Tuesday, May 08, 2007

When I Was Just a Kid...Kristin Billerbeck

When I Was Just a Kid...Who Knew?

Kristin Billerbeck

Kristin Billerbeck can honestly say,"I remember the Bay Area before it was Silicon Valley. Before everyone drove Beamers and drank decaf soy lattes and bubble teas."

[Crystal editor says: Ok. I live in Indiana. What's a "bubble tea?" Sigh.]

Kristin, fourth generation California gal was born in Redwood City, and attended Sequoia High School, the same school her parents attended. Did you ever wonder just how that girl grew up to be THE Pioneer CBA Chick Lit author she is today (who actually was on "The Today Show"?)

She penned some romance novels as a young mom to four kids on the way to acquiring her Prada handbag, earning the Romantic Times' coveted Top Pick Inspirational, garnering 4.5 stars. She's won the Romance Writers of America Reader's Choice Faith Hope and Love Award for short contemporary. Her novellas have been on the CBA bestseller list numerous times. And her books keep piling up, many of them set in her beloved California.

As a college chick, she went to San Jose State University and majored in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec. THEN...she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing.
But she says,"It's way more boring than it sounds, trust me. "

So, here we go on a ride through Kristin's childhood. How does a girl like that tick? You may find a few surprises--and find out, like I have, that Kristin's childhood formed her into an amazingly brilliant,sensitive person who has a great passion for justice and social issues--and for people--because she truly understands the deeper things of our life.

With the same wit and sharp analysis she has in her books, here's Kristin:

Childhood Ambition:
To not end up in jail. Actually, I wasn't a very ambitious child, I'm not sure I had an ambition. I think it was more about finding my Prince Charming than actually accomplishing anything. Wow, that's pathetic, isn't it? I wanted to meet Adam Ant, is that an ambition?

Fondest Memory (then):
My mom says I always remember the bad things, so this is a toughy. One time at my best friend's birthday party, we toilet papered a neighbor's yard. We did it up in full, I was the tree person. When we were all done at about 1 a.m., my friend's neighbor laughed and through the open window said, "You're cleaning that up in the morning." Oh my gosh, that was hysterical. We thought we were all that.

Proudest Moment (now):
When I went on the Today Show and survived it. I hate to be in the public eye, so accomplishing that was like attacking my biggest fear and coming out the victor. Even though, any professional would have said that was no victory. I was thrilled!

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:
I was on my own a lot. My brother had open heart surgery a couple times, so I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's, lost in my imagination. I was lonely a lot, perhaps that's why I had the Prince Charming issues. LOL

My First Job:
I worked under the table at a pizza parlor and earned my first pair of Jordache jeans with green piping and a green sweater. I was thirteen. Then, I moved up to Togo's and after that, decided I never wanted to smell like my job again. I started working in offices after that and I was a brilliant typist, even in high school. : )

Childhood Indulgence:
Saturday morning old movies with Pepsi and Pickled peppers.
Cary Grant still makes me salivate in Pavlovian style for peppers.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:
A pair of red cotton capris with darling buttons at the cuff and a pink shirt that buttoned up at the elbow. I didn't know that pink and red didn't go together at the time.

Favorite Childhood Movie:
Tie: Apple Dumpling Gang, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Favorite Childhood Book:
Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume

Childhood Hero: Cher

Favorite Childhood Playthings: Barbies, specifically, the Barbie three story townhouse.

Favorite Childhood Pretending: I used to pretend I was a business woman. Hmmm. But I wasn't ambitious. Well, we'll let the shrink figure it out. LOL

Anything else you would like to include in your childhood memories to share with readers?
I have had the same best friend since I was four, there are any number of experiences we shared together. That relationship truly shaped me. : )

Kristin says, "Recently, I dreamed of being a great hairstylist and Split Ends was born. It's available now from Nelson Publishers."

On her shared blog, Girls Write Out,(also Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter and Diann Hunt are here) you can definitely see what Kristin thinks about--if you can keep up with her intelligent and humorous commentary. (Kristin is not afraid to speak her mind!) While she has written many books, and was the first one in the CBA to publish Christian Chick Lit (she's the founder of that genre!) she also has written many romances, novellas--and, see below for a nonfiction book that goes out of the ordinary because of her passion to tell a story--and tell it well.

Kristin's books:
Split Ends:
Sometimes the End is Really the Beginning (Paperback - April 17, 2007)
What a Girl Wants(Mass Market Paperback - April 11, 2006)
With This Ring, I'm Confused (Ashley Stockingdale) (Paperback - May 31, 2005)
(Crystal Editor note: I keep this magnet on my fridge--to remind me of being out of control!)

She's Out of Control (Paperback - Jul 22, 2004)

She's All That (Spa Girls Paperback) - Oct 4, 2005)
Calm, Cool & Adjusted: a Spa Girls Novel (Spa Girls Collection) (Paperback - Oct 1, 2006)
A Girl's Best Friend (Spa Girls Collection) by Kristin Billerbeck ( April 1, 2006)
Mother's Wedding Dress(Paperback - Jul 2006)
San Francisco (4-in-1 Romance) by Kristin Billerbeck (Paperback - Feb 20, 2005)
Love Online (Heartsong Presents #581) by Kristin Billerbeck and Nancy Toback (Paperback - April 1, 2004) Blind Dates (Hardcover - 2003)

And coming out in September: The Trophy Wives Club: A Novel of Fakes, Faith, and a Love That Lasts Forever (Paperback - Sep 1, 2007)

And Kristin felt so strongly about the story of Carrie and David McDonnall, that she agreed to help Carrie write that story and venture into nonfiction. The amazing true story of bravery and grit, which happened in 2004, is described below:David McDonnall lived a thrill-seeker’s life as a missionary and water specialist in northern Sudan and Jordan. Carrie McDonnall found her love for the Arab people by working with Palestinian children in Israel. Together, they found love and a shared a mission that took them into the mysterious, embattled land of Iraq.

On March 15, 2004, Carrie and David prepared for a day of surveying refugee camps with fellow missionaries Larry and Jean Elliott and Karen Watson. The day ended in tragedy, with three American missionaries killed instantly in an insurgent ambush and two struggling for life. David’s love for his wife, and his sheer force of will to see her to safety in the face of his own death, gives us a glimpse into their shared faith and love for God and ministry.

"God is faithful to His nature. We can always lean on His Word and His Promises, because he is faithful to fulfill His promises. We shouldn’t doubt, because if He has said it – He will do it." - David McDonnall

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