Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Different Kind of Suspense

Today, I'm introducing you to Christy Barritt. I met her through American Christian Fiction Writers. When I got a copy of the featured book, I read it right away, and I loved it. I believe you will, too!

Christy, thank you for joining us. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

There’s a little bit of me in every character. Often times, I like to take a character trait of mine and exaggerate it for my characters. For instance, I’m always talking about music and songs and different bands. My character Gabby St. Claire in Hazardous Duty constantly quotes songs from all different musical styles.

So what is the quirkiest thing you've ever done?

My husband always says that I could be a character in one of my novels because I’m full of quirks. Off the top of my head, I’m going to say that it was when I threw my dog a birthday party. I served all the guests (humans) chili in a dog bowl. I bought refrigerated breadstick dough and tied knots in the ends, baked them and had a tasty carbohydrate treat that looked just like dog bones. I sent everyone home with a doggie bag. My pragmatic relatives still talk about that party.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I’ve always liked to write, but been a little insecure about it, convinced I had no talent. I guess the moment I first felt like a “real” writer was when an editor sent me a proposal. What a dream come true. He’d had several people recommend me for the project. The book turned out to be my first non-fiction book, Changed: True Stories of Finding God in Christian Music. But honestly, I still feel like a fraud, like I really can’t write. I just keep waiting for someone to discover me and report me to the Smoking Gun or something.

I don't think there's any danger of that. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love reading. My favorites are romantic-suspense, mystery and chick-lit. I try for the life of me to get into the classics, but I can’t. I read a book to be entertained and the classics are too much work for me, unfortunately.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I have two books published with small presses, The Waiting and The Trouble with Perfect. I also have the non-fiction book that I mentioned earlier, Changed. Changed 2 is supposed to hit shelves in 2007. I have several books that I’m working on that aren’t published yet. The main project that I’m delving into right now is the second book in the Squeaky Clean series, The Grim Sweeper.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Sanity? What’s that? J I’d have to say that one way I keep myself connected to God (and thus keep my sanity) is through praise and worship. I play the guitar, sing and was the worship leader at my church for a few years. I never feel as close to God as when I’m singing praises to him. It refreshes me and helps put my priorities back in order.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I really enjoy choosing names. I picked Gabby’s name in Hazardous Duty because she’s kind of talkative. Gabby’s best friend, an animal right’s activist is Sierra, because it made me think of the Sierra Club. In my new WIP, The Couch Potato’s Wife, the character’s name is Laura, which she feels is very ordinary, as is her life. She longs for something more exotic. I try to find names that fit the character.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I’d have to go with my son, Eli. He’s a new edition to my life—he’s less than a year old. He’s absolutely turned my world upside down. I don’t know if I’d call him an accomplishment, but I do know that I’m awfully proud of him.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A bird. I’d love to know what it feels like to fly—the freedom, the sights, the air.

What is your favorite food?

I love my mom’s chicken and dumplings. As Rachael Ray would say, Yum-O!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Character development. I tend to see books in a very plot-driven way. Writing in first person really allowed me to get inside my character’s head and flesh them out. I spend a lot of time trying to get to know my characters now, before I ever start to write the book. Having a visual picture of them helps also. I search long and hard to find pictures resembling the characters in my books that I can tack to my bulletin board. I especially love using the JCPenney catalog for this.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

I had such a good time writing Hazardous Duty. Gabby St. Claire pulled me right into her little world. I hope everyone will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Reviewer Mary Connealy said that Hazardous Duty is the “book Christian fiction has been waiting for.” People should check out the book, just to see if that’s true!

For more information, feel free to check out my website at:

Thanks for the interview, Lena! It was fun!

Yes, Christy, it was. When you have another release, we'll have to do it again.

Okay, Readers, you won't want to miss the chance to win a copy of Hazardous Duty. So start leaving those comments. Remember there's still time to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Rachel Hauck's latest book, too.


Bonnie Engstrom said...

Christy sounds like my kind of gal. I love mystery/suspense, and I love reading 1st POV. Hazardous Duty sounds like my kind of book, and Christy sounds like my kind of gal. Thanks for the great interview, Lena.
Bonnie Engstrom

tetewa said...

This book sounds like something I would really enjoy! Thanks for introducing me to another new author.

A Life Inspired said...

Hi Neighbor!

I'm in the Dallas area too. I found your blog on the Christian Women's Web ring and am enjoying reading through it!

Take care....

Tina said...

Great interview.Would love to win a copy of this book.Hazardous Duty sounds like one you can't put down to you read all of it.

Mary Connealy said...

Hey! Christy and Lena, two of my favorite people together on one blog! I am sorry it's taken me so long to come over and comment. I sincerely do believe that Christy's got something really special in Hazardous Duty. It just feels like breakthrough Christian fiction to me. But a lot of Christian fiction is innovating and spreading out in new directions. That's why it's so fun to be involved in it right now.
Hazardous Duty made me laugh out loud and get chills, too. And now the Grim Sweeper is coming and it's more fun yet.

Christy Barritt said...

Thanks for all the comments about my interview, everyone! I really enjoyed writing Hazardous Duty, and I hope everyone will enjoy reading it also. I'm working on book number two right now and Gabby St.Claire (the main character) just won't leave me alone! Lena, thanks for the interview! It was fun!

Christy Barritt

Nancy said...

Wonderful interview!
Makes me really want to read Hazardous Duty!
Sounds great, I love suspense!