“…THE WAY is a daring and passionate debut from an author to watch in the future.”
—Historical Novel Society
“Wolf is a masterful storyteller who has created an enchanting novel… it will resonate with anyone who has ever felt passion.”
“Wolf’s voice, vision, and verve combine to make The Way an emotional and action-packed debut.”
—Alice Peck, author of Bread, Body, Spirit: Finding the Sacred in Food
KRISTEN WOLF is a best-selling, award-winning author and filmmaker who divides time between the Rocky Mountains and NYC. A graduate of Georgetown University, she was nominated to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and received an M.A. from the prestigious creative writing program at Hollins University. Her debut novel, THE WAY: A Girl Who Dared to Rise, was hailed by O, The Oprah Magazine as “A Title to Pick Up Now!” Her critically-acclaimed novel, ESCAPEMENT: An Exquisite Tale of Love and Passion has already received multiple awards, including the IndieReader Discovery Award, BIBA Award, NIEA Award, IAN Book Award, LesFic Bard Award, etc.
When asked what she writes about, Kristen will tell you:
“I write about characters claiming permission to be who they are and how they are. Even though I write about widely diverse characters, settings and time periods, this is what all the stories boil down to. They’re always about characters who feel isolated either because they’re different or because they fervently believe there’s something more to life, something palpable and amazing that others don’t see.
“Despite feeling like outsiders, these characters are still seeking a tribe. A place where they feel seen and heard and recognized, especially for whatever it is that makes them different. That’s what I think many of my characters are seeking and striving to create. For the reader, then, my stories offer tangible journeys of finding and building a sense of home beyond the status quo. A place of belonging.”
When asked if she’s still seeking a place of belonging, Kristen just laughs.
“Aren’t we all?”
As a child, Wolf grew up in a heavily forested suburb outside New York City. She credits her family with passing along an avid love and respect for nature — which explains the photos of Wolf posing with an ever-widening array of animals living in their home including stray dogs, cats, guinea pigs, raccoons, mice, a flock of quail, chickens and a squirrel. Needless to say, hers wasn’t the average American family.
When she was in middle school, Wolf’s family purchased a piece of raw land in upstate New York. From then on, they lived like a regular Swiss Family Robinson every weekend and summer, clearing land with tractors and chainsaws, building fences and a barn which they slept in for a period of time. Eventually they began harvesting crops and tending horses, cattle and pigs. This led to a very unique life for Wolf as she lived like a farmer on the weekends and a student in public school during the week. Growing up, life was a revolving door of diverse events from wrangling cattle for de-worming to waiting in line for discount tickets to see a Broadway show — from bottle feeding a premature foal to writing a book report on Shakespeare.
Maybe it was the diversity of her early life that later led Wolf to pursue a variety of interests including acting and directing in theater, journalism, flying airplanes, rock climbing, scuba diving, assisting a horse veterinarian, teaching herself piano, mountain biking, competitive tennis and playing guitar in a rock band (so cliché but true!) and filmmaking (her documentary on San Francisco’s the first and longest-running lesbian dance party, CLUB Q, screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide).
Such a varied life gave Wolf exposure to a wide and eclectic range of people and disciplines, keen powers of observation, a passion for the natural world, unlimited curiosity, a flair for the dramatic and a strong independent streak — very helpful traits, it turns out, for a writer intent on looking beyond the known and resisting the norm.
Not surprisingly, Wolf’s diverse interests and experiences emerge in her fiction — which defies easy classification. The genres of her work range from subversive historical fiction to speculative fiction to poetry and essays. Subject matters range from impassioned composers of the Romantic era to renowned spiritual leaders to ephemeral beings in futuristic realms — all spiced with a hint of gender fluidity.
Despite the range of genres, what all her works share in common is: an obsession with exploring beyond what’s accepted; a passion for well-supported speculation; and portraying characters who live outside the norm but possess a desire for belonging.
One trait that Wolf admires in other artists is the desire to continually seek more. To be forever roaming into new and unfamiliar territory. Forever risking different styles and forbidden subjects. Think of musical artists like Prince and Björk, or an author like Jeanette Winterson and how they constantly morph and evolve themselves and their art form — sometimes radically — in order to more fully reveal the subject matter at hand. When such a concerted effort spans an entire career, the sheer breadth and variety of creative output always proves thrilling.
Nothing would make Wolf happier than to one day end up with an ultra-diverse body of work that reflects even a small taste of that same thrill. Time will tell. One thing that’s for sure, as she strives toward her goal, you’ll never know what — or who — she’ll endeavor to write about next!