Happy Tuesday Everyone,
Sorry about the delay in getting Christie Craig's email interview up. Normally I can just copy and paste interviews from my email into my blog, but this time my blog would NOT let me paste the interview! So everything has to be done manually, which takes longer.
Anyway, let me introduce you to Christie Craig:
I met her through the NWHRWA, which we're both members of. She's a real sweetheart. Funny, fun, and makes you feel comfortable (you don't feel shy or uncomfortable because she has a very hospitable presence about her). She's also very helpful, offers great advice and encouragement (I know this from experience, she's been very encouraging to me).
Christie is a multi-published author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her works include things like Divorced, Desperate & Delicious and her up-coming non-fiction (with elements of fiction) work, Wild, Wicked And Wanton: 101 Ways To Love Like You're In A Romance Novel...due out this month). You can find more on Christie on her website here.
Without further ado, I give you the email interview with Christie Craig:
Christie is giving away a free autographed copy of her new book, Shut Up And Kiss Me to one lucky commenter of this post!
Me: Could you tell us a little bit about your new novel, Shut Up And Kiss Me?
Christie: Welcome to Precious, Texas. My hero's foster father, Redfoot, believes in Fate. And he believes the spirits come to him in dreams and tell him who is whose soul mate. He is determined Shala Winters, the new tourism specialist/photojournalist coming into town and his son, the Chief Of Police, Sky Gomez, are soul mates. Sky takes one look at Shala and decides he wouldn't mind the "mating" part, but the "soul" part, meaning the forever kind of love...well, Sky doesn't do that. He watched love destroy his parents that ended in murder/suicide. And Shala, who had her heart shattered once, is here to work, not play, and she's opted out of forever as well. Unfortunate for Sky, she's not into quick flings either.
Ahh, but this is Precious, where you don't get between Fate and what It wants, because Fate, even though It has everyone's best interest at heart, doesn't fight fair. It will use whatever It can: skunks, fire ants, and a whole pack of wacky town folk to help It, too. Nevertheless, it's not just Fate stirring up trouble in this tiny town. When it becomes clear to Sky that someone is willing to kill to get Shala's camera, it's Sky's job to find out why and who and more importantly to keep Shala safe. But can Sky do it when none of this is making sense? And can he safe Shala without his heart to the one woman who might be his soul mate?
Me: Was there anything in particular that inspired Shut Up And Kiss Me, or was it one of those ideas that was "simmering" in your mind?
Christie: I actually wrote a blog called Fate, Destiny & Soul Mates: Do You Believe? It talks about where the idea came from. For the long answer pop over to: http://www.tracymadison.com/blog/ . But the short answer is that the idea of soul mates intrigued me since I was twelve and my grandmother told me a story about having a premonition in a dream about her soul mate.
Me: You have a range of books published. Do you have a favorite, if so, which one and why?
Christie: That's like asking a mother which one of her children she loves the most. LOL. I will say that I think "Shut Up And Kiss Me" is my funniest and possibly the best book I've written. The characters just really came alive for me.
Me: What made you decide to write romance novels?
Christie: I usually give my first marriage credit. It was so bad I had to learn how to fantasize. LOL. But seriously, I think love is what keeps the world going. Romance and love feeds the soul.
Me: For fun: What's your favorite color?
Christie: Hmm, it's a toss up between pink and purple. What does that say about me?
Me: What piece of advice has been helpful to you that you'd pass on to aspiring (and newly published) authors?
Christie: Never, never give up. I started writing in '84. My first book until a short ten years later. If you think that's bad, my second one didn't hit stands until a short tweleve years after that. For about five of those years, I only wrote non-fiction--and was successful at a photojournalism career--but during those other two years, I worked part time in journalism, and wrote and completed eight novels and six proposals. And the rejections poured in--one right after another. Ahh, but when I sold my second book, I sold my third, fourth and fifth on the same day. And yes, they were books I had already written. My jump start back into novel publishing was only possible because I had continued to write book after book. And don't think I didn't have every reason in the book, including thousands of rejections, to throw in the towel, to stop believing in myself and in my talent. I just refused to give up, to be a quitter, and look what happened. "Shut Up And Kiss Me" is my seventh novel, "Wild, Wicked & Wanton" is my third non-fiction book, and I have contracts six more novels. Yup, not giving up was a good thing.
The condition is: Never stop growing as a writer. You can keep writing, but if you aren't honing your craft by reading how-to books, studying the work of other authors, or taking classes, then you could be making the same mistake book after book. And isn't that the definition of insanity--doing the same thing and expecting different results? Basically this is the entertainment business and it's one of the fastest changing businesses out there. Even if you are published, even if you finally figured it out, you can't stop learning, because what's popular is constantly changing. If you stop growing as a writer, you'll shrivel up and die and that ain't pretty.
Me: What's changed in your life since you became a published novelist? (FYI to those who don't know, she's a photojournalist and non-fiction author, too).
Christie: Well, I had more work to do. Because I was pretty serious about writing and writing every day, I already had a good work ethic, but the extra work was doing copy edits, doing PR, reading contracts, planning book signings, and writing guest blogs and such. There's a lot of work that comes with the business side of writing that can really cut into your writing time.
I think the biggest surprise that selling brought about wasn't what changed, but about what didn't change. A lot of people believe that once you sell, you suddenly feel accomplished, all those ol' doubts and insecurities will fade because duh, someone has paid you for your work. And maybe for some people that happens, but almost every day when I come into my study and sit down, I have this tiny little worry that someone will discover my secret. And my secret is that I'm just faking it. Thank God I'm pretty good at faking it.
Me: To plan to start another series to go along with your Divorced, Deceived & Delicious series?
Christie: While I hope to go back and write a Divorced series about three men starting a "Stay Single" club, and I would like to write more Precious books, my next series is: "Don't Mess With Texas". It's a story about three men, ex-cops and ex-cons, exonerated of a murder they didn't commit. They've opened their own PI business, determined to get justice for those that the system lets down. Mavericks to the max, these men bend all the rules and it's gonna take some special women to win them over. Look for the first book in the series in 2011 through Grand Central Publishing. Also, my young adult series released by St. Martin's Press, "Shadow Falls Camp", should be released early 2011 under the pen name C.C. Hunter.
Me: For fun: Do you have a favorite dessert?
Christie: Chocolate. Something crunchy and soft at the same time. Like a corner piece of brownie. And can I have some coffee with it, with cream? Darn, now you got me craving something sweet.
Me: Dorchester, to let everyone know, is your publisher for Gotcha!, Divorced, Deceived & Delicious series and for Shut Up And Kiss Me, how did you end up with them as a publisher?
Christie: I got lucky. I knew Dorchester bought a lot of newer writers, and they also took chances on books that were a little outside the box. My books mixed humor, suspense and romance. Other than Janet Evanovich, this wasn't being used a lot. So whenever I spotted a writing contest that had a final judge that was from Dorchester, I entered it in hopes of making it to their desk. And as I said, I got lucky. At one time I had three different manuscripts on three different editors' desks at Dorchester. Oh, I also had another manuscript there that my agent submitted. With the good contest news, my agent made a few calls and within a few days I had a three-book contract.
Me: Anything else you'd like to add?
Christie: In June, I also have a humorous non-fiction release, "Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways To Love Like You're In A Romance Novel" is a funny self-help relationship book about what a woman can learn from a romance novel. Sure, romance novels offer fun, pure fantasy, but can they actually teach a woman anything about love? Faye Hughes and I believe they do.
Think about it, if a woman spends as much time plotting her romantic relationships as authors did in plotting their romance novels, there would be far less heartache. If real women took their cues from romance heroines, there may be many more real-life Happily Ever Afters. Romance heroines aren't perfect, they make mistakes. But by the end of the book, they've earned their walk into the sunset. How do they do it? Courage, wisdom, and some good ol' kick-ass gumption. Heroines don't wish they'd said something, they say it. They don't fret about their problems; they fix them. And couldn't we all use a little bit of their wisdom to deal with real life and real men?
In the book, our heroine, Jayne, like most romance heroines--and most real life women--has had her share of heartaches. In "Wild, Wicked & Wanton", Jayne's search teaches her: How to recognize a Keeper...and a Creeper, How to tame a Bad Boy, How to trust her instincts, How to find her own Mr. Right. And Much, Much more!
Thank you, Christie, for this great interview!
And thank you, my readers, for your patience while I dealt with silly computer issues and posting this up manually. I appreciate your understanding.
Now, it's your turn, readers, after you've read the interview, post a comment on this post. You never know, you could be the lucky one chosen to have a free autographed copy of Shut Up And Kiss Me.
Have A Terrific Tuesday!