A Conversation with Kristy Cambron

Today, the INSPY Awards warmly welcomes author, Kristy Cambron. Her novel, The Ringmaster’s Wife (Thomas Nelson) is on the 2017 shortlist in the Historical Romance category. Please join us in welcoming Kristy.

Today, we read about the inspiration for The Ringmaster’s Wife (Kristy shares a lot of great facts, and extras!), learn about her favorite reading and writing indulgence, her preference for print books (Editor’s note: WIN!) – plus more!

ABOUT THE BOOK

What is revealed when you draw back the curtain of the Greatest Show on Earth?

Rosamund Easling is no stranger to opulence. As the daughter of an earl, she’s grown up with every comfort money can buy. But when hard times befall the family’s Yorkshire estate in the aftermath of the Great War, Rosamund’s father sells her beloved horse, setting the stage for a series of events that would extend beyond even her wildest dreams.

Though expected to marry for a title instead of love, Rosamund feels called to a different life – one of adventure outside the confines of a ladies’ parlor. She abandons all she’s known and follows in pursuit as her horse is shipped to the new owner – an American entertainer by the name of John Ringling. Once introduced to the Ringling Brothers’ circus and knowing she has much to learn, Rosamund agrees to a bareback riding apprenticeship in the shadow of the Ringlings’ winter home—Ca’D’Zan. It is at that mansion, in what would become the last days of the enigmatic Mable Ringling’s life, that Rosamund finds a deeper sense of purpose in the life she’s been given, and the awakening of faith in her heart.

With a supporting cast of characters as mysterious and dazzling as the Ringlings’ big-top world, Rosamund’s journey takes her from the tradition of the English countryside to the last days of America’s Roaring ‘20s—a journey that forever changes what one life might have been. – Goodreads

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

INSPYs: What was the inspiration for The Ringmaster’s Wife?

Kristy and a circus performer at the 150th birthday bash for John Ringling — with his 1923 Rolls Royce in the background!

I’m something of an old soul. Even in childhood, I was drawn to vintage stories and watched classic films as a connection to the past that sparked my curiosity. One favorite film was The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)— a Hollywood blockbuster that looked at the lives of performers under the Big Top in the Ringling Bros.’ circus world. So when my publishing family brought me the idea for a semi-biographical novel about the Ringlings in late 2015 (because they just knew Mable had a story to tell), I just had to be the one to dive in and write it.

The Ringmaster’s Wife takes place in two different eras; what was your least favorite and favorite part about writing dual time periods?

To sum up—I love it all! Every moment of a deep-dive into history.

With this novel, it was important that we do two things: honor Mable Ringling for the real person she was, and paint a vivid picture of the traveling circus as it existed in the golden years of The Roaring Twenties. Writing in dual periods was the way to connect those two aspects of the story. If readers could see Mable (Burton) Ringling as she was throughout her life, it would make her that much more real. Weaving in the unique brilliance of the Chicago World’s Fair and a snapshot of an Atlantic City pier was just a bonus!

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

1. What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? I snapped a pic of my bookshelves for y’all, so you can see what’s moved to the top of my TBR pile right now…

In addition to the historical and contemporary fiction stack I’m planning to work my way through (Katherine Reay’s latest book!), I’m also reading quite a lot in non-fiction these days— especially Bible studies. I’m transitioning to publish Bible studies as well as fiction in 2018 (The Verse-Mapping Series DVD Bible studies), so my bookshelves are overflowing with wisdom and beauty from both of those writing worlds.

2. What’s your Favorite Reading/Writing Snack? A medium skinny Black Bear on the mean side.

Allow me to translate: That’s a 16 oz. peppermint mocha latte, with skim milk and ½ syrup—my signature drink at the local coffee shop. It’s an outdoors themed shop, and I write at a table in the corner with the kayaks hanging on the wall. So my absolute favorite “snack” would have to be a super-diva-writing drink with a gutsy outdoorsman theme, right? It’s served me well for my last three book deadlines. 😊

Faceoff Questions:

1. PC or Mac? — I’m a former Corporate America gal and we always used PCs. I’m too tired/lazy/busy to switch to a new operating system right now, so a PC it remains.

2. Print or Ebook?Always If you’re once a traditionalist, vintage-loving reader… you’re always one.

3. Chocolate or Vanilla (Ice Cream)? —YES. Add cheesecake and bring coffee while you’re at it.

EXTRAS 

The Ringmaster’s Wife is a love letter to the American circus, and a Thank You card to the real-life person of Mable Ringling.

Stepping into the Ringlings’ world was a researcher’s absolute dream. From the eclectic circus acts and side-show oddities, to the high-society Gatsby-style flapper parties, to the genuine warmth of a woman whose persona seemed almost too good to be true… I was immersed in story from moment one.

Research sent our family to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL, where we were escorted through every corner of the Cà d’Zan (“House of John” in Venetian dialect)—the Ringlings’ immaculate Gilded Age mansion. We tried out our talents on a real “hire-wire” at the circus museum, and stepped into the Ringlings’ famed Pullman train car—the Wisconsin. And just in time for John Ringling’s 150th birthday celebration, Mable’s book made a grand appearance alongside Burton and Ringling family descendants at 1920s era lawn party on the mansion grounds (complete with John Ringling’s 1923 Rolls Royce)!

The journey from research to writing to holding that first copy of The Ringmaster’s Wife was one I’ll never forget. It’s been the pleasure of my heart to share it with you.

To tour the along with Kristy, visit these YouTube Research Files adventures:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, was named to Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014 and nominated for RT Book Reviews’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Novel of 2014 and for the 2015 INSPY Awards for Best Debut Novel. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal’s Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction) for February 2015 and a Top Pick for RT Book Reviews. Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three young sons. Website: kristycambron.com Twitter: @KCambronAuthor Facebook: Kristy-Cambron-Author.


Thanks so much for joining us on the INSPYs blog today, Kristy. It was a pleasure to host you and spotlight your latest novel, The Ringmaster’s Wife.