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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

#WednesdayWordwithFriends Welcomes Kristen Joy Wilks

Good Morning,

Well after several days of rain last week we're back to cooler temps at night and sunshiny days! Last month Kristen was in our spotlight with two rom-com books about chickens. Let's see what she has to share with us today....

How Pet Chickens and Homemade Traps Inspired a RomCom

I am the proud mom of three sarcastic teenage boys. They are hilarious. But once upon a time, I was the proud mom of three middle grade boys who lived and breathed all things chicken! No, not eating chicken. We were gifted with pet chickens and believe me, those feathery gift-birds wormed their way (ha!) into every aspect of our lives. 

Long summer days were wiled away training chickens to do tricks. Yes, a chicken will do just about anything for snacks. Although I had stern rules about chickens in the house, the boys smuggled those hens inside, onto bunk beds, into blanket forts. They built tree forts for their chickens and could be spotted high up in the branches with a blanket, a book, and a chicken cuddled close. They begged for weird gifts such as chicken diapers and chicken sweaters. Not sweaters for themselves, nope, sweaters for their chickens to wear. Thankfully, their grandmother is a talented knitter and all three received sweaters and leashes for their chickens one Christmas. The chickens visited the boys’ school for show-n-tell. The boys even played chicken games at recess and a variety of children could be spotted running around the playground clucking and flapping enthusiastically. 

Chickens are very hard to catch, especially if you are over the age of twelve. But all three of my boys could catch their hens with aplomb. If I needed help, and I always did, they would come to my rescue. 

I started imagining what might happen if some beloved pet chickens got loose in a dangerous location. How would book characters figure out how to catch them? So, I dreamed up a dangerous place: a mountain highway. Both a deadly road and vast acres of forest were there, just waiting to menace innocent barnyard fowl! Then I imagined a reason to be hauling a trailer full of chickens over a mountain pass in the first place: moving to a new town. Then I put in a ticking clock: the most special hen has to be back in time for the talent show at her boy’s new school on Monday! 

More perils were needed!!! I looked through our chicken books (we have several) and discovered that skunks will sometimes eat chickens. Perfect! Skunks could menace both chickens and humans. I had attempted to tell the boys’ chickens apart from their cousins’ birds without much success and so I added some look-a-like hens. But why would there be a chicken coop in the forest? I added a spooky mountain cabin surrounded by NO TRESPASSING signs. Now, I grew up in a mountain home surrounded by NO TRESPASSING signs (my grandfather went a little wild with them) and one of the things my brother and I did when we were bored was to build traps! We had watched “Home Alone” one too many times and it seemed like a great idea. We had a log and a boulder attached to trip wires that were supposed to roll down the hill. Our mother was horrified and made us dismantle them for fear that a forest service worker would be maimed. So, I made up some bored mountain children to build traps around my spooky cabin and its chicken coop. 

So so fun!!! 

Finally, the finale. In my misspent youth, my brother and cousins and I dug a snake pit. Yes, a snake pit. We had recently watched “Indiana Jones” and thought that a snake pit was just the best idea ever! It took a long time as the dirt is like concrete in Eastern Washington, but finally, our pit was complete. Then, four excited children spent all day catching gardener snakes. I think we ended up with twenty-one disgruntled serpents for our pit. Then, we carefully crafted a tripod out of logs so that each of us could have the chance of being dangled over our pit. I volunteered to go first! Only, I was too tall. My head touched the bottom and the snakes were crawling through my hair and it wasn’t as scary as we had hoped. Sadly, we discovered that almost touching the snakes if far more terrifying than having them in your hair and realizing that they really aren’t doing anything particularly menacing there. So, my shorter cousin stole my place as the damsel in distress and it was all very fun and terrifying. 

Of course, I had to menace my poor heroine with exactly the kind of creative children that we were back in the day! Shelby is not nearly as blasé about snakes either.

So, if you find the plotlines of Chicken Crossing and Dandelion Floofums to be unrealistic, well you simply didn’t know the right kind of crazy kids growing up. We were a bit rowdy but it certainly comes in handy when creating insane situations for RomComs! 

What is the weirdest pet/project you had as a child?


Kristen Joy Wilks is an author, camp photographer, and the mom of three teenage boys who have pet chickens. She writes about what she loves: the quiet of the forest, the ill-considered schemes of unstoppable children, and the love of loyal pets who will never leave your side … as long as you pack meal worms! Chicken Crossing and Dandelion Floofums are available in paperback and e-book. Or, try one of her chicken-themed books for free by signing up for Kristen’s quarterly newsletter at http://www.kristenjoywilks.com/. I’m also on social media and love to hear from readers! Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Chicken Crossing
Paperback, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or Free to newsletter subscribers.

Dandelion Floofums
Paperback, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or Free to newsletter subscribers.

How funny, Kristen! My son is a duck lover but chickens? I think I've heard it all now!

I hope you enjoyed Kristen's post as much as I did, friends and that you'll check out her books and that you'll stop by weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.



Mary Preston said...

I'm loving the chickens, but the snake pit is all yours.

Patricia Kiyono said...

I grew up in the suburbs, and our family never had pets, so I can't relate to all the animals, but this sure sounds like an entertaining adventure!

Kristen said...

Thank you, Mary Preston, our chickens were wonderful. And yeah, as an adult I realized how odd our snake pit was. It made perfect since at the time though, ha! Patricia Kiyono, perhaps you can enjoy some of our pets if you read of their adventures. The chickens were so friendly and fun!

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, what a story! I can't imagine having chickens for pets and all that would entail. It's funny how we get ideas for our stories. Sounds like a great read. Congrats and best wishes!

Kristen said...

Thank you so much, Alicia! Yes, our chickens were a huge part of our lives and we still have two who come when we call and eat out of our hands, although these ones don't do tricks. Yeah, story sparks can come from so many interesting places. I love that God gifted us with just a bit of His creativity!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

it sounds like you had a unique childhood with lots of fun and your books reflect that. Best wishes!

Barbara Britton said...

Hi Kristen. You are one brave lady. I never have thought about digging a snake pit. Congrats on another book.

Barbara Bettis said...

Love all those photos! How on earth do you keep up?? all the best.

Kristen said...

Thank you, Jacqueline! I did have a whole lot of fun as a kid and as a parent of boys who loved chickens!

Barbara Britton, well, I'm not afraid of snakes so I'm not sure if it counts as bravery. I wouldn't go anywhere near even a single spider, yikes!

Barbara Bettis, the boys loved pictures with their chickens. The only time I could get them to sit still, ha!

Alina K. Field said...

Oh gosh, the snakepit! YOUNG LADY, IF I WAS YOUR MOTHER... Lol, I'll take chickens any day over snakes!