Interview with Christa Allan

» Posted on Feb 2, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Christa Allan

This week I’m hosting Christa Allan with Walking on Broken Glass and Kim Watters with On Wings of
. If you want to enter the drawing for the books, 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 (Feb. 7th) evening.

Interview with Christa Allan:

1. What made you start writing? 2. How long have you been writing?

After attending a Summer Institute with the National Writing Project, I was one of seven teachers in Louisiana selected to participate in the Annenberg Foundation’s Rural Voices, Country Schools project. Through that involvement in student writing, I rebirthed my own passion for writing. I

In high school I discovered that I was an absolute klutz, so I’d never play sports or be a cheerleader. I couldn’t sing, draw or understand Geometry, but I could write. In the 1980s, I worked part-time for a local newspaper and started writing features and a human interest column. When I won a prize from the South Texas Press Association for a column I’d written about my son starting kindergarten [he’s now 32!], I figured maybe this writing thing was my thing!

Then I found myself the mother of five, writing went the way of alone time, and it wasn’t until the last seven years that I started to seriously consider writing, not just for myself , but for publication. When my husband saw that I couldn’t schlep the PC anywhere when an idea struck, he surprised me with a laptop. If nothing else, the guilt of not using it exceeded the frustration of writer’s brain cramp!

2. When did you sell your first book?

Rachelle Gardner my agent, sold Walking on Broken Glass in November of 2008.

3. How do you handle rejections?
Chocolate. Pounds of it. I think entering contests early on in my pursuit of publication helped me to not want to put my laptop in the freezer. Generally, there would be three judges; two of the three would be excited about my entry, and the other-well, not so much. Those “mini-rejections” became the warm-ups for the later ones when I queried agents. Also, I’m constantly telling my own students when I return their essays, “It’s about the writing, not you.” Sometimes the teacher has to become the student.

4. Why do you write?

I wrote a brief blog post about exactly that! It’s here.

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

Free time? Who’s giving it away?
I can’t fathom not writing, but if I had to, I suppose I’d be reading.

6. What are you working on right now?

I have two proposals that Rachelle is currently shopping.

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

As a recovering alcoholic for over twenty years now, I definitely relied on my own experiences. Also, like Leah, I admitted myself for treatment.

In the two other WIPs, only one draws from an experience in my life.

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

WOBG tells the story of a woman who uses alcohol to numb herself and, in doing so, emotionally distances herself from her husband, her friends, her faith. Leah has to decide if she’s willing to give up what she wants to gain what she needs. Along the way, she discovers that sobriety is not without its own challenges, and grace waits in the most unlikely places.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

I’m always so humbled by this question because my novel is witness to the support and encouragement of so many amazing and generous writers over the years; I barely feel qualified to respond! My advice is maintain a sense of humor, be teachable, don’t be afraid to ask questions, read the books you wish you’d written, write badly rather than not at all (you can’t revise a blank page!), and pray…that God’s will be done, not yours!

10. How important is faith in your books?

If my novel is a house, then faith would be the walls that connect the foundation to the roof, that frame the spaces we live it, that we depend on to hold the structures together. I hope that readers, making their way through my novels, come to an awareness of how faith shapes and strengthens our lives.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

My tagline, “stories of unscripted grace,” grew from the epiphany that my life,in no way followed the “script” I’d written for it. And yet, God’s grace found its way to me. Sometimes, the lives of those around us may not be in line with a “script” we have for them. Does that mean they’re not deserving of grace? Because, really, is there any script God didn’t design? I think this sense of hope from God is His grace to us and, in turn, what we gave give to others.

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

Well, today I want to believe it’s out there waiting for me to write it!

13. What is your writing schedule like?

Since I’m still teaching full time, I’m better doing sprints on the weekends and longer distances on breaks and the summers.