writing for children


I have missed interviewing folks – and decided to get back in the swing of things. The first person in the line of fire is Kristi Johnson Marion, a sweet friend of mine who happens to be a kick-butt blogger and writer! After you read her interview, I hope you’ll take a moment to visit her BLOG . You’ll be glad you did!

As for her answers to my semi-deep questions, you’ll enjoy those, too. She has a fabulous sense of humor and a fabulous respect for God’s creation and fellow earthlings!

Ten Questions with… Kristi Johnson Marion

(photo courtesy Kristi Marion)
(photo courtesy Kristi Marion)

1. Why do you blog? What motivated you to start? I was inspired by a friend’s blog and I thought, “I could do that.” as well as a local blog that posts a photo-a-day from somewhere in our city and informs of cool events. I wanted to write more, express myself (with more characters than the status updates of Facebook and 40 characters Twitter allows) and highlight some of the many wonderful local offerings in my fair city of Winston-Salem, helping others become “locavores”.

2. You have a fantastic way of plugging local artsy-type events. How do you keep up with it all? I have a lot of artsy friends and I volunteer as Communications Manager for an outdoor arts festival where I’ve made even more talented friends. Honestly, I’m a wannabe artist. A closet painter. I’m hoping some of their talent will rub off. In the meantime, I enjoy helping get the word out about the great artists and crafters we have right here in our area.

3. Besides blogging, what other writing projects are you focusing on? Why? I write for two local magazines: “Forsyth Family Magazine” and “Forsyth Woman Magazine” for the same reasons, to highlight all the great talent in the area.  I also have a novel in mind that I’ve given a rough start. It deals with a young girl’s coming of age story in a small Bible Belt town.

4. What is your favorite book on the craft of writing? My favorite is Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. She’s both inspirational and raw, a rare combination to which I’m drawn. The title of my blog, “Southern As Biscuits” came from her book, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
5. If you could write a biography on anyone in history, who would it be and why? I’d love to write a biography about Carol Burnette. Her story is inspirational in that she is immensely talented and rose to fame from a difficult childhood. Again, it’s a matter of hoping her comedic genius and strength would rub off on me.
6. If you could pick one place to go as a writing retreat, where would it be? Why? The mountains of Colorado. Why? Because I’ve never been and it’s on my Viva! (bucket) list, and because I find the mountains to be a calming contemplative place with their majestic views, long walks, cool temps and cozy fires.
7. If you could meet any author and ask them three questions, who would it be and what would you ask? I would ask William Faulkner why he added the “u” to his last name. Who were your literary influences? and Does your family/town ever forgive you for writing about them?
8. If you could only pick one goal to fulfill this year, but you knew you would be completely successful at it, what would you pick? And what goal would be at the bottom of your list? I’d like to travel to a place where the people have suffered and help in whatever way I can, perhaps Haiti. As for which goal would be at the bottom of my list? It must be a lukewarm goal. Barely important enough to make the list and not a big deal if it doesn’t get checked off. I’ll go with helping my kids with their science projects. (They are optional this year.)
9. What is your favorite memory of your childhood? Do you think it can aid you in your creative writing? My favorite memory of my childhood is of riding my purple bike with the banana seat around the poles of my grandparents’ basement in a figure eight while my little sister chased behind me on her rusty Radio Flyer tricycle. It was a crisp fall day and my grandmother had made a fire in the old wood stove and tucked foil-wrapped sweet potatoes in the old oven to bake. The distinct fall smell of woodsmoke and baking sweet potatoes mingled while she and her sisters suspended tobacco sticks with twine from the pipes above in the form of a square to hold the backing for their quilting. For hours they reached into the overflowing bags of crazy quilt squares over and over, laughing and chattering, while the squeaky wheel of the Radio Flyer trike kept time.

I think it does aid me in my creative writing. It was such a vibrant moment, full of sound, smells, colors and joy, that it not only touched my senses, but it also touched my heart. The memory reminds me to write moments the same way. The story also reminds me of who I am and where I came from — a humble, yet beautiful country beginning rich in family — and to be true to that in my writing.

10. Last question and the most important: Do you believe in Bigfoot? Yes, because foot binding is disfigurement for the sake of fashion. I’m a size 8.5 myself, and a firm believer that big is beautiful.
Kristi – thank you for being my guest today! Your answers made me smile, giggle and want to know more! And I like the way you sidestepped my Bigfooot question. I’m going to take that as a yes. 🙂 So when I go on my next Sasquatch watch with one of my other writing/blogging buddies (Hi Laura!), you’ll have to go with us! (I have the same size foot – so we’ll all fit in!)

27 thoughts on “TEN QUESTIONS WITH…

  1. Kristi and Donna,
    Fun interview. I did go to “Southern as Biscuits” and wow or wow–how do you post so frequently?

    Linda A.


    1. Hi Linda! Thanks. I enjoyed the interview. It made me think! Last year I challenged myself to blog daily (weekdays) to get me writing more often. It has been a challenge, but as I suspected, it eventually worked itself into a (loose) pattern: Meatless Monday (or other) recipe, personal musings, craft (usually with the kids), locavore feature (farmer, restaurant, bakery, shop), artist feature, local Etsy.com post and fill in the rest with interesting upcoming events! The downfall to this is that when you blog that frequently, it’s difficult to develop a “niche” as is so highly recommended in blogging, so I try to keep it local/Southern whenever possible. Thanks for reading!


  2. Linda – I know… right? She is a blogging machine! (but not really cause, well, she has a heart and machines don’t and… anyway. You get the picture!)

    Vivian – I loved her description, too! That could be a scene from a book right there, couldn’t it?

    Carol – I bet you’re gonna love her blog. Chock full of interesting tidbits and cool “kristi-esque” stuff!

    Really, Kristi is one of those folks that you can’t help but love when you meet her. I’m glad y’all got to see a small glimpse of who she is!


    1. Thanks for reading, Jean. As I mentioned above in response to Linda, when blogging nearly daily, it’s difficult to develop a “niche” as is so highly recommended in blogging, so I try to keep it local/Southern whenever possible.


  3. Kristi, you definitely need to make that trip to Colorado. You will love it. I’m from Southeast KS so it’s been a destination of ours many times. The beauty of the mountains is breathtaking. Such a refreshing place to visit. Hope you make it there one day — bet Donna would go with you 🙂


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