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.