Guest Blogger: Kris Yankee

09 Sep
Guest Blogger: Kris Yankee

First I want to thank Clarissa and all of the Gems for having me here today. I love the posts and the beautiful photos – so inspiring! I’d like to share my writing journey from rehabilitated women’s fiction writer to a full-fledged middle grade writer.

I was rocking my youngest son at some Gawd-awful hour in the morning when it hit me: I need to write a story. I have all of these “people” and stories in my head and they need to get out. That was easier said than done – as I’m sure we all have experienced. It’s hard to just sit down and write a story – especially when you’re not taught the correct way to tell a story in school. I don’t remember any of my high school or college courses talking about point of view, scene and sequel, and definitely not story question/problem.

That night I concocted a story about a young girl who visits her grandma and wants to play outside, but can’t because a huge thunderstorm rolls in. Her grandma, wise as can be, tells her a story about a cloud fairy and how they grow rainbows during thunderstorms. When the storm passes, a rainbow appears.

Corny, I know. But it was the first time that I actually put those quirky little stories down on paper (well, screen). I edited and edited, and then I submitted it directly to publishers. I learned that picture book authors rarely had agents. Well, I was rejected a couple of times-far less than when I would query agents for my women’s fiction story. I decided that maybe writing kid’s picture books wasn’t for me.

But I had gotten the writing bug and wasn’t about to quit. I honed my craft with a few online courses and then started a women’s fiction story. It was about a woman who found out that basically her whole life had been a lie. I felt more comfortable writing about women than kids because at that time, my two boys were very young (3 and 1 ½). I still had this nagging feeling that I was writing for the wrong audience, but I didn’t know any better. I completed a manuscript and started querying. I spent a long time querying agents and was continually rejected. I decided to write another story.

When I started to query the second women’s fiction story, I came across the Book Cents website. It was a relatively new agency at that time. I wasn’t biased (old vs. new), so I submitted. I received the best rejection letter ever! Christine Witthohn said that the story wasn’t for her, but that she’d be interested in any other of my stories because she liked the way I wrote. I quickly submitted that very first manuscript and a short time later was offered representation.

Christine was never able to sell that women’s fiction story. She told me the market was saturated and that I should consider another genre. There had been a kid story in my head ever since we’d moved into our new house (which was just before the story of rocking my son). Since my kids were now older, close to 8 and 6 ½, I figured that I pretty much had my audience right around me. I decided to write a fantasy story about a young boy who is whisked away to save a world that existed inside his bedroom’s wallpaper. Even though Christine wasn’t able to sell Saving Redwind: A Wallpaper Adventure, I felt like I’d found my voice. The stories came naturally and the words seemed to flow.

Since completely Saving Redwind, I finished two other middle grade stories. Each story has a boy as the main character who plays hockey. This stems from the fact that I spend so much time at the rink with my older son. With the marketing changing as it is, Christine suggested that I self-publish Saving Redwind. I was reluctant at first, but finally took her advice; while we waited for the stories on submission, I may as well get Saving Redwind out there. I took the plunge and officially started selling Saving Redwind in July. I’m having fun introducing myself and my book.

If you’d like more information about me or my books, please visit my site at or my blog


Posted by on September 9, 2011 in Guest Blog, Idaho



10 responses to “Guest Blogger: Kris Yankee

  1. Sheri A. Larsen

    September 9, 2011 at 5:05 AM

    Yeah, so I love your story, Kris. Your perseverance and dedication to the craft is honorable and inspiring. Thanks!!

  2. Johanna Harness

    September 9, 2011 at 5:38 AM

    Congratulations, Kris! I’m hearing about more and more agents telling their clients to self-publish. I wish you great success. 🙂

  3. Carley Ash

    September 9, 2011 at 6:25 AM

    Thanks for blogging with us today. It was a very interesting post.

  4. Janis McCurry

    September 9, 2011 at 7:07 AM

    I loved your idea about a world within the wallpaper. Such a wealth of ideas. Thanks so much for visiting Gem State Writers.

  5. Clarissa Southwick

    September 9, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    Thank you for this story of perseverance. We are so happy to have you guest blogging with us today!

  6. Peggy Staggs

    September 9, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    The writing bug bit me when the company I worked for asked me to write a procedures manual. After I finished the dry do this, then this, style book I couldn’t quit. The people banging on the inside of my brain, were demanding to be let out. Here I am, still trying to get them all out on the page.
    Thanks for dropping by.

  7. Liz Fredericks

    September 9, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Thank you, Kris, for blogging today and sharing your story. I love to hear about agent/representation success stories.

  8. Kris

    September 9, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    Thank you all for your comments. It was wonderful of Clarissa to ask me to stop by. Peggy~In my corporate life, I wrote training manuals, so I completely understand the dry this and that!

  9. Mary Vine

    September 10, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Self-publishing is changing all the time. You are amongst many in that group now. Thanks for blogging!

  10. Joanna

    September 11, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    Kris, you inspire me!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: