God has paired a special and unlikely duo to
write Spa Mystery Series! Supermodel, author, and speaker Kim Alexis
and best-selling author Mindy Starns Clark have just released Beauty
to Die For, an insightful, thrilling tale that will take you
into the world of a supermodel who has left the industry, only to face
a baffling set of circumstances that threaten to turn her world upside
These two ladies are passionate
about the work God has called them to, so join me as they share their
hearts about their writing this novel and how God orchestrated their
work relationship to craft a new series.
Kim, you have
had countless opportunities to touch the live of others. What is the
most meaningful one?
I guess the biggest difference I
can make is to be a good example to my children; to put them before my
career; to guide them, pray for them, and be there for them always.
Mindy, how did
you come to coauthor a book with Kim Alexis?
The publisher suggested I talk
with Kim because she is an avid mystery reader. I liked her
immediately, and when I asked her who her favorite authors were, she
rattled off some obscure authors you would know only if you really knew
mystery. I was completely drawn to the idea of the story, and loved her
personality―she was so down-to-earth and real.
I trained as a writer in the
mystery world, not in the Christian world, and these are authors I knew
about. And then I heard “spa setting.” I’m not a girly girl; if it had
been about shoes or handbags, I would not have been interested. But
something about spas―I’m so there! I love manicures, massages, facials,
and all that kind of stuff! So I was even more interested.
Our very first venture with the
book was a research trip to a spa! Tough job but somebody’s got to do
it! The three of us―Kim, our editor, Karen, and I―had treatments, hung
out, and just soaked in the spa atmosphere. Karen was so cute because
she would not let us talk about the book, do any brainstorming, or
discuss characters until the third day. I didn’t understand that
because that’s what we were there for. Then I finally got it, because
the third day we were about to explode with ideas, and I think that was
her point, to let it build up a little. And sure enough, on the third
day she said, “Now we can talk!” We sat there for hours, threw around
ideas, and kept going around and over all aspects of the book. We took
notes and when we were done we had fleshed out a whole framework for
the characters. Brainstorming was so much fun, and Kim was so good at
it because she knows mystery. She’d say “Oh no, no, that’s too Nancy
Drew” or “That’s Scooby Doo. We don’t want to do that.”
I had to rewrite certain
chapters at least five times, because Kim wanted me to grasp a
supermodel’s life in the industry. Those chapters were pivotal to the
story. When you are a writing team, you work together until both are
satisfied with the end result. The book wouldn’t exist without the work
we both poured into the project.
to Die For is your first foray into Christian fiction, and your
coauthor considers you to have a great knowledge of obscure mystery
writers! Where was the idea for this story born, and what has been your
favorite part of your coauthoring role?
My favorite part of the book was
ducking into Juliette’s mind to discover the reason she left the
modeling business. I wanted the reader to understand her thoughts when
she was at the top of her modeling career and why she needed to get out
Kim, what have
you learned about yourself as a writer through bringing this first
piece of fiction to life?
Writing is harder than it
sounds; that it is hard to put into words the feelings and emotions
behind the actions; to pick apart what drives a character to do what
co-wrote three different books with three different people last year.
What did you learn during that process?
They all brought something
different to the process of crafting a novel, so each experience was
completely different, but very rewarding! I’d heard horror stories
about writing with someone, but that has not been my experience at all.
Kim was very much the heart of
this novel. Mechanically, I put the sentences down, but it was a joint
effort. Kim was fully involved and fast to respond to any question! She
was a constant resource for everything, not just the modeling.
Writing is a very lonely
occupation, and you don’t realize how lonely until you’ve written with
someone else; the deadline was not my deadline but our deadline. It was
so much fun to have someone to share all of that with, at every level.
your favorite character in the book? Why?
I would say Juliette, because
she feels like a fellow model or sister.
written one nonfiction title. How is writing fiction different from
nonfiction? Which do you prefer?
My main goal in both fiction and
nonfiction is to encourage women to be their best in whatever God calls
them to do.
Mindy, you are
currently revising your nonfiction title, The House That Cleans Itself.
Will you write more nonfiction in the future?
I think nonfiction pulls from a different side of my brain.
I’m actually doing a rewrite my
biggest-selling book ever, The House that Cleans Itself. It
came out a few years ago and I love that book! It was a huge seller,
but I always felt like I made it more complicated than it had to be.
It’s about housekeeping for people who really stink at
housekeeping―like me! I kept thinking there was an easier way to
structure what I was trying to say, especially once so many people
bought the book, started doing it, and then giving me a lot of
My publisher wanted to
re-release it, but I talked them into letting me rewrite it. It’s the
same information, but it’s been reorganized and I added a lot of new
material. I say that housekeeping is a talent, but I don’t have that
talent so I can’t clean. So I figured out a way to change the house in
certain ways so that it’s almost like it cleans itself and I don’t have
to clean it anymore. If you read the book, you’ll see that it works! By
rewriting the book with a simpler approach, it makes the information
more accessible. It comes out next year. I’m having so much fun with
I wish I could do one nonfiction
for every three or four fiction titles.
Kim, what had
God been doing in your life as you have worked on this project?
Teaching me a new level of trust
and His timing!!!
A year ago in April, I tripped
and fell, which resulted in a brain injury―a bad one to my left frontal
lobe, the word center of the brain. The busiest year of my life, when I
had three books to write, I blew out my brain. It was the worst year of
my life in that aspect, but God was working out His plan in me. It
probably saved my life in a way because I had such bad work habits, was
pulling all-nighters, which I shouldn’t do at my age.
The book with Kim is about a
woman turning fifty, who asks: “Without my looks, who am I?” so I could
relate to that when I was struggling to find words. Suddenly, I totally
“got” that character, because I had to answer the question “Who am I?”
in my own life. It has slowed me down. God is
showing me how to enjoy my life in a whole new way.
words of encouragement do you have for your readers?
Don’t envy others by what you
perceive from the outside. We all go through struggles. Some have
different strengths and weaknesses but all are in a learning process.
Never say, “If only I looked like her!!”
Mindy, what do
you want your reader’s to know?
Two things: First, I want to
entertain you so that you won’t go to sleep at night because you can’t
put my book down. Second, I hope to give you stories so good that you
will pass them along to both Christian and non-Christian friends. I
hope that the story will bring truth and light into some dark places,
will comfort, and will answer questions in their lives.
Ford has been a resident of
Alabama for more than ten years. Originally from Georgia, she holds a
Bachelor’s degree in English from Brenau Women’s College. She has spent
the past 9 years in sales and marketing and has been an avid reader of
Christian Fiction for more than 20 years.
A mother of two teen sons both nearing the end of high school, Kim’s
life is full and blessed. She enjoys singing, writing and spending time
with her family. She blogs at: Window
To My World
Linda Attaway has been an avid
reader for as long as she can remember. A reviewer for CFBA and a
variety of publishers, her blog, Mocha with Linda, also contains her
miscellaneous reflections on life, faith, music, and family. A
self-described word enthusiast and grammar geek, she also enjoys
proofreading and editing. Linda lives in Texas with her husband and two
teenagers and finds joy in serving as her church’s Care Minister. Visit
her blog at mochawithlinda.blogspot.com.