About


DSC_8897

Brief Bio

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, artist and photographer who makes a tasty biscotti. Her first novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD, was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer during her life as a Bay Area crime reporter. She has also been published in Salon, the Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News, and Chicago Tribune.

Normal Bio

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and artist who also bakes a tasty biscotti.

In her former life, as an award-winning crime reporter at newspapers in California, she flew over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, watched autopsies, and conversed with serial killers.

During her decade covering crime, Belcamino wrote and reported about many high-profile cases including the Laci Peterson murder and Chandra Levy’s disappearance. And because of her police sources, she was one of the first reporters in the country to learn that the passengers on Flight 93 had fought back on 9/11. She has appeared on Inside Edition and local cable television shows. Her work has appeared in such prominent publications as the Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News, and Chicago Tribune.

Her first novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD, was inspired by Belcamino’s dealings on her crime beat with a serial killer who police and FBI agents linked to the kidnapping and murders of little girls. When the man died in prison two years ago, she was called for a comment. Belcamino’s personal past colors this smart, effective novel that showcases a strong new voice in the market.She is represented by Stacey Glick at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

profilecowboy2

Super Long-Ass Bio

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and artist who also bakes a tasty biscotti.

She grew up in a town called Paradise. Yes, really. A Northern California town with majestic pine trees, a different breed of bearded men called Clampers who only come out once a year for the Gold Nugget Days Parade, and lots of flannel-wearing folks. Way before it was cool in Seattle.

After graduating from high school, she moved to L.A. where she received an associate of arts degree in business administration from Fullerton College and later, received a bachelor’s of arts in Journalism from California State University, Long Beach.

During those wild college years, she lived with four Australian Rugby players in a house a block from the beach. They loaned her a wetsuit and surfboard and attempted to teach her to surf, but gave up because A. If you’ve ever tried to surf you know what hell it is getting the crap beat out of you wave after wave after wave and B. she was too afraid of sharks. (See: watching Jaws as a kid.)

During college she also lived in a Mara Salvatrucha gang neighborhood in L.A. with the now-famous singer Beck and his family. (Hi T! Hi Bibbe and Sean!) Bibbe used to chill with Andy Warhol. Bibbe and her multi-talented husband, Sean, owned Troy Cafe in downtown L.A. where some of the coolest Chicano artists hung out and performed. And where music and movie making was welcome. Best Roommates EVER.

Later, Belcamino moved to The American Hotel, in downtown L.A., above a punk rock bar, Al’s Bar, where bands such as Jane’s Addiction and Nirvana played before making it big. She worked as a personal assistant to artist Richard Duardo, (See Stanford archives!) who was an incredibly gracious boss and threw unbelievable parties at his loft across the street from The American Hotel.

At one such party, the guys from Ren & Stimpy decided to take black markers and illustrate his refrigerator. Belcamino worked as the event coordinator for a giant rave fundraiser Duardo held at the Shrine Auditorium and part of her duties that night included escorting porn star Traci Lords around the rave.

At the time, Belcamino also worked as a waitress a few blocks over at a Mexican cantina where she waited on East L.A. gangbangers and L.A.P.D. officers. During the L.A. Riots, her floor mates at The American Hotel, including a former cover model, patrolled the roof of The American Hotel with big guns, like Uzis, to make sure nobody messed with the building.

Also during college she had internships at The San Gabriel Valley Tribune newspaper, EMI Records, and Rolling Stone Magazine where she got to hob nob with rock stars — or at least be in the same room as them — including the time Eddie Van Halen bumped into her and made her spill her drink, but he smiled at her and she forgave him.

After graduation, she and her boyfriend headed south and camped along the Baja California beaches in a flimsy orange tent for weeks on end. Not long after they returned, they packed all their belongings in a Dodge hatchback and drove to Seattle to chase the grunge scene for a while before reducing all those belongings down to what would fit into a backpack and heading to Europe.

After tromping through Europe for a few months, Belcamino landed in her boyfriend’s home town of Minneapolis and began her first job in journalism working for the state medical journal and then getting hired as a reporter at a small newspaper in White Bear Lake.

Sick of Minnesota winters, she took a reporting job at the Carmel Pine Cone for a few months before getting her first big break at a daily, The Monterey Herald, where she started covering crime.

Her highlights working in the Monterey Peninsula include getting a voice mail from Clint Eastwood (Talk about missing a cool phone call!), flying above Big Sur in an FA/18 fighter jet, racing a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, being sneered at by a crabby Jerry Seinfeld and having Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson ask to be introduced to her because he loved a story she wrote about a naked, masturbating, car-accident-causing driver.

Belcamino then moved to Oakland when she was hired as the police reporter at a larger daily, the Contra Costa Times. While there, she covered every horrific crime anyone could imagine, but the one that haunts her the most involved her efforts to find out what happened to a missing little girl by spending numerous hours interviewing a convicted kidnapper who told her tales of his exploits as a long-time serial killer.

Then, she had a baby. Within nine months, she and her husband had packed up and moved to Minnesota to be around his large Irish family. Within a year, she had another baby. When her youngest started kindergarten, Belcamino started writing a novel inspired by her dealings with the serial killer. Within four months, she had her first draft. About a year later she signed with Stacey Glick at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

A year after that, her first novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD, based on her experiences as a crime reporter, sold to HarperCollins in a two-book deal.

Now, as an Italian-American mother, she writes novels and eats lots of cheese. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and her two fierce daughters.

ART STUFF

Belcamino’s Mexican-style assemblage pieces have been featured in two exhibits. The art pieces are made of photographs of shrines and altars combined with vintage jewelry pieces, found and recycled objects and pictures of Frida Kahlo. They have sold across the world.

Another exhibit, Ghost Bikes, honored four Minnesota bicyclists killed within a few months of one another. It included photographs of the Ghost Bike altars created in their memory on city streets and small photographs and biographies of the slain bicyclists.

FAQ

Q: When do you write?
A: I usually write from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.

Q:  How much do you write a day?
A: My goal is to get at least 1,000 words down on paper, but I usually shoot for closer to double that. If I’m really in the groove, and I don’t have errands to do, such as (yuck) grocery shopping, I’ll continue writing into the afternoon.

Q: How many books do you write a year?
A: I’m averaging one book a year.

Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
A: The first draft usually takes three to four months and then the next eight or nine months is spent revising and rewriting.

Q: Do you write yourself into the books?
A: Yes and no. Let me explain — I once read that every single character in an author’s book contains bits and pieces of the author — that includes the antagonist. There are parts of me that are like Gabriella Giovanni, but then there are parts of her that are nothing like me. In fact, she’s way cooler than I ever was as a newspaper reporter.

Q: Do you write your children into your books?
A: No way.

Q: How do you bring characters to life?
A: I start by sketching an idea of what they are like but then they sort of reveal themselves to me on the page. They take on a life of their own outside of me.

Q: How did you get started with a publisher?
A: I took the old-fashioned journey: Send out a million queries, get a million rejections, repeat, keep at it, and eventually get an offer from a rock star agent, who then got me a book deal.

Q: Do you like ebooks/what do you think about ebooks?
A: I do like ebooks. I don’t seem them replacing traditional books, only giving readers another option.

Q: How do you keep your series books straight?
A: I create a series bible with lists of characters names, backgrounds and some plot points.

Q: Do you do author talks at bookstores?
A: I will. I’ll do author talks anywhere, book clubs, coffee shops, bars, you name it. I can’t wait to talk to my readers in person.

Q: Do you write about people you know?
A: Just like bits and pieces of me end up in my novels, so do fragments of the people I know.

Q: Do you help with your titles?
A: I always turn in a manuscript with a title attached.

Q: With your covers?
A: No.

Q: Do you write on the computer or longhand?
A: I’d lose my mind trying to capture my thoughts fast enough in longhand. I might be able to do it, but I wouldn’t be able to read it later.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: Ernest Hemingway, Sara Gran, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Lisa Unger, Joan Didion, Anais Nin, and many, many more.

Q: Who inspires you?
A: My real life writer friends, so very many of them, but off the top of my head, the hardest working ones I know, such as Owen Laukkanen, who often writes as much as 5,000 words a day. And Joelle Charbonneau, a mother of a toddler and voice teacher, who still managed to crank out four books in one year.

Q: Where do you write?
A: Either at the bar counter in my kitchen, sitting on a backless stool, or at the neighborhood coffee shop when my finances allow me to splurge on a latte.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: A young adult novel, a mystery, set in Minneapolis.