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What It Takes: An Interview with Author Christie Craig

Boxing the Octopus is all about (except when it isn’t!) the ingredients a writer needs to survive in the business. Today, I’m interviewing Christie Craig, who recently broke a long book-sale drought in spectacular fashion, selling four humorous romantic suspense novels (to two different publishers) in one week!

BtO: First of all, congratulations on your new sales, Christie. Could you tell us a little bit about each books, including any info you might have on their release dates?

CC: I wish I could give you release dates, but I’m still waiting to get the final word on that. What I’ve been told is that MURDER, MAYHEM & MAMA (title could change), a romantic suspense with a touch of paranormal and humor, will be available in 2007 on-line, and in print in 2008. My first humorous suspense for Dorchester, a part of a three-book series, DIVORCED, DESPERATE, & DELICIOUS (title could change) is targeted to come out late in 2007. Mid-2008 Dorchester will release WEDDINGS CAN BE MURDER, a standalone humorous romantic suspense. Late in 2008 Dorchester plans to release the second book in my series which I’m calling the DD&D books, DIVORCED, DESPERATE & DATING.

BtO: I know that after your debut novel, Two Hearts too Late, written as Christie Clark for Silhouette Romance in 1994, you began a successful career as a freelancer and photographer with numerous magazine credits to your name. Could you tell us a little about how you made this transition?

CC: I started writing novels in 1984, I hadn’t planned to write for the magazines. But after a few years, I realized the rewarding feeling of having a finished project was far and few between when writing novels. Yep, I’m sort of addicted to instant gratification. I decided to try to write a few short pieces for the magazines. At the time, I seriously didn’t know anything about writing for the magazines and especially about writing nonfiction. I thought the same rules for fiction applied for nonfiction. When I wrote my essays, I made sure I had the setting, characterization, and sparking dialogue. It wasn’t until an editor asked me where I’d learned to write creative nonfiction that I realized I was doing something different from everyone else. Basically, I had just happened upon a new style of writing that was popular.

Of course, I got rejections with my freelance submissions. I got a lot of rejections. But I just kept writing, trying to write a new piece every week. I also continued writing novels, attending RWA and trying to improve my craft.

I started branching out in different types of nonfiction: essays, how-to articles, profiles. When I sold my first novel to Silhouette, I was doing pretty well in the freelance business. My goal at the time was to write novels full time. However, I learned the hard way to never quit your day job. When I didn’t sell the second novel or the third proposal, I went back to freelancing. After balancing the freelance writing and novel writing for several years, I knew I had to make a decision when my daughter was about to enter college. I would either have to triple my income in writing, or get a real job to help pay her way through college. I really didn’t want to have to go back to work. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to working for people, along with panty hose, and office politics.

So, I put the novels on the back burner and wrote full time for magazines. Six years later, my daughter graduated with dual degrees and I had over 2000 national credits.

BtO: What have been some of the highlights of your magazine career?

To read more of Christie Craig's interview, please follow this link.


Anonymous said…
Congrats, Christie! I can't wait to read your new books. They sound wonderful.
JoAnn Ross said…
Huge Congratulations, Christie! I've brought my Cajun Dancing Boys over from our 2BRead blog to celebrate with you.

I'm hugely impressed with your freelancing career; I did that for a few years, not nearly as successfully, and it's really tough! (Though it does teach you to keep submissions in the mail and write on all those days when you don't really want to, which is something novelists have to do.)

LOL about your writing all those articles while your daughter was in college. That's how I ended up going back to category from single title hardcover for a time and writing 10 books the year after my kid graduated to pay off that huge private college debt. Funny how tuition bills can stimulate the muses, isn't it? ;)
Terri Molina said…
You've always been an inspiration Christie...and I'm so glad I was still around when you announced your sales!! Very proud of you!
Jolie Mathis said…
Great interview, Christie! You're an inspiration to us all! Go, girl, go!

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