Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Q&A with Khristin Wierman


Photo by Ben Krantz Studio



Khristin Wierman is the author of the new novel Buck's Pantry. She spent 20 years working for Fortune 500 companies, and she lives in San Francisco.


Q: What inspired you to write Buck's Pantry, and how did you create your characters Gillian, Lianna, and Aimee?


A: As the story began to shimmer in my mind, I knew I wanted to write about how we unwind ourselves from the knots of our past. I wanted to do this specifically from the point of view of a person trying to help a family member who struggles with mental illness, as that was something I experienced in my own life. This became the character of Aimee.


From a more humorous point of view, I wanted to write about the culture clash between an East Coast woman married to her corporate job (Lianna) and a conservative Southern soccer mom (Gillian). I grew up in Texas and left to pursue a corporate career on the East Coast, which allowed me to experience both perspectives intimately.


Once the book began to take shape, I discovered that writing about Texas--the beauty of the place and culture which are often overlooked--was also part of the story I wanted to tell.


Q: The writer Amy S. Peele called the book “A brilliantly composed story of flawed characters who become better than they thought they could be.” What do you think of that description? 


A: When I read those words I wanted to hug her. I think it's an incredibly generous description that is very much in line with what I hoped to create. She's a great writer. To have that kind of endorsement from someone with her talent means a lot.


Q: Did you know how the story would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: For me, stories tend to evolve and take on a life of their own. I knew I wanted my characters to succeed: to discover things about themselves that held them back and then use that knowledge to change their trajectories. After that, the details sort of emerge with the writing, which is the most magical and enjoyable part of the process for me.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: Books have been many things for me: an escape, a reason to laugh at times when my life was particularly bleak. And they have also been a source of new ideas.


When we're young, so much of our world can be defined for us, by our parents and the place where we live. Books, especially novels, have given me exposure to new options in terms of how to view the world and myself in it.


At the end of the day, I hope the book is a joy. And if it's not, that readers will feel comfortable setting it aside and finding a story that resonates for them.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: My next novel, This Time Could Be Different, is on the SparkPress roster for Fall 2023.


Here's what it's about: A compulsive overachiever, Madeline lives by the credo that easy is synonymous with mediocre—which is why, at 49, she’s a senior vice president at a prominent bank, spends more on face cream than she used to pay for a pair of shoes, and panics anytime she’s a foot away from her phone. 


Madeline works alongside her best friend Emma—a master juggler of her own career, marriage, and motherhood to a 14-year-old daughter, who speaks only in baffling acronyms. The path ahead for both women is brimming with opportunity. 


There’s only one problem. Madeline is miserable, and her career is beginning to take a toll on life with her fiancé. Reluctantly agreeing to yoga, meditation, and her new-agey therapist’s other whacky suggestions, Madeline seeks purpose in her life while trying to unravel the source of habits she wants to change. 


Feeling as if she’s risking everything, she just might unlock a world more fulfilling than she ever could have imagined.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Thank you for having me as part of your blog! If your readers would like to know more about me or my books, they can find it here:





--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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