University alumna, author visits Delta Gamma to discuss debut novel

When Kimberly Kolb graduated from the University in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial organizational psychology, she had never dreamed of becoming an author. She would go on to become head of human resources at XR Trading and mother of three with little to no creative writing experience. But in 2009, she began to write while waiting for her daughter to get out of dance lessons. The compulsion soon snowballed and led to the June 2013 publication of her debut novel, “Lindsey: Love and Intrigue,” winner of iUniverse’s Editor’s Choice Award and Rising Star Award.

On Monday, Kolb, a Delta Gamma alumna, gave a speech to her sorority chapter on campus in regards to her new book and recent accomplishments. Rachel Rooney, president of Delta Gamma and senior in LAS, said she was very grateful for her willingness to come back to the chapter. She said it’s wonderful to see successful alumni remember their ties to Delta Gamma and return to share their stories with their sisters.

During her speech, Kolb shared her creative process in writing about the social struggles, romance and daily life of the novel’s self-doubting main character, Lindsey. It began as a challenge to create a story about the real experiences of high school in a socially appropriate way for teenagers. Kolb was concerned that many of the books written for teenagers today are often inappropriate, and she wanted to create something that was both intriguing and proper for teenagers to read.

“In my search for age-appropriate content, I became increasingly frustrated by many of the novels being recommended,” Kolb said. “Just because a child is intellectually capable of understanding the words in a book does not mean they are emotionally prepared to truly understand the socially charged topics presented.”

Although she created fictional characters, Kolb believed they came to life during her writing process. As the details of each character were fleshed out, they became more like people she knew rather than figments of her imagination.

“Soon they were voices in my mind. I could tell you what kind of music they like, what movies they would enjoy — they are very real characters to me,” Kolb said.

Laurie Walsh, an integrative health specialist, described Lindsey as an alternative to the typical teen character that is often shown in today’s mainstream books.

“What’s different than many stories in this genre is that the author has clearly defined Lindsey as a young girl with a strong moral compass and desire to rise above the typical insecurities that can run rampant during the years of teenage angst,” Walsh said.

Walsh continued in saying the story delivers the best message to teens regarding young love, teenage angst, drama and suspense that will leave the reader with a hopeful and positive message about making good choices.

Despite the fact that Kolb did a great deal of research on teen books beforehand, she did not mention it to her friends when she began working on the novel. Telling her friends was the most difficult hurdle to overcome as an author, despite the process being very enjoyable as a whole, she said. Kolb admitted it was awkward to actually tell her friends and family she had a published book that was now available in stores.

Kolb has considered her status as a graduate of the University to be very helpful with networking and has enjoyed working with fellow alumni. Holly Francis, one of her fellow colleagues and University alumna of ‘84, was one of the first people she asked to read her story before it was published. Francis currently has her own communications company, and Kolb wanted her opinion both as a friend and as a professional. It was this network of support that helped lead to the novel’s publication and growing success.

Kolb hopes “Lindsey: Love and Intrigue” will relate to a wide range of viewers.

“High school lives in our minds as vividly at the age of 46 as it does at 16,” Kolb said. “Therefore, young readers will be able to dream of being 16, while everyone who has moved through these tender years will reminisce back to their own coming of age.”

Christen can be reached at [email protected]