Q&A with Kim Wilkes / Get To Know the Author
Kim Wilkes here, saying: Hello 2020!
Was 2019 a crazy year for anyone else? I feel like I jumped into so much NEWness. It was like a rollercoaster and the blast of a firehouse put together.
After learning so much, it’s exciting to focus on the things that matter to me most.
Season 2 of The Kim Wilkes Podcast
I am ecstatic to start off a new season of the podcast!
If you’ve been here from the beginning, you deserve a very special thank-you. My original series on Healing From Sexual Abuse was a labor of love, and the feedback was incredible. There will definitely be more coming for that series, but I do have to strike a balance between the heavy and the light for my own well-being.
So today, as a way to welcome new listeners (readers), I want to do a little Q&A so you can all get to know me better and find out who it is behind the microphone (keyboard).
Q&A With Author Kim Wilkes
Let’s kick things off with a couple of fun facts. These are my go-to’s for any get-to-know-you game:
- I love peanut butter, especially with chocolate.
- I played basketball in high school.
- I’ve kissed a giraffe.
If you’ve read my About Page on the blog you know a little about my basic bio, but I’ll go ahead and cover that to start. Maybe we have something in common. Go ahead and drop it in the comments if we do!
Childhood and Growing Up
I was born and mostly raised in sunny Arizona. I loved all kinds of activities, from swimming and basketball, to rock collecting, reading, and music. Words and stories have always meant the world to me.
When I was six, I was sexually abused, and that changed my understanding and perception of the world forever. I spent the rest of my adolescence trying to not mess up, to not get hurt, and to not give hurt.
High school was kind of a blur. I got through it as fast as I could, which ended up taking about 2 ½ years. It was during this time that I found authors and writers and filmmakers who essentially reached down into my soul. I discovered what writing could really be and what art could do for an individual. I wanted to be brave enough to share my story. To be that voice for someone else, the way I was finding a voice in strangers.
I also worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor. That’s how I saved up enough money to visit my sister in Germany for three months and travel western Europe.
I feel like that’s where my story deviates.
See, I have always been a planner. I love order and predictability and I had everything sorted out.
As a kid, I planned to get a basketball scholarship to Stanford where I would study English and become a novelist. Easy, peasy.
Well, at the end of my Freshman year I moved to a school with an incredible basketball program, but I also fell into a deep depression. I decided to change my plan and focus on graduating early and getting a job so I could afford to travel. To escape.
Going to Europe I had a plan too. There was a family my sister knew in Germany who was going to be hiring a new live-in nanny in January. (I went over in October.) There was also a great film school in London that had a part-time screenwriting program on the weekends. So my plan was to get the nanny job, and use my free weekends to travel up to London for class. It would only take a year or two to finish the program, then I could focus on finding a job in the film scene over there and pursue my writing.
It was a solid plan, except for the fact that after a couple of months over there I had the distinct impression that I should go on a mission for my church. That would mean going home, going back to my job lifeguarding to save up, and my arrangement for film school would be shot.
So that’s what I did.
I knew before I got my call that I was going to Russia. I just knew. So when I saw Russia on my papers there was no doubt in my mind that I’d made the right decision. I left to the MTC in February right after my 19th birthday.
When I say now that I served a mission in Russia, I always get the same look from Americans.
It’s one that says, “Oh, that must have been terrifying, Russians are evil and scary.” while their mouths just say, “Wow, what was that like?”.
It makes me laugh every time because Russians are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Sure, there are some not-so-nice people in every country, but on the whole I loved my time in the Motherland. It was absolutely amazing. But (because there always has to be a BUT, right?), a few months into my time there I fell into the deepest depression I’ve ever experienced. I had panic attacks almost daily. I was suicidal. I spent a year that way, mostly keeping it to myself, as much as I could until I couldn’t anymore. My mission president eventually took notice, and we opted to send me home for medical attention a few months earlier than my scheduled end date. Looking back now I see that I was so sick.
But life didn’t really slow down, because it was just two months later, after some supplements, physical therapy for my hidden back injury, and a move to the other side of town, that I shook hands with the man I’d marry just two months after that.
I actually got married the day before I would have come home had I been able to serve out my whole mission. It’s just one of those crazy things that makes it clear that Someone up there has a bigger plan than my own plans.
First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then…
Two months after our first anniversary we welcomed our little girl into the world.
Which led me to question what to do about my employment. I left my caregiving job when I got pregnant, and I had a stay at home job for a coding company, but it became more and more difficult to work on projects with a baby in my arms all day. I had my book and my blog at the time. But I was taking a break from writing and publishing, and wasn’t really generating money in that area.
A few months after she was born I came across an old friend who promoted makeup. Now, I never in a million years saw myself doing makeup for a living, but once again I just had a feeling that I should go for it and sign up as an artist.
Well, if you’ve been around this past year you know that I’ve fallen in love with the makeup. The business has helped me explore deeper into social media marketing. That helped me decide what to pursue in my very slow-rolling university studies.
I’ve kept writing and publishing and started The Kim Wilkes Co., which has allowed me to share some really important things.
I’ve been able to speak at a college and have girls come up to me crying, thanking me for speaking up because they’re going through the same kind of abuse and have never been able to talk about it before.
People who have found the podcast have thanked me for the same thing.
I have met amazing people and made an impact I really didn’t expect, just because through all of the difficult things I’ve been up against, I’ve tried really hard to listen to my intuition and be guided by God in my decision making.
So what now?
I’ve built this little platform with The Kim Wilkes Co. that is doing good in real people’s lives. I always told myself that if I could make a difference, if I could give a voice to just one person, that would be enough for me. And now I’m here, I’ve done that. And I’m realizing that there is still so much more.
I took a break from the podcast and the blog over the holidays. Part of that was to take some time to ponder and figure out where I want to go from here. The feeling I keep getting, and the thought that keeps echoing in my head is this: “Don’t be afraid to dream bigger.”
I’m still piecing together what a bigger dream is going to look like. But, I’ve done enough experimenting and research over the past year to know where my passions lie. I love creating content to share with people.
And it’s really amazing to live in an age when content creation can be a money-making job. What I’m doing now really wasn’t even possible a decade or two ago, at least not for the average Jane. I don’t work for a big corporation with tons of resources and teams of people. It’s just me and my computer, trying to change the world one word and one makeover at a time.
Now the challenge is to create that content consistently. To bring value to people’s lives on a regular basis, and to grow my reach beyond where it is now.
At least that’s what I’m thinking about, here behind the scenes.
2020 at The Kim Wilkes Co.
Here’s what you can expect from The Kim Wilkes Co. in 2020:
- weekly podcast episodes and blog posts
- weekly makeup tutorials
- some other fun projects
- and what I’m most excited for: a novel!
I’m getting back to my roots and writing fiction again.
And rather than quietly work on it and spring it on you when it’s done, I’ve decided I want to guide you through the whole writing process with me. So on Fridays, probably twice a month, I’m going to share videos updating you on the progress of the book and share the exact steps I go through so you can join along.
I think it’s all going to be a lot of fun, but only if this can all go two ways! The biggest thrill of sharing content is getting feedback from all of you wonderful people that I get to share it with.
So tell me, what are you most excited for?
What special projects are you working on this year?
How can you dream bigger?