Singer-turned-author Hornsby knows adventure
February 13, 2014
By Neil Pierson
Kim Hornsby lived in Maui, Hawaii for more than a decade where she sang with a band and opened for a boatload of well-known acts, including Bob Hope, Jay Leno and Jamie Foxx.
It was a career she remembers fondly – a painting of her singing in front of the band hangs in her living room – but she’s put it behind her in favor of a new passion: women’s fiction author.
Now Hornsby makes her home in Sammamish alongside husband Roland, daughter Ila and son Jack. Last year, she had two novels shoot onto the Amazon.com bestseller lists, and she’s putting the finishing touches on a third novel, the second book of her planned trilogy.
Her love for the TV show “The Bachelor” has led her to write a series of short stories under the nom de plume Kiki Abbott, and she maintains a number of side projects, including a blog, speaking engagements and an annual writers’ conference.
Hornsby likes to think about Maui’s tropical climate when she writes. It inspired her first two novels, “Necessary Detour” and “The Dream Jumper’s Promise,” as well as “The Dream Jumper’s Secret,” which will be released March 1.
“I have to say that I write when the weather is cold and rainy, and it takes me to a place where the sun’s shining,” she said. “ I don’t write about women who are stuck inside in snow flurries.”
Her debut, “Necessary Detour,” was published by The Wild Rose Press, which specializes in romance novels, but Hornsby is adamant that her book falls squarely into the women’s fiction genre. For comparison, she said, women’s fiction includes books like Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help” and Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees.”
“It’s the woman’s journey, her evolution throughout the book,” Hornsby explained. “It could have romance in there, but it is mainly about how she changes from the beginning to the end and discovers something, like the most important thing about her life. And that’s what I have wanted to write.”
Fans of the Leonardo DiCaprio-led blockbuster film “Inception” might find similarities in Hornsby’s self-published “Dream Jumper” series. Set in Maui, the debut draws on paranormal activities and another of Hornby’s former hobbies as a scuba-diving instructor.
“The Dream Jumper’s Promise” has been critically acclaimed on Amazon.com, where most of the 170-plus reviews have given it four or five stars.
“The suspense keeps coming, and there are twists and turns that caught me completely off guard,” one review stated. “And it all comes with this great paranormal edge.”
The follow-up, she said, splits time between Afghanistan and the nearby town of Carnation, Wash. where Hornsby drove around to research and accurately depict her characters’ surroundings.
A third book is being planned, she said, and will be set in Nicaragua.
“Nicaragua is a place I go to every year and do some work with the Nicaraguan Children’s Foundation, taking school supplies and toys and clothes and stuff,” she said. “At the age of 56, I’ve had my fun. I want to give back.”
Hornsby’s writing career began inauspiciously in 2002, shortly after traveling to Taiwan to adopt her daughter. She wrote a weekly email to her friends and family back home, and was told she should turn her six-month adventure into a book.
She wrote a novel based on her experiences, but of the 87 literary agents she contacted, only five read it thoroughly, and all of them rejected it.
Not to be deterred, Hornsby eventually finished the first two novels. But even though readers devoured them – 35,000 e-book downloads in three days for “Necessary Detour” – she struggled to find motivation for the “Jumper” sequel. November is National Novel Writing Month, and that’s when she poured fuel on the fire, penning 60,000 words in 20 days.
“I thought about it and sat on the idea for about six months; I just couldn’t make myself write it,” she said. “And I was just terrified that the next one wouldn’t be as good, or people wouldn’t like it as much.”