Q: When did you decide to write your book?
Long Lost Elvis is the fourth book in the “Boomer’s Tales” chapter book series for children ages 7-12. The first two books were published in 2021; both books were named Finalist in two national book awards competitions. The other two books in the series were published in 2022 with Long Lost Elvis being the most recent. I began working on the first book, Finding My Yip, in the summer of 2019. Originally, it was only a short story and not intended to be the first book in a chapter book series. However, I decided I liked the characters I’d created, so I began browsing bookstore and library shelves to learn more about children’s chapter books. Once I’d
done my homework, joined a local writer’s group, and attended a few writer’s conferences, I decided on the possibility of writing a series.
Q: What inspired you to create your novel, Long Lost Elvis?
As a child, I loved to read mysteries and still enjoy reading them as an adult. The second book in the series, A Hard Nut to Crack, is a mystery, so I thought it would be fun to write another mystery that interweaves two mystery storylines.
Q: How many books do plan for this series?
There are two more books in the series. The fifth has just been sent to my editor, and the sixth one is sitting in my computer in rough draft form.
Q: How would you describe your writing style?
Years ago, I heard an interview on NPR where the writer being interviewed talked about two types of writers: architects and gardeners. I’m a gardener who loves flowers and plants, so as a writer, I consider myself a gardener of words. There are so many similarities between the two. Sometimes gardeners will sow seeds (ideas) not knowing what will develop. Weeds always get
into garden beds, so they need to be pulled and removed. Building stories usually demands constant weeding (editing). I use a yellow legal pad and pencil and write down my ideas. For me, this seems to work. There is something about the pencil/brain relationship that stimulates a direct line to my brain. Once I’ve completed the first draft, I then transfer it to the computer, continuing to let the story grow organically. As a former educator, I know how important research can be in writing a book, including children’s fiction. Like a gardener who needs to research the soil, light, moisture, etc. before planting in a particular location, writers should also do their due diligence.
Q: What was the journey like for you as you were writing, editing, and publishing your works?
When I started writing my first book, I joined a writing group that met weekly at a local library. This gave all of us the chance to share, exchange ideas, and make constructive comments about each other’s writings. After I had a rough draft of my book, I sent it off to an editor who gave me some essential developmental feedback. During this same period, I also attended writer’s workshops and conferences to learn not only about writing, but also about the publishing business. Ultimately, I decided to self-publish. At one of the writer’s workshops I’d attended, I met and talked to a woman who has her own press. At that point, I wasn’t ready to publish, but when I decided it was time, I remembered the conversation we’d had and how much I was impressed with her. This relationship has worked for me, and I’m very happy I made the decision I did.
Q: Who are the main characters in your books?
There are three main characters in my series: Chloe, Nana Weathers, and Boomer. At the beginning of the first book, Chloe is nine years old. She has recently lost her parents in an auto accident and has come to live with her grandmother, Nana Weathers. Before the car accident, Chloe had a stutter, but the loss of her parents, the move, and attending a new school have made her stutter worse. She plays piano, but she also has a strong desire to sing. But her stutter causes her to lack self-confidence. Nana Weathers (Celia) is an experienced music teacher. Her husband is deceased, so she has been living alone before Chloe comes to live with her.
Nana Weathers was given a magic ring by her grandmother; she uses its power judiciously to help humans and animals. Boomer is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the narrator of my books. In the first book, his owner has gone on a trip and left him and his two sisters, (puppies at this point), and the mother dog with Nana Weathers while she is away. Upon her return, she offers Chloe one of the puppies. Boomer and Chloe have formed a bond, so it is an easy choice for Chloe. Like the Cavalier breed, Boomer is smart, gentle, easily trainable, and turns out to be the perfect pet fit for Chloe. There are other characters that come into the picture in the first book who continue to appear in other books as well: Robbie and his dog, Hoppy; Peanut, a Chihuahua, and his owner, Jack; Shannon (Chloe’s best girlfriend) plays the flute. In the most recent book, Elvis, a runaway donkey, adds a new dimension to the other animal characters in my series. Part of the fun of writing a series is the possibilities for growth and change for all the characters.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers in your genre?
I would recommend reading books in the genre in which one wishes to write. Attending writer’s workshops and conferences in order to meet and network with others who are writers is important, joining a local writer’s group that meets regularly can also be helpful. If one can’t find a local writing group, look for an online group of authors and/or take creative writing courses at a community college or university/college.
Q: Would you ever write books in any other genre?
I’ve been considering a poetry book. There are short poems written from Chloe’s perspective in most of my books. In the past, I’ve entered poems in a few poetry contests, which won first and second prize and honorable mention. One poem I wrote has been set to music for piano, soprano, and mezzo-soprano.
Q: What were your favorite moments as a writer when working on your book?
I’ve loved the quiet moments when ideas have come to me. I often get ideas for my books during walks. I’m inspired by natural surroundings, especially wooded areas. A walk calms my mind and leaves space for new ideas to evolve. At home, I’m fortunate to have a room where I can be alone when I’m writing.
Q: Where can readers find you and your books?
There are links on my website where readers can order my books: goodreadsbychristine.com. Readers can also join my mailing list and read more about my books, including reviews, etc. My books can be ordered directly through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, and Indie Bound. All books are available in paperback and e-book formats. I can also be found on Goodreads.com.