Posted On February 14, 2018 by Print This Post

Sometimes you just have to say, “Yes.” by Kris Tualla

Please welcome KRIS TUALLA – this is her debut visit to Romance University! And, by the way, Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m about to take you on a journey. Please bear with me, this gets good.


I write historical romantic fiction and all of my heroes or heroines are members of the same fictional Hansen family out of Arendal, Norway: different generations, different continents, different centuries, all with the same bloodline. In 2015, I had the chance to write a short story for an anthology, but it had to be a contemporary setting.


As an aside, when I tell people I write Norwegians they usually say, “Ooh! I love Vikings.” But I don’t write Vikings—they’re problematic as romantic heroes. Now mix in the fact that I never want to write anything outside of my brand that’s intended for publication, and the solution was obvious: a paranormal. No, really.


I wrote a story-turned-trilogy about “An Unexpected Viking” (check) who’s been caught between life and death for 950 years, and who manifests forward in time to direct descendants of his father only, following the bloodline (check). When he manifests to my modern-day heroine (check) she’s the first woman he’s ever manifested to—and she doesn’t know she’s a Hansen.


Done! As part of the Viking’s explanation to her of what he was, he told her his last manifestation was to her great-grandfather, a Norwegian skier who fought with the American Army in Italy in 1945 and was killed there.




The trilogy (released in 2016) was a blast to write and is one of my best sellers. When I went back to writing what I usually do, I wondered which story I should tell next. The answer was clear: I needed to tell the skier’s story.


World War II is definitely daunting, because there are plenty of people who remember. But my travels to Norway have revealed a strong pride in their resistance to their WWII Nazi occupation and I heard enough interesting stories to build a plot. What came out of all this were two brothers, one staying in Norway (“Enemies & Traitors”) and one traveling to Colorado to teach skiing to soldiers in what eventually became the Army’s elite 10th Mountain Division (“Battles Abroad”).


The next step was to research Camp Hale in Colorado, the structure of the soldiers’ ski training, and search the internet for anything else that happened there before the soldiers were deployed and the camp was decommissioned and dismantled in 1945. In that process I discovered that Camp Hale has a Facebook Page, so I posted questions there that the internet was silent on (i.e. how many soldiers did each instructor have? how long did they work together?).


That’s how I “met” Colonel Tom, a retired Marine colonel, who answered my questions. Tom grew up in Colorado and is obsessed with the 10th Mountain Division’s unique birth and military history. Turns out, Tom wrote a screenplay about the same era that I was writing about and was in the process of attempting to write a novel to support the screenplay.


I’m going to stop for a moment and mention that novels and screenplays are absolutely nothing alike. Nothing.


I’d also like to toss in that a first novel generally takes months—even years—of writing, rewriting, critique, and adjustment to become good enough for publication.


But as I was writing my book, Tom was blithely pushing forward with his. And when he finished it in December of 2016, he sent it to me to read.


Bless his heart.


Now, Tom can talk about Camp Hale and the original 10th soldiers (many of whom he has met) in such a passionate and compelling way that people were clambering to read his book. He even had a contact with a movie studio interested! Problem was, his manuscript read like a 75,000-word first-person research report, crammed with military details, and lacking in dialog, setting, and without any character arc or conflict.


So, I stepped back, examined my choices, and made my decision.


I asked Tom if he would like me to rewrite the book for him. He was thrilled: “Would you?”


Honestly, I can usually write two or three 90,000-words-ish books in a year, but it took me all of 2017 to weed out and transform Tom’s manuscript into an actual story. I fleshed out his characters, deepened the romantic element, and wrote paragraphs of setting and pages of dialog until the story emerged and rose above the details. “Sempre Avanti: Always Forward” officially released on January 16, 2018 and has garnered rave reviews.


The question still remains whether the 10th Mountain Division’s troubled origins, and their subsequent triumphant victory over the Germans in the mountains of Italy, will ever be on the screen. But I learned so much working through the process, and made a dear new friend along the way, that I will never regret saying “yes” to this unique and unexpected opportunity.


Now it’s your turn: what have you said “yes” to that took your career in a new direction? Or, what didn’t you?

Anna Sugden joins us on Friday, February 16.



Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romance and suspense, has created a dynasty with The Hansen Series. An active member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime, she was also a guest instructor at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She often asked to speak about her journey – and her Norsemen.



“An Unexpected Viking”


“Enemies & Traitors”


“Sempre Avanti: Always Forward”


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8 Responses to “Sometimes you just have to say, “Yes.” by Kris Tualla”

  1. Kris – Happy Valentine’s Day! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I’m fascinated – looks like my waiting-to-be-read list is going to grow even faster than usual!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | February 14, 2018, 9:18 am
  2. Oh what a great story!! I hope it does get picked up and put on the screen, it would be fabulous.

    And you’ve made a great new friend. =) That’s just as important.

    Honestly, it had never occurred to me about needing a ski team. My father in law fought in Italy, but he always talked about the horses he rode.

    Very fascinating, thanks for a great post!


    Posted by Carrie Peters | February 14, 2018, 9:20 am
  3. FYI, if any of you have always wanted to visit Norway, Kris is putting together a group tour:

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | February 14, 2018, 9:37 am
  4. There is still time to sign up!

    Posted by Kris Tualla | February 14, 2018, 3:13 pm
  5. Thanks for sharing such a informative content that’s y i am your big fan this is another following that’s why i read your all latest updates.

    Posted by Part time CFO services UAE | February 21, 2018, 11:17 pm


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