Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The good stuff and Christina Berry

First of all, it's cold!!! What on earth happened? Last year in Arkansas we were running the AC in October. This year...we already have the heater on. Grrr.

We had family pictures today (thank you, Nicole!), and it was too cold for the littlest one. We couldn't really get him to smile. My oldest could care less. He ran around with our photographer's daughter and pretty much ignored me.

Oh! On another note...guess who won the unemployment appeal? My husband! Yay! That will be some much needed funds. It also makes him feel...validated, somehow. A judge recognized that he was wronged and he's going to get compensated for it now. It just feels good to know we're not crazy.

Onto the good stuff! You've had to wait an extra 24 hours for this, but I have the interview with Christina Berry ready for posting! Let me introduce her really quickly. This author is amazing. You can catch the review of her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, here. Besides writing, Christina is a mom. Not just any mom, but a foster mom. Those of you who know me know that Mark and I have done a lot of work with kids in the system. Therefore, anyone involved in fostering is someone I feel like I can relate to.

You're gonna love this woman!

Me: We know you're a published author, which is so cool. You go into great detail on your blog about how this was accomplished. Can you give us the short version? How long did it take you to write your book?

Christina: About 5 months to write it, though it went from first words to on the shelf in less than 2 years.

Me: How did you get an agent? (This process is so different for everyone and it's so fascinating.)

Christina: I met my agent at a writer's conference 3 years ago and really hit it off. Love her as a person!

Me: How did you choose a publishing company?

Christina: My agent presented two offers and I chose Moody over the other house because they publish more of my "style" of books than the other company. (Of course, I prayed about it too!)

Me: How are you marketing your book?

Christina: Marketing is anything and everything I can think of. Mostly I'm urging people to spread the word of mouth. A recommendation from a friend will sell more books than a radio spot.

Me: That is so true and so good to keep in mind. People generally cost less than a radio spot, too. How did The Familiar Stranger change along the way?

Christina: The story didn't change very much, though my test readers helped me deepen the suspense and add more layers of twists and turns.

Me: Did the title change?

Christina: I had always called in Undiscovered in my mind because I asked the question when I began writing, "What would be the worst thing to find out?"

Me: Yikes, and some of the things Denise finds out would truly be some of the worst things for a wife to discover! In spite of the subject matter, I think most of us hope our books will uplift and inspire readers, make them come away feeling like they witnessed something happy. What about you, as an author? Did your book do this for you?

Christina: I had so many feelings and thoughts to bring to this book because of my personal experiences with forgiveness. I wanted a reader to see both sides of the relationship, to see where things went wrong and were they could have gone better, and how the Lord can restore ANYTHING! So far, from readers' comment, it is doing that. Praise God!

Me: I love how you said that, to see where things went wrong. Often when things go wrong in a marriage, there's a starting point. It involves both parties. There's definitely an element of hope to this, and that inspires me. Tell me about your home life. Who keeps you company at home?

Christina: The permanent residents are my ten-year-old daughter and my eight-year-old son, and my parents who have a complete residence downstairs. As a foster mother, I never know what children might also be with us. Never a dull moment, that's for sure!

Me: I had no idea your parents live with you! Wow, what a full house! What are your immediate plans for the future? Traveling? Working? Writing?

Christina: Trying to sell our current home and move into a smaller, more affordable place. Catching up on interviews and emails.

Me: Ha ha.

Christina: Pursuing my next contract. And working enough substitute jobs to keep a roof over our head. I'm in a place of trying to survive and thrive, while trusting God to provide.

Me: Sounds like you're just like the rest of us! Tell us about future books. What's in the works?

Christina: I'm working on a kidnapping story right now. What does the girl's life look like twenty years later? How does that effect her life? I also have some humorous books in the works.

Me: My book's a kidnapping story too (I always find a way to plug my own writing when I do interviews. Just so you know). Where do your ideas come from?

Christina: I have far too many ideas swimming through my head then I can ever use. It's more a matter of which ideas I'm going to invest in. The news, though, is a great source for crazy things!

Me: It's so weird how the craziest things that happen are true stories. Great brain food. Is writing something you stumbled upon by accident, or have you always wanted to be a writer?

Christina: I always wanted to be a writer, but I was too scared to pursue it until after college when my mom urged me.

Me: Go Mom! If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Christina: On the sidewalks of Paris!

Me: Hmm...wasn't my first pick, but go figure. Who do you hope to impact as a writer?

Christina: I want to change lives. Fiction seems like such a little thing, in the grand scheme of the world, but I'd love to bring people closer to Jesus through my stories.

Me: I love that. It warms my heart that that's your goal. I hope you succeed. What's your favorite girl name?

Christina: You mean, besides Tamara?

Me: Ha ha, yes, because Tamara is everyone's favorite name.

Christina: I better go with my girl's name: Andrea Faith.

Me: When you're writing a book, do you find you get stuck on names that start with a certain letter? over and over again? Or is that just me?

Christina: Yes, isn't that funny that all the characters will suddenly have the same letter starting them! I have to go back and change it a few chapters in to make sure they are different enough.

Me: I've even reused the same name later in the manuscript. It's like the names just get stuck in me! All right, Christina, those are all the question that I have for you, because I know you have a life and I'll pretend like I do. Thanks for doing this with me! I've enjoyed getting to know you and will definitely follow your writing through the years!


M. Gray said...

Wow! Christina sounds like a busy woman! It's inspiring that she still finds the time to write. Great interview!

Christina Berry said...

Tamara, thanks for doing such a fun interview with me! I'm so glad we're getting to know each other. :)

Stephanie Faris said...

Congrats to your husband.

I wonder if Christina is distantly related to my boyfriend? His last name is Berry too. Anyway, great interview!

Ralene said...

I don't know if you ever saw my response on my blog, Tamara, but I did meet Christina at the ACFW conference. She's an absolute delight!

Christina, your book sounds fascinating. Makes me wish I would have reserved a little extra money at the conference to purchase it and have you sign it! lol...

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Ralene, I keep meaning to go over to your blog and check but I keep forgetting. So yeah, when Christina came up to you and said someone from the internet world said hi but she couldn't remember their name, that was me. :)

Annette Lyon said...

Great interview--and what an inspiring author. (Congrats on your own upcoming release!)

Christina Berry said...

That was pretty funny, Ralene, as the altitude sickness was messing with my mind. (At least that is my excuse!) :)

I'm so glad you all are interested in the book. Just in case you don't win, I can autograph, gift wrap, AND mail a book (The Familiar Stranger, to be exact!) to anywhere in the US for $14.50. Just send a check, what you want written, and the address. :)

Makes Christmas shopping a breeze!

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