Native publishes second novel in series

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“Black Inferno” is Luke’s second book in her series. She says that she plans to continue on with these characters as long as they have a story to tell. (Photo submitted)

By Caitlin Bittner

Over the years, the Prairie du Chien area has helped inspire many authors and writers with its rich history, picturesque scenery and charming residents. Author Kim Luke, whose second book “Black Inferno” was just released this spring can count herself amongst the success stories.

Kim is the daughter of Gerald and the late Judith Carl, both Prairie du Chien natives. “I went to school at Prairie Catholic,” she said, noting that she also got her first library card in town. “It was from the Memorial Library.”

Although the family moved to Minnesota when Kim was 6, they still spent quite a bit of time driving back to Prairie du Chien. Kim noted that one of the most vivid memories includes the bridge that connects Marquette and Prairie du Chien. When writing the setting for her “Circle of Sun” series, Kim drew inspiration both from Prairie du Chien and another place called Herman, Missouri for her fictional town of White Oak, Missouri. “The river, the climate, the bluffs—you can see them all in White Oak.”

Kim’s created city seemed the perfect place for her first novel’s character Quinn to become a heroine. “Things happen in White Oak and nothing is right,” she explained.

After a near death experience that leaves Quinn hospitalized and her boyfriend Alec dead, things rapidly begin to change in Quinn’s world. To describe Kim’s second novel in the series wouldn’t be fair to the first book, but Kim does promise that the action does get even more intense.

Kim described her twisting and turning books as fitting into the fantasy genre. “People [who like fantasy] tell me that it’s not hard to get into the books.”

For now, Kim is working on her third novel and has no plans to end the series as of yet. “As long as I enjoy the characters, I’ll keep going. I have an endgame in mind that I’m working toward.”

Of writing, Kim can say one thing for certain—an author really does get to know her characters incredibly well. “I have five main characters and it’s so weird to spend so much time inside someone else’s head.

While many who write know that the writing process can be a cruel and unforgiving task, it can also be the height of one’s creativity and a source of joy. “In the third book, I know what I have to do; I just have to spit out a rough draft. After that, I like to go back and rewrite. That’s when I can add all the pretty words and descriptions.”

To aid her writing, Kim said that she found writing software very helpful. “The first time [I used it], it took me three months to do the outline. It just asked me question after question and I thought ‘You’ve got to be kidding’ but when it was done, I had a solid outline. I had a skeleton and there was even some meat on the bones.” For her third novel, Kim was happy to announce that the outlining process only took her two weeks.

From her books, Kim stated that she only wanted one thing. “I want pure entertainment. When the series does end, I want to feel good about it.”

Kim explained that she believed in her stories and to an author, that should be worth everything. Her secondary piece of advice to other aspiring authors is that “if there’s an urge, a want to write, and a desire to tell a story, don’t worry if you’re doing it right or wrong. There’s some reason that it wants to be told, just get it out on paper. Consistency helps and journaling.”

From journaling, Kim remarked that she was able to pen a blizzard scene for her novel. “There’s a blizzard in the first novel that was real. The snow was swirling and the wind was blowing and I wrote a paragraph about it. I like to do writing in the moment.” A decision which her husband Bob and their three children, Keli, Nick and Mikaela, support.

When it came to some of the novels’ battle scenes, Kim cited him as being the one to make them better. “He had a different perspective and he wanted them to be more exciting. He was my ears when I was writing a kind of scene that I wasn’t comfortable with. He gave my battle scene back to me and said ‘Is that it?’”

Now, Kim says that they don’t just write the battle scenes, but they actually act them out. “It was really fun. We set up the table with the mountains and soldiers. I told him what had to happen and he helped me with the how.”

Her children have also been indispensable to her writing and marketing process. Kim explained that her two older children were Beta readers for her and that her youngest helped her create the book trailers on Youtube.

Although Kim and her husband now live outside of Kansas City, Missouri, on a Christmas tree farm that they bought in 2002, she still feels a big connection to Prairie du Chien. “It’s very beautiful and inspiring. I wasn’t there long, but it still feels like [Prairie du Chien] is my home.”

You can connect with Kim at, on Facebook at Circle of Sun or on Twitter, @kimluke. She is also a Goodreads author.

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