Kirsten Fullmer's passion for sharing stories is what motivated her to become a self-published author. “Simply put, I like storytelling. When I was a teacher [technical college], I would need to find different ways to get the students' attention, to get them to engage. Stories were always something that they could connect with... So when I needed to quit working [due to health concerns], I found that I still have that desire to share my stories.” After a debilitating illness, writing was something that empowered Kirsten. “I began to get inspiration everywhere. Now I carry a little book with me so that I can jot things down.”
Rather than high concept romance books, Kirsten aims to write “novels where the characters are doing the things that you like to do.” When Kirsten's children were still living at home, home decor was the last thing on her mind. According to Kirsten, “if the house was clean and organized, I was happy. But, when the kids left the house, and we began to have more time and money, it was something that I got really interested in.” Kirsten began to admire the local vintage boutique owners for their talents of “looking at one piece and turning it into something entirely different.”
Rejuvenation and personal growth are frequent themes in her Shady Chic trilogy. “In the first book [Shabby Chic at Heart], the home decor represented Tara's personal desires and own needs. She felt that she owed the community she grew-up in, so I turned that into her saving her old town. I guess my books tend to feature women who are working through their problems. It is something that all too many of us can relate to. There are times when you may feel kind of stuck, and you can't quite see how you're going to get past it, but you've just got to keep going.”
Kirsten felt anxieties about stepping outside of typical genre-norms, but she wrote with a particular audience in mind. “I was worried, as an unknown author, that if it doesn't fit a niche, then no one is going to search for it. But many women have a real passion for the shabby chic movement, and a passion for 'fixing up men,' so I thought I would combine the two, and voilà! I mean, typically, a relationship is the biggest up-cycle project you have. You have to keep working on it and making it fresh and new, and finding new thing that you can respond to.”
Shabby Chic has found quite a bit of support amongst the Pinterest community. As Kirsten's writing style is quite visual, it is only natural for her series to find support on such a visual social media platform. “I started out with different boards. I went through and pinned things which were related to my book. Each story will have their own corresponding Pinterest board.” Custom Pinterest boards are also a great way for Kirsten to provide readers with a more visual insight into the characters' lives, and for her to connect with the home decor community.
Kirsten Fullmer is the author of the brand-new Shabby Chic trilogy. The first book, Shabby Chic at Heart, is available for order through FriesenPress' bookstore. For more information, visit www.authorkirstenfullmer.com
Written & Interviewed by Ashley Good