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Work Samples

Interview with Kris Faatz at JMWW Journal

Interview with Kris Faatz at JMWW Journal: "Artfully plotted, elegant and sharply observed, [TO LOVE A STRANGER] has the effect of holding you in proximity to two deeply flawed characters as they advance grudgingly and by degrees toward acceptance of who they are and where they come from. The novel has the grace to allow its characters to come to terms with what they’re trying to escape, and it accomplishes this without sentimentality." - Tom Andes, interviewer
PDF icon Interview with Kris Faatz at JMWW Journal

Baker Winter Birds 2.pdf

Short story "Winter Birds": "Every winter, thinner ice on the lake, rotting and fragile. Soon the birds will go farther north, chasing the last crystal cold."
PDF icon Baker Winter Birds 2.pdf

Short story "Let Me Take Your Hands" (published in The Woven Tale Press, Dec. 2017)

Short story "Let Me Take Your Hands": "On the summer night when the police took his housekeeper Consuelo away, Antonio Guerrera felt helpless for many reasons. One was that he himself had paid Consuelo’s wages in cash for years, rather than insisting she become a tax-paying American citizen. Another was that the police refused to listen to him or release Consuelo on his recognizance: she was to be sent back to Mexico as quickly as Antonio would consign a failed mug from his potter’s wheel to the slop bin. But most of all, he felt helpless and much too old because he could explain nothing to Tess, Consuelo’s daughter."
PDF icon Short story "Let Me Take Your Hands" (published in The Woven Tale Press, Dec. 2017)

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About Kris

Baltimore County

Kris Faatz (rhymes with skates) is a writer and musician. In both sides of her work, she explores the connections between musical and verbal storytelling, and the power of stories to change minds and foster connections between people. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Potomac Review, Kenyon Review Online, Glassworks, Reed, Digging Through the Fat, and Woven Tale Press, among other literary journals, and has been recognized in contests run by Glimmer Train Magazine, Woven Tale Press,... more

TO LOVE A STRANGER

My first novel, To Love A Stranger, was written, edited, and re-written over a period of ten years. During this time, my career shifted from focusing on music to writing and teaching fiction professionally. The novel draws on my own experiences of the backstage world of classical music; I wanted both to translate the "heard" experience of music to the page, and to engage with issues of social and societal justice relevant to that community and the wider world.

Praise for To Love A Stranger:

"How well do we know the people we love? This question is at the heart of Kris Faatz's beautifully written first novel. With Sam and Jeannette, Faatz has created two sympathetic, deeply flawed characters, driven by loneliness and a desire to belong. Set in the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, their story unfolds with tragic inevitability. Compassionate and emotionally engaging, To Love A Stranger is a page-turner, a story that will resonate with the reader for a long time to come." - Geeta Kothari, author of I Brake For Moose and Other Stories

"Readers are safe in this author's thoughtful hands, amidst these gorgeous words, in this world rich with the heady sounds of darkness, honesty, forgiveness. To Love A Stranger is written with the harmony of humanity in mind. To Love A Stranger is a song." - Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Whiskey and Ribbons

"Artfully plotted, elegant and sharply observed, the book has the effect of holding you in proximity to two deeply flawed characters as they advance grudgingly and by degrees toward acceptance of who they are and where they come from. The novel has the grace to allow its characters to come to terms with what they're trying to escape, and it accomplishes this without sentimentality." - Tom Andes, interviewer, JMWW Magazine

Short Stories

Many of my stories are inspired or informed by music or art. Many of them also deal with relationships between people, and the underlying deeper societal and/or cultural issues that can emerge in such relationships, or inform them.

This project contains a cross-section of my short fiction. All of these pieces have been published in literary journals, as noted in the individual files. I've also included my interview at Woven Tale Press regarding my prizewinning story "Let Me Take Your Hands," which grew out of my feelings about our current government's anti-immigrant stance. Many of these stories are included in my collection Let Me Take Your Hands, currently on submission.

In January 2017, I also put together a chapbook of six of my stories and published it for Kindle. This collection, Unraveled Souls, was my response to the inauguration and my concern for what lay ahead for our country. Half of all proceeds benefit 826 National (826national.org), an organization which supports literacy and creativity for young under-served students.
(Unraveled Souls is available to order at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZ8IT2W?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660.)

More information about my short fiction can be found on my website: https://krisfaatz.com/stories. 

FOURTEEN STONES

Fourteen Stones (working title) is my recently-completed second novel. It has its roots in a trip my husband and I made to Spain in the summer of 2015, in which we visited Iron Age castros on the northern coast of Spain. I was deeply impressed with the hand-built stone structures and the intense sense of home the castros conveyed: people had lived here thousands of years before, loved this ground, built on it, guarded it, buried their dead in sight of their homes. Out of that experience, I created a fictional religion which gave me the seed of the novel.

Fourteen Stones is a fantasy, and therefore a departure from the strictly-literary work in To Love A Stranger, but I'm increasingly interested in writing stories that interweave literary and speculative elements. I love to read fantasy, and found it enormously satisfying to create a fictional world and work outside the parameters of our "usual" reality.

The story focuses on a nomadic group of people called the Pala Vaia, who face religious persecution in their homeland, and look for safety and help in a neighboring country. Religious belief is a strong element in the novel's plot overall. I wanted to explore what fervent belief could cause, in a few different ways, and how it can both create barriers between people and - in what I argue is its best form- bring people together with the reminder that we are all human.

The book is a direct response to various political and social attitudes currently present in the United States. As a fiction writer, sometimes I wonder how much "good" my work can do in the world, but I do believe storytelling matters, and that stories are one of the simplest and most effective ways to bring people together.

Advance praise for Fourteen Stones:
"This is amazing. Huge. The depth and breadth of your imagination astonishes me, and the writing is gorgeous." - Louise Marburg, author of The Truth About Me

  • Fourteen Stones, beginning through Chapter 2

    "Once there was a woman who wished to build a house. Not a house for her husband and children: she had no husband yet, was too young to have children, and in any case she meant to live alone a while longer. She loved the scent of the wind, the warmth of the sun, and the sound of the sea as it rushed and broke against the rocky shore of her land. While she could, she wanted to have those things all to herself."
    PDF icon Fourteen Stones, beginning through Chapter 2

Multimedia Blog: "Zen for Ten: Storytelling and Sound"

My blog feature "Storytelling and Sound" combines verbal and musical storytelling. It came out of a collaboration at the 2017 Kenyon Review Writers Workshops, in which fellow novelist Taylor Larsen and I presented an afternoon program for the students and faculty. Taylor read excerpts of her novel STRANGER, FATHER, BELOVED, and I interspersed her readings with musical interludes to complement the writing.

The program was a huge success and I wanted to do more with this combination of arts. For my blog, I make videos in which I read excerpts of fiction and poetry (in a few cases it's my own work, but more often, I share the work of other writers) and alternate the readings with short piano works. This combination of music and words seems to be a treat for listeners, and the writers I've hosted have loved hearing their work presented in this new way. I'm looking forward to continuing this project through the coming year.

Kris's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.