Kristin Billerbeck is a fourth-generation Californian who lives in Silicon Valley. She gave her life to Jesus during college and found her true love in a Christian singles’ group. Together, they have four children.
She is the author of more than 30 books, and her latest, A Billion Reasons Why, releases today.
You’ve said that family had a strong influence on you as a child. Did a family member inspire you to want to write?
Not really. I never knew I wanted to be a writer until after I was married and threw one too many books across the wall in frustration. I majored in journalism/advertising, but never wrote a word of fiction until my first book.
You have a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications with an Advertising specialization from San Jose State University. Did you pursue a journalism and/or advertising career?
Advertising. I worked in public relations for the Fairmont Hotel during college and then became a marketing director for shopping malls. That was a very well-rounded career choice because I got to do all the creative sides of advertising, but also the event and budget planning necessary for business. So I learned a lot in that career.
How does your faith play into your writing?
I like it to be very subtle. I live in the Silicon Valley and I’m exposed to every type of person and religion on a daily basis. I know that you can’t bash people over the head with your faith. Rather, you need to be respectful of where they’re coming from and get to know them on an intimate level before earning the right to speak faith. I feel the same way about my books. Faith should be evident in your life, not just a bunch of empty words.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
Well, I would say the multiple sclerosis diagnosis turned into a positive. I went blind one night out of the blue and was diagnosed with the MS and put on high doses of steroids. Because I couldn’t sleep, I started writing on the computer in the middle of the night. So it gave me a new career I wouldn’t have thought about before being sidelined by MS.
Let’s talk about your new book, A Billion Reasons Why (Thomas Nelson, February 2011). Please tell us about it.
A Billion Reasons Why is my love letter to the 1940’s Era; its music and romance. Katie McKenna is a special education teacher who hasn’t been home to New Orleans since her father’s death and being dumped by her great love, Luc DeForges. Once in the Big Easy, Katie is forced to question what security means to her and if multi-millionaire Luc is worth risking her heart for—again.
Where did you get the idea for the story?
I am a big fan of classic movies and classic books. I love the dramatic romance that’s about a heart connection and not simply chemistry. I went to Indiana last February and my girlfriends (Colleen Coble, Hannah Alexander, Denise Hunter and Diann Hunt) brainstormed with me until Katie came to life. New Orleans seemed the place to set it, though I can’t tell you what attracted me to that setting for the book.
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from the book?
I always want my readers to question what they “know” to be true. An examined life for the Christian is crucial. I see too many people who stay locked in black and white thinking and I want them to explore. God is so much bigger and more loving than we truly grasp.
After more than 30 books and a ten-year career as a writer, what do you wish you had known when you first pursued publication?
I can’t say anything. I have loved every minute of learning and every lesson that came with my ignorance. Growing is what this journey is all about. I feel so fortunate to get to put my thoughts to paper, and that anyone cares is a miracle, so I’m blessed.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Strawberries with real whipped cream. Yum!
This website features writers as well as musicians. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I am so insanely bad at any kind of musical talent. The only gift I have here is that I can remember the words from any song, so I can rap with Kanye or sing with the David Crowder Band’s hymns. What can I say? It’s a gift.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I would be a happy 80’s tune, or a peppy 40’s Glenn Miller song that makes you want to dance. I have a lot of energy.
Are you a major or a minor chord?
I have no idea what that means. : )
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I am all of the above. It depends on the day. In the last few years, I’ve been the strong, female lead and it’s not a role I like. I’d like to go back to being the little girl toppling about in high heels.
Please tell us about your pets, if any.
I have a yorkie-pom named Fiona. She is a feisty, little terrier with the face of an angel. My daughter keeps three fish tanks, but I am not a fish fan.
Thanks, Kristin! It’s great to have you at DivineDetour.
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For more information about Kristin Billerbeck and her writing, visit her website at www.kristinbillerbeck.com/ or her personal blog at http://girlygirl.typepad.com/girly_girl/.
Kristin also blogs with some of her writing friends at www.GirlsWriteOut.blogspot.com.
To purchase One Billion Reasons Why and other books by Kristin, logon to: