3 Questions Wednesday with Kristen Hogrefe

Author Kristen Hogrefe

Welcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday, Kristen Hogrefe! This is an exciting and very busy week for Kristen, as her third book in The Rogues Trilogy released yesterday! Congratulations, Kristen.

Let’s see how she answers our three questions—

Who is your favorite author?

Kristen: Limiting myself to just one is nearly impossible, because I enjoy so many genres, but I consider Elisabeth Elliot one of my spiritual mentors. Her books, including Keep a Quiet Heart and Let Me Be a Woman, are ones I re-read.

If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Kristen: One day, I hope I’ll have the ability to research and write either a non-fiction or fictionalized account of my Uncle Billy’s story. I never met him, because he died in Colombia as a child, but through his childlike witness to the people group my missionary grandparents were reaching, many came to know Christ. My mom tells me that on his grave, a church was built. I think there’s a powerful story to tell, but I don’t know if I can do it justice. One day, I hope to be brave enough to try.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Kristen: I actually did have the opportunity to spend a full two weeks with a “character” from my book! At the very end of the story while Portia heals in Orvieto, she stays with an Italian woman named Maria who teaches her about Italian culture and serves as her guide. My real-life Italian friend and colleague Maria Constantine traveled with me to Italy so I could research the settings in The Reactionary. We spent several days in a lovely Air B&B in Orvieto. There, she taught me some Italian phrases and ultimately gifted me with a deep appreciation and love for Italy as we explored the city and surrounding areas. You can read more about some of our adventures on my blog at KristenHogrefe.com.


Kristen Hogrefe is an award-winning author and life-long learner. Her books include The Rogues trilogy and Wings of the Dawn trilogy, and she also enjoys speaking events that allow her to connect with students, readers, and other writers. A Florida girl at heart, she says yes to most adventures involving sunshine. Connect with her online at KristenHogrefe.com.

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The Reactionary

The Reactionary by Kristen Hogrefe

Three friends. One broken world. One chance to make it right.

Gath survived the satellite explosions, only to encounter one of Felix’s plague initiatives. Somehow, he must recover, re-unify what’s left of their leadership team—and help them find a reason to hope.

Luther devises a diplomatic distraction to buy Portia time for her international mission and him an opportunity to rescue his scientist-father, tricked into operating Felix’s labs. Will he lose them both anyway?

Portia resents that Darius lied about their father, and defying her brother now might secure a much-needed overseas ally. But liberty for all could cost her future with the man she loves and any chance of reuniting her fractured family.

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Four Beginner Mistakes that Kill a Good Plot

by Kristen Hogrefe

Between wedding preparation and inspiration from Marie Kondo, I’ve been enjoying the minimizing challenge to get rid of stuff and create space. One part of this adventure took me to a dresser drawer where I had stowed my first writing attempts from childhood. (Forgive me, Marie, but I couldn’t part with these.)

The reason for keeping them isn’t because they’re good. They’re hilariously awful, but they show how far my writing has come.

As I perused them, so many plot mistakes jumped off the page. Though beginner blunders, they can still creep into our stories and wreak havoc on our plots if we let them.

#1: Over-villainize the villain.

We get it. The bad guy is bad. However, the bad guy (or girl) must have a motivation for what drives him to villainy.

A recent case that still has people talking is the villain or anti-hero Thanos in the Avengers saga. He sincerely believes that wiping out half the population will make the world a better place and cure the resource problems. Twisted? Absolutely. But the audience has no doubt what’s driving this madman who considers himself a humanitarian at heart.

#2: Make the good guy too good.

The flip side of the villain coin is making the hero/heroine too perfect. I’ll never forget some feedback a friend gave me on a first draft. Although she liked my story, her one complaint was about the love interest.

“Kristen, he’s just too good. Give him a flaw. Give him something he has to struggle with or that annoys her. That’s real life. That’s real love.”

Let’s not fall into the mistake of transposing our own ideals on our characters. If we want readers to relate to them, they’re going to have baggage, personal demons, or a backstory that people find sympathetic.

#3: Dump the backstory at the beginning.

Speaking of backstory, I’m not sure why we writers sometimes feel the need to explain everything. The whole point of plot is to tease the reader to keep reading, to keep wondering.

When we start with backstory instead of action, we “tell” readers everything up front they want to know. As a result, they’re not interested in reading further and usually shelve the book.

#4: Bore with too much description.

This mistake is one that marked many of my adolescent attempts and one my writing students often make. On page one, they interrupt the action with a mirror-length description of their heroine. It usually reads something like this:

Amelia gazed in the mirror at her long blonde tresses that fell in gentle waves past her waist. Her fairness was the envy of every maiden in the kingdom.

She brushed a hand along her floor-length, velvety blue gown which matched her diamond-colored eyes and sighed contently at the vision she made.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but if I had a coin for every time I’ve read something like this, I’d be booking a flight to another bucket-list destination today.

Jesting aside, this example illustrates how description can both stop the action, and when combined with mistake #2, kill the reader’s interest.

Takeaway for Today

My goal here is not to discourage anyone. If anything, it’s to laugh at our beginner mistakes and even “thank them” (cue Marie Kondo) for what they have taught us.

In all seriousness, though, I do thank God for the gift of writing He’s given us and the creativity to write a plot that will entertain and speak truth to readers. When we work to avoid mistakes that will steal our writing’s effectiveness, we steward our gift well.

Writing Prompt: What beginner mistakes would you add to this list?

[Click to  Tweet:] A few beginner mistakes can kill a good plot and make readers put a book down. Learn how to avoid them and let your plot soar! 4 Beginner Mistakes that Kill a Good Plot via @InspiredPrompt with @kjhogrefe #amwriting #WritingLife


Author Kristen Hogrefe

Kristen Hogrefe is an award-winning author and life-long learner. Her books include The Rogues trilogy and Wings of the Dawn trilogy, and she also enjoys speaking events that allow her to connect with students, readers, and other writers. A Florida girl at heart, she says yes to most adventures involving sunshine. Connect with her online at KristenHogrefe.com.

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Facebook
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Website


The Reactionary by Kristen Hogrefe

The Reactionary by Kristen Hogrefe

Three friends. One broken world. One chance to make it right.

Gath survived the satellite explosions, only to encounter one of Felix’s plague initiatives. Somehow, he must recover, re-unify what’s left of their leadership team—and help them find a reason to hope.

Luther devises a diplomatic distraction to buy Portia time for her international mission and him an opportunity to rescue his scientist-father, tricked into operating Felix’s labs. Will he lose them both anyway?

Portia resents that Darius lied about their father, and defying her brother now might secure a much-needed overseas ally. But liberty for all could cost her future with the man she loves and any chance of reuniting her fractured family.

Release Week Book Sales

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Social Media as a Tool, not a Takeover

by Kristen Hogrefe

Although social media sometimes gets a bad rap for being a “black hole” that consumes our time, it can be a helpful tool for us writers. It allows us to engage with readers and reach people we won’t have the opportunity to meet in a given day or even a lifetime.

I’m no guru but a social media troubleshooter. Today, I’d like to share some basics I’ve learned along my journey in the hope they will help you in yours.

Create a strong website.

Whether you write about Bible prophecy or inspirational romance, you need an online destination for readers to find you. Your website should be your central hub where people can learn what you’re all about.

Make sure you’re doing these important things:

  • Connect all your other social media sites to your website.
  • Have a clear “about” page or bio, and include a recent headshot. People want to see you!
  • Check that all your links work and are relevant. If you’ve had your website for a while, go back and search for broken links.
  • Post consistently on your blog. Recently, I attended a writer’s conference where an agent told her class, “I don’t care if you post once a week or every other week, but I’m looking to see that you post consistently.”
  • Include a way for readers to subscribe to a newsletter using a subscriber pop-up.

Grow your readership with a newsletter.

Wait, you need a newsletter? Yes, you probably do. Editors and agents are less interested in vaguely defined “followers” and more interested with tangible email lists.

But don’t just have a newsletter to have one. It needs to offer readers value.

  • Offer a freebie or download when readers first sign up.
  • Include extra information people can’t just find on your weekly blog.
  • Advertise giveaways and book promotions or upcoming appearances.
  • Make it personal! Let readers get to know you.

Use attractive, consistent visuals.

We might have the greatest content in the world, but without graphics and images, no one may notice. Not only do attractive visuals present a professional impression, but they also “speak” louder than our words in many cases.

  • Learn how to create memes and other graphics using an online service like Canva or PicMonkey.
  • Choose clean and easy-to-read fonts.
  • Use consistent fonts and colors to help create brand recognition.
  • Always proofread!

Share and connect on your favorite platforms.

If you’re new to social media, you don’t have to tackle all the platforms at once. Pick one or two that interest you, and grow from there. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Facebook: You can use your personal account to double as your author account or set up a separate author page. With a separate author page, you can advertise and boost posts to have a greater reach.
  • Twitter: Follow hashtags like #amreading #amwriting, #1linewed, #Fridayreads and more. Engage with and meet other writers, readers, and influencers.
  • Amazon: If you’ve published a book, set up an account on Author Central. It allows you to track book sales and customize your Amazon author page.
  • Goodreads: If you’re not on Goodreads, I encourage you set up an account and get started. After all, this is one platform designed just for book lovers! You can follow other authors, leave reviews, and engage with an incredible community of readers.

Social media doesn’t have to take over your life. Let it be a tool that helps you do more with the words God’s given you to share.

[Click to Tweet] When you use social media as a tool, it doesn’t have to take over your life. Guest post by Kristen Hogrefe, author and teacher.


Kristen Hogrefe

Kristen Hogrefe is a Florida girl who says yes to most adventures involving sunshine and prefers to start her day with Jesus and coffee. She is a multi-published novelist of young adult fiction, including The Rogues trilogy (Write Integrity Press) and Wings of the Dawn trilogy. A life-long learner, she also has a heart for teaching and speaking in academic settings, professional conferences, and at Serious Writer Academy, a program designed to help writers develop their craft and platforms. You can find her blogging at KristenHogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly.


Freedom costs more than Portia wants to pay, but revolutions run on sacrifice … and blood.

THE REVOLUTIONARY

Three months a satellite prisoner, Portia wonders if the Brotherhood has left her to die—until she plunges into the domain of a smuggler contacted by her brother. But her rescue comes with a price tag, and now, she must forfeit her identity to act as a spy. She learns that her enemies want the Dome to approve mass satellite executions, though no one knows why. Worse, they’re using her friend Luther, now a Court Citizen intern, to sign the short-term orders. She wants to confide in Luther, but can she still trust him with the company he keeps?

Plagued by shadows and guilt for leaving her protector Gath behind on the satellite, Portia must find a way, not only to rescue him and the other prisoners, but also to destroy the slave camps once and for all.

3 Questions Wednesday with Kristen Hogrefe

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Kristen.

Tell us a little about yourself and your latest release:

Kristen Hogrefe

My goal as a fiction writer is to make readers feel something and let them experience make-believe worlds that mirror the truths of their own. I think each reader’s takeaway will be different, but I’ve woven several themes into the story that explore topics like identity, guilt, fear, and second chances. Ultimately, I want the reader to realize that no matter what they’re facing, they can have hope.

In The Revolutionary, Portia confronts the dilemma that freedom demands more than she wants to pay, because revolutions run on sacrifice. Will she have the courage to do right, regardless of the cost?

Thanks, Kristen. First question—

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Kristen:  Wow, this is hard, but here goes: 1. Caring 2. Intentional 3. Over-Analytical

And I’d add honesty to that list. Ha ha! I like those answers.

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Kristen: Right now, I would choose Orvieto, Italy, because I’m currently writing the final book in The Rogues trilogy. In it, I introduce the international scene in Portia’s dystopian world, and there’s an interesting historical connection between this Italian city and American history. Getting to experience this setting first hand as I write my futuristic version of it would be incredible—and much more enjoyable than poring over research and travel blogs.

Yes, so much more agreeable! I hope you get to make this trip someday.

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Kristen: At the moment, I have the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman stuck in my head. If I were to pick a song from that movie, I’d say “A Million Dreams.” The key for me is that I want God to shape my dreams however He sees best.

I love that. Sometimes it’s so hard to balance our personal dreams with those we believe are inspired by God.

Click to Tweet: My goal as a fiction writer is to make readers feel something … @InspiredPrompt #interview #writelife


Kristen Hogrefe is a Florida girl who says yes to most adventures involving sunshine and prefers to start her day with Jesus and instant coffee. She is a multi-published novelist of young adult fiction, including The Rogues trilogy (Write Integrity Press) and Wings of the Dawn trilogy. A life-long learner, she also has a heart for teaching and speaking in academic settings and professional conferences.

You can find her blogging at KristenHogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly. She enjoys connecting with readers on social media:


Freedom costs more than Portia wants to pay, but revolutions run on sacrifice … and blood.

Three months a satellite prisoner, Portia wonders if the Brotherhood has left her to die—until she plunges into the domain of a smuggler contacted by her brother. But her rescue comes with a price tag, and now, she must forfeit her identity to act as a spy. She learns that her enemies want the Dome to approve mass satellite executions, though no one knows why. Worse, they’re using her friend Luther, now a Court Citizen intern, to sign the short-term orders. She wants to confide in Luther, but can she still trust him with the company he keeps?

Plagued by shadows and guilt for leaving her protector Gath behind on the satellite, Portia must find a way, not only to rescue him and the other prisoners, but also to destroy the slave camps once and for all.

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3 Questions Wednesday with Kristen Hogrefe

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Kristen!

Kristen Hogrefe is an author, speaker, and English teacher. She also serves as a mentor for Word Weavers International and works with the teens in her church’s youth group. Her new release, The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press), is the first book in her YA trilogy The Rogues. The novel is a dystopia of a different kind—one where characters look back to their civilization’s heritage for hope and wisdom to move forward. You can find Kristen outdoors in the Florida sunshine or online at www.KristenHogrefe.com.

Question:  What inspires you?

Kristen:  Many things inspire me. For starters, nature inspires me. God’s creation provides an endless resource for my imagination! Also, my fellow writers (Word Weaver friends) inspire me as do some of my favorite authors and books. However, I think that writing is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration (to borrow that famous quote by Thomas Edison). Writing requires discipline and hard work. Finding inspiration is easy. Putting in the long hours is the tough part, but the end result is worth the effort.

Good answer!

Next question is a bit of fun–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Kristen: I would be a spiral blue and yellow crayon (same concept as a twisty ice cream cone): yellow for sunshine and blue for ocean. I’m definitely a Florida girl! I’ve lived in the Sunshine State my whole life and keep a volleyball and beach chair in my car trunk—ready for any spontaneous trips.

Yellow is the color of happiness, wisdom, and understanding, according to my trusty “favorite colors” page. Blue is compassionate, and caring, among other things. What those two colors signify to me, is a sunny day with crystal blue skies! Good color choice.

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Kristen: As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals and didn’t think there could possibly be a better job—that is, until I realized that needles and blood make me queasy. Now, I just have one kitty named Ness, and enjoy writing and teaching.

At one time, I thought a veterinarian would be a good career choice, if a love for animals was all it took. Like you, I reconsidered when faced with the facts. Sounds like you made a good decision!

Readers, I hope you enjoyed this week’s 3 Questions Wednesday. You’ll find Kristen at the following locations:

Kristen is @kjhogrefe on Twitter.

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/kristenhogrefe.author/

Website: https://kristenhogrefe.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/KristenHogrefe/e/B004FZXG7U/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1


I #amreading Kristen’s newly released YA dystopian novel, The Revisionary–it’s riveting!  Here are the details about the book–

A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she?

Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in her quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might not be the real villain.

Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.

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