May 27, 2018. Kimberly Cooper Griffin is a prolific, 51-year-old writer from San Diego who now lives in Denver, CO, with her wife and young daughter. She is the award-winning author of Life in High Def (INDIEFAB Erotica Gold 2016) and Chasing Mercury (INDIEFAB Romance Finalist 2017.) In the last ten years since she started giving herself time to write, she has completed twelve more manuscripts besides the one that is coming out this July, Three Times the Charm. No, but what does she really like to do for fun?
One of the first things I wanted to know was about the women who influenced and influence her. When she began writing, her muse for romance writing was Karin Kallmaker, while her earliest favorite author was Katherine V. Forrest. Her cheerleaders are her wife (who wants her to write because it’s something Kimberly loves) and her best friend, Michelle, (who wants her to write because Michelle wants to read it!) Her mentors are Kit-Bacon Grissett, a Pulitzer Prize Nominated journalist from San Diego, and Radclyffe, lesfic guru and creator/owner of Bold Strokes Books.
Whew. No variety there, eh?
Kimberly is a fascinating woman to talk with and I hope soon to have the chance to drink sake with her and share a salmon roll. I was asking her about the arc of her writing career and what sort of life events had transpired teaching her about self-care. She has quite the list. She was laid off. She had a child later in life. She moved away from an older daughter in California. She went through breast cancer, including chemo and radiation. I sat for a moment just taking all this in. What did all of this mean for her? She thought she had lived life as a precious gift but now, for example, it’s not about waiting until you get the time, it’s about taking the time now. AKA she doesn’t wait for a social life. She takes time and space now in rich ways. Her career may be more than full time but her social life is more than full time as well, and her writing is enriched by this all of it.
One (!?!) of the books she is currently writing is about a woman who has bipolar depressive disorder. Currently forty-seven, she was a young woman when a love affair first triggered a bipolar event and now she feels she must protect herself from that sort of a repeat event. But this means distancing herself from love. Where did this come from? Kimberly had a very dear family member who lived through this and Kimberly lived through it with them. What is she wanting to say about bipolar disorder with this book? She’s trying to say that any illness, whether it’s physical or mental, can be terrifying but being diagnosed with a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, is not a terminal thing. With knowledge and proper medical support, people with it can thrive and live full and happy lives. Moreover, loving someone with bipolar disorder can teach you to be more empathic and sensitive. For Kimberly, the writing of this book has been her therapy and her self-care. As readers of this blog already know, I (Ona) have bipolar depressive disorder and have been honest about that with my readers. I can’t wait to read this book.
What has she done recently that was different? She will be graduating from the GCLS Writing Academy this summer at the GCLS 2018 Convention in Las Vegas. The GCLS Writing Academy is a yearlong intensive program for any writer who wants to hone their craft. In the program, students learn the critical components of quality writing. The Writing Academy goes beyond the craft of writing and takes students through all aspects of writing and publishing a novel. Kimberly says that you don’t need to be a brand-new writer to benefit, especially when it includes having a mentor like Radclyffe for three months. (Which is incredible, as a benefit!)
(Also a full-disclosure item: I, also, went through the GCLS Writing Academy, graduating in 2016, in Washington, DC, and LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it.)
My final question to Kimberly was this: If you had to give advice to a writer in a fortune cookie, what would you say? She loved the question and was very intentional and thoughtful in her answer. “Words are powerful, use them freely!”
You can check out her books and website at kimberlycoopergriffin.com.