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An Interview with Kimberly Packard, Author of Dire’s Club

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Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs. Kimberly received a degree in journalism from the University of North Texas and has worked in public relations and communications for nearly twenty years.

When she isn’t writing, she can be found running, planning her next trip, doing a poor imitation of yoga, asking her dog what’s in his mouth, or curling up with a book. She resides in Texas with her husband Colby, a clever cat named Oliver, and a precocious black lab named Tully.

Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. Other published works by Kimberly include a Christmas novella, The Crazy Yates, and the sequels to Phoenix, Pardon Falls and Prospera Pass, and her stand-alone titles, Vortex and Dire’s Club. She was honored as one of the Top 10 Haute Young Authors by Southern Methodist University in 2019 (she was most excited about the young part). Her most recent novel, Dire’s Club, was awarded the 2021 General Fiction of the Year by the North Texas Book Festival.

You can buy Dire’s Club here.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I think I was born wanting to be a writer. I don’t remember a singular moment when that thought hit me. It was always there. But there was one person who inspired me—Beverly Cleary. In second grade, I had written to her asking how to be an author, and she wrote me back! Sadly, that letter is lost to time, but I remember it well. The blue ink and her looping long-hand—and her advice. Write every day and read everything I can get my hands on.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I’ve been in public relations for more than twenty years. You would think that it would make me much better at book marketing than I am, but alas, I’m the cobbler with the barefoot kids.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title came to me at the same moment of the story. I’ve been fortunate; most of my book titles hit me pretty early on. Whether it’s the story speaking to me or some kismet moment that says, “That! That’s what we’re calling this baby!”

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

Oh, I cried! I still remember it clearly. I published my first novel with a small publisher, and we met for lunch. She handed me a copy of Phoenix and while I totally oohed and ahhed over it, it wasn’t until I got in my car that I really started crying.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

My books do have soundtracks! At least unofficially. I use it as a way to get into the mood of the book, part of my writing routine. You can check out my Dire’s Club soundtrack here.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

Everyone reads a book for a different reason. Some look for a life lesson, others an escape from a stressful day. You can’t please everyone, nor should you try. But I do hope that my readers feel like reading my books is like spending time with a friend.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

When someone tells you they didn’t want the story to end. The other ultimate compliment is when someone makes an unsolicited recommendation to another reader. That’s happened a few times at book events when someone will be reading the back of one of my books, and someone else passes by and tells them to buy it. Such a cool feeling!

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I have a fun time slip that is currently with a writer friend before I send it to my editor. I’ve also started a new book that I won’t say too much about, other than I’m totally stoked about it!

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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