Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut novel, THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books of 2014 and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best of 2014 lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. Her second novel, A SPARROW IN TEREZIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews Best of 2015 list, and received a nomination for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Book of 2015. Kristy’s third historical novel, THE RINGMASTER’S WIFE, was named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10.
Kristy is a Speaker and Design Manager at TheGROVEstory.com, and holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read. For more, visit her at kristycambron.com.
Welcome back to the blog, Kristy. I’m so excited to have you join us today! Congratulations on your new release, The Ringmaster’s Wife. I am counting down the days until I get to read it! 🙂
Thanks for having me! I love anytime I get to come back and visit with you.
When did you first know you wanted to write a series set in the Jazz Age?
I’ve wanted to write a Jazz Age Era novel for quite some time. The music, art, and fashion… the rapid changes in a post-war world… the modernization of culture into a consumer-centric society – all of these things were swirling in the years between the end of WWI and the Great Depression. With the great losses sustained in the war and in the sweeping Spanish Flu epidemic that followed, society was in a place that became both heart-breaking and prosperous at the same time. As a history-loving writer, I’ve wanted to research all of these things, and write a story that had strong characters who thrived in this world. Writing about the nomadic menagerie of the circus felt natural to incorporate all of this, and I am so happy that my publisher agreed now was the right time! They brought me the idea of writing a novel about Mable Ringling because they were sure she had a story to tell. I agree with them. 🙂
As you wrote The Ringmaster’s Wife, did you find the story spoke a particular message or lesson to your heart?
I love this question, because it has a very real (if somewhat unglamorous) answer. This story spoke to my heart on a much deeper level than I expected. It was my first opportunity to research and write semi-biographical fiction – a story on someone who really lived, and whose life history has already recorded. So there’s a certain measure of healthy fear that comes along with that. I loved learning about Mable Ringling – she had grace and wisdom that by all accounts I could find, was always the hallmark of her character. I wanted to honor that in her, both for her legacy and for the Burton and Ringling descendants. It weighed heavily upon me in the development of this book, as if Mable had a chair that was scooted up right next to my desk every time I sat down to write. She was present in my mind and always a part of my heart. I cherish this story because of who she was.
That is so special. I’m SO excited to read it!! (But you know that already, don’t you?) 😉 Which character was the easiest to write and who proved to be the most difficult?
Here’s what I adore about our two heroines – they come from opposite ends of their story, and meet in the middle with more in common then they’d have expected. Mable Ringling came from very little; our fictional bareback rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus, Rosamund Easling, came from great wealth. Both women however, felt a strong call to lead a different life than the one that had been placed before them, and bravely they stepped out to chase it. Mable was more difficult to write, because she is a woman who really lived. Rosamund was a bit easier for me to understand, simply because I was in a similar place – having stepped out to change many things in my own life made me understand her motivations and fears.
I loved seeing pictures and some video clips from your research. What was one of your favorite discoveries while researching this book?
There is nothing like onsite research opportunities for historical writers. (Seriously – it’s my favorite thing!) This was my a golden opportunity to dive in and see, smell, touch and experience everything that my characters would have, in the manner in which they lived. The days I spent researching at the gorgeous Gilded Age Ca’d ‘Zan (“House of John” in Venetian dialect) mansion in Sarasota, FL were a dream come true. The curators and staff at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art gave of their time to show us every detail about the Ringlings’ lives, and gave us behind the scenes access to their circus world. One of my absolute favorite moments? Touring the Ringlings’ custom-designed train car (named, The Wisconsin) and spending time in the servants’ hall at the mansion, tucked away reading research documentation in an office they allowed me to use. That was a Downton Abbey moment if ever there was one!
TheGROVEstory.com is a ministry of two things: fellowship and living out our story with God.
In the beginning, our storytellers – (authors Cara Putman, Courtney Walsh, Beth K. Vogt, Melissa Tagg, Katie Ganshert, Katherine Reay, Sarah Ladd and myself) – came together to offer support on the writing journey. Writing can be a very solitary profession and along the way, there are certain ups and downs that come from a job where you release so much of yourself out to the world. We wanted to partner together to encourage and support one another. What we discovered however, was that there are women out there who have stories they’re telling too – stories that they live day in, day out. They’re teachers, mothers, sisters, friends, doctors, writers, wives, missionaries, caregivers, advocates, leaders, and world-changers, and they all have a story to tell. We wanted to create a community that offers a haven – a GROVE – where we do that. We’re still growing (as any good grove should do), but it’s been an amazing community to be a part of so far.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Kristy! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
My heart is really wrapped-up in the idea of dream chasing these days. Both Mable Ringling and Rosamund Easling inspired me in this book, because they were so brave! They walked away from what didn’t make them happy, and were relentless in the pursuit of what would. I want to encourage all of the dreamers reading this blog – whatever God has placed on your heart… go after it. Chase it. Don’t give up. Be relentless in the pursuit of your calling, and never be afraid to risk absolutely everything to follow God. When you’re “all-in”, your dreams are safe with Him.
Thank you, Kristy! Sending you a big hug from Missouri! 😉
Kristy has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of The Ringmaster’s Wife to one lucky reader! Enter below and it could be YOU!
Thanks for entering! Contest is open to US residents only and ends June 14, 2016. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!