Friday, February 5, 2010

My Friend Christa - Interview and Giveaway


Our fabulous feature author for this Friday is Christa Allen, whose debut novel Walking on Broken Glass just released February 1! Congrats, Christa! (And that title just makes me say, "Owie!" LOL)

Christa has graciously offered a copy of her book to one lucky reader, so as usual, leave your comments below with an email address!

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About
Walking on Broken Glass

Leah Thornton’s life, like her Southern Living home, has great curb appeal. But a paralyzing encounter with a can of frozen apple juice in the supermarket shatters the fa├žade, forcing her to admit that all is not as it appears. When her best friend gets in Leah’s face about her reliance on alcohol to avoid dealing with her life, Leah must make an agonizing choice. Seek help against her husband’s wishes? Or—put herself first for once? Joy and sadness converge and unwelcome insights intrude, testing Leah’s commitment to sobriety, her marriage, her motherhood, and her faith.

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About Christa

With the exception of having spent some years in Texas, I’ve been a lifelong Louisiana girl. After college I started teaching high school until the mommy years. I have five children, who are now 32, 29, 26, 26, and 24, a son-in-law, and two precious grandgirls ages 4 and 2. Twenty plus years ago I returned to teaching high school. I received my National Board Certification in 2007, and this school year moved to a new high school that opened in our parish. My husband Ken and I have been married for almost nineteen years. We spend our time with our three neurotic cats, play golf, dodge hurricanes, and look forward to retiring one day.


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What's your latest book?

Walking on Broken Glass from Abingdon Press. It just released February 1, 2010.

What would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?

Hmm…possibly in Maui, overlooking the ocean, with a wide porch, tall windows. I’m a horizontal organizer, so I’d love a long shelf wrapping two walls. A desk that’s adjustable so I could sit and type, but when my knees start locking, I could lower a section of it and lean back with my legs stretched out.

A refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker…

My real writing environment is a wing-back chair in the family room or my kitchen table!

How do you feel about a really close neighbor at that Maui one? Roseanna could sooooo see that! Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?

1. my Bible

2. Rodale’s Synonym Finder

3. a collection of catalogs/magazines to use as resources for descriptions: Williams-Sonoma, Southern Living, Pottery Barn, J.Jill, and others depending on characters and setting.

4. Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel and James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure.

What lessons have you learned through the publication process that you wouldn't have guessed as a pre-published writer?

I’m amazed by the number of people involved in bringing a book from manuscript to novel on the shelf in a bookstore. My agent, my editor, sales team, copy editor, cover people, marketing, publicity….It’s humbling to know that many people are hard are work to help your dreams come true.

Yep, it's definitely a team effort. Are there any people (family, writing group, editors) who you rely on when writing?

My older son used to be a medical corpsman in the Navy and worked in ER, so he’s a great help with questions like, “How long does it take a person to die if. . . ” One of my daughters is my fashionista resource for everything designer and expensive. Without her, I would have thought Tory Burch was a tree. My other daughter is my organizer and eagle-eyed reality-checker. She’s the one who spots that on page 182 the character’s eye color or name changes or something equally horrific.

And then there’s my husband. The man, God bless him, becomes absolutely invisible when I write. He takes care of cooking, washing, cleaning, making my coffee, and slips out for golf games…whatever it takes.

Now THAT is a valuable husband! Mine did that a lot more before the kids came along and his business moved to a home office. =) So aside from writing, what takes up most of your time?

Grading papers!! I teach high school English [on a good day…] plus an online class with 46 students, so I’m constantly drowning in a sea of papers.

My English teachers remain some of the most influential people in my life. Do you remember where you were when you got your first or most important call about a book contract?

Absolutely! It was on Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 11:43 in the morning, two minutes before my lunch ended and my fifth period 10th graders would walk through the door. Rachelle Gardner, my agent called to tell me the news that she’d heard from Barbara Scott that Abingdon Press had made an offer.

Two of my friends were eating with me, so when my students walked in and saw me sobbing, they made sure to tell them the news was good! My students applauded, I called my husband and children, and then it was almost business as usual. I do remember telling them that I hoped one thing they took from that day was that anyone’s dreams can come true if you’re persistent and don’t let people steal them from you. I told them I hoped they just didn’t wait as long as I did to believe in themselves.

Awww. I bet that was a great inspiration to those students! Any funny family stories about living with a writer?

We talk about things like different ways people would be murdered or what would happen if you walked to your mailbox and never came back. . .I threaten my children with naming a rabid dog in a book after one of them if they get cranky…

LOL. When they're REALLY cranky, you can threaten to name the villain after them (unless they'd think that was cool. ;-)

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Thanks for visiting, Christa! Readers, be sure and check out her website.

You can purchase Walking on Broken Glass from Amazon, Cokesbury, or CrossPurposes.

(Giveaway ends 2/11/10. Void where prohibited. The winner will have two weeks to get their address to me before a new winner is selected.)

13 comments:

  1. Christa, I love your author photo. I haven't met you in IRL yet, but your picture has so much personality!

    And I particularly love the line in the back cover copy about "curb appeal." Made me super interested to read this book!

    Stephanie at StephanieMorrillBooks dot com

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  2. Greetings,
    Would love to be entered in the giveaway.
    Sounds like a wonderful book.
    Have a super day.
    Blessings,
    Wanda C.
    wandaelaine AT gmail DOT com

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  3. What a fantastic cover!!
    Sounds like a great books.
    Thanks for the interview, Roseanna!

    kristengjohnson {at} gmail [dot] com

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  4. this sounds like a sensational read thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

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  5. This sounds like such an engrossing read. I'd love to read it.

    mamie316(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

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  6. this sounds like a book i'd love to curl up with & read the day away
    pksanddancer(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  7. Thanks everyone for stopping by to read Roseanna's interview with me. I hope you all have a chance to read Leah's story, and if so, please let me know your thoughts.

    Thanks, again, Roseanna for the chance to meet your readers.

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  8. Sounds like a incredible book! Thanks for the chance

    jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

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  9. Christa- I love you sense of humor and your sense of dedication not only to your writing but to your family and students as well. I am a retired teacher and believe me, caring and dedicated teachers are rare. Thank you for what you do.

    Your book looks awesome!! I can't wait to read it! Please put my name in this contest.


    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  10. What a fun interview...is it to late to be entered?

    inspiredbyfiction[at]gmail[dot]com

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  11. How fun. Please include me. jacksond@nhr3.net

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  12. Sounds like a really good book! :)
    hsemonick at gmail dot com

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  13. This book is on my must-read list. Thanks for the chance to win ~
    june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

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