Saturday, May 20, 2006

An Intimate Conversation with Author Josi Kilpack

By Danyelle Ferguson

I first met Josi Kilpack at an LDStorymakers Conference two years ago. This petite blonde immediately caught my attention when she stood to speak and turned multiple shades of red. Since that day, I’ve attended many other meetings where Josi was the guest speaker and much to my disappointment, she doesn’t even turn the slightest bit pink anymore.

Josi’s inspiration to write came when she was on bed rest during her third pregnancy. Between overdosing on Lifetime Television for Women and reading every LDS novel she could get her hands on, Josi felt a desire to read more realistic LDS fiction. She said, “I personally don’t come from a perfect family and I haven’t always made the right choices. I wanted books about characters that weren’t perfect, that did make mistakes and then tried to make things better.”

What better to do with her time than write the type of novel she wanted to find in her hands? Now Josi’s seventh book, Unsung Lullaby, is getting ready to hit bookstores next week. “It just goes to show that the Lord knows us and He knows our potential and it is sometimes through life’s trials that we figure out who we are.”

For more Q&A, read on!

Q: Do you have any rituals you do before you start writing or while you write?

Josi: Does putting my laundry in and plugging in the crock pot count? I write in small snatches of time for the most part and don’t have time for rituals. I do, however, start with editing. I go over what I wrote the last time and clean it up. It not only revises what I’ve written, it also serves to get me oriented to where my story is at the time.

Q: How do you fit writing time into your schedule?

Josi: I try to write for at least an hour a day. If I’m feeling blocked, I shoot for just a half hour because it’s tortuous. I also grab ten minutes here and there throughout the day. If it’s playoff time in any sport involving the risk of bodily injury, my husband will watch the games and I’ll find some time to write after the kids are in bed. I tend to only write 4 or 5 days a week. The other days I’m crammed with other stuff but that gives me the chance to let ideas percolate so that when I sit down again I’m ready to go.

Q: What is the most difficult scene for you to write and why?

Josi: The end. I struggle with endings because I’ve worked so hard with the story and my endings never seem good enough. I sometimes write three or four versions. I’d prefer to blow everyone up—THE END, but I usually come up with something eventually. The single hardest scene for me to write on an emotional level, however, was in Earning Eternity when Kim says goodbye to her son who’s been on life support.

Q: What advice would you give to a parent trying to balance family, work and writing?

Josi: Keep your priorities straight, you can’t expect the Lord to smile on your writing if you neglect your family and/or work responsibilities, but if you keep life in the proper order the blessings and opportunities to write will come. Be willing to make trade offs and then just sit your butt in the chair and find your bliss. If that’s too hard—then don’t do it. The fact is we all have 24 hours in the day—that’s it. It just takes discipline.

Q: If you could pass on one gem of knowledge to other aspiring authors, what would it be?

Josi: Revise, Revise, Revise, Revise, Revise, Revise, Revise—oh wait, that’s seven gems of knowledge. Sorry. I do, however, feel that getting feedback and revising your manuscript is paramount. If you’re not willing to work it and work it and work it, then don’t expect an editor willing to publish it. There are rules to writing and they are there for a reason. Don’t become so arrogant about your talents that you ignore advice, that you set yourself to ‘prove them all wrong’. Be humble enough to accept other perspectives on your writing, but still confident enough to keep going.

Thank you for chatting with us, Josi. And good luck with your newest book, Unsung Lullaby.

To find out more about Josi and her books, please visit her website at

Also, check out Josi’s blog at

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