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The Short Version
Kristen S. Walker wishes she was a pirate mermaid who could speak with sharks, but she settles for being a fantasy author, blogger and nerd. She currently resides in northern California with her family and a rescue cat, but she grew up in the mountains, running barefoot through the woods and chasing imaginary dragons. Her fantasy novels for teens and adults explore diverse characters, detailed worlds, high-stakes adventures and emotional journeys. When she’s not writing, Kristen loves geeky pursuits like gaming, crafting, toy collecting, and cosplay.
More About Kristen
Kristen S. Walker started writing stories at a very young age by dictating them to her mom. Throughout her childhood, she experimented with fiction, song lyrics, poetry, journalism, plays, movie scripts, and essays of many kinds. She wrote her first complete novel, a paranormal thriller filled with ghosts, psychics, and vampires, at the age of seventeen, during one of the first National Novel Writing Month events. The manuscript, “Death Lurks Here,” was shared with friends and family online, but now it’s buried in the dark recesses of her hard drive.
Kristen was homeschooled by her mom, which gave her an unusual childhood, and then started attending college at sixteen. Although she dreamed of becoming a professional author, Kristen’s first experience in a creative writing class was discouraging because the instructor claimed that fantasy (and all other “genre” styles of writing) did not qualify as “real” literature. Kristen switched her major to psychology and graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with her bachelor’s degree, and then because she hadn’t had enough of college, went on to get her teaching certification in early childhood development. Her favorite age group is two-year-olds.
But Kristen didn’t give up on her dream of writing and continued to practice through creative writing books and websites. In 2013, she self-published her first novel, Small Town Witch, a teen contemporary fantasy. Although she hasn’t hit any major bestseller lists (yet), she continues to write and publish her own stories, sharing them online and in print with a small list of fans.
Kristen admits that her stories are not for everyone—although she doesn’t see her stories as an opportunity to preach her life views, she does have some unconventional beliefs which are in the background of her writing. It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to realize that Kristen is bisexual, Wiccan, a liberal feminist, and believes strongly that all people deserve equality. In particular, her diverse characters across the spectrums of racial and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identities have drawn some criticism. But as a proud supporter of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, Kristen refuses to compromise her values just to attract a wider audience.
When she’s not writing, Kristen’s hobbies are mostly of the “geek” persuasion, including cosplay, video games, sci-fi/fantasy, anime, and spending too much time reblogging Disney GIFs on Tumblr. She’s lucky that her family, including her two rescue cats, share these interests with her. She’s also a foodie (constantly looking for new medieval recipes to include in her stories) and a bit of a music snob (because she comes from a large family of musicians), listening to everything from classical jazz to heavy metal, from Romantic piano to female singer-songwriters. Her favorite artist is Tori Amos.
Five Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Me
- I’ve kept a diary since I was five and an online journal (before it was called a blog) since I was fifteen.
- I’ve been vegetarian my whole life. All of the meat-based food dish descriptions in my stories come from friends and family.
- I used to LARP (Live Action Role Play)–the kind where I wore a black leather trenchcoat and pretended to be a vampire downtown.
- I went shark cage diving near the Farrallon Islands to see great white sharks–but none showed up! I did get to see a lot of elephant seals and a gray whale. It’s still my lifelong dream to swim with sharks in the wild.
- My middle name is Sarasvati after the Hindu goddess, because I was born near her feast day. Saraswati rules language and knowledge–an appropriate namesake for a writer and teacher.