Krista D. Ball was born and raised in Deer Lake, Newfoundland, where she learned how to use a chainsaw, chop wood, and make raspberry jam. After obtaining a B.A. in British History from Mount Allison University, Krista moved to Edmonton, AB where she currently lives with her partner, two crazy but likable step-boys, seven cats, and a very understanding corgi.
Like any good writer, Krista has had an eclectic array of jobs throughout her life, including strawberry picker, pub bathroom cleaner, oil spill cleaner-upper and soup kitchen coordinator. These days, when Krista isn’t software testing, she writes in her messy office.
1) What's the inspiration for Harvest Moon?
I was working at an Edmonton, Canada inner-city agency when I first conceived of the idea. The agency's clients were about 40% aboriginal, so I was exposed to traditional stories on a daily basis. One of the regulars was Jim Thunder, who later passed away. He'd tell these amazing stories from his family's oral tradition, as well as from the elders he'd gotten to know over the years. He encouraged me to expand my own world and settings. So, I decided to write my own Canadian aboriginal tale, with a gender bending twist.
2) One of your characters would probably be classified as someone who has alternative relationship styles (aka queer) was that merely a plot device or is this an issue you might continue exploring in your future work?
The notion of having a queer character came pretty much at the same time as the plot. Harvest Moon is the first of (hopefully) a series of stories that address identity, in a Canadian setting. Harvest Moon addresses gender. I find that many folks still judge a person's gender based on their sexual orientation (i.e. a real man isn't gay, proper women don't like both men and women, etc). So, I wanted to challenge that notion while I explored gender.
My work will continue to feature different cultures, races, and sexual preferences. I find too many books are stuck in the same areas and people. I want people to always pick up my work and never assume American-white-straight-middle class. I want people to come into my work with a clean slate.
3) Some parts of your short Biography are really interesting, and I wanted to know if they're actually true such as do you really make raspberry jam or go strawberry picking as a job?
I don't make raspberry jam now, because raspberries aren't in the wild much here in Edmonton. However, when I lived back in Newfoundland, we'd go out in the woods, pick wild berries, and make jam. I also had a summer job picking strawberries. I was chopping wood before my age hit double digits. I knew how to skin a rabbit in the first grade (which, btw, I'll probably never do again. Talk about messy - yuck!). I enjoy learning lots of different skills and getting new experiences, and with such a rustic upbringing (though, amongst my peers back home, it wasn't rustic...it was normal), I've had a lot of great experiences in life.
4) You mentioned you were working on a Sci-Fi military thriller, could you give us a sneak peek?
I'm always scared about giving peeks of my unpublished work. I feel like I'll jinx it. However, I can give you the blurb that I sent with the query letter. Hopefully, it sounds exciting :)
"Captain Katherine Francis is about to disobey every Ethics Law the Union of Planets throws at her. After the Union’s enemy destroys her home planet and murders her family, she makes the decision to bring an end to the war—whatever it takes. When an opportunity arises to ally with the neutral Alliance and turn the tide of war, Katherine throws aside her moral code, partners with a known spy, and risks sacrificing the very core of who she is. And when faced with choosing between her conscience and stopping the bloodshed, she realizes that, either way, she’ll lose."
The blurb sounds intriguing! A big thank you to Krista for doing an interview here at Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books!
Cursed, abused, and desperate to know her future, Dancing Cat sneaks a glimpse inside her tribe’s Sacred Bundle, a powerful source of spirit magic. Instead of the future, she sees her most powerful ancestor, Small Tree and incurs her wrath. Small Tree strips Dancing Cat of everything —her home, her identity, even her gender – and drops her in the middle of enemy lands.
Injured, and in a strange, new body, she is befriended by Bearclaw who is on a spirit quest. He offers her assistance and asks for nothing in return; a kindness Dancing Cat had forgotten existed. She struggles to weave a path around the obstacles of friendship, identity, and longing in order to survive her eventual return home to face even further punishment.
And she does it while wearing someone else's skin.
You should check out my review of Harvest Moon!