Welcome to Patterings, Christina and congratulations on your debut novel!
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.
I've always written horrible poetry. In grade school it was about bunnies; in high school, about boys; in college, about whatever popped in my head. It wasn't until I graduated and was home with my little baby girl that I started thinking about writing seriously. My mother was the one who suggested we write a book together ... so we did! I think the actual decision WAS the epiphany, realizing that writing is something you decide to do and follow through on, not a magical, easy process.
Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?
I think On the Threshold (unpublished) was the most fun because Mom and I wrote it together. I should clarify that it was the latest version that was fun. The first 6-7 years of writing was necessary schooling, but not always satisfying because we were constantly finding things we should have known, but didn’t, like not switching POV/head-hopping. When we wrote the current version, we had the tools and knowledge to craft a saleable story.
The cop, Tony, is my favorite from that book. He’s such a stand-up guy, macho with just the right touch of sensitivity.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
As a single mother of young children, and currently serving as a foster parent, time is my biggest challenge. I have to make sure my family knows they come first, but to balance that with treating writing as a career. Not sure I’m doing a great job of overcoming it right now! Usually, though, I can write when they are out of the house and spend time home-making and playing with them when they’re not in school. Knowing that I have a limited time to work actually makes me get more work done in a short time.
Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Craig intrigued me. I wanted to know why he does what he does. What drives a man to leave his family? I wanted to come to the point where I could sympathize with his decision, even if I thought it was the most despicable thing he could ever have done.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Going for my black belt in Tae Kwondo. I made it all the way to first degree purple (5 belts up, and only 2 from black) before I injured myself. Though I knew I was going to sweat and grunt during my promotion test, I somehow decided I needed to lotion my feet to be girly. Landed on a rubber strip of the mat after breaking two boards with a reverse jumping side kick and shredded my ACL. Months and months of PT and one surgery later, I realized I didn’t want a black belt as much as I thought I did. :-)
Ow! I took three years of karate and absolutely loved it. Now I just drool over the fight scenes of movies. :-)
Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Nothing. Especially not answering great interview questions because I want to be witty but then suddenly it’s the day the wonderful interviewer needs them and my wittiness is scraping the bottom of the barrel.
LoL. You did fine getting them to me! :-)
What would a perfect day for you look like?
Sleep in ‘til about 10, bowl of cereal while reading the paper with NO interruptions, exercise, shower by noon (hehe), effortlessly write 5 pages AND blog in an hour, play with the children, BBQ, watch a movie, and all cuddle up in the big bed for Bible reading when our eyes are threatening to close.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’ll read anything that is well written. I tend to steer clear of formulaic romances or scare-me-into-checking-the-locks-four-time-before-bed books. I like historical or contemporary, intrigue, strong characters, and consistent stories.
Most of my favorite authors have voices I never dream to come close to: Nancy E. Turner, Jane Kirkpatrick, Leif Enger, Francine Rivers, or Randy Alcorn, to name a few. The writers that really influence my stories are ones that examine the real grittiness of life like Roxanne Henke, Bette Nordberg, and James Scott Bell.
Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
My sweet tooth demands Skittles and M&Ms and Smarties. I try to trick it with carrots and apples and raisins. My newest favorite snack that keeps my mouth busy so my mind can focus is dry Life cereal.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
The recent changes in my life—a divorce, working part-time outside the home, putting my home up for sale, moving toward adoption with a foster child—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.
What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
His plans are far greater than I can imagine. Pain is necessary to know what pleasure is. To find satisfaction in the present and not cast yearning looks at the future.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Because The Familiar Stranger went from contract to on the shelf in less than a year, I don’t have another contracted book yet. Three weeks ago I began shopping my next book around and I hope to find a home for it soon. My next manuscript, Unafraid, is a story about a girl’s kidnapping, and how her life unfolds because of the trauma.
Christina is giving away a copy of The Familiar Stranger. To be entered in the book giveaway, you must be have as US address. Leave a comment and check back on Thursday, October 8th to see if you've won. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar. OR you could sign up to have Patterings updates delivered to your inbox. If you do, it will give you a bonus entry in the giveaway, otherwise you can enter twice--once for each post you leave a comment on. :^)
Don't forget to check out and leave a comment Amber Stockton's book giveaway. Also, I'm extending Nikki Arana's and Debbie Fuller Thomas' book giveaways until Sunday, October 4th in celebration of the Book Bonanza finale. :-)I don't want you to miss them! :-)