Today, Kim Mullican has joined us in the forum to talk about her Amish novel Yoder’s Farm as well as a horrifying real childhood event and lots of other great stuff. Let’s not keep her waiting.
Tim Greaton: Hi, Kim. It’s great to have you with us today. Now, some interviews start off slower than others, but I absolutely have to jump right in and ask you why you pause with a distant look in your eyes before talking about one particular relative?
Kim Mullican: I was brought up on a farm where hard work was a way of life. I always knew my grandfather was a little crazy, but when the FBI raided our farm, I discovered just how crazy he was. He was hauled off in shackles. That moment changed me forever.
Tim Greaton: That had to be shocking. But you’re close to your father, aren’t you?
Kim Mullican: My father is a dreamer. He always encouraged me to fight for what you want and to reach for the stars. He’s now my biggest fan. He travels the US talking about my books every chance he gets.
Tim Greaton: In the interest of digging up the juiciest stuff, what do you think our readers would find most surprising about you?
Kim Mullican: I am an avid angler. My husband and I spent our honeymoon at a state park in Southern Indiana and spent nearly every waking moment on the boat fishing. While many women would cringe at the thought of smelling like fish, having dirt under your nails and wearing no make-up at all, for me it was the perfect honeymoon. My husband planned the perfect honeymoon for us as a couple. It was great bonding time.
I’m also a compulsive baker, which my friends love, but my scale does not. I find it comforting and therapeutic for some reason. I think it stems from growing up poor and hungry. I’m always trying to feed people . . . sometimes against their will.
Tim Greaton: It’s obvious that you are a strong person. Where do you think that comes from?
Kim Mullican: Growing up on a farm, I learned early on about hard work and work ethic. You certainly could not skip feeding the animals or tending the garden. If the zombie apocalypse ever happens, I will be able to survive off the land, shoot with precision and fashion a bomb out of duct tape, peanuts and a fuse. Okay, maybe the last part is more of a MacGyver fantasy, but you get the point.
Tim Greaton: A lot of us are guilty of stuffing failed projects into a drawer and revisiting them every once in a while. That’s not true for you, though, is it?
Kim Mullican: Oh no… I have no drawer. If something sucks, I trash it. I erase all evidence of it on my computer and refuse to discuss it again. I prefer denial. A good dose of denial can be healthy. Right?
Tim Greaton: But you haven’t really destroyed every single past work, have you?
Kim Mullican: My book Immortal Decision was the only one that made it out alive. I found it on a thumb drive I had forgotten about. It was 180k words of … crap. I did still love the story, so I completely rewrote it, starting from word one.
Tim Greaton: What would you say is your magic writing system?
Kim Mullican: During my first two novels, I was a pantster. I really did wing it, which led to a whole lot of editing, and plot holes I had to fix (and hair pulling, and vodka consumption.) With Losing Control, I used my picture window and a dry erase marker and plotted the whole thing out, making notes along the way. It made a noticeable difference in the review process, though our neighbors and visitors started calling me “beautiful mind.”
I still like to wing it, but I will be plotting at least main points from now on, partially because it entertains me when the mailman tries to read my window and doesn’t realize I’m sitting there. I’ve also grown quite talented at drawing butts.
The picture window and my dry erase marker are now very important tools in my writing chest.
Tim Greaton: I hear that you rely a lot on beta readers. Is that true?
Kim Mullican: Oh my poor betas. In my head I curse at them as only a drunken sailor could. I call them names, shake my fists, and vow to find a computer hacker to raid their hard drives and sign them up for midget porn. In reality, however, rather than stomping my feet like a kindergartener, I always thank them and carefully consider their notes. Betas are like gold and should be treated as such, just like our readers. (Is that brown-nosey enough? XD)
Tim Greaton: Yep, I do think that covers the brown-nosing quite wellJ.
A lot of writers imagine themselves to be a particular author or imagine that they are directors of a grand movie when they’re writing. You, however, have a much darker view of your authorial self. Could you tell us about it?
Kim Mullican: Sure. I am a sadistic wench who likes to put my main characters through hell. I’m sure if you asked them, they’d compare me to Hannibal Lector or David Koresh.
Tim Greaton: I think that’s probably why your readers love you so much, Kim. I recently blogged that tragedy is the secret to successful fiction. You seem to understand that at a deep if not psychotic levelJ
So what do you have for us in the way of latest and new book release news?
Kim Mullican: Yoder’s Farm is my latest, though I’m about a month away from releasing Not My Daughter.
Tim Greaton: I’m hoping you’ll return to discuss Not My Daughter, but in the meantime, could you tell us about Yoder’s Farm?
Kim Mullican: Well, it’s by far my bestselling book, though it’s also a book that has received a few 1-star reviews.
Tim Greaton: Okay, to be honest, Yoder’s Farm has also received seven 5-star reviews and two 4-star reviews. So what do you think earned you those few low-rated reviews?
Kim Mullican: It appears I’ve angered some folks by portraying the Amish in such a negative light. Either way, here is the blurb:
When an Amish community is targeted by a murderer, they have no choice but to go against tradition and call for help. The Amish are less than thrilled with the FBI sends agents Lizbeth Dawson and Matt Silva to solve the case.
The agents arrive to find no evidence, a less than cooperative community and a lack of women’s rights that sends Liz reeling.
Frustrated by the Amish and their secrecy, the agents are thrilled when a woman, Sarah, who escaped the Amish way of life, comes to their aide. Sarah arrives with more information than the agents can handle as they discover a circle of violence that shocks the seasoned agents.
When long held secrets are revealed, the motive is discovered, an entire community is at risk, and so are the agents. The only question remains if they will capture the killer, or if the killer will outsmart them.
Tim Greaton: The story sounds fantastic, Kim. What led you to tell this particular tale?
Kim Mullican: As writers, we always struggle to find a story that has not been told. Most of my books revolve around a serial killer of some sort. After researching the Amish I discovered that they are not the quiet docile community one might think. There is a lot of violence and abuse that goes unnoticed.
Tim Greaton: And why do you think this novel has done even better than some of your others?
Kim Mullican: I was just lucky that Amish Mafia the television show was released about the same time I released Yoder’s Farm.
Tim Greaton: I know a certain aspect of this book was hard for you. Could you tell us about that?
Kim Mullican: Child abuse is something that hits very close to home for me. Those parts were very difficult to write. Above all else, I am a woman and a mother. Suffering at the hands of abusive men and looking to a spineless mother for help is something that makes my gut ache.
Tim Greaton: If your next birthday party were going to have a theme based on one of your books, what would it be?
Kim Mullican: Ohhh! In Taking Control, I had drag queens, so I’d love to throw a huge party and force everyone to cross-dress in drag. I would love to take the seriously homophobic people I know, force them to wear a gaff, shave their legs and wear thigh highs and platform hooker boots. It would just be so much fun! I would even have a mandatory pole dancing contest just to watch the train wreck!
Tim Greaton: I think you should film the entire event and we’ll post it right here on the forum with your next interview, KimJ
Unfortunately, every interview ultimately has to wind down. Before this one does, it would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly communicate with you and purchase your stories.
Kim Mullican: My Author Page is http://kimmullican.com. Under the “Books” Tab are links to all my books. There is a link to my blog there, but you can also find it at http://kimmullican.wordpress.com.
My Author Page is a good place to find out about upcoming projects!
Tim Greaton: Thanks so much for hanging out with us today, Kim. I’m fortunate to have a ton of great forum readers, and I’m willing to bet Yoder’s Farm and your other novels are getting typed into their search fields right now J
Kim Mullican: I’d like to thank you, Tim, for having me. It’s been a pleasure. And thank you, readers, for your continued support of Tim, me and the rest of our writing community. Without you, our work means would mean nothing.