Kirsten Hegberg Pursell Interview Published on: 30, May 2022

Where have you spent most of your chidlhood?

I grew up in Oceanside, California. I spent summers in Germany, though, as my mom is from there. I feel lucky to have grown up with an international perspective. But ironically, I would come back to Oceanside after college and beginning my career. My three kids graduated from the same high school I did!

What's the most important lesson you learned in school?

The most important lesson I learned in school is to be true to yourself. That is not an easy thing to do.

Were your family ever skeptical of your dreams of writing? Who has been your greatest supporter?

Writing was always something I just did for fun so I don’t think anyone really thought I would publish books. No one doubted me though. And my dad, by far, has been my greatest supporter. At 90 years old, he beams about the things I write (rose-colored glass, perhaps!).

What developed your passion for writing?

It has always been something I have gravitated towards. I love to tell stories. I do remember, though, a friend’s mom in second grade reading a story I had written about an elephant and her reaction to my words struck me. She couldn’t believe a seven-year-old could write like that.

What was your reaction when your debut novel was published?

I was so excited to hold my first copy in my hand. You go through the process of writing and editing, but actually holding the physical copy is the coolest feeling of accomplishment.

What inspired the story of the novel, Harvard?

Harvard was inspired by a drive down Big Bear Mountain. After a family trip, this idea popped into my head about a woman who reluctantly heads back to her childhood home on a mountain. By the time we got to the bottom of the mountain, I knew how it began and ended, and that it would be a love story with a main character being a woman nick-named Harvard. In a strange twist of fate, my daughter would attend Harvard ten years after I wrote the book. She just graduated.

What is the most ideal ambience for you to write in?

I love to write in my office. I have a great view out my window. I am easily distracted, though!

What do you like to do to relax?

I am an avid athlete. I love to run and have recently returned to my roots of swimming. Clears my head and rejuvenates me.

Who inspired the character of Jack Carp in "Company Clown"?

In my corporate days, I worked for a major fast-food chain. One of the actors on a commercial shoot was telling a story about being a hand model. That there are such things as hand models was pretty funny, but I thought it would make for an interesting character. I actually had wanted to write a screenplay of Company Clown but had so much fun writing this as a book instead.

What challenges did you face while writing your memoir, On Becoming Me: Memoir of an 80's Teenager?

Writing my memoir was truly a labor of love. It was the easiest book to write because it was literally lifting my words from my diaries, journals, and poetry while incorporating the letters as well. Editing it for flow while integrating my present-day narrative were sometimes challenging. I think, though, the biggest challenge is feeling you have this inspiring story to tell and second-guessing yourself as to why your story is the one people should read!

Do you encounter writer's block often? If so, which book of yours did you get stuck on the most and what are some things you did to get your brain working again?

I think I suffer from the opposite! My brain never stops thinking and then I become overwhelmed with all the things I want to say. I am constantly sending myself emails with things I want to write. If I do get stuck, I walk away. Inevitably, something will trigger how I want to write about something. That has been happening a lot with the book I am writing now.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title? Have you ever designed any book cover?

I love a good book cover. I think you need a catchy title. But that’s so subjective. As the author, you obviously believe you came up with a catchy title and compelling cover. And to be honest, I have designed all three of my covers.

Who was the first reader that reached out to you? What did they say and how did you respond?

I would be lying if I didn’t say my friends! But, with On Becoming Me, I had someone reach out to me on social media telling me they were browsing for books on the 80’s and stumbled across my book. She bought it and said she couldn’t put it down because the story resonated with her on many levels. I think for a lot of us from that time period the book serves as a time to reflect on our own experiences growing up. The fact that it can be cathartic for so many people has been the nicest compliment.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

I am hard at work on my next book, Long Enough to Love You. I have had the concept for this book for a long time. In a nutshell, I would describe it as a middle-age coming of age story that begs the question are we ever too old for love and second chances in life? I think of it as a fictious sequel to my memoir.

When did you first join AllAuthor and how did you learn of it? What do you think of the experience so far?

I joined AllAuthor at the start of this year when a book reviewer reached out to me and mentioned the site. All the different author resources can be so overwhelming, but I have loved being on AllAuthor. I enjoy the weekly mockups and book tweets. It’s a great platform to feature my books as well as provide information about me as an author.

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