Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Interview with Christine Verstraete, author of Searching for a Starry Night




Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?
I’m an award-winning journalist, miniaturist, and now a novelist – a lot of “ists.” Ha!

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
I think it was destiny that I became a writer! In my favorite baby photo, I’m holding a newspaper and have a pencil behind my ear.

Do you have another job besides writing?
I also freelance for newspapers and magazines, and if anyone needs a dynamite press release at a reasonable rate, they should contact me at my website, http://cverstraete.com/

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
My mom always joked that the house could explode and I’d still have my nose in a book! I’ve always loved to read. I loved Nancy Drew and read every horse book there was.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT, A Miniature Art Mystery, will be published June 15 by Quake/Echelon Press, http://www.quakeme.com/.



The book incorporates several favorites – dogs, miniatures and mystery! I’ve long written about collectors and their collections, so writing a story with the focus being the search for a missing miniature replica of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” (hence the title), seemed a natural.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
I tend to outline as I need to figure out what comes next, although new ideas do pop up as I write.

Did your book require a lot of research?
I did do some online research about miniature art, but I’m also familiar with some artworks that I have seen firsthand at miniature and dollhouse shows.

What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?
Oh, I’m a big daydreamer. Ha! Or is that another name for procrastinator?

Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?
What really helps me is if I’m stuck on something, I sleep on it. Somehow, the ideas come to me in my sleep. The rest? I don’t know where they come from…

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?
My muse is pretty accommodating. If I’m not inspired, I either switch to something else or just force myself to keep going. Deadlines don’t allow you to be uninspired for long.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
It’s been over a year. I initially had written a shorter story and then added more ideas to expand it.

Describe your working environment.
I have a small room at home just big enough for a desk, small worktable, 2 bookcases and a couple file cabinets.

Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?
I’m a re-reader. That’s good, and bad. I tend to change things (then go back and change some more!). I’ve learned that even later after several read-throughs, I still see things to change or that need to be changed.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
I know, you have to accept the negative with the positive. I’m sure I’ll shed a few private tears and move on. You can’t please everyone, nor do I expect everyone to like the book though I hope most will enjoy it.

As a writer, what scares you the most?
Not being able to write because of physical injury or some calamity.

When writing, what themes do you feel passionate about?
I love animals and feel strongly about them being mistreated.

Are you a disciplined writer?
I do write every day. Is that disciplined enough? :>)

Anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your work?
Only that I hope that Searching For A Starry Night is the first of many.

Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!

Mayra, thank you! I enjoyed visiting with you and your readers.

Readers can stop by my website, http://cverstraete.com/ or my blog, http://candidcanine.blogspot.com/, to get details on some contests and a chance to win a signed copy of Searching For A Starry Night and other prizes!
www.tips-fb.com

2 comments:

Velda Brotherton said...

Great interview. Always happy to learn how successful writers write. Congratulations on your book. May you have many more.

©Hotbutton Press said...

Great questions! I'm enjoying the book, too. It may be written for teens but there's plenty of interesting information and mystery for adults. Look forward to visiting the rest of your tour stops.

Dani
http://churchartist.blogspot.com