Thursday, October 30, 2008

Author Christine Verstraete

Our Guest Author today is Christine Verstraete, author of Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, The Witch Tree, and In Miniature Style. Christine started out in newspapers and magazines then moved into fiction.

Her kids book, Starry Night, has already won an award for its cover. But she’s not pegged into one genre and is interested in writing adult mystery and perhaps even horror. She may love miniatures, but her writing plans are anything but small.

I’m asking her six questions today. But you are welcome to ask her more.

Help me welcome Christine Verstraete.

Helen: I can see why Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery won the Author’s Lounge Covey Cover Award for Most Eye-Catching Cover for March. It's a beautiful cover and it does make you want to pick up the book. How much input did you have in the cover art?

Christine: The cover is fun, isn't it? I didn't know what it would look like, though all I hoped was that it didn't have those unreal computer people on it. I made some general suggestions, but when I first saw the dog, I cracked up! It was the perfect pick for Petey! (Say that fast, ha!) My one suggestion was to add some blue stars to jazz up the background, which really makes it pop.

Helen: It seems like writing is in your blood. You've worked in newspapers and magazines and written both nonfiction and fiction. What's next?

Christine: I have been working on finishing a mystery for adults and I have another book that I still like but needs a big rewrite. I also have a fantasy-mystery idea and some more Sam short stories and.... Gee, aren't you sorry you asked? I have lots of ideas. Finishing them is the problem. :?)

I enjoy trying new things. My short ebook, "The Witch Tree," was fun to write and won a contest at Echelon Press. Jimmy Grayson thinks he's found utopia - a new house, a nice porch to relax on... and then THEY came.... Day by day, they arrive by the dozens, the hundreds, their beady eyes, watching, waiting. Jimmy fears for his sanity. How will it end? Who will survive? Will it be him-or them?

I like to read horror, so I often want to write in that direction. So I may try more horror and experiment with a few new ideas I've been mulling over.

Helen: Which came first, creating miniatures or writing about miniatures?

Christine: Is that like the chicken or the egg? (lol) I began writing about miniatures after I started collecting in the 1980s. Once I discovered there were magazines about the hobby, it seemed natural to write about them, too. The fun is being able to share some great work and amazing artisans with others. Even years later, I still love reading, and writing for, the magazines.

Helen: If you were at a book signing and looked down a long line of people waiting to get your autograph, who would you most want to see waiting in that line?

Christine: Wow, a girl can dream, right? Ha! Well, unless you're JK Rowling or the Twilight author, it's not likely to happen - yet. I'd just love to see people who enjoy reading and want to read my book. My best experience so far was talking to a young girl who'd heard about the book and came to see me at an event. That was fun.

Helen: What advice would you give beginning writers?

Christine: Never give up. There are days you write dreck and days you get rejections or feel like you're spinning your wheels. This isn't a process for the patient. (And I'm not a patient person!) The best tip I heard from other writers was the Rule of 12: Have at least 12 manuscripts submitted at a time. Or make it six or 10, just so you have several things going on at once. It increases your odds of acceptance and it keeps you from depending on only one thing. Then you can get obsessed about several stories instead of just one. Ha!

Helen: Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

Christine: Visit Candid Canine this week for details on how to follow my Spooky Scavenger Hunt.

Scavenger Hunt Clue 5:
A family at home enjoying a rest,
The 'Skeleton Crew' say hello and put on their best.

Helen: Thank you so much for stopping by, Christine.

And now the Comments Section is open. Leave your questions and comments. Both Christine and I will be here today. And don’t forget to look for her books in your favorite bookstore or online.


  1. Wow I really like the cover for The Witch Tree also. Covers are soooo important and Christine yous are exceptional. I enjoyed this interview, both of you (smile).

    Christine, you like horror genre. What are some of your favorite authors in that Genre? Do you like Jeffery Deaver's books? He's like my all time favorite suspense/mystery/thriller writer, even better than The King in my estimation. Who do like?

  2. Great interview, Helen and Chris. I enjoyed reading about Chris' eclectic interests.

  3. Marvin -- I've heard of Jeffrey Deaver, but haven't read anything of his. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Lillie -- I agree, it was fun to hear about her interests. Makes me realize I need to get out from in front of my computer and branch out!

  5. Enjoyed the interview and love the book covers! I'm working on my first children's mystery and I'm always interested in reading comments from successful writers in the genre.

    Good advice for any writer to be patient as well as persistent!

  6. It IS nice when authors who go before us are generous and supportive and willing to share what they've learned!

  7. Hi, Chris and Helen. I enjoyed the interview.

    I like to support other blog tours, since for some reason I hope to have visitors and comments on mine. Isn't that silly?

  8. No! It is not silly Vivian. We write not just because we want to see our words in print, but because we want to reach out to others. It's always nice to know that there are others out there reading our words.

  9. Thanks Marvin, I thought the cover was cool, too - like looking outside my window! I love horror! I have a collection of short stories, Twisted, by Deaver - I read a few. boy they're good!! I can only wish I had half the imagination. ha! I'm partial to King, I liked Cell, but some lately I couldn't get into. Read Duma Key yet?

  10. Thanks Jean and Lillie. Funny I wondered where everyone was today... they're all here. ha!

    Thanks Vivian, I'm following yours too, Me bad - have to comment. ha!

  11. Following other people's blog tours is the only right thing for me to do. Besides I enjoy them.

  12. Hi Chris & Helen,

    Great interview! Helen you have to read Jeffrey Deaver. I think he's better than King too!

    Deb :-)

  13. Okay Deb & Marvin -- you've convinced me to get a Deaver book.

    I'll go ahead and thank you for the recommendation because i trust your opinion.

  14. Yay, the blog book tour goes on! I'm having fun tagging along. And Chris, that scavenger hunt is addictive... although I might be disqualified :)

  15. I collected plates for a while until I ran out of room. I still keep the around.

    Morgan Mandel

  16. I have small collections of things, Morgan. Tea cups and champagne glasses. But I try to find special ones and probably don't buy more than one every couple of years. It's a slow-growing collection!


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