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Poulsbo author touts 'stellar' debut novel 'Lake Magic'
Kimberly Fisk remembers the yellow and white dress her mother made her for the special occasion. She wore a matching tan velvet coat and brand new shoes with heels to Seattle's Young Authors Convention where, a third-grader at the time, she had her first brush with a real-life author.
Now at 42, Fisk, of Poulsbo, may repay the favor. She'll sign copies of her new book, "Lake Magic," at Barnes & Noble in Silverdale Saturday, Jan. 16.
"Lake Magic" follows Jenny, a woman left to manage a failing charter business and mounds of debt after her fiancé suddenly dies. That debt is owed to a steely fighter pilot who returns and demands his due.
It's a formula for whimsical reading — Fisk herself admits the romance genre is irksome to many at mere mention. (Her book lands at "mild" on the steamy scale.) But it's a genre she's loved for decades, no "guilty pleasure" about it.
"Why does it have to be guilty?" she asks, terming it a different way: "Escapism reading."
Fisk isn't alone. Romance fiction generated $1.37 billion in sales in 2008, more than any other genre, including mystery, science fiction and classic literature, according to RWANational.org, the home of Romance Writers of America. A survey showed nearly 75 million people read at least one novel in the genre that year. The genre also held the largest share of the 2008 consumer market at 13.5 percent.
"I love reading stories and writing stories that are uplifting and inspiring," Fisk said. "I'm not out to change the world, but if I've made someone's afternoon more enjoyable, that's great."
Fisk's first novel, "Finding Hope," won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award in 2005 — a competition that's "the Oscars of unpublished writing." Though her book never hit store shelves, it garnered her an agent and the momentum to write "Lake Magic." She currently has a two-book deal from New York publishing house Berkley Sensation, and is in the editing process on her next novel.
"The appeal of a romance novel is that the heroine is a person I would consider a girlfriend. I can relate to her, she is someone who would work in my everyday life," Fisk said. "To me, Jenny is every woman. She has the same fears, worries and concerns we all have."
It's the kind of story in which the ordinary is extraordinary, she added.
The Pacific Northwest plays a part in Fisk's work as well. She's a native to the area, growing up in Seattle, then Kingston.
"I think there's a great quality to this area," she said. "People are drawn to reading about it."
Now she joins the ranks of a long line of area authors — a bonus Fisk hasn't missed out on.
"This area seems to fuel something in people," she said, commenting on the region's abundance of wordsmiths. "They're so generous, so giving of their time, talent and expertise, that we benefit."
Assistant for prolific area author Kristin Hannah, Fisk said she especially helped in the process, offering critiques and feedback and pitching in to navigate the business side of writing.
Kitsap authors Debbie Macomber and Susan Wiggs have each endorsed "Lake Magic," Macomber calling it a "stellar debut" and Wiggs heralding it a "celebration of all the deepest things in life."
But it's Fisk's three children she thinks of most when taking in her newfound success. Her daughter is 21, and her sons — one of which plans to be a professional baseball player — are 14 and 18 years old.
She considers the book a gift to them, as well as a message: "If you have a dream, don't give up on it," she said. "I want them to be dreamers who also know that hard work can get them where they want to be."
Fisk will sign copies of "Lake Magic" at 3 p.m. Find Barnes & Noble at 10315 Silverdale Way in the Kitsap Mall. For more information, call (360) 698-1668, visit www.bn.com or www.kimberlyfisk.com.