This month, our featured Zulugirl is author Kimberly Foster. A resident of Bellevue, Washington, Kimberly was a sales rep for The Leakey Collection from 2005-2008. In addition to handling sales in the Pacific Northwest, she also was our “go to gal” for anything related to writing. Press releases, blog posts, and marketing materials were all shown to Kim before publishing, and she could make anything sound poetic. It was this gift and her love for writing that eventually prompted her to trade in her sales hat for a computer and a manuscript. And we are certainly glad she did! Just last year, she published her first novel, The Clover Tree. It is a captivating story that delivers a powerful message about manifesting dreams. Although it is classified as a young adult’s book, it is a wonderful narrative that appeals to readers of all ages.
Although Kimberly is no longer officially a member of The Leakey Collection, she will always be a part of our family. We recently had the chance to catch up with her.
TLC: Have you always known that you wanted to be a writer?
Kimberly: Yes. When I was a young girl, I published a “newspaper” for our street! Then, I really wanted to be an advertising copywriter. Instead, I ended up teaching high school English and enjoyed some sales positions. All the while, I felt like a book was in my future.
TLC: Bringing a book to life is quite an accomplishment. What kept you going?
Kimberly: The storyline really “found” me, and it was a labor of love to write it. I learned a lot about the process. My first draft had barely any dialogue! What’s funny is that the final product is mostly dialogue, and I pride myself that the dialogue is really authentic. I loved the characters so much that they were the ones to keep me going. And, finally, my daughters. I wanted them to see me finish the book and bring it to fruition.
TLC: Team sports are a big part of The Clover Tree. How have they impacted you as an individual?
Kimberly: Some of my happiest times and best friends have emerged from team sports. Teams provide a place where success depends on working with others and loyalty – two skills that have very much defined my personality. That’s probably why my main character, Kate is a soccer player. Not only am I intimate with the sport because of my own experience, but I recognize how teammates can buoy you on and off the field.
TLC: How has your life changed since The Clover Tree was published?
Kimberly: Thus far, my life hasn’t changed too much. There’s a lot of humility in promoting your own work, but I do feel a strong sense of accomplishment and pride in the product. I love to flip through it and read sections to stay connected to Kate and her journey.
TLC: You have always been a compassionate person. From your novel to your involvement at The Leakey Collection, it is apparent that you really connect to people. Tell us more about your My Hero Bear project.
Kimberly: My Hero Bear is such an important project to me as it provides comfort bears to families that have lost a loved one. My mom had similar bears made for my sister and me after my dad died, and mine is still enormously comforting to me. It’s made with the fabric from one of his favorite shirts. So, when a neighbor lost her son in Afghanistan, I made the family one out of a military fatigue and it was so well received, I explored branding the idea. So our signature elements are using fabric and collar from a favorite shirt and a tag that reads, “I was once worn by someone dear, through loving memories will always be here.” So far, I’ve produced several for young families that lost their father. It is humbling every time I present them with their bears.
TLC: What did you like best about working at The Leakey Collection?
Kimberly: It’s hard to decide! It was always so fun to hear stories of Kenya and the Maasai from Katy and Philip. They brought the jewelry and people to life and helped me enter a culture I was not familiar with at all! However, despite their brilliant storytelling my favorite experience was…. Drum roll… and you are probably going to faint when I say this, but it has to be the trade shows! They were grueling physically, but it was the one place we were together as reps and sharing the story of zulugrass and The Leakey Collection. I loved my co-workers, and I loved talking about the jewelry.
Everyone at TLC is so proud of Kimberly for following her dreams!