Q&A AND GIVEAWAY – KRISTINA McMORRIS

Posted by Ing on 24 February, 2011 // ★★ 27 Comments ★★

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Hey guys!  I would like to introduce a new author to you today. Kristina McMorris resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and
their two sons, bundles of energy who take pride in transforming any
cylindrical household object into a weapon.



At age nine, she began creatively expressing herself when she embarked
on a five-year stint as the host of an Emmy- and Ollie award-winning
kids’ television program. Being half Japanese, Kristina jokes that she
discovered a genetic kinship with the camera and continued to nurture
that relationship by acting in numerous independent films and major
motion pictures while living in Los Angeles. Most recently, as the
former owner of a wedding/event planning business, she fed her
performance addiction by serving as the six-year host of the WB’s weekly
program
Weddings Portland Style.



Kristina’s extensive experience in media and events led her to becoming a professional emcee and contributing writer for
Portland Bride & Groom
magazine. Her previous writing background also includes ten years of
directing public relations for an international conglomerate.



In fall of 2000, deciding sleep was highly overrated, she compiled
hundreds of her grandmother’s favorite recipes for a holiday gift that
quickly snowballed into a self-published cookbook. With proceeds
benefiting the Food Bank,
Grandma Jean’s Rainy Day Recipes sold
at such stores as Borders and was featured in a variety of regional
media. It was while gathering information for the book’s biographical
section when Kristina happened across a letter her grandfather mailed to
his “sweetheart” during his wartime naval service – a letter that later
inspired McMorris to pen her first novel, a WWII love story entitled
Letters from Home.

If you guys haven’t read my review of Letters from Home be sure to check it out.  The story of how I discovered Kristina and my gushing about how much I love her debut novel is written all in my review.  Now sit back and relax and enjoy my Q&A session with Kristina.

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Ing:  Welcome,
Kristina to the blog!  I would like to say congratulations on the
release of your debut novel Letters from Home.  I absolutely adored this
book.  Can you give a bit more detail about Letters from Home for those
not familiar with your debut novel?
Kristina: Thanks for having me here! 
In short, the story is about an infantryman who, in the midst of WWII, falls deeply in love through a yearlong letter exchange, unaware that the girl he’s writing to isn’t the one replying. Equally sharing the spotlight are three female friends whose journeys toward independence take unexpected turns as a result of romance, tragedy, and deception—and ultimately, the repercussions each of them face from their choices.

Ing:
I really enjoyed the story about how this book came about.  Could you please share with the readers of my blog this wonderful story? 

Kristina: I’d be happy to! Several years ago, I was creating a Christmas present for the family, a self-published cookbook featuring recipes my grandmother had collected and created over decades. While interviewing her for the biographical section, she began to talk about her courtship with my late grandfather. That’s when I discovered, much to my amazement, that they had dated only twice before getting married, as their relationship had developed almost entirely through an exchange of letters during World War II. Grandma Jean then retrieved from her closet a gorgeous stack of those very pages, each one full of the love and hope that had helped carry them through such an uncertain time.
After leaving her house, I continued to think about those letters, and wondered how different their relationship might have been if their correspondence had been anything less than truthful. This thought soon became the core idea of LETTERS FROM HOME.

Ing:  I love how you incorporated the other main character in my opinion which is the “Letters” into this novel.  Each character is impacted one way or another by a letter.  Were any of the contexts of the letters especially the ones exchanged between Elizabeth and Morgan from letters that your grandparents exchanged or were they all from your wonderful imagination?

Kristina: Most of the letters in the book were created from my imagination, with bits and pieces of my grandfather’s messages sprinkled throughout. I also drew inspiration from a great number of WWII letters I found in memoirs and online collections. I never grew tired of reading such special correspondence.

Ing:  There were many memorable moments in this book that either had me chuckling or breaking out a box of tissue!  What was a scene that stood out or was memorable for you when writing Letters from Home?  Why did this scene stand out for you?

Kristina: Oh boy, this is a tough one to answer without giving away too much. Aside from the most obvious scenes, I’d say it was when a mother, who actually plays a very small role in the story, faces the fact that her warm, fun-loving family will never fully recover from the tragedies of war. Given that I’m a mother of two sons, just like the character, this scene strikes a chord every time I read it.

Ing: I’m sure there was a lot of research that went into writing this book.  Was there anything interesting that you discovered during your research that either surprised, thought was odd or funny?   

Kristina: I did my best to slip in historical tidbits that intrigued me whenever the story permitted without being obtrusive, such as the origin of Jungle Juice in the Pacific Islands and the use of snowsuits by German soldiers for camouflaging themselves during the winter. I’ve definitely become a 1940’s phone-a-friend!

Ing:  There were some characters that I was drawn to and am really hoping you’ll write a story for them someday like Jack Callan, Ian, Betty or Julia.  Any plans for a book for them?   

Kristina: I hate to disappoint you, but for the time being, I don’t have plans to continue any of their storylines. But then, I never planned on becoming a novelist either—and look what I’m doing! So, you never know. 🙂

Ing: Which of the girls (Elizabeth, Julia or Betty) would you say you are most like and why?

Kristina: If I had to choose one, I’d say…Elizabeth. I’m a career-driven woman, like Liz, but I also love being a mother. It’s a constant juggle, for sure. In that regard, I’ve got a good amount of Julia in me as well.

Ing: I think Letters from Home would make a great movie.  If you could pick your dream cast who would you have star as each character and why?

Kristina: Ooh, the movie cast question… It’s such a fun thought, and I wish I could provide an equally fun answer. But honestly, since I created the characters in my mind, I have trouble picturing any specific actors or actresses in their roles. That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to see the story played out on the silver screen one day!

Ing: What is next for you?  Any future project you can tell us about?

Kristina: I actually just completed my second novel, titled BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES. Essentially, it’s about a female Caucasian violinist who secretly elopes with her Japanese-American boyfriend—against societal molds and families’ wishes—the night before Pearl Harbor is bombed.

I’m very eager to share this one with readers, as it features some shocking aspects of history that most people have never heard about, as well as heroes who are too often passed over. Also, being half Japanese, I was able to infuse a unique perspective of living between worlds.
 

Ing:  Now on to questions about you. We want to know more about Kristina McMorris. What are your favorite books of all time?
    
Kristina: Some of my favorites include The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum, and The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff. See a commonality here? I’m obviously drawn to historical fiction more than other genres.

Ing:
Any movies you’ve seen lately that you would recommend? Or TV shows that you love right now and don’t ever miss?

Kristina: Sadly, with two young kids, I rarely get to watch any films that aren’t animated these days, lol. Therefore, it was a huge thrill to see Inception in the movie theatre last year. I was absolutely blown away. Since I have a film background, I kept thinking, How were any of these actors able to follow the story by reading this on paper?!

Ing:  What have been some of your favorite places to visit and why?  What places do you want to go next that you haven’t been to?

Kristina: My favorite places to visit are all in western Europe. I was fortunate enough to live in Florence during my college years, and therefore had the luxury of traveling to incredible cities every weekend by train. Among the ones I love most are Florence, Venice, and Paris. They’re going to be hard to top.

Ing: If you could go back to your younger self what would be the one advice you would give yourself?

Kristina: Take time to relax. Nonstop running doesn’t necessarily equal success, and it certainly doesn’t ensure happiness. So kick back and enjoy!
 

Ing:  If you weren’t writing what else would you be doing right now?

Kristina: Well….since it’s nearly 3am while I’m typing this, my answer would have to be “sleeping.”

Ing: Kristina thanks so much for stopping by today!  I really appreciate you answering all these questions.  Congratulations again and I hope you enjoy the ride.  I wish you the best of luck and can’t wait to read your next novel.  Do you have any last words or questions you would like to pose to the readers of this blog?

Kristina: Continuing from the question about movie casting, was one of your favorite books ever turned into a film? How did you feel about the result? Would you have cast it differently? Which book do you most wish would be adapted for the screen?

*****************************************

I can’t stress how much I loved this book and highly recommend it.  To show my love and to pimp this book I am giving away 2 copies. If you are interested in winning a copy check out the RULES BELOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY:
  • Giveaway is open to US and International residents where Book Depository ships to.
  • You MUST leave a comment with your e-mail address if it’s not on your profile so I can contact you if you win.
  • You MUST answer these questions: Has
    one of your favorite books ever turned into a film? How did you feel
    about the result? Would you have cast it differently? Which book do you
    most wish would be adapted for the screen?
     
  • Leave a comment saying HELLO or questions you have for Kristina.
  • Giveaway ends March 8th

To learn more about Kristina and her debut novel click on the following links:

I recommend you explore her website.  She has a great EXTRAS page where you can read snippets of he letters that her grandparents exchanged.  These are the letters that inspired Letters from Home.

Check out this video below.  Kristina discusses Letters from Home.

 

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Read an excerpt of the book HERE 

Cover Blurb:  

In love and war, nothing is as it seesm… 

Chicago, 1944. Liz Stephens has little interest in attending a USO
club dance with her friends Betty and Julia. She doesn’t need a
flirtation with a lonely serviceman when she’s set to marry her
childhood sweetheart. Yet something happens the moment Liz glimpses
Morgan McClain. They share only a brief conversation – cut short by the
soldier’s evident interest in Betty – but Liz can’t forget him. Thus,
when Betty asks her to ghostwrite a letter to Morgan, stationed
overseas, Liz reluctantly agrees.

Thousands of miles away, Morgan struggles to adjust to the brutality
of war. His letters from “Betty” are a comfort, their soul-baring
correspondence a revelation to them both. While Liz is torn by her
feelings for a man who doesn’t know her true identity, Betty and Julia
each become immersed in their own romantic entanglements. And as the war
draws to a close, all three will face heart-wrenching choices, painful
losses, and the bittersweet joy of new beginnings.

    

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27 Responses to “Q&A AND GIVEAWAY – KRISTINA McMORRIS”

  1. Hello!

    Has a favorite book ever been turned into a film? Not often….I did love the book The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper as a kid which they made into a movie that was TERRIBLE. Of course there are the Twilight movies that turned out awful in my opinion as well. And Harry Potter which have been getting steadily worse.

    I actually don’t prefer it when they make movies from books I like since they always seem to ruin the images in my head.

  2. I keep hearing such amazing praise about this book and I’m intrigued, sounds fantastic!

    Right now I can think of only one adaptation which didn’t disappoint: it was the 1995 TV miniseries adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I have to say it took me some time to really see Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, but once I did, there was no one who would have been better than him! (and to my excuse I was about 14!) lol

    Thank you for the generous giveaway, I would SO love to read Letters from Home! 🙂 I’ve always loved novels set in/around World Wars, I find they give such powerful athmospheres, and I love your idea of ghost writer of letters 🙂 Can’t wit to read it!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. Suellen M. Della Coletta

    Hi Kristina! Your book seems to be great!

    Has one of your favorite books ever turned into a film?
    Yes. The Shining by Stephen King (film was directed by Stanley Kubrick and later by Stephen King himself as a tv miniseries because apparently he didn’t like the first version too)

    How did you feel about the result?
    One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

    Would you have cast it differently?
    Mmmmm I don’t know.

    Which book do you most wish would be adapted for the screen?
    The Life O’Reilly by Brian Cohen. Seriously this book is great.

    suellencoletta at hotmail dot com

    Thank you for this giveaway 😀

  4. Anonymous

    Hi,
    Message in a Bottle – The movie could not compete. The casting was good, but there were many more messages in the book and the storyline was just not as good.

    Would love to see Summer of 2 Wishes made into a movie.

    gmapeony at yahoo dot com

  5. Time Traveler’s Wife was one of my all time favorite books (still is) and I thought the movie version was just terrible.

    Fight Club, on the other hand, is also in my top 5 favorite books of all time, and the movie ranks just as high for favorite films. So I guess it’s win/lose.

    ashley @ ashleymaclennan . com

  6. Hello 🙂

    One of my most favorite author is Nicholas Sparks and a lot of his books were turned into movies. One of them was Dear John. I adore the movie but I prefer the book. Books are always better than their movies because they’re more detailed and emotional. Most of the time, book-based movies has lots of scenes that are cut. Scenes that are in the book but not in the movie. And sometimes, directors totally change the scenes. It’s disappointing.

    I wouldn’t have cast differently because I think Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried has this unique chemistry in the big screen.

    The book that I’ve been wishing to be adapted for the screen would be my most favorite Nicholas Sparks book entitled “The Rescue”. I think this book was brilliant. I don’t really know the reason why film companies wouldn’t want to turn this into a movie. I think it will be a blockbuster hit. It’s funny at times, thrilling, and (like other Nicholas Sparks book) it’s a certified tear-jerker.

    claudine_princess@yahoo.com.ph

  7. No, none of the historicals I have read have turned into a film. I’d love for the Outlander series to be, but I know the author’s personal preference is that it wouldn’t.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  8. Yes, Pride and Prejudice. Turned into film, tv mini series, etc. Loved most of the adaptions and wouldn’t want to cast it differently. As for which book I wish to see being adapted for screen, I guess it would be the Night Huntress series since it’s my fave series.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    chibipooh(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. One of my favorite books,The Road, was made into a movie. I don’t think I would really change anything. I thought it was cast quite well, Viggo did a great job with it.
    I would love to see The Stand made into a movie. I have been hearing rumors that it might be.
    I would love to read your book.
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

  10. Joy

    Has one of your favorite books ever turned into a film? Yes the Notebook How did you feel about the result? Like the book better always..Would you have cast it differently? nope Which book do you most wish would be adapted for the screen? The Red Tent.
    jhoorm01atyahoodotcom

  11. I love this post and can’t wait to read Letters From Home.
    The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks was one of my favorites. I think they cast it perfectly. I’d love to see the BDB books by JK Ward turned into a movie or Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter.
    Carol,L
    Lucky4750@aol.com

  12. Morning Ing!
    HHHmmm…so many questions on only one cup of coffee 🙂
    I can be found at sugarbeatbcATgmail DOTcom
    My favorite book to movie (or TV movie) was the North and South series. The results….so many men….so little time 🙂 I loved that movie! I wouldn’t do anything differently. I’d like to see Mary Balogh’s latest series adapted.
    btw, happy Friday!

  13. Hello, Kristina! I think this book sounds fascinating. I definitely want to read it. I read the snippets of letters on your website and thought they were so sweet.

    Has one of your favorite books ever turned into a film? There have been many! One of my fave adaptations from book to movie was The Green Mile.

    How did you feel about the result? I think it was one of the truest crossovers. Very few changes were made from the book to the movie, in my opinion.

    Would you have cast it differently? No, I don’t think I would have. I remember being amazed at how well the actors fit with the characters.

    Which book do you most wish would be adapted for the screen? The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning

  14. Tari

    Hi…thanks for the giveaway

    Has one of your favorite books ever turned into a film?
    Yes, It’s Twilight.

    How did you feel about the result?
    I love the movie

    Would you have cast it differently?
    NO….

    Which book do you most wish would be adapted for the screen?
    The Hunger games

    tari_ada(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)id

  15. Two of my favorite books have been made into movies, Memoirs of a Geisha which I thought was beautifully done and The Time Traveler’s Wife which was just okay.
    I loved the casting in both movies and would not have changed a thing.
    I don’t think it’s always a good thing to turn novels into movies. I don’t like my imagery world tainted by another person’s vision.

    This book sounds really interesting! Please enter me in the giveaway.

    asiancocoa94(at)aol(dot)com

  16. Thank you for the giveaway, I have been wanting to read this!

    I just learned this week that one of my favorite books, The Dogs of Babel, is going to be produced by and star Steve Carrell. I couldn’t be happier with this. This was a wonderful book and I know that he is going to do it justice. I really cannot wait to see it. I know I am going to need a lot of tissues!

    jaidahsmommy(at)comcast(dot)net

  17. niteofblu

    Thanks for the chance to win this. I’d love to read it. It sounds wonderful and to the author, I wish you best of luck with it.

    Yes, one of my favorite books, The Fulfillment, was made into a made-for-tv movie. I remember it was very slow and boring and that disappointed me.

    One of my favorite films, Sleeping With The Enemy, was based on a book by the same name, written by Nancy Price. I’d seen the film many times before I knew it was based on a book. I read the book and was upset at the differences between the two, book and film. If I could remake it, I’d make sure it was more true to the book.

    Thanks!
    niteofblu at gmail dot com

  18. Thanks to all those who left comments! I loved reading your answers to the questions. It’s fascinating to see what others think about adaptations.

    PoCoKat – The Notebook is one of my all-time favorite movies, so yes, I agree; it was perfectly cast! That’s actually the movie that helped inspire me to write my book. So I love it even more now!

    Kathleen – I tell ya, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been sucked into the movie Pearl Harbor during its numerous Saturday showings on TBS Superstation, lol. I hope you enjoy my book too!

  19. Great interview… One of the movies I like from this era WWII is Hanover Street and Pearl Harbour.. so I am going to love your book…

    superauntkx9_atlivedotcom

  20. Hi Kristina. Your book sounds wonderful.
    I love the Harry Potter series. I think they have done an incredible job with the movies.
    I would like to see Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series turned into movies.

  21. Thanks for this giveaway.
    Has one of your favorite books ever turned into a film? well, It can be The times travelers wife or the trilogy of the Lord of the ring

    How did you feel about the result?
    about the first one, I dont like that much, the book its so much better, and about TLOTR is Awesome!!
    Would you have cast it differently? no

    Which book do you most wish would be adapted for the screen? Maybe this time by Jennifer cruise

    thanks
    Orianofla@gmail.com

  22. WEll, I love Dean Koontz’ books and some were made into movies, but they really weren’t that great! I’d love to seee Odd Thomas on the big screen though!!

    danaan at gmx dot at

  23. Has one of your favorite books ever turned into a film?
    Yes Twilight. But I saw the film before I read the book. But it made me love the book even more 😛

    How did you feel about the result?
    Awesome result.. But I think books are almost always better.

    Would you have cast it differently?
    Yes. Because I do not like Robert Pattinson who plays Edward. Think he is to thin and gets paler for every film. :S

    Which book do you most wish would be adapted for the screen?
    I would love to see Fallen by Lauren Kate. 😛

    Please count me in for the giveaway
    line_boegh@hotmail.com

  24. I loved the Notebook..couldn’t put it down…and I thought they did a wonderful job with the film. I wouldn’t have cast it differently. I would love to see any of Lee Child’s books made into a film.

    littleone AT shaw DOT ca

  25. One of my favorite books when I was a teen was FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC by VC Andrews. I was SO disappointed with the movie. Generally, I do not like movies made from books, if I have read the books first. The movies can not contain the whole story, and I often hate that they leave out parts that I really enjoyed, or when they change something in the movie.

    manning_j2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

  26. One of my favorite books is Bastard Out of Carolina which later was made into a movie. I was really dissapointed with the movie as many key points and characters were left out. I have recently read Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and hoped it would be into a movie. It is a story that MUST be told. Well, they did and in theaters now in Europe. Can’t wait for it to be brought to the U.S.

    Thanks for the awesome review.

    Email: johannaloporto(at)gmail(dot)com

  27. hheeey! 🙂
    Has one of your favorite books ever turned into a film? How did you feel about the result? Would you have cast it differently? Which book do you most wish would be adapted for the screen?
    Actually one f my favorite books is The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. At first, I felt excited about the movie. but when i watched it i was a little bit disappointed. there were changes in the movie. i agree that most books are better than their movie counterparts. I would cast it differently. :)) i would like a movie of Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella :))

    email: camilleanne_angel@yahoo.com.ph

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