Author on the Couch:
An Intimate Look Inside the Minds of Authors
(the story behind the storytellers)
Today I’m conducting a session with
Christy will be giving away a copy of her book
THE TRUTH ABOUT LILLY.
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Christy: My brother Jimmy was three years older than I. He teased me endlessly. I constantly annoyed him. We tested our mother’s patience every day. On family vacations, we drew a line down the middle of the backseat and dared the other to put one pinkie on the “wrong” side.
The summer before my freshman year in high school, Jimmy and I were playing basketball in the back yard. We were actually having a great time—which seemed like a first. It was almost too dark to see and we were about ready to quit. Then, something amazing happened. I don’t remember who spoke first. We just stopped and looked at each other. Who knew we could have so much fun together? What had we been doing all this time? That night we made a pact of sorts; we would be friends, always. It was one of those moments you know is a turning point in your life. Our relationship steadily improved for the next few months. Jimmy started taking me for rides in his car; we went swimming and water skiing. We truly became good friends.
Then on Halloween, Jimmy died in a car crash. He was in the passenger seat and the only one of his four friends who didn’t survive. Life as we knew it, had lived it, was over. My family was devastated. I was angry Jimmy and I wasted so much time tormenting each other. I wish our awakening to being friends had come much sooner. But the important thing is, it did come and it continues to remind me of the importance of true friendship and never taking it for granted.
Me: Oh, Christy–my heart aches for what you and your family went through. You are right–we should never take relationships for granted.
What personality trait of yours helps you most an author?
Christy: I have always been able to empathize with people, my family and friends. If they suffered, I did, too. If their spirits soared, so did mine. Empathy helps me to tune into my characters and understand what they are experiencing and why. Being empathetic helps me put myself inside a character and know them from the inside out.
Me: The world needs more empathetic people. We’d have a lot fewer wars if more people were able to feel what another person is feeling.
What personality trait of yours hinders you most an author?
Christy: Self doubt. I constantly question my ability to write.
Me: I think most writers are plagued with that. I know I am. Every day. Every minute. Every second I sit in front of the computer trying to write something.
What was your high point as a writer?
Christy: I participated in an online pitch contest just before we went on vacation. When we returned home, around 1am, my husband went to bed and I went to my office to check my email. To my amazement I had an offer from Muse It Up Publishing for my first book. I’d sold it! Yes, I was flying high, in the mood to celebrate but what do you do when it’s 2am and the world is asleep? I settled for waking my husband whose mumbled congratulations didn’t come close to meeting my expectations for the long awaited, much anticipated announcement. However, he did take me to dinner the next night to celebrate.
Me: We can’t talk high points without talking low points. What was your low point as a writer?
Christy: A few years ago I entered a writing contest and submitted an erotic novella. I was surprised at the level of negativity. Admittedly, my feelings were hurt and my pride, too. I’d never written anything erotic and I assumed certain things that weren’t true. I felt like I’d laid the biggest egg on the planet. I didn’t write anything for two months.
Since I wasn’t writing I went in to housecleaning mode and started with my office. Before I tossed the judge’s critiques I read them one last time and realized one judge had given me some very constructive criticism. “Throw out your beginning. The story starts here.” I learned the reader didn’t need to know half of what I thought she did on page one. The critiques and the novella went into the trash that day—erotica wasn’t my thing. The next day I started Maybe Too Good to Be True, which began exactly where it should, and it sold a year later.
Me: Some contest judges can be brutal. I’m glad you were able to overcome the negative. Sometimes that’s the hardest lesson in this industry.
How many books have you written?
Christy: I have completed two books and currently have two WIPs. My first book was “under the bed” for many years until I dusted it off and rewrote it, twice. My second book took about a year. I am going to finish my current projects in six months. I know I need to put out two books a year. The most painful part of the process for me is the beginning. Sometimes I try to force things into place instead of letting them evolve organically. Once I’ve completed three chapters, I’m on my way.
Me: All writers have some level of stress. What causes stress in your writing life?
Christy: I question if I am spending enough time promoting my brand and effectively working social media. As writers today, especially if you are going the self pub route as I am, you feel the pressure to be “out there” every day promoting. It’s easy to forget the book is the most important thing. If you don’t write a good story, everything else is irrelevant.
Me: If you could have dinner with any famous author who would it be?
Christy: I would like to time travel back to the mid 1940s and have dinner with Ernest Hemingway at one of his favorite French cafés. I’ve been to his Key West home and seen his office above the garage several times. His life, aside from his writing, was extraordinary, filled with adventure, financial struggle and self doubt. Since I wade through self doubt myself, I think I could learn a lot from him.
Me: Ernest Hemingway! That would be a fascinating conversation. I want to be the fly on the wall while you dine with him!
Tell me about your book THE TRUTH ABOUT LILLY.
Lilly Talbot never imagined she’d be starting her life over again. Losing her good name for something she didn’t do has driven her to an old lake house in Vermont. Upon arrival, she is stunned to see half the roof is about to slide into Lake Champlain. Even more upsetting, the man who can fix it will only agree if she trades him room and board for his labor. What will the good people of Haley think of her sharing a house with the handsome bachelor?
A man with a past…
Connor “Mac” McQueen, once one of the infamous Whiz Kids of Wall Street, spent three years in prison for insider trading. Only one thing sustained him during his time inside, the thought of owning Point Cottage, a home he’d fallen in love with years ago. Now his dream to turn the house into a stunning showcase for his construction business might never happen.
Secrets and lies…
Now someone’s trying to drive Lilly from her home. Is it someone from her past? Mac has secrets of his own that could ruin lives if revealed. But if Lilly and Mac are to have a future together they must first delve into the past for answers and accept some difficult truths about each other. Only then, will they know if true love is in their hearts.
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph from your newest release.
Christy: I like this paragraph because it shows strong, accomplished and confident Mac at his most vulnerable point. Seeing his fear that Lilly might cut him out of her life makes him more human. He can’t reveal the whole truth to her so he must settle for a lie that shows him in the worst possible light.
He’d made his decision. “Lilly, we need to talk.” He watched as she padded to the counter and poured a mug of coffee.
“Okay.” She sat down across from him, her eyes curious. “If you’re going to tell me you have a wife stashed somewhere, you’re toast.”
Mac sighed. “No wife. I wish it was that simple.” He pushed his mug in a circle, stalling for more time, but admitting to himself he was fresh out. “Lilly, I served time in prison.”
Lilly’s expression became wary. “Please tell me it was for a mountain of unpaid parking tickets.” She put her heels on the seat of her chair and wrapped her arms around her knees, shrinking before his eyes.
He saw the hope in her eyes and knew in a second it would be gone.
“No, I mean prison, Lilly. Federal prison.”
“What for?” Her voice was barely above a church whisper.
“Insider trading. Six counts. Seven years ago. I served a three year sentence.”
“Why? Why would you do something like that?” Her green eyes were opaque, closed off, giving him no indication what she was thinking or feeling.
Damn. Did it matter why? Nobody ever asked him why he’d done it. This was outside his purview of canned responses.
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If you’d like to be eligible to win a copy of THE TRUTH ABOUT LILLY just leave a comment! On Saturday June 13th Christy will pick a random person from among those who comment to win her book!