Christy Barritt’s interview

» Posted on May 7, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Christy Barritt’s interview

Don’t forget if you want the book, Suspicious Minds: A Novel, from Christy Barritt please email me at or leave a comment with your email address in it. The drawing ends Sunday evening, May 11th.

1. What made you start writing?
I’ve always loved stories and I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a writer. I studied communications at college and worked at a publishing house after graduating. Today, I don’t just write books… I’m also a stringer for my local newspaper and a freelancer for a couple of magazines. I love to tell stories!

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I actually wrote a couple of books in high school and a couple more in college. One of the books I wrote in college I submitted to a publishing house, which requested a full manuscript. It was ultimately rejected. After college, I worked for a publishing house. After I left that job, I pursued writing seriously. Three years later, I got a contract with a small (very small) house. I’ve continued to move up to bigger houses since then.

3. How do you handle rejections?
I still struggle with rejections. Some are harder than others. Last year, I had a particularly hard rejection, one where the publisher requested several rounds of revisions before taking the book to pub board. He rejected it by saying, “I think another publisher will buy this. It’s a great story… I really love it. But we have to pass.” That rejection really knocked the wind out of me. The pain from rejection eventually fades and you have to keep writing despite the disappointment.

4. Why do you write?
It may sound cliché, but I can’t not write. Believe me, I’ve tried before. Stories are just a part of me. There’s always one spinning in my head.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
I’d probably be focusing on my music more. I used to play and sing a lot for coffeehouses and churches. That’s taken a backseat currently.

6. What are you working on right now?
A couple of projects, both lighthearted mysteries that have yet to find a home. I’m also working on the third book in the Squeaky Clean series, about crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire. I just love that girl and writing the book is like visiting with old friends!

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
Absolutely. I think my best books are the ones that help me to explore issues about myself through the story. As I wrote Suspicious Minds, my newest release, I realized my main character struggled with loneliness. The book helped me to express some of my feelings about being alone and feeling disconnected. This past year was especially hard in that regard, but I learned a lot about myself in the process. I can be much to “work focused” sometimes, and I know now that I need to get out and be around people.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.
In Suspicious Minds, crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire takes a mold remediation job to make ends meet. While in the crawlspace of a dilapidated old house, she finds Elvis—dead and still wearing his blue suede shoes. Gabby can’t resist sticking her nose into another investigation! Along the way, she tries to figure out her love life, her spiritual life and the wacky world of Elvis impersonators!

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep at it. Publishing isn’t easy. Write what you believe in and let the rest of the details work themselves out. If you ever start writing simply for the market or just to get published, your joy will dissipate. Write the story of your heart.

10. How important is faith in your books?
Faith is a vital part of my life. I try to be subtle when I write about spiritual themes—I don’t want to write sermons disguised as fiction. I think the best spiritual threads are the ones growing organically from the story. In the Squeaky Clean series, my crime-scene cleaner—who’s a forensic scientist wannabe—struggles with the concept of faith verses science. That formed naturally based on my character’s personality.

11. What themes do you like to write about?
Whatever is near my heart. I try to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prodding. I want to be authentic with whatever I’m writing about—even the most devout Christian sometimes struggles with his or her faith. I try to be honest and vulnerable. And I never, ever want to sugar-coat Christianity. Christians are flawed and imperfect. God’s grace is amazing.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
My favorite book has never been published. It’s called The Good Girl and it’s about a girl who follows all the “rules” of religion, yet her life goes terribly wrong. The book also has a mystery element. I’m a lot like the main character—I like following the rules, but I learned a long time ago that following the rules doesn’t mean God loves you any more. Accepting God’s grace is a concept I’ve struggled with.

13. What is your writing schedule like?
It’s more sporadic now than it used to be. I have a two year old who keeps me on my toes. My mom keeps him two days a week for me so I can work—which doesn’t mean just working on my books. I write for the newspaper and I’m a worship leader at my church. I almost always end up working a couple evenings a week and always—always!—during nap times. ☺