Kissing Bandits Interview with Lisa Diane Kastner
KB: Welcome to Kissing Bandits Blog! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Thank you for having me. I’m the founder and executive editor of Running Wild Press. I’m also an author of fiction, nonfiction, articles, and essays. For the Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 1, I’m the editor and I have a piece within the anthology.
KB: Tell us a little bit about your most recent release.
The Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 1 was developed with the desire to provide great stories with wonderful voices from some authors you may have heard and others that may be totally new to you. The anthology consists of a wide variety of story types from humorous non-fiction to a narrative poem to mystery/horror to literary fiction to a Tom Sawyer-esque fictional outing. With the intent that everyone will find something to enjoy. And even better, the eBook of the anthology is for sale during the virtual tour for 99 cents!
KB: What has been the most exquisite moment of your life?
The day I met my husband. I had given up on dating and decided to focus on work and my friends and myself. He and I met at a coffee shop in downtown Philadelphia. I saw him and thought he was the most gorgeous man I had ever seen. Then he started talking to me and here was this tremendous soul, brilliant and kind man. I felt privileged to call him a friend. That day, I met my best friend, my soul mate, my heart, and my partner in life.
KB: What was your defining moment as a writer?
The day I decided to jump into the deep end and submitted the first short story I had written as an adult to the Philadelphia Writers Conference. I attended the conference because at the time the instructor would critique your work. For me, this was the ultimate test. If the instructor said it was crap then I would ditch writing. If the instructor said it was good or okay, then I would keep working at it.
My instructor pulled me (and a few others) aside and said he had to talk to us one on one. I was terrified. I thought I must have written the worst piece he had ever seen. During a break, he pulled me into an empty conference room and took out my short story. He told me I was a natural story teller and meant to be a writer. He glowed about all the elements he loved about the piece. I nearly cried.
Throughout my writing and editing career I have had pivotal moments like this and I’m blessed for each one.
KB: What are your top three guilty pleasures?
Wow, only three?
Okay, in no particular order – manicures and pedicures from Oasis Spa in Burbank, Ca. The environment is magical, the people are lovely, and after 90 minutes in that chair, I am butter.
My next guilty pleasure is right down the street from Oasis and it’s a well known establishment in Los Angeles called Portos. It’s a family-owned and operated bakery and restaurant with some of the most fantastic sandwiches and pastries bar-none. Everything has a Cuban flare. Well worth the trip.
My third guilty pleasure is wearing my husband’s t-shirts to bed. We both travel extensively for work so when we can’t be together I like to have him with me even if it’s via a hole-ridden t-shirt.
KB: What kinds of female characters do you prefer to write?
I prefer to write fun, quirky, smart female characters that figure things out. They may not start off as the strongest or the most independent or the best but by the end of the story they have learned something or grown in ways that readers can identify with.
KB: What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your writing?
I read all genres and forms. You can find a great story in every one. By reading broadly this enables me to use techniques and learn from storylines that I may not otherwise be exposed to if I limited myself to only a few genres. I’m a true believer that innovative ideas and stories come from learning in the most unexpected ways and typically I don’t find the unexpected unless I put myself out there to experience it.
KB: What is something nobody would guess about you?
I’m not sure. Most people are surprised I’m an introvert. I really work to put myself out there in front of others.
Running Wild Anthology of Stories: Volume 1
By Various Authors: Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges and Gary Zenker
GENRE: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry (narrative)
This gripping collection of stories – fiction, nonfiction, and narrative poem – will make your imagination run wild! Featuring stories by Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges, Gary Zenker. You will travel alternative planets, run away away like teens in search of adventure, solve a murderous mystery, come to grips with your fears, and much more.
“Susan winks at me as she says to her mother, “We’re going to the playground. We’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
“Don’t be too late. It looks like rain. Come home at the first sign of drops, OK my girls?” Her mother gathers us in an embrace. Her mother is tall and massive. I’ve heard people call her “zaftig.” Her many folds of skin almost choke me as she puts her fat over my face. I kiss her face as soon as I can breathe again.
I look at Susan, her blue eyes shine, her mouth pursed in a conspiratorial smile. Her copper red hair bounces as she shakes her head, and puts her finger to her lips. She cocks her head into her mother’s plump side as she mouths, “don’t tell.”
Susan’s my friend, my best friend. I know she’s lying to her mother, yet I say nothing. I believe we’re going to the playground like I believe I’ll be 6’ 5” when I grow up. At 12 years old and 4’10”, with parents who barely top 5’1”, the answer is the same, fat chance.”
From Ann Stolinsky’s “Don’t Tell”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Elaine Crauder’s fiction is also in Cooweescoowee, The Boston Literary Magazine, The Eastern Iowa Review , and Penumbra. Another story received the Westmoreland Short Story Award. Eleven of her short stories have been finalists or semi-finalists in contests, including finalists in the Tobias Wolff and Mark Twain House contests. ”The Price Of A Pony,” under the title”Christmas the Hard Way,” was a semi-finalist for both Ruminate Magazine’s short story prize and for the Salem College Center for Women Writers Reynolds Price short fiction award.
Richard D. “Ky” Owen is a lawyer with Goodwin & Goodwin, LLP, in Charleston, West Virginia. He earned a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University in 1981 and a J.D. from Hamline University in 1984. Coming from a family of writers, he considers himself a “writer by birth.” He is the author of
None Call Me Dad and he blogs about parenting and Michigan State sports on his website, http://www.nonecallmedad.com.
Keith R. Fentonmiller is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His Pushcart-nominated short story was recently published in the Stonecoast Review. His debut novel, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat, will be published March 20, 2017 by Curiosity Quills Press.
Based in Southern California, Dr. Lisa Montagne currently divides her time between writing poetry and prose, teaching writing to (mostly) willing college students, and overseeing educational technology projects and support at Fullerton College. She is also a Swing, Blues, and Argentine Tango dancer, host, DJ, and instructor. She likes to drink Champagne in as many places as she can, including Europe; to read poetry aloud to anybody who will listen; to cook for anybody who is willing to sit down long enough to enjoy her food; to dabble in drawing, painting, and photography; and to read anything plopped in front of her, ranging from D.H. Lawrence to Vogue magazine. She also likes to watch television and movies, and to imagine how much better she would have produced them herself. She lived in Las Vegas at one time, so she likes to tell people that she was a stripper there. She was really just a graduate student and high school teacher, but it’s more fun to let people wonder. Although rumored to be a direct descendent of Oompa Loompas, Lisa is actually the offspring of a college professor and a circus dwarf. You can find some more of her writing at archive405.com and lisamontagne.com, and see evidence of her adventures @lisamlore on Instagram.
Ann Stolinsky is a Pennsylvania-based word and game expert. She is the founder and owner of Gontza Games, an independent board and card game company, and three of her games are currently in the marketplace:
“MINDFIELD, The Game of United States Military Trivia”; “Pass the Grogger!”; and “Christmas Cards.”
Check out her website at http://www.gontzagames.com. She is also a partner in Gemini Wordsmiths, a full-service copyediting and content creating company. Visit http://www.geminiwordsmiths.com for more information and testimonials. Ann reviews books for Amazing Stories Magazine, an online sci-fi magazine which can be found at http://www.amazingstoriesmag.com, and is an Assistant Editor for Red Sun Magazine, http://www.redsunmagazine.com. Her most recent publishing credit is a poem in the Fall 2015 issue of Space and Time Magazine. She is a graduate of the Bram Stoker award-winning author Jonathan Maberry’s short story writing class.
Lisa Diane Kastner is a former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, her short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as StraightJackets Magazine and HESA Inprint. In 2007 Kastner was featured in the Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery. She founded Running Wild Writers and is the former president of Pennwriters, Inc. (www.pennwriters.com). She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State and her BS from Drexel University (She’s definitely full of it). Her novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was shortlisted in the fiction category of the William Faulkner Words and Wisdom Award and her memoir BREATHE was a semi-finalist in the nonfiction category of the same award. Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey she migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously engage in little sparks of anarchy.
Aimee LaBrie works as a communications director at Rutgers University. She earned her MFA in fiction from Penn State, and her MLA from University of Pennsylvania. Her short story collection, Wonderful Girl, was awarded the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction and published by the University of North Texas Press in 2007. Her second collection of stories, A Good Thing, placed as a finalist in the BOA Short Fiction Contest. Her short stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Pleiades, Minnesota Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Permafrost, and other literary journals. In 2012, she won first place in Zoetrope’s All-Story Fiction contest. You can read her blog at http://www.butcallmebetsy.blogspot.com.
Kristan Campbell is a short story writer born in Washington, D.C. but has only visited her grandmother there during some of the summers of her childhood. She’s more familiar with Philadelphia, New York City, and Paris than her native city and aims to weave her experiences in those places into tales based on places and people that are out of the ordinary. She studied Journalism at Temple University (what seemed like a practical approach to writing at the time) and Comparative Literature at Hunter College (which seemed like a fun idea at the time) before accepting that she should have been an English major all along. Kristan completed her B.A. in English at Temple University in 2010 and an MFA in Fiction at Fairfield
University in 2016. She’s currently attempting to eke out a living doing freelance editing with the help of her cat, Fishy, who manages her desktop printer with enthusiasm.
Bill Ed Scruggs spent his younger years meeting the Southern mountain countryside and exploring the people, taking time out as needed for work in various occupations. He lives (temporarily) in Connecticut and has one child, a psychiatrist. Presently he is reconstructing his memories and imaginings in a series of novels and short stories (Facebook page Foothills Fiction – Bill Ed Scruggs) Warrensburg is a fictional photo of a country village in the illumination of fireflies.
Joshua Hedges is a debut Science Fiction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Computer Science. When he’s not writing stories or code, he ventures outdoors with his wife and three-year-old son to hunt dragons in the forest.
Gary Zenker is a marketing professional whose days are filled with creating business and marketing plans, and writing ad copy and media content. By night, he applies his imagination to flash fiction tales that cross genre and focus on revealing various facets of human nature. He is the author of Meetup Leader, a book on running successful groups; is editor and publisher of 19 books in the rock & roll Archives series; and co-author of Says Seth, a humorous collection written with his then six-year-old son. His work has earned a dozen marketing awards and placed in four writers’ contests, including a first place recognition from Oxford University Press. He founded and continues to lead two writers groups in southeastern PA, assisting others to develop their skills and achieve their writing goals. http://www.zenkermarketing.com
ONLY THE E-BOOK IS $0.99 DURING THE TOUR
The authors will be awarding three individual prizes, a $10, a $25 and a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.