Episode 191: Writing Around a Heavy Issue — Interview with Kiersi Burkhart

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today I’m thrilled to have author Kiersi Burkhart on the show!

Kiersi is an author and freelance writer living in windy, wild Wyoming. She is the co-author, along with Amber J. Keyser, of the middle grade series Quartz Creek Ranch; four stand alone stories all about a summer horse camp in her own home state of Colorado.

She went to college at a small, and extremely remote school in Portland, Oregon, where she got really plugged into their literary community. The secluded campus and insular culture of this college inspired the setting in Kiersi’s latest book and YA debut, Honor Code.

Listen in as we chat about Kiersi’s amazing book, and how to focus on characters in an issue driven book.

In this episode Kiersi and I discuss:

  • Crafting an issue-driven book that doesn’t feel issue-driven.
  • Flipping a known concept on its head to form a more interesting theme.
  • How to use a blog as a device to layer your story with different perspectives.
  • The wider world of writing, ways to get out of your writer’s bubble and into the community.
  • Tips to survive the introvert hangover after an in person event.

Plus, Kiersi’s #1 tip for writers.

About the Kiersi Burkhart

Kiersi Burkhart is an author and freelance writer living in central Wyoming. She grew up in Colorado, riding horses and competing in gymkhana events (which is like the racing part of the rodeo). Any time she wasn’t doing cowgirl stuff, was spent holed up in her room writing fanfiction about her favorite anime shows—which are still pretty much the themes of her work today.

Kiersi went to college at a small, incredibly remote, school in Portland, Oregon, and ended up staying in Oregon for about 12 years. She became a big part of the literary community there, and that turned out to be the life-changing step that led to her getting published.

Together with Amber J. Keyser, Kiersi co-wrote the Middle-Grade series Quartz Creek Ranch, about a summer horse camp for troubled kids (published 2017 by Darby Creek). These four stand-alone stories about friendship and riding all take place on a working cattle ranch in Kiersi’s home state of Colorado.

In addition to her authorial accomplishments, Kiersi works as a professional freelance copywriter, writing blogs for businesses and creating powerful marketing content.

Her first Young Adult novel, Honor Code, is available now, and she is currently hard at work on a YA fantasy novel to be released in the spring of 2019.

To connect with Kiersi check out her website at kiersi.com.

Honor Code

Sam knows how lucky she is to be part of the elite Edwards Academy. As she dreams of getting into Harvard one day, she’s willing to do anything to fit in and excel at the private high school. Even if that means enduring hazing, signing up for a sport she hates, and attending the school dance with an upperclassman she barely knows.

But when she learns the high cost of entry, will Sam be willing to bury the worst night of her life in order to “keep the community sacred”? As the line between truth and justice blurs, Sam must find out for herself what honor really means.




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Link to Episode 191

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