Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Author Interview & Giveaway - Part I

Christa Parrish graduated high school at 16, with every intention of becoming a surgeon. After college, however, her love of all things creative led her in another direction, and she worked in both theatre and journalism.

A winner of Associated Press awards for her reporting, Christa gave up her career after the birth of her son, Jacob. Now, she's a homeschool mom, lives with her husband, author Chris Coppernoll, in upstate New York, and is expecting her second child in July. Her first novel, Home Another Way, was nominated for the ECPA Book of the Year, and her second novel, Watch Over Me, is currently a finalist for ForeWord Reviews' Book of the Year. She is now putting the finishing touches on her third novel, The Air We Breathe, with an anticipated publication date of Fall/Winter 2010.

Christa and I were both in the Angela Hunt and Nancy Rue Fiction Clinic, affectionately dubbed "Nangie," several years ago. She'll tell you later in the interview about the special events during that conference. Thanks for joining us on Christian Writer/Reader Connection, Christa.

1. How did you research your deaf, teenage boy character in, "Watch Over Me?" He really captured my heart.

I have a dear online friend - profoundly deaf since she was an infant - who allowed me to ask as many questions as I liked, even ones that were probably considered stupid or insensitive or offensive by many people. But this woman was gracious and patient with me, painstakingly answering each of my questions with long, accurate, and personal answers. I could not have written Matthew's character without her. Much of what he goes through mimics my friend's own experiences, so I realize not every person who is deaf will identify with him, or even think my portrayal is "accurate." But after my friend read Watch Over Me, she wrote to tell me I "hit the nail on the head" regarding Matthew's character. That's the best compliment I could receive.

2. What does your writing process entail, and how long does it take you to write a book?

My writing process has a lot of "not writing" in it! Seriously, I cannot park myself at a desk every day and just pound away whatever comes to me. I need to see each scene in my head, hear each line of dialogue, before I type it out. So it may be days or - dare I say it? - weeks between the times I actually sit and write these chunks of novel. But in those times, I'm constantly thinking about my novel, my characters, the scenes, the plot, so much so that I've been known to drive past exits on the highway (my husband says I completely "check out" when I drive, and it's true that's when I do some of my best ruminating!) or scribble bits of description on napkins. When I finally get to the point that what I have in my head needs to pour out on the page, I can spend hours or days doing nothing but writing until I've emptied myself out and need to begin percolating again. I know that it takes longer to write a book because of this, but I've tried to change it and just can't. It's how I'm wired. So I take about a year to write each novel. I could never be like some of these amazing authors who crank out three or four books a year. I don't know how they do it.

Christa and I will continue the interview next Wednesday, but here's some exciting news: I'm doing a giveaway for not one, but both of Christa's books! The winner will be chosen in a drawing on Sunday, May 2, 2010, and notified via email. An announcement will also be made on the blog.

Legal Stuff: This giveaway is limited to residents of the U.S. and is void where prohibited. The winner takes all responsibility for their eligibility. No purchase or fee is necessary to enter. Simply leave your email address in the comments section, so I know you're entering and how to reach you. Sorry - no email address, no entry. Even if I have your address somewhere in my office, please include it in your comments. You can receive up to two entries for commenting on this post and next week's post. If you're a Follower or become a Follower, let me know, and I'll give you one additional entry.

Christa gave me her first book, Home Another Way, when it first came out. I purchased Watch Over Me. I have not received any remuneration for this interview or recommendation.

32 comments:

sherrinda said...

Great interview! I loved reading about the writing process and letting the story develop in your head before putting it to paper! I have to confess I've been known to zone out in the car too! (though I try and not do it while driving!)

Carol J. Alexander said...

Hi Susan,
Put my name in the hat. Email is cjalex44 at gmail dot com.
And I'm already a follower.
Blessings,
Carol

Sharon Ball said...

Susan, it's so wonderful to see Christa on your blog today. Great interview, ladies!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carol -

Thanks for entering the giveaway. If you comment next week, you'll get another entry.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sherrinda -

I never tire of hearing about the process other writers use to produce their books.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sharon -

It's neat that we still keep in touch from Nangie. I also hear from Rose.

Thanks for stopping by. Christa and I enjoyed doing the interview.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Karen Lange said...

Great interview:) I'd love to be entered in the giveaway. I am also a follower.
Thanks and Blessings,
Karen
klange61(at)hotmail(dot)com

laurel said...

Great interview, Susan. It's such a relief to hear from a published writer who, like me, sometimes needs to ruminate before the ideas are clear enough to write them.

I'm already a follower. My address is laurels (dot) leaves (at) gmail (dot) com.

Cindy said...

Great interview! Christa's process of writing a story is really interesting--I love how we all have such different approaches.

And the book sounds wonderful!

patti said...

I LOVED Home Another Way and am looking at it on my shelf. Christa writes flawlessly and with lots of emotion.
LOVE IT!!!

Carla Gade said...

It's interesting to hear about Christa's writing methods. I tend to let some things brew a bit too before I get them down on paper.

Count me in for the giveaway. Blessings, Carla

carlagade [at] gmail [dot] com

kristen said...

It's nice to hear that not all great authors write 24/7. It gives me hope!

I love Home Another Way, and I can't wait to read Watch over me! Please enter me:)
And congrats, Christa, on your new baby!! That's awesome:)

kristengjohnson {at} gmail [dot] com

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

Thanks for entering. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

Reminder: If you want to enter the giveaway, I must have your email. Thanks!

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carla -

Although I'm a pantser, I think a lot about my book before writing. Hmm, maybe the "outlining" takes place in my head instead of on paper. :)

Thanks for entering the drawing.

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Laurel -

Yes, I felt the same way. Pantsers come in all sorts of combinations. Not all of us sit down in front of the computer without any idea of what we'll be writing. I usually know the beginning and end before I start.

Thanks for entering the drawing. Don't forget to comment next Wednesday for another entry. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Patti -

I liked both of them, but my favorite is, "Watch Over Me."

Blessings,
Susan :)

Anonymous said...

I live in upstate NY too! Good luck with your future projects Christa. :O)

www.dianeestrella.com

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Anonymous -

Thanks for commenting. Did you want to enter the giveaway? Please leave your email address.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Cindy said...

Silly me! I'm glad I checked back, though.

My e-mail is wilsoncindyr@gmail.com

By the way, I always enjoy the interviews you do on your blog :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Oooh, I'd LOVE to be entered! I've heard so much about her books. She sounds very smart and lol on the driving bit! I've totally done that, which is probably why I get lost so easily.
Thanks for the interview ladies!

jessicanelson7590 AT yahoo dot com.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

LOL! I know there are a lot of directions. With all these new disclaimers, it's easy for the important stuff to get lost.

I'm glad you're enjoying the interviews. Part II with Christa is next Wednesday. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Jeanette Levellie said...

I so admire someone who homeschools AND writes novels!

The deaf character sounds fascinating. I took a sign language class when we were first married, but didn't keep up on it. I still have a special love for the deaf, though.

Please enter my name in the drawing, and thanks!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

I've read both her books, and enjoyed them. The second one is my favorite. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Christa did a wonderful job with the deaf character, as well as the other characters. I'm looking forward to her next book.

Please come back and leave your email address to enter the drawing.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Excellent interview! I admire anyone who can homeschool AND write novels.

Please enter my name

jeanettelevellie(at)gmail(dot)com

Thanks!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Thanks for stopping back to leave your email address. You're now entered. Don't forget to comment on Part II of the interview next week for another entry. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Maria I. Morgan said...

Great interview, Susan! Count me in on your contest - I'm a follower, by the way!

My e-mail: morgan(dot)maria(dot)i(at)gmail(dot)com

God bless!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Maria -

Thanks for entering the drawing! Don't forget to stop by next Wednesday for Part II and comment for another entry. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Faith Imagined said...

This is a great interview! I can't wait to read the rest next week!

sanctifiedtogether(at)gmail(dot)com

Faith Imagined said...

This is a great interview! Her novels are intriguing! I can't wait to read the rest pf the interview next week!

sanctifiedtogether(at)gmail(dot)com

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

Thanks for your comment and for entering the drawing.

Blessings,
Susan :)