LK Hunsaker lives in Stafford, but was born in Washburn, Illinois, a small rural area that lends its atmosphere to the scenery of Finishing Touches -- a romantic novel that applies the stream-of-consciousness literary style. Many family trips to Peoria, along the banks of the Illinois River, became further inspiration for the story. Chicago, a place of mystique to the author while growing up, is a symbol of growth and change integral to the plot.
Finishing Touches is about Jenna Rhodes who escaped her mother's idea of a successful, elite life with her marriage at a young age to an unknown artist. Her husband's eventual success has catapulted her into the midst of another world in which she feels she doesn't belong. Now, in her early twenties, she finds herself alone with a young baby and fighting against her overwhelming artistic desires. With memories of the past and the rekindling of an old friendship, Jenna struggles to forge her own identity.
"My motivation stems simply from my love of the written word; the way it has the power to reach out to so many. I began writing simply as a form of self-expression but as I have grown, I feel the need also to have a positive effect on others and to truly make a difference. This is [one reason I've pursued] the study of psychology...and my studies have had an effect on my writing.
Reading is an adventure; a true learning experience, and I hope to not only entertain and...offer a view inside the lives of characters, who are as real as I can make them, but also to share experiences and encourage interest in exploring other worlds."
Hunsaker is currently working on a novel set in Massachusetts, where she used to live. Since her husband is in the Army, she has done a lot of traveling and moving and enjoys incorporating these places into her work. Geography, however, is mostly background. The real setting is inside the characters' minds and in the worlds of their major interests.
Her advice to aspiring writers is: simply write! "Writing is similar to painting and playing an instrument. If the natural feel for words is within, the best teacher is to write often. Write journals, articles, letters, anything that adds practice to sentence construction, conciseness, and clarity. If the idea of a huge project is overwhelming, start with any part of the story in your head and just go with that. Begin writing and see where it leads you." She says that Finishing Touches was completely outlined in her head before she began putting words on a page, but it left the outline as she wrote and took off on its own.
She also says know when you begin that the first draft is just that: a first draft. Writing includes revision, cutting and adding, changing plot lines or characters, but the work is never wasted, even if cut out. "The experience of writing should be a joy. Write because you love to write, not with the intention of selling your work. Writing is art and subjective to each reader. Ask for opinions, preferably from other writers instead of family and friends. Listen with an open mind, but be true to your art.
The best technical advice I ever received is the golden rule of writing: Show, Don't Tell. Don't tell us a character is nervous; show her twitching, stammering, tapping her nails on the table, on her leg, on a PA system that echoes through a hallway. It makes the difference between the reader knowing what is happening and feeling/seeing what is happening."
She has written articles, reviews, and some personal short stories, written for her children. One of these personal stories, "My Most Memorable Christmas Gift," tells the story of two major influences in her life, Rev. and Mrs. Stroud. Her work in progress, untitled at this point, follows another young woman from 1974-1980. The story is about her relationships and her battle with cultural bias. This will be an ambitious project -- Hunsaker plans to complete the story in four books, highlighting the music and major events of the time.
You can find out more about LK Hunsaker and her stories on her Web site, Elucidations.