About Kiersten Lillis
Hey, I’m Kiersten Lillis! I’m a Colorado transplant originally from the Midwest. I love sweet tea, libraries, my dog, and the Oxford comma.
My parents claim I started reading alone at age three. That’s likely exaggerated, but I have loved reading and writing as long as I can remember. Around second grade I started journaling, pondering the deep questions of life, like “Is Santa real?” In middle school, a computer replaced the spiral bound. And, in high school, I succumbed to the phenomenon of online journaling. My Xanga is still floating out in cyberspace, chock full of neon, bold, and italicized Jimmy Eat World lyrics. I actually tried to find it, but alas, Xanga died and it took my blog with it. Can’t say I’m sorry.
Music is my other love, and I have attended at least thirty concerts in my less-than-thirty years. If Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is in town, I’m dancing and singing in the crowd. Other favorites include Jimmy Eat World—some things never change—Bon Iver, Death Cab for Cutie, Ed Sheeran, and City and Colour. I haven’t managed to snag tickets to Ed’s show yet, but I’m on alert.
I earned my BA in Electronic Media from the University of Dayton (Gooooo Dayton Flyers!) and pursued a career in video editing for the following four years. Now I do digital marketing and media for an innovation consulting and ventures firm and help companies tell their stories.
My work-in-progress started with a spark of an idea in April 2016, and I’m currently in the sludge we call a rewrite. The book is shaping up to be more than I ever imagined it could. Over the past fifteen months I’ve learned and grown, and Talullah the teenage Seer—my main character—is bearing the brunt of my new knowledge. Mostly that means I’m torturing her in new and terrible ways.
Read a synopsis of the story.
Thoughts on Writing
Writers describe the act of writing in many different ways. Often those descriptions include words like “masochism.”
To be honest, sometimes it can feel like that. Writing is more than stringing words together to make sentences to make paragraphs to make pages and chapters and books. The ink on a page is made of sweat, blood, and tears. Dry, bloodshot eyes that squint at the screen or notepad into the pitch dark hours of evening or faint hours of the morning. Stolen moments during lunch breaks. Time spent away from loved ones or lying wide awake in the middle of the night.
It is also joy and love and expression and art.
But even so, why do writers write?
I don’t quite know if I can explain the need of a writer to tell a story. But I’m a writer, so I must try.
A Metaphor for Writing
It’s almost like a river rapid the way an idea takes hold. Sometimes you’re paddling along on a calm stream and out of nowhere, the current picks up. It latches onto your canoe and pushes you downstream. IDEA IDEA IDEA, it chants as water sloshes into your boat, spraying your face with a premise or a character or a setting.
You try to fight it at first. I have to do this or that, you scream, digging your paddle into the water. I don’t have time for that! This other thing is more important!
The harder you resist, the fiercer the rapid rages, relentless in its protest. The story idea haunts you—in the shower, when you’re trying to sleep, while you’re driving to and from anywhere and everywhere. You try to back paddle against the pull of the current and end up turning yourself backward. Peeking over your shoulder, you see the edge of a waterfall in the distance.
You swallow the lump in your throat that is fear and doubt and wonder and longing and decide to stop fighting. The current will pull you whether you want to go or not. So you dig in your paddle and spin your canoe around. You say, Okay. Let’s tackle this together. You’re flowing with the current now. It guides you, but you steer. You’re in control. To plan, to change direction, to shape your path.
When you finally reach the edge, your muscles tense. Instead of plummetting to death, you glide into a shallow pool. From far away it seemed so much scarier.
You ease out of the boat and into the clear, refreshing water. A smile spreads across your face. You’ve done something difficult and terrifying and invigorating. Something many people never do. It seemed impossible, but you did it. And now this is you: