Suki’s Coffee Chat with Kris Tualla

By Suki McMinn

Suki McMinn and Kris Tualla.

I first saw Kris Tualla speaking at a writers’ conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, on a panel about indie and traditional publishing. I was so impressed with her and the other authors who hosted the conference that I joined their group, The Desert Rose chapter of the Romance Writers of America in Phoenix, Arizona, where I had recently moved.

I quickly became familiar with Kris who was the Treasurer of The Desert Rose, one of their most prolific writers and an expert in running her own business as an independent author with no less than nine published trilogies. Kris sets her stories in many different eras; in fact, her Amazon page shows her in a t-shirt that says “My superpower is Time Travel.”

I wanted to learn more about Kris, so I invited her to coffee for a chat.

When did you start writing, and what drew you to historical romance?

I started writing on August 1, 2006. I’d read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlandish Companion and when I got to the part where she said, “The best way to learn to write a book is to write one,” I turned to my husband and said, “I think I’ll try writing a romance novel.”

I was totally ignorant, but I completed my 100,000 word manuscript in 10 weeks. After literally countless edits, rewrites and fixes, that book is A Woman of Choice.

What’s your favorite historical period and place to write about?

I don’t have a favorite period – I look for obscure history and drop my characters into it. I have stories from the mid-1300s in Post-Plague Scotland, through WWII – with a contemporary Paranormal trilogy about a Viking caught between life and death for 950 years.

You were recently inducted into the Colorado Authors Hall of Fame for your WWII Camp Hale Series. Can you tell us a little about that series?

I was researching my WWII story, which takes place at Camp Hale outside Leadville, CO where American Army soldiers received specialized training in skiing and rock climbing from 1942-45. Competitive skiers from Germany, Austria, Italy, and Norway (who bolted to America to get away from the growing Nazi threat) were given citizenship if they enlisted and taught Army soldiers to ski.

Doing this research led me to Colonel Thomas Duhs, USMC, Ret. who is the country’s foremost authority on what became the original 10th Mountain Division. Colonel Tom was trying to write his own book, and I offered to help, because there was interest in a screen project. One book led to a second Camp Hale/10th Mountain book – different regiment, different battles, same training, same war. And that prompted me to write the third book about the 99th Battalion, which also trained at Camp Hale from 1942-43, and was made up of 900 Norwegian-speaking Americans. The two 10th Mountain books have been optioned for a screen project, so — fingers crossed!

What’s your latest project?

I just finished a novella which is intended for a Lifetime/Hallmark/Netflix Christmas movie, and I’m submitting it to the same producer who optioned the other books.

Tell us about your leadership roles in your writers’ groups and what that kind of service means to you.

If I expect to get anything out of any kind of group, I need to be an active part. Many hands make light work, you know. I have mentored other fiction writers, critiqued their work, and given training and advice on how to structure their careers. For the last 8 years, I created and ran annual conferences for both published authors and aspiring writers. My motivation is to ensure that anyone who wants to write and publish is given the tools to do so successfully, and that when they do publish, they can find an audience for their work.

What’s next for Kris Tualla? 

I have two more Hansen Series books to write, then that series will be complete at 30 books (including the Camp Hale Series). Then I have a bizarre idea for a novella that would be speculative fiction, and not a romance… But would make a good stage play.

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