A lifelong lover of stories, Kim Cresswell was able to pursue her dreams of being a professional writer after spending sometime as a legal assistant and in adult education. Since recommitting herself to being an author, she has published several books (Reflection, Lethal Journey, and more) and has earned several awards (RomCon’s 2015 Readers’ Crown Finalist, UP Authors Fiction Challenge, Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America, and many more). Her latest book, Deadly Shadow, is the first in a series of supernatural mysteries. Wanting to learn more about her career and Deadly Shadow, Cresswell allowed me to interview her for ScifiPulse.
Nicholas Yanes: What were some books you loved reading when you were growing up? Are there any stories you still enjoy revisiting?
Kim Cresswell: Growing up, I read a lot of books by Judy Blume including Blubber and Deenie. I also loved reading Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. VC Andrews was another one of my favorite authors. I remember Flowers in the Attic like it was yesterday.
In the 80s, I discovered author Sidney Sheldon. A true master storyteller in my opinion. Mr. Sheldon had written and produced top TV shows such as I Dream of Jeannie, Hart to Hart, and the Patty Duke Show. I loved his novels. I’ve read Rage of Angels and The Other Side of Midnight twice, and I still revisit Master of the Game every couple of years which was brilliantly written. I also discovered Stephen King. Christine is still one of my all-time favorite books. I’ve been hooked on Mr. King’s novels ever since.
Yanes: When did you know that you wanted to become a professional writer? Was there a moment in which you felt it was now-or-never?
Cresswell: I knew I wanted to be a professional writer while working at our public library at the age of seventeen. I remember reading Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls and from that moment I wanted to be an author. It seemed like a farfetched idea back then. Life, marriage and kids put my dream on hold until 2012 when I decided it was time to take my writing seriously. It really was now or never. With my first book, Reflection, I landed two literary agents. Since then, I’ve published twenty-three works: novels, short stories, and anthologies.
Yanes: You live in Ontario. What is the writing community in Ontario like? Additionally, do you ever find yourself inspired by the city and its landscapes?
Cresswell: The writing community where I live in London, Ontario is very supportive. Our largest event, Words, is in November each year. It’s a festival celebrating all things wordy: books, poetry, song, children’s literature, writing for the screen and stage and more.
I do find myself inspired by the city and the landscape, so much so, I plan on writing a thriller set in my home town in 2020.
Yanes: Reflecting on your career so far, what advice could you offer to new authors?
Cresswell: My advice to new authors is to write every single day even if it’s only a paragraph and always keep learning your craft. Never be afraid to learn something new whether it’s writing a TV or film script or writing a novel outside your usual genre. And always dream big!
Yanes: One of your books is Deadly Shadow. What was the inspiration for The Assassin Chronicles series?
Cresswell: My inspiration for Deadly Shadow and The Assassin Chronicles series began after watching the TV series Fringe combined with my own paranormal experiences over the years. My most interesting and challenging experience with the paranormal was during what I believe was etheric traveling when a dark entity attached itself to me…hence…Deadly Shadow. The six-month adventure was horrifying. I had never been so terrified in my life. Luckily, the entity disappeared after a priest blessed me and my home.
After the experience, the first three chapters of Deadly Shadow sat untouched for eight years before I began working on the book again last year.
Yanes: When developing Deadly Shadow, was there a character or theme that took on a life of its own?
Cresswell: There are two main themes in Deadly Shadow that took on a life of their own. Justice and sacrifice. The main characters, FBI Agent Victory McClane and government assassin Derrick Lynn have sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of justice. But justice means something completely different to each of them. Their sacrifices are costly, physically and emotionally.
Yanes: Deadly Shadow is book one of a four book series. How much outlining do you engage in while laying out this series?
Cresswell: I’m a plotter. I need to outline each chapter extensively before beginning a story. If I don’t, I’m stuck. I usually spend a month or more just working on the outline for each book.
Yanes: Deadly Shadow is currently being developed into a TV series called The Assassin Chronicles by Council Tree Productions. What are some of the challenges you encountered adapting a story into the television format?
Cresswell: My first challenge and my biggest was writing the pilot script. I had never written a script before and kept questioning myself if I could pull it off. All I kept thinking about was Sidney Sheldon and Master of the Game. I had to be the master of my own game if I wanted The Assassin Chronicles to come to life. I read and researched scriptwriting every waking moment determined to learn how to write the best possible script.
My next challenge was just as difficult. I had only written a few chapters of Deadly Shadow and had no idea where to begin with the pilot script. With the book, I already had a brief outline (beginning, middle, and end) and a rough idea where I needed the story to go to set the stage for the next book in the series. I changed the first five or ten pages of the script a dozen times, trying to figure out my starting point because it was important to lure TV viewers in during that first scene. I would only get one chance.
I dug deep, worked my butt off, and after a dozen tries I had completed the script then revised it some more. I’m proud of The Assassin Chronicles pilot script. I truly enjoyed the challenge. Thank you to authors Joe Derouen and cal chayce for their support, and to Joel Eisenberg at Council Tree Productions for believing in The Assassin Chronicles TV series.
Yanes: When people finish reading Deadly Shadow, what do you hope they take away from the story?
Cresswell: Most of all, I hope readers will find Deadly Shadow an entertaining read. What I would like people to take away from the book is that everyone has a backstory, good or bad, and being different is cool, not something to be mocked.
Yanes: Finally, what are you working on that people can look forward to?
Cresswell: After Deadly Shadow is published, I’ll be working on the second book in The Assassin Chronicles series: Assassin’s Prophecy, and the fourth book in the Whitney Steel series (action/romantic thriller) Redemption. I’ll also be putting together two TV series bibles and working on the pilot scripts.