Christina Berry’s interview

» Posted on Aug 27, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Christina Berry’s interview

Christina Berry

This week I’m hosting Lynette Sowell with All That Glitters and Christina Berry with The Familiar Stranger. If you want to enter the drawing for the book, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (Aug 30th) evening.

Christina Berry’s interview:

1.What made you start writing?

Buried deep within my closet, one might find some angst-filled poetry from my teenage years and a very spooky seven pages of the novel I started in high school. Though I was in love with the idea of being a writer, it wasn’t until I finished college and stayed home with my first child that I actually decided to write a book. Truthfully, my mom told me we were going to write one together, and being the obedient daughter I am …

2.How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

My mother, Sherrie Ashcraft, and I began writing in the summer of ’99. We figured the accountability of having a co-writer would make us actually do what we’d always dreamed of but never put action to. It took a long road of learning how much we didn’t know, tons of re-writing, brooding over rejections, making connections, pitching at conferences, and directional prayer to make our writing salable.

In the summer of 2007, when Mom was busy caring for her dying mother-in-law, I got the itch of a new story idea. Undiscovered was written by February 2008, edited by June, won second place in the ACFW Genesis Contemporary category, and was renamed The Familiar Stranger and contracted by Moody Publishers in October.

One decade from naïve first scribbles to debut novel!

3.How do you handle rejections?

I pout and throw things.

No, really, I believe my skin has thickened from the 47 rejections I’ve received over the years. I tend to get down for a day or two, but know God directs more clearly (in my life) through “no” than through “yes.”

Each rejection means a writer is one step closer to finding the perfect publishing home.

4.Why do you write?

Because story ideas and lines fly around in my head and if I write them down, I get a little peace and quiet. ☺

5.What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

I would be reading the way I did years ago. Book after beautiful book. I’ve found budgeting time to write, blog, and market leaves very little time for pleasure reading. I also enjoy playing simple songs from musicals like Oklahoma or Sound of Music on the piano. Maybe I’d even sit down with my kids and squish Playdo with them now and again.

6.What are you working on right now?

I’m about 1/5 of the way through my next manuscript, working title of Unafraid. It’s a story about a girl’s kidnapping, and how her life unfolds because of the trauma. One of my characters is a PI, so I’m having loads of fun with the research.

Plus, I have funky devotional that a house is interested in. More details to come …

7.Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Any character has some aspect of my personality, for better or worse. I can only write what I know. I’ve seen a richness develop in my writing as I’ve grown in my faith and walked through some valleys in the last decade.

8.Tell us about the book you have out right now.

The Familiar Stranger is about a couple going through a really rough patch in their marriage. When an accident incapacitates the husband, their relationship must be redefined. Which would be a lot easier to do if BIG secrets from his past didn’t raise their ugly heads. Despite the upheaval, the choices they make involving forgiveness and trust might allow a new beginning. Or … they might not.

You can see the back cover copy and what other authors have said about The Familiar Stranger by going to

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

~Read craft books (I have a list of my favorites on the sidebar of my blog
~Write consistently
~Join a critique group
~Attend writing conferences
~By open to criticism. One always has room to grow!

10. How important is faith in your books?

My faith undergirds every scene that I write. My hope is that it comes across to the reader in a very organic way, never as preachy or self-righteous. However, my characters’ spiritual arcs are a huge part of the storyline.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

The recent changes in my life—a divorce, working part-time outside the home, putting my home up for sale, moving toward adoption with a foster child—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

Even though it’s my one and only so far, I believe The Familiar Stranger will always have a special place in my heart because it comes from such deep pain … and shows the strength of the Lord’s restoration.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

For one short year after my youngest was in school and before becoming a foster parent, I would write or market from 9-2:45 with a short lunch break. This last year has been more sporadic, with email and online marketing in the morning along with frequent breaks to play with or get snacks for the child in our care. Lunch with her, then phone marketing, editing, and writing while she naps. After dinner and once the kids are in bed, I usually log 1-3 more hours of work time.