Interview with Krista Webster
©Jane Harvey-Berrick, 2019
I first met Krista in 2015 at the very first UK romance book event, organised by Totally Booked Book Blog. I was raising money for the military charity www.felixfund.org.uk and had brought a couple of lovely soldiers with me. Here they are with Krista.
It was the start of a wonderful friendship that has seen Krista and her husband Len (more about him later), visit me and my family. We’ve also run across at each other at, ooh, loads of events! She’s always happy and always happy to help.
And I’m so happy to say that this lovely person recently won the Book World Contributor Award at Chapter.Con! Congratulations, Krista, and very well deserved.
I’d describe you as a super-fan. Is that a fair assessment?
Probably, but I call myself “just a reader”. I absolutely adore going to signings and meeting all the authors.
I attempt to meet everyone, even if I haven’t read them yet, and generally manage it. It’s like catching up with friends these days as I’ve met so many authors over the years. I’ve also met many readers and made some great friendships along the way. Signings are a wonderful weekend away and a way to see new places.
When did you start reading romance? What about it calls to you?
I was reading children’s fantasy books when I got a Kindle and read ‘Monday To Friday Man’ by Alice Peterson then ‘Fifty Shades’. In those days, there were recommendations at the end of the books so it just escalated from there. I love the escapism it provides, and it fascinates me what some couples go through to be together.
The thought that love can see you through any situation and is strong enough to break down barriers but can also mend a person—that appeals to me.
How many events have you been to?
Most people would say too many! But as I said earlier it is a passion of mine. I’ve done 40 signings including six in the USA and one in France.
10 x Meet and greets
2 x book launches
2 x film premieres
1 play and 1 film set visit to see how Passionflix film a book adaptation.
Your husband, Len, goes with you to most events. Apart from being fab at helping shift boxes, how do you like having him with you at events?
At first I enjoyed my weekend trips away from the family as it was girlie time, which I never had growing up.
Now, however, it seems strange to attend an event without Len. He makes a great personal photographer and looks after all my books! At first, it was a bit of a novelty with the authors because very few readers took their husbands, but now I get in trouble if he isn’t with me. As we volunteer at all the events now, it is great fun setting up together but also having someone who knows what they are doing really helps. At Book Bonanza he was called “The Banner King” after helping to put up a huge number of author banners. He has made friends with lots of the authors’ husbands and they really appreciate having another man to talk to when surrounded by women. He has also read many of the authors so enjoys meeting them as much as I do.
What is the most rewarding part of being a reader?
I love it when I’ve read a really good book and contact the author to thank / congratulate them and they reply.
I feel privileged to read some books, appreciate how the authors have shared their words and then being able to recommend that book to other readers and see how they also enjoy the story. Meeting a unicorn author never fails to excite me. It also amazes me when an author remembers meeting me or remembers my name, as it is still a goosebump moment for me even after all these years.
You’re also a beta reader and proofreader, what is the piece of work of which you’re most proud?
With Tick Tock and Bombshell cover model, Gergo Jonas.
(And before you read this answer, I had no idea that Krista was going to say this – and I was so moved.)
This is an easy answer as it is a recent book I worked on: ‘Bombshell’ by Jane Harvey Berrick.
There was so much research involved because it was based around true events. There were technical details and lots of information about working as an EOD (bomb disposal) operative that had to be correct. Jane always educates the reader with her books which meant all historical, political and general details had to be verified.
It was the second one in a series (the first being ‘Tick Tock’) so continuity between the books was imperative and all timelines had to be checked. All Jane’s characters are complex and she writes about difficult subjects with such ease that sometimes it is hard to remember you are proofreading and not just enjoying the story.
The book was very personal to the author so I actually felt I had a responsibility to make sure the book was the best it could be and it was a very rewarding project to work on.
Thank you, Krista. You actually brought tears to my eyes.
Do you read reviews? How much do they affect your decision to pick up your kindle?
I do sometimes read reviews of books usually on Amazon but sometimes Goodreads. I get really cross when readers just tell the story, many leave spoilers and not their feelings after having read it. I do like going blind into a book so I tend to read the author’s synopsis to see if I’ll like a book because mainly they don’t give too much away. I tend to choose a book these days on either who’s written it or if a fellow book friend recommends it.
Where are you travelling to next?
I am helping at an authors’ conference and we are going to a signing in June*. Then for July, we are relaxing in the sun for two weeks after 18 months of travelling. The last two events of the year for us are the RARE events in London and Rome in September. We have five signings booked for next year including one in Nashville so I am busy planning that trip.
* The June event was where Krista won Book World Contributor Award at Chapter.Con
If you could change one thing about the romance world, what would it be?
I think it is so unfair to the authors who have worked so hard to publish a book and these people take all their words with no conscience about what they are doing.
I couldn’t agree more!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received: about life?
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
I can’t remember who first told me this, but it seems funny now I think about it for someone to say this to a very shy girl. Now, I always tell my boys this and it is amazing sometimes what can happen if you only ask. In these days of having to negotiate and haggle for a better deal, it is so true.
The author Nora Roberts is quoted as saying: “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer’s always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”
Is there any subject/genre that you wouldn’t want to read?
Historical and Paranormal aren’t my favourite but I am happy to read most subjects/genres. I am not a fan of a very “fluffy” story but sometimes a lighter read makes a change as I am a real fan of dark stories.
What is your favourite reader experience, either in messages or at an event?
It’s got to be meeting E L James for the first time. I don’t care what people say about the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ books because I enjoyed them and it led me to reading romance books, then meeting lots of lovely fellow readers and finding out about signings. We were at our first US signing in Seattle and having a drink in the hotel bar when she walked in .
I was so surprised that I couldn’t talk and Len just laughed at me.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Happily retired! Maybe somewhere hot or by the sea, definitely away from London.
What is your philosophy in life?
Give anything a go once because you never know if you’ll ever be able to do it again.
Describe yourself in three words.
Organised. Helpful. Eagle-Eyed.
How would your best friend describe you?
Organised. Friendly. Generous. Thoughtful. Honest especially with books and always willing to lend a hand.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
A dog. Hopefully with a good home, so fed twice a day, walked and left alone to sleep away the rest of the day.
Most likely to say…
“Can I have a beer?”
Least likely to say…
“F**K Off” (I hate how this is part of everyday language these days. )
What is your favourite colour and why?
Blue. Because I was a Tom Boy growing up and hated pink, plus I support Spurs (the north London Premier Division soccer team)!
When you’re having a bad day, what cheers you up?
Obviously, a good book to lose myself in always cheers me up; however, I also enjoy walking the dog or a good pint of beer.
What would be your ideal day? Where would you be? Who would you be with?
Being somewhere warm as I get cold very easily. I do enjoy going out for a meal with friends or going to a concert or the theatre always brings me pleasure.
Mountains and snow, or beaches and sunshine?
As much as I love the countryside, I hate being cold so definitely sunshine.
What message would you like to give to someone who says they don’t like books?
You don’t know what you’re missing. Books are a way to escape the pressures of modern living and life in general as they allow you to just lose yourself for a couple of hours.
List five books that mean the most to you/changed your life.
‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ by C.S. Lewis
‘Fluke’ by James Herbert.
‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ by E L James
‘Captive In The Dark’ by C J Roberts
‘Tears Of Tess by Pepper’ Winters
What a lovely lady. Look out for her at your next signing—she could be standing in the queue next to you, and if she is, give her a hug from me 🙂