us about her just released today An Unexpected Grace.

  • ISBN-13: 9780758291943
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 12/31/2013
  • Pages: 272

From bestselling author Kristin von Kreisler comes a poignant, uplifting novel of one woman's journey to healing, and the surprising soul mate that helps guide her there.
Lila Elliot knows she's lucky. A shooting rampage at her office left several colleagues dead and others seriously wounded. Lila's injuries will heal in time. Yet though she gratefully retreats to her best friend's house to recuperate, Lila can't quite move past her fear and anger.

Kristin, welcome to The Reading Frenzy
Tell my readers a little about An Unexpected Grace.
            The book is about Lila Elliot, a 35-year-old struggling painter, who is badly wounded in a violent office shooting.  While housesitting for her best friend, Lila is manipulated into taking care of Grace, an abused, pitiful golden retriever.  Initially, Lila, who is scared of dogs, resents the burden.  But she begins to see that she and Grace have much in common because they’ve both suffered from a random act of fate.  They slowly change each other’s lives, and Lila falls in love with Adam Spencer, who rescued Grace from her abuser.
            I wrote this book to celebrate animals’ ability to heal us – and ours to heal them.  The human-animal bond can be crucial sometimes, as it is in this story.  I also wanted to show how grace works in the world, how unexpected and unsought good can come to us and change everything – and it often comes as an animal.  The dog is named Grace, and she is a grace to Lila. 

You’ve written other books about animals but this is your first novel.
Did you enjoy telling a fictional story?
What was the major difference between writing fiction and non-fiction?
I loved writing a novel and trying to create something beautiful out of nothing more than my imagination.  The freedom of creating fiction is delicious.
When I wrote nonfiction books and articles, I spent countless hours interviewing people and getting quotes and facts straight.  The work was hard, but always interesting, and yet I longed for the dreaming and imagining that go into writing fiction. When I wrote An Unexpected Grace, I researched the motives of people who had “gone postal,” just as I’d have researched for a nonfiction book.  But then I let go and invented the story.  A pleasure!  I should have been writing novels all my life.

Your bio tells that you and your husband recently renovated a historic farmhouse on your island in Washington State.
Would you do it again?
Did you find anything historical hiding under old wallpaper or in closets?
I would renovate another historic house in a heartbeat, especially if it’s in a location as beautiful as mine.  I look out on Puget Sound and watch seals, otters, and eagles.  Every hour a ferry passes by.  When my husband and I moved in, the house had been here for 130 years.  It looked downtrodden, like a senior citizen in need of a hug, but I couldn’t imagine tearing it down.  Our town’s first sheriff and postmistress had built it for themselves and their seven children, and you could almost feel their presence when you walked through the front door.
The renovation took two years, and it often felt like an archeological dig.  The original wallpaper, hidden under nine other layers, was newspapers with fascinating stories and ads for eggs and butter at amazingly low prices.  We found old china and even a rusty revolver!  The whiskey bottles of one of the previous owners were buried all around the house.  When we dug them up and put them in a pile, it was as tall as I am!

Before becoming an author you were a freelance writer.
Is there anything about your early days of writing that you miss?
What was the most exciting thing you did in the name of article research from that time?
            I greatly enjoyed my years as a freelance writer.  To get stories, I interviewed fascinating people and traveled to interesting places, and I learned so much about so many different things.  I also had incredible experiences.  My most exciting was following a grizzly bear in Montana for a week with biologists, who were training her to stop marauding in garbage cans and to stay away from people.  I loved that bear.  I will never forget her.  Certainly, I miss writing stories like hers.  Writing novels is solitary work, but freelancing gets you out into the world.  That’s the part I miss.

Kristin, you became an animal writer/activist because of your own rescued dog Bea.
Can you share your story with us?
            On a walk one night, I found Bea, a desperate beagle, and learned from a tattoo in her ear that she’d come from a medical lab.  It took my husband and me two long years to get her to stop urinating and vibrating from nose to tail when any man walked in the room.  She was terrified of everything and had no understanding of grass or toys.  But she became a fabulous, loving dog and was a living example of the miracle of healing. 
            I had always been supremely sensitive to animals and had rescued many.  But Bea changed my life.  More than ever I understood the urgency of fighting for animal welfare.  No animal should be traumatized as she was.  Because of her, I decided that my life’s mission was to write about animals’ compassion, courage, and loyalty and to celebrate the importance that animals can have in our lives.  That’s what I’ve done ever since, including in An Unexpected Grace.  Bea helped me find my vocation.

What are you working on now?
Fiction or non-fiction?
            I’m writing another novel.  Of course, it’s about an animal, and his name is Earnest.  I’ve already fallen in love with him, as I did with Grace.  To me, Earnest and Grace are like real, live dogs, curled up at my feet while I write at my desk.  I feel protective toward them and want people to care about them as much as I do.

Kristin where did your love of writing come from?
Did you always want to write or was it more of an accident?
I won a prize for an essay in the sixth grade, and that should have nudged me toward becoming a writer.  But it didn’t.  Then for many years I even taught writing in universities, but, still, it never occurred to me to write until I met a wonderful woman in a California gallery one afternoon.  She was a freelance writer, and she showed me how to write query letters to newspaper and magazine editors.  She encouraged me for years as I found my way from articles to books.  I owe her for life for being my mentor.  With her help, I was able to do what I was meant to.

Kristin since release day is New Years Eve can you share with us what a New Year’s Eve with the von Kreisler’s entails?
            My island comes alive on New Year’s Eve.  Friends visit each other, and we watch fireworks in dazzling explosions over the water.  The evening is always very cozy and fun.  I’ll have a lot to be thankful for this New Year’s Eve as An Unexpected Grace finds its way to bookstores.

Kristin, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
Will there be any signing or author events where fans could meet you in person?
            Yes!  I hope that people will find me wherever I go because it’s a pleasure for me to meet my readers.  For specific events, locations, and dates, see the “Events” page on my website:  http://kristinvonkreisler.com/events/

  I’ll be at the Northgate Barnes & Noble in Seattle on January 17 at 7 p.m.

Meet the Author

Kristin von Kreisler, author of The Compassion of Animals, has been a staff writer for Reader's Digest, a commentator on animal issues for numerous television and radio programs, and a board member of the international organization In Defense of Animals.

Kristin's other works


Connect With Kristin - Website - Facebook - Twitter


  1. Wow wonderful interview and this sounds perfect for dog lovers everywhere!

  2. Aw it sounds amazing! Adding it to my list. And that is so my dream! To one day restore an old building. How exciting to find all of those old goodies!

    Happy New Year Debbie!! Thanks for all of the lovely interviews this year!

    1. Hi Anna, thanks for the comment and for the compliment
      Happy New Year to you too!!