Prairie Wife of the Week August 22, 2014 #Giveaway
Posted August 22, 2014 by Prairie Wife - 4 comments
Prairie Wife: This weeks Prairie Wife of the Week is the winner of our You Pick Prairie Wife of the Week Contest and was nominated by past Prairie Wife Trina Campbell. Make sure you take a minute to enter our Giveaway and win a signed copy of Kristine Brickey’s book Flowers for Rodney. Stop by tomorrow to read my review of the book!
Intro Written by Trina Campbell
Author, dear friend, school teacher and horsemanship student… Kristine Brickey is a shining example of a persons inner cowgirl showing on the outside and in all things she does! I met Kristine over a year ago and she was like an amazing painting… With bright colors here and there… Swirls and twirls and smiles mixed in! Her vibrancy for life spilled over into everything she did or touched! Since I have met her she has grown to be a large influence on me… I look up to her and the positive attitude, her zest for life and her amazing abilities as a writer! I was so proud to see her book Flowers for Rodney I have been telling the world! I can’t wait for more!
I suggested Prairie Wife visit with Kristine when they were all at the ranch because truly they have a sisterhood they didn’t know being miles apart! I was thrilled with the idea that prairie wife would want to interview Krisitne and am more proud that the cowgirl sisterhood is growing stronger day by day and that we can all come together whether we are a prairie wife or a country girl and keep the sisterhood alive!
Be sure to get a signed copy of Flowers for Rodney and be sure to spread the news of Prairiewifeinheels.com so that more of us can grow the sisterhood! And find faith in ladies of strength, integrity and positivity! Live in the moment ladies! Xoxo yourinnercowgirl.com
Prairie Wife (PW): First tell us a little bit about you and your family.
Kristine Brickey (KB):I grew up in New Boston, a small town in lower Michigan. My dad’s Virginian roots were quickly evident as within months we had chickens, rabbits, horses, cows, pigs, etc. I loved it! I got a beautiful buckskin quarter horse for my tenth birthday and I will never forget him.
Those memories have shaped my adult life and dreams. I got back into horses when I was in my mid-thirties, raising my two children around country values. Those values demanded strength and a will to never give up when things were tough.
Today, I am happily married to the most amazing man I have ever known. We’ve been together for over six years, and he is my rock. My daughter is in the U.S.A.F. Security Forces, Canine Unit. She is my proudest moment, so strong and a force to be reckoned with in her own right. My son would have been 21 this July. He died over four years ago, a horrible, dark time in my life that pushed me to the limit of heartbreak.
Teaching in Mason for the last twenty-six years has been a blessing. I’ve taught 2nd grade, 4th grade, and for the last seventeen years have chosen to be at the middle school. Though I’ve taught 7th and 8th grades and a variety of subjects, my focus for the last ten years has been mainly 8th grade language arts.
In 2006 I attended Red Cedar Writing Project at Michigan State University, and the experience reignited both my love of writing and my passion for teaching my students how to love the power of words. My life, both work related and personal, would be very different today without the amazing changes that occurred during that summer.
PW: As a middle school teacher I know you’ve seen a lot, what do you think about the direction today’s children are going in?
KB: Having taught for almost 30 years, I can honestly say there have been tremendous changes since my first year of teaching. People’s reactions when they hear I work with middle school students is usually along the lines of, “OH! How do you stand it?” It makes me laugh every time.
Teaching is more difficult now. Many parents do still realize that kids need guidelines and love, which doesn’t mean being your kid’s friend. They have enough friends. Sadly, today it seems too many parents are more apt to blame the school, the teachers, or anything else rather than hold teens accountable. It’s hard work being a parent, but having a child means owning the hard work of checking homework, reading between the lines of communication, and working with the schools to create powerful, positive adults.
Though the situations have greatly changed, however, the students are the same at heart. They are good kids who need and want boundaries, who are looking for a place to fit in, and who will give you the deepest parts of themselves once they know you are trustworthy. I will jump through hoops of fire for my students as long as they are willing to try. They know that, and it makes all the difference.
PW: I met you through Trina Campbell of YourInnerCowgirl.com, what role have horses played in your life?
KB: This question makes me smile. Since my first little Shetland pony, Johnny, became my best friend when I was a kid, I was hooked! Johnny led me to Buck, my first ‘grown-up’ horse. I didn’t know the first thing about horsemanship, but I loved my horse and the great times we shared. Unfortunately, my parents decided to sell the horses. My sister was allergic, and they didn’t agree with my alternate plan to have her go live in town with my Grandma Modelski. Imagine!
Misty was a beautiful white Polish-Arabian mare that began my adult journey with horses. Both of my kids were infatuated, and seemed to have natural abilities in saddle. I had to work a lot harder!
Today, I have two donkeys for loving and scratching, and my nine-year old gelding, Snickers, that I delivered myself. Through a twist of fate, Gail Jackson found me at a local horse expo in 2012, and I discovered Peter Campbell Horsemanship. It has truly changed my life. My horse and I needed a restart after I emerged from the grief of losing my son. What I experienced in that first four-day colt-starting clinic began a journey I’d never known was possible.
Horses have changed my life, given me lifelong friends, and taught me more about myself than I can explain. Trina and Peter’s principles naturally flow into my teaching, my family life, and my writing.
PW: You are the published author of the book Flowers for Rodney, talk to us about how the whole process started?
KB: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote Flowers for Rodney during National Novel Writing Month’s (nanowrimo.org) 2009 challenge. Writing this novel changed me, pushed me to accept that sometimes the characters really do take over the story. My friends asked to read it, and then insisted I not let it sit in a drawer.
After revising and editing more times than I like to admit, my husband finally gave me the final nudge to pursue publication. Sending drafts to publishing companies and agents is like squeezing a drop of water into the ocean and then hoping someone finds it. So, I turned to self-publishing, which is even scarier!
Getting feedback from my project team at Create Space, the Amazon publishing group, I completed final (at some point it has to be final) revisions and after six months my first novel was published in early June of this year.
PW: As a mother did any of your own personal experiences go into the writing of this book?
KB: There’s an awful lot of me in Flowers for Rodney. It’s a work of fiction, but the cooking and fancy napkins are based on times with my kids. Susan’s life holds a great deal of my personal experiences as well, which is why I was able to paint those images so clearly. Susan loves her children without question and is a survivor.
Many people ask me if this novel is about my son, but it is not. I wrote it in 2009 based on an idea I had after a conversation with my Robbie. It occurred to me that too many times teens feel their parents purposely misunderstand them. At the same time, parents think teens are just being stubborn and doing stupid things. I wanted to bridge that communication gap, telling the story of this troubled teen’s experiences from both his own and his mother’s points of view.
PW: What were the steps you took to have your book edited and published?
KB: I wrote the original draft in November, 2009 and then put it away for a few months. Two of my dear friends asked to read it when they knew I was revising, and with great trepidation I gave them copies. Carrie and Dawn were both in law enforcement, and I got great feedback from then on the court/police scenes. I spent the next three years revising and editing, sending digital requests to publishing agents, and revising and editing some more.
In January, 2014 I went ahead and signed up with Create Space. It was great to get feedback on my writing, and my project team helped create the cover, back cover text, and interior design for my final project.
June 30th of this year the local Mason bookstore, Bestsellers, held my first official Author’s Reception. It sold out in fifteen minutes, and is the biggest author’s event they’ve hosted! The whole experience was surreal, and I’m still pinching myself that my life’s dream of becoming a published author has been achieved.
PW: What are your hopes as an author?
KB: My hopes are that Flowers for Rodney will do well enough that my next novels will garner the attention of other publishers. I would love to see my young adult novels on the shelves of bookstores, schools and libraries. Many people are pushing me to get my other novels ready, and that’s a great feeling! I’m currently working on revisions for Melinda’s Bouquet, which tells the story of Melinda, an important character from Flowers for Rodney.
In my best fantasy, I become another Laurie Halse Anderson, writing successful novel after novel, being paid to write full time, traveling around promoting my books and changing lives with my words.
Flowers for Rodney received an excellent review by Kirkus Indie, calling it, “A YA tale about smart choices, family secrets and peer pressure.” “It’s quite a bit bigger inside than the outside had me thinking.”
PW: What advice do you have for our readers that may be secretly wishing to become authors themselves?
KB: Write! And Read! Write what you love, what you know, what you imagine, what you fear, and whatever else you can possibly think to write. I tell my students, writing is just talking with your pencil. Spelling and penmanship have nothing to do with being a writer. Writers write.
PW: How do you keep the balance of being a wife, mother, teacher, and author?
KB: Balance…it’s more giving chunks of time to whichever role needs it most at the given time. There are times when my daughter needs me more than writing, or when I need to write more than anything else. My husband is so supportive of all that I do, and he encourages me to write and ride and laugh and cry and spend time with my students. It makes me okay.
During my most recent trip to Wheatland, Wyoming my husband had an important interview for a promotion. I felt torn that I wasn’t home with him. “Wyoming is good for your soul,” he told me, “and that’s good for mine.” He got the job!
PW: Any last Prairie Wife words of wisdom?
KB: Live your life to the fullest. No one knows what is coming his or her way, so take advantage of every moment. Don’t be afraid of the rain, take off your boots and socks and dance in it, which is just what we did during the storm in Wheatland, laughing and cheering the entire time!
Categories: Prairie Wife of the Week