Tuesday, March 19, 2013

PARRISH THE THOUGHT - Catherine Leggitt - One Free Book

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
The Christine Sterling Mystery series—PAYNE & MISERY, THE DUNN DEAL, and PARRISH THE THOUGHT—is a cozy mystery trilogy written over about ten years of my life. At the beginning, I needed a diversion from the insanity of my raging hormonal dysfunction during menopause. Then, I had no idea God planned the writing to be used in any way other than getting me through my days and nights, so I wrote about things that were happening or what I was thinking about.

I packed the first book, PAYNE & MISERY, with every injustice, oversight, or neglect I ever suffered or imagined to suffer. I produced quite an odious tome of complaint. I exposed much more about our relationship and about myself than I ever intended the public to know. Of course, the book had to be rewritten ten times before it became publishable and much of the whining had to be excised. But when people point out similarities between the main characters (Jesse and Christine Sterling) and my husband Bob and me, I merely smile and nod.

In my next book, DYING TO BE NOTICED, I created a whole new set of characters just to prove I can.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I never broke into the neighbors’ house like Christine did. Through Christine I’ve done really nutty things. But my husband would probably say the quirkiest thing about me concerns my fascination with subways. When I visit a big city with a subway, I am compelled to explore it. So I’ve managed to get lost in London, Boston, Chicago, and New York.

Once in London, on the way to the theatre, a man approached my daughter and me as we exited the subway. He politely inquired whether we were ladies of the evening. In Boston, Bob and I went a stop too far on our way to Cambridge and ended up practically running at dusk through a rather questionable neighborhood.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I never dared refer to myself as a writer until quite recently, but I have always loved to write. I love words. When I was thirteen, I fell in love with a boy at church. He had the most amazing thick reddish-blond hair and he smelled good. We seldom spoke, but I pined fervently, mostly from afar, replaying his few words to me over and over in my mind and endlessly fingering the few cards and notes he sent.

One day he called to say his parents didn’t want us to sit together at church any more since we were too young to be getting so serious. I was crushed and closeted myself in my bedroom to write our tragic love story. After shedding many tears and writing four dramatic chapters, my mother coaxed me out of my room for food. I kept the start of that novel, certain that one day I would complete it. During high school, I would always begin writing term papers the day they were assigned, a practice I kept secret after once being called weird.

Later, I wrote a few children’s stories for my girls and for my grandchildren. To this day, I keep files with ideas for stories. But I really began to write in earnest about twelve years ago when menopause hit. Today, I call myself a writer.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
In my home are many shelves full of books. Most are fiction, but occasionally something like Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott comes to my attention. Mysteries are my favorite diversion in the reading world. Special authors include Marcia Muller, Elizabeth George, Tony Hillerman, Sue Grafton, Sibella Giorella, Charles Martin, and Nancy Rue. I have been known to read truly good books a second time. I also sometimes listen to books on tape after I have read a particularly wonderful book. I did this recently after reading Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My best hope to stay grounded is Bible Study Fellowship. I have attended one group or another of this international Bible study for over twenty-five years. The format includes daily homework, discussion groups, a lecture, and notes to read. I need this kind of discipline to keep me in God’s Word on a regular basis. I didn’t begin to grow up until I started to study the Bible. When I get crazy or allow the stresses of life to overwhelm me, it’s always because I have gone too long without prayer and Bible study.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I keep a cache of names filed in my head in case I ever need one for a character. For example, Lila Kliner (in PAYNE & MISERY) was a little girl I played with when I visited my aunt in Oregon each summer of my childhood. Russell Silverthorne (also a character in PAYNE & MISERY) was a distinguished man I met at church. Baxter Dunn (THE DUNN DEAL) was a dishonored sheriff I read about in the newspapers who happens to have a great name for a character.

I also use names of family members from time to time. Once, a friend of my daughter asked me to name a character after her. That’s how a nurse named Brenda Gonzales became part of DYING TO BE NOTICED. My goal is to make the sound or connotation of the name fit the characteristics of the person being named. I often check the national census website looking for popular names during the period my character would have been born.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Raising two incredible human beings—my daughters. They are both very intelligent and highly educated, one with a PhD in microbiology and one an excellent nurse. But better than that, they are compassionate, kind, gentle, loving people, good citizens who make a difference in the world.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A border collie. High energy level, zest for life, fierce loyalty, cuddly, loves people, needs to work and enjoys work, lifelong love of learning.
What is your favorite food?
I am a foodie. How can I name my favorite? Best I can say is Mexican food always wakes up my taste buds. You can never go wrong with shrimp. Anything with chocolate is high on my list, but pie is my favorite dessert.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I have never been able to conduct an interview that gets me a job, which doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten jobs, just never once because of a stellar interview. So when it comes to selling a book, forget it. I just don’t sell myself well. I even freeze up when sending out queries. Consequently, at present I still do not have an agent. Even after offering manuscripts to maybe a dozen in person and having four books published, I haven’t even found an agent willing to actually look at my work.

For this reason, I am extraordinarily grateful to my publisher, Rochelle Carter of Ellechor Publishing, for looking past my fumbling, rambling interview to see the book I had produced. It was just a matter of not giving up, of continuing to press myself into situations and conversations where my work might be noticed. Entering contests was helpful, as was attending writer’s conferences without knowing a single person who could hold my hand through the experience.

Of course, it might also be that God’s plan is unfolding in precisely the way He intended. As I push outside my comfort zone, I must rely on Him for power more and more. God delights in strengthening the weak.

Tell us about the featured book.
Unlovable people plague Christine Sterling’s pristine church-lady world—filthy homeless men, a possibly homosexual veterinarian, dark Goth teenagers, to name a few. Although she desires to exhibit Christian love, when it comes time to convert her faith into action, inner struggles weigh her down. These people simply don’t belong in her life.

Then during a storm, surly Goth teenager, Amanda Colter, makes a middle-of-the-night call begging for Christine’s help. Amanda has somehow gotten mixed up in the untimely death of a prominent Nevada City matron, Bessie Parrish. But agreeing to help Amanda thrusts Christine onto a dangerous path. Along the way, her search for truth forces her to confront the ugliness of her own prejudiced heart.

Sounds like a wonderful book. Please give us the first page.

A man in the women’s restroom?

I slipped on a take-charge attitude and shoved through the mumbling huddle of waiting women. Past pointing fingers and impatient faces, I managed to enter the three-stall bathroom off the church foyer. Sure enough, scuffed boots with significant holes protruded toes-up from under the handicap stall. I bent to inspect them and found one hiked-up pant leg revealing a calf with dark coarse hair. Definitely male.

A neon alert blinked “Warning!” in my brain. I censored the unchristian exclamation that almost tumbled from my lips. Where else but California would you find a man sprawled on the restroom floor?

Of all the nerve! He had also managed to track red Nevada County clay onto our clean shiny floor. A whiff of alcohol and cigarettes reached out to me like clawing fingers. I didn’t try to disguise my disgust.

“Excuse me, sir. Can I help you?”

The shoes didn’t move.

By then, a pack of female onlookers had congregated behind me. At the sound of my voice, they all protested at once like a flock of hens. I faced them, waving my hands and clearing my throat. Their clucking ceased as quickly as it had begun.

“I’ll get help. Meanwhile, please use the restroom downstairs.” I produced a smile and pointed in the general vicinity of the stairs.

You have me hooked. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Catherine, for sharing your life and book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Parrish the Thought (Christine Sterling Mystery) (The Christine Sterling Mystery Trilogy) - paperback
Parrish the Thought (The Christine Sterling Mystery Trilogy) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Katie G. said...

Sounds wonderful! Please enter me. I'm from NC.

Lyndie Blevins said...

interesting premise.

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins

Duncanville, Tx


Thanks Katie G for leaving a comment about book. I really appreciate your interest. Hope you win!


Thank you Lyndie, for leaving a comment. So fun to hear from people in other states.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win/read this book. It sounds terrific.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Jo said...

Another new author and a book that sounds quite interesting. Definitely want to read it.

Jo from Southern Arizona

Cindi A said...

Interesting teaser.

I'm from western Pennsylvania



LInda, Thanks for leaving a comment. I hope you win this book too.


Jo--How exciting that you think it sounds interesting. Thanks for leaving a comment.


Cindi A--I've never been to western Pennsylvania, or Pennsylvania at all, matter of fact. I bet it is beautiful there. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Norma S said...

Sounds great please enter my name, i sure hope i win, can't wait to read it. I bet that you were embarrassed when you found out that you had put all of that information about yourself and your relationship in your book? I like your cover. God bless you! Catherine, you and Lena had a great interview.
Norma Stanforth from Ohio


Hey Norma! Thanks for leaving a comment. And embarrassed kind of covers it. Sometimes I pretend I didn't write about myself. I say things like, "Well, I'd never break into a house like Christine did." Then I hope that people suppose that I am not Christine. But truth is, she is my alter ego. I snooped through her. I had adventures through her. So hard to say where we are different. I hope you win too.

Mary Preston said...

I loved the first page thank you. PARRISH THE THOUGHT is going to be such a great read.

Mary P



Mary, are you writing from Australia? Never been there but hear it is fascinating. Thanks for the encouraging comment.

Sarah said...

I would love to win,Enter me!!!
Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
Sarah Richmond

Kandra said...

Eww. What an interesting opening scene! Sign me up!
Kandra in Tennessee


Hi Sarah. Thanks for leaving a comment. I appreciate your interest.


Thanks Kandra. Bet you are wondering where a book with an opening scene in the ladies room can go from there. Thanks for leaving a comment.

KayM said...

This sounds like a fun book and series to read! Thank you for offering a copy of Parrish the Thought.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com


Kay M, hi! Thanks for leaving a comment from the beautiful state of Tennessee.

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Mama Cat said...

Sounds like a great book! Please enter me into the contest. I live in Phoenix, AZ.

rubynreba said...

I like how you keep names for characters in your head for future use. Beautiful cover!
Beth from IA

holdenj said...

I think this sounds like a great book, one I'd really like to read!
Julie in MN

Jackie Tessnair said...

Sounds great...Jackie Tessnair,N.C.

Veronica Sternberg said...

I love mysteries and this one sounds great! I'm in MN.

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win
live in ND

Jillian Kent said...

Hi there, Cathy!
I loved your London tube experience. What a riot! So how did you answer the guy? What did your daughter say? I'm fascinated with the cozy mystery and wondering if I have it in me to write one. Since my fun genre is regency historicals that could be interesting. However, I lean toward more intense suspense. Love you website! I'm going to have to read this book of your one way or the other. :)

Jill, still in Cincinnati,OH but wishing I were in California. Sick of cold and snow.

jill (at) jilliankent (dot) com

Cheryl-Ann Rehn said...

Women like Angie inspire me because there are so many false perceptions of what a women passionate for the Lord looks like, who are proud to be women! I love that God is raising up women to break the religious and false boxes that have been put upon us because of our bodies or the God-given gifts that make us different from men. So encouraging!!

I live in Elk Grove, California.

Jorie said...

I would be honoured to win a copy of this book because I think one of the worst mistakes anyone can make is to pre-judge someone based on outward appearances!! I'd love to read a story about a woman whose heart is softened and whose mind is enlightened by the unsuspecting people God choses to put in her life.