• Birth—September 18, 1953
• Where—Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
• Education—B.A., Uiversity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
• Currently—lives in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Nationally syndicated columnist Kris Radish has taken a somewhat winding road to her current status as bestselling feminist novelist, although a strong love of fiction has been in her blood since childhood. "I fell in love with words when I was a little girl (and yes I was short once) and discovered the joy of reading and hanging out with Nancy Drew," she explains on her web site. "By the beginning of eighth grade I had read every book in St. Joseph's Grade School library and knew I was going to be a writer."
Radish did not start out writing the kinds of tales she loved as a girl. She began in the more practical realm of journalism, which lead her to write her first book. Run, Bambi, Run is the true story of Laurie Bombenek, an ex-cop/ex-Playboy bunny who was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Bombenek's fascinating story—which included a daring prison break and her subsequent recapture—was adapted into an equally riveting and critically acclaimed true-crime book by Radish.
Now with her first taste of the publishing world, Radish began work on her second book. The Birth Order Effect was quite different from her debut and miles away from the fiction she would eventually pen. Instead, it is a serious but lively discussion of birth-order and how it affects human psychology and development. Ultimately, The Birth Order Effect would take ten years to see publication, putting Radish's publishing career on hold for that length of time. By the time it finally hit bookstore shelves in 2002, Radish had shifted gears again and would never suffer such a hiatus again. The same year that The Birth Order Effect saw publication, Radish published her breakthrough work of fiction The Elegant Gathering of White Snows, the mysterious, hypnotic story of eight Wisconsin women who embark upon a pilgrimage. As they travel, each woman's story is revealed and the bonds between them strengthen. The Elegant Gathering of White Snows established Radish as an important new voice in feminist fiction and there would be no turning back from there.
Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn, the story of a wife and mother who sets upon her own journey toward self-actualization after finding her husband in bed with another woman, followed. Next up was Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral, another road novel in the vein of The Elegant Gathering of White Snows. By this point, Radish had gathered quite a following of devoted readers, all of her novels having found their ways onto bestseller lists throughout the United States. The Sunday List of Dreams, her next effort, should be no different. It is a funny, moving, sometimes ribald tale of a woman who reconnects with her estranged daughter, who now runs a successful sex shop in New York City.
After the somewhat tentative journey toward her current success, Radish promises that she has many more stories to tell. "I write fulltime because I never, not once, let go of the dream I had to do this," she says. "To put all my manic words into sentences and then string the sentences into paragraphs so that they could become chapters and then a book."
Even though Radish is enjoying tremendous success as a novelist, she still writes "two nationally syndicated columns each week—for DBR Media, Inc. and a regionally syndicated column in southeastern Wisconsin for Community Newspapers," as she explains on her web site.
Along with her many literary and journalistic accomplishments, Radish is an accomplished motorcycle rider.
While getting her career in journalism started, Radish worked a huge number of odd jobs. By her own account, she worked as a "professional Girl Scout, waitress, bartender, journalist, bureau chief, columnist, window washer, factory worker, bowling alley attendant and once, honest, I crawled on my belly through a Utah mountain field to harvest night crawlers.
From a 2007 Barnes & Noble interview:
• I've skied with Robert Redford, been shot at while flying over Bosnia, almost drowned in a flash flood in the middle of a desert, worked undercover, interviewed murderers, and covered a national disaster that buried a town.
• When I was a working journalist someone was stalking me for a very long period of time. It was terrifying. To end it, I worked with the local police and I still have tape recordings of this person's voice.
• I answer all my own emails—which often takes hours but I do this because I have such a fabulous group of readers and if they honor me with a note—with their own stories—with something from their heart...well, I have to answer them. I just have to.
• Yoga and biking and I have recently rediscovered my passion for golf—honest—watch for the Kris Radish Open. I swim, and following a severe back injury am living with a ruptured L-5 but am kicking it in the rear end by working out at least five days a week and have recently—well, over the past five months—lost almost 20 pounds.
• I love to hike and often get some great inspiration when I am out hiking with my notebook. I adore the sounds of the outdoors and would live outside if I could -- sleep with the window open year round.
• When asked what book most influenced her career as a writer, here is her response:
The Secret of Shadow Ranch, a Nancy Drew Mystery by Carolyn Keene— I am crying as I write this, and it's not because of menopause (well, maybe). I can actually remember reading this the first of probably 50 times when I was about 11 years old and already dreaming of adventure and writing and living out west—all of which I did, because this book set my heart on fire. Nancy Drew made me believe that I could do anything. I could travel and forge raging rivers and solve mysteries and ride horses into the sunset and because a woman wrote this book and a girl was its star—well, that meant I could do those things too. I keep this book by my computer and every single time I see Nancy on that black horse with the snow-capped mountains in the background on its cover, it makes my heart sing.
The magic of writing and of books spread itself from these pages and set up shop in my heart. One Christmas after I had gotten in trouble because I kept checking out all the Nancy Drew books from the library, I asked for my own set of books for Christmas—a tall order for my family of six. But when I opened my package and saw that I had gotten The Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase, and The Bungalow Mystery, I could not stop crying (early menopause!). Nancy and Carolyn helped forge my writer's heart: I am ever and always devoted to both of them. (From Barnes & Noble.)
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