Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Crafty Guest!

Today we welcome CHRISTINE VERSTRAETE. Chris is an award-winning journalist and author whose stories have been featured in several anthologies including Dragons Composed, The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror, and in DAW Books anthologies, Timeshares and Steampunk'd.

I had a few questions for Chris and she obliged.

Me: Lucky you -- you landed in "How would you murder someone on the Internet?" Week! So let's start out with that.

Chris: First, thanks for letting me stop by Killer Hobbies! On the murder question, do you mean little old harmless me or my young characters? (double gasp!) Wow. Sam, the young sleuth in my mystery, Searching for a Starry Night, is in trouble enough for snooping... B-but murder??

Well... maybe the best alternate definition for murder is character assassination. How about instead "killing" someone or their character (double play of words on that) in a book or story. Satisfying, but far less bloody. All you have to worry about is slander, of course, so better be creative in disguising who they really are.

Me: That wasn't as bloody as I thought. Thanks! You've mastered so many forms of writing, from journalism to fiction for both adults and kids. Is there anything you haven't tried yet that's on your list for the future?

Chris: Do you mean like 'Jill of all trades and master of none?' (Ha. Couldn't resist!) Well, to share an old cliché, variety is the spice of life. You have to keep trying new things or your writing gets stale.

Actually, I am trying something new. I've been writing more horror it seems, with several in ebook form (including The Killer Valentine Ball, coming in October.) So, I've started a new project writing a YA zombie story in first person. It's a fun project with more humor and "light" gore...

{Here I shrink back a little. But if anyone can do zombies, it's Chris.}

Me: How do you begin a book? Do you start with character? plot? setting?

Chris: Most times I begin with an idea. If it's going to work, I dream on it, then it seems to gel better for me. From there, I develop my character and since I'm an outliner, I try to do an outline so I know where the story is going.

{Outline? Now I'm impressed.}

The idea for "Searching for a Starry Night" began with my love of miniatures. What better way to incorporate miniatures, I thought, than make the book center on the hunt for a missing miniature replica of Van Gogh's "Starry Night?"

[Miniatures. No wonder I love Chris!]

Me: How about research? Do you avoid it? Love it?

Chris: I do some research, but try not to overdo it. I like learning new things, but when you uncover new facts it can be too easy to overwhelm the reader with too much info. So I try to use it sparingly. No one wants to feel like they're in school, right? Otherwise, they'd be reading nonfiction.

Me: Is there any special message or agenda you have in your writing? Any social agenda? Or do you write for entertainment? education?

Chris: I admire authors who can incorporate social causes into their writing, as long as it's subtle and the research doesn't become an annoying red flag every few paragraphs. My stories and books just haven't lent themselves to that—yet. I think I give subtle views of certain behaviors and actions, letting the reader form their own opinions, but I don't make it into a cause. Maybe something will develop in the future. But I think people want to read for enjoyment and can get annoyed by too much "extra" stuff.

Me: Which comes first with you—crafting or writing about it?

Chris: Is this like the chicken or the egg? I heard scientists recently decided it was the chicken first... makes sense, right? After all, how can you have an egg...? Never mind.

I enjoy making things so I'd love for that to come first but... writing about it hopefully leads to money which I need so, you see where this is leading? Ha! If I were independently wealthy, crafting would always be first.

{Here I'm stunned that someone actually makes money writing!}

I am also trying to do both as I hope to attend a dollhouse show this fall and have some new miniatures items I want to try out. So I'm alternating between writing and crafting at the moment. As long as I get the writing done, of course.

Thanks for letting me meet your blog visitors!

More on Chris:
Her children's novel, Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, is available for Kindle, and is coming in other eBook formats and a new print version.

Her book on miniatures, is coming out in spring 2011 with profiles, photos, and over 40 how-to projects


Chris is offering a chance to win a prize to anyone who comments on a blog stop on her tour:

• One person will win a free Kindle copy of "Searching for a Starry Night."
• One person will win a miniaturized dollhouse collector's edition of the first chapter from the first print edition, made by miniaturist LeeAnn Borgia
• To celebrate the revised "Searching for a Starry Night," one person will win a copy of the new print version when it is available.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Wed., 7/28: http://marianallen.wordpress.com/- Talking about Writing

Thurs. 7/29: http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com>Helen Ginger, Straight from Hel, Getting Kindleized

Fri. 7/30: http://www.jetaylor75.blogspot.com>J.E. Taylor's blog – Writer's Quiz and Other Stuff

Mon., 8/2: http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com>Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers-- craft how to with Anastasia Pollack – Writing and Crafts: Make Easy Miniature Cloth Decorations

Tues., 8/3: http://www.spunkonastick.net>L. Diane Wolfe, "Spunk on a Stick" – Making the Switch from Nonfiction to Fiction


Chris V. said...

Hi Camille and everyone, thanks for letting me hang out at the blog today!

Helen Ginger said...

Christine, which is more fun for you as a writer: writing sweet children's books or scary zombie books?

Linda O. Johnston said...

Welcome, Chris! I love to hear about other authors whose writing minds work in multiple directions.

Camille Minichino said...

Helen, that's such a good question. And Linda we could ask which of your many directions you find most fun!

Chris Verstraete said...

Hi Helen, what a choice! Do I prefer being nice or nasty? haaa! I love writing fun stories but I have to admit, zombies are a riot!!

Hi Linda, you mean multiple personalities? haaa!

Camille thanks again for hosting me!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Whatever I'm working on at the moment is the most fun when you ask, Camille--especially if it contains animals.

I suspect you're right about multiple personalities, Chris--but I wouldn't change any of them!

Bob Sanchez said...

Stunned that someone would make money writing? I made forty bucks on a short story once. Never did it again, of course...

Camille Minichino said...

That's the key word, Bob -- once!
I should have said stunned that someone might make a living.

Camille Minichino said...

I'm "in the moment," too, Linda; whatever I'm writing is my favorite!

chris v said...

Who's making a living? Sorry to burst your bubble...it ain't me. haa!

Chris V. said...

Oops, looks like my last post got lost. ha! Stunned is right; who's making a living? haa!

I will say I was lucky enough to have a story in two DAW anthologies most I ever made on a short story...

Camille Minichino said...

Thanks for visiting today, Chris!
I hope the rest of your blog tour goes well and is lots of fun for you.

We'll be checking out your progress as you keep growing your talent!