Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Meet Christy Effinger

Visiting today in My Writing Corner is author Christy Effinger. Welcome Christy. You studied creative writing in college. Did you always want to be a writer? When did you know you wanted to write?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I wrote my first story at age seven. My love of books led me to major in English with a creative writing emphasis. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a job, but I wanted to write more than anything. So I took the risk.  
How did you get published?

A friend of mine from grad school had her first novel published with The Wild Rose Press. I knew she was a good writer and I admired her work, so I queried TWRP in July 2013. An editor asked for a partial, and then the full manuscript. TWRP offered me a contract in October 2013. Then came content revisions and final edits. The book was released August 29, 2014.  
Tell us a little about your newest book, Say Nothing of What you See

It’s about a girl named Mira who is abandoned at a spiritualist commune in the northern wilderness. Mira becomes a reluctant player in a medium’s twisted game of revenge.
The story sounds fascinating. What gave you the idea for this story?

As I mentioned in another interview, I’ve long been interested in cults, communes, and other fringe groups. The follower mentality perplexes me. Why will some people do whatever they are told, even to the point of mistreating others? Humans can rationalize anything, and that certainly is the case with Dr. Simon and his students. I wanted to explore the depth of one man’s depravity—and the destructive power of jealousy.
How do you come up with your story ideas?

Generally I have characters who intrigue me and I want to know their stories. I realize that’s a vague answer, but it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly where my ideas come from. A story might begin with vivid scene. For instance, with Say Nothing I had a clear mental image of a woman standing atop a huge grain elevator. I knew she was going to jump, but I had to write the story to find out why and what happened next.  
Give us an idea of how you develop your characters?

I’ve learned to let characters be authentic to their true selves. If I listen to them instead of telling them what to do, they will show me how the story must unfold. My job is to observe how characters react to situations and other characters.  
How do you research your stories?

Most writers are naturally curious. We have to be. In my case, I try to read widely and often, and research subjects related to my story. For Say Nothing I read books and articles on psychic mediums and spirit communication.     
Do you always know how your story is going to end?

I have a rough idea of how a story will end, but I try to stay flexible. Often characters will take me in a direction I never anticipated.
What are you working on now?

My current WIP is a contemporary women’s fiction novel. So, it is quite different from Say Nothing.
What would you tell writers who are just starting out that you wish you had known?

It takes time to develop your craft—certainly more time than I expected. I thought college had prepared me to write a novel, but it hadn’t. The only thing that prepared me to write a novel was actually writing a novel. Many authors (myself included) had to write at least one practice book before they were published. The important thing is to keep reading and writing and polishing your work. Each project will be better than the last. 
What do you read when you are not writing?

I read a wide variety of books, from literary classics to commercial fiction. I also enjoy reading narrative nonfiction and poetry.
Tell us a little about your writing day – how do you make time?

The last three words of that question say it all: you make time. When I wrote Say Nothing I was teaching fulltime at a community college. I wrote the novel at night while my husband was taking graduate classes for his MBA. Now I’m at home with my baby daughter, but I still have to make time to write, because there’s always something else I could be doing. I try to write in short bursts when the baby is napping or content to play nearby.
How can readers reach you or find you online?

Facebook: http://facebook.com/christyeffinger
Tumblr: http://christyeffinger.tumblr.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christyeffinger
Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/christyeffinger
Google+: http://google.com/+christyeffinger
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/christyeffinger

How about a blurb?
When her aunt steps off a grain elevator into the emptiness of a prairie evening, Mira Piper loses her one protector. Chloe, her flighty mother, impulsively drags her daughter to Bramblewood, an isolated spiritualist retreat in northern Michigan, run by the enigmatic Dr. Virgil Simon.

Chloe plans to train as a medium but it's Mira who discovers she can communicate with the dead. When her mother abandons her, Mira discovers a darker aspect to Bramblewood: the seemingly kind doctor has a sinister side and a strange control over his students.
Then one winter's day Troy Farrington arrives, to fulfill his mother's dying wish and deliver her letter to the doctor. But calamity strikes and he finds himself a captive, tended by a sympathetic Mira. Haunted by her dead aunt and desperate to escape Bramblewood, Mira makes a devil's deal with Dr. Simon. But fulfillment comes with a steep cost...betrayal.

I’m running a Rafflecopter giveaway through September 30, 2014. The prize is a $25 Amazon gift card. The Rafflecopter can be found here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bde1f2e51/
Thanks so much for being my guest.  Anyone have questions or comments for Christy?
 

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for having me on your blog, Rebecca.

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  2. It doesn't matter what the genre is as long as the story is unique. It looks like you hit that nail on the head. Good luck and great sales, Christy!

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  3. Love the cover and the interview and the attitude that you have to find the time. I tend to get irritated when someone says they don't have time to do something they want. It is such a useless excuse as we can always figure out time. Good luck with your book.

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