Saturday, April 20, 2013

Christine Feldman - Spotlight & Interview


Christine S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts.  She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her ballroom-dancing husband and Molly the beagle.

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No woman ever really forgets her first love.  Callie Sorenson is no exception. Hers was tall, tanned, and—as her older brother’s best friend—completely off limits.
 
Danny McCutcheon.
 
It’s a name that Callie hasn’t spoken in years, even if the man to whom it belongs has never really been all that far from her thoughts. Or her heart.  But now a twist of fate will bring her back to the childhood home she left behind years ago, and to the hometown boy for whom she secretly longed.
 
When her mother takes a bad fall and breaks her hip, Callie leaves the bright lights of New York City to fly back west and help with the rehabilitation.  It’s a tense homecoming due to a long time estrangement between mother and daughter, and it drives Callie to confront both a painful personal loss and her unanswered questions about the father who abandoned her when she was just a child.
 
It also brings her face to face with Danny again, and Callie quickly realizes that old feelings die hard.
 
But for Danny, it’s new feelings that are a problem.  Callie is not the young girl he remembers but a woman now, and a very desirable one.  They both have reasons to fight the growing attraction between them, but the temptation may just prove to be too much to resist, despite some very real risk to their hearts.  The past casts a long shadow over the future, though, and Callie will have to overcome it or else face losing the one man who means the most to her.
 
Buy Link:  Amazon


Christine thank you for joining me today.  Could you please tell us about yourself?

Thank you for having me!  I teach kindergarten by day and write fiction at night.  Maybe someday I’ll figure out a way to combine both and produce a scintillating novel about life in a kindergarten classroom called No! Don’t Put That In Your Mouth! followed by the insightful sequel Aye Yi Yi, Please Go Wash Your Hands. 
 
I’m married to a wonderful man who is a terrific ballroom dancer (we met on the dance floor), and we have a sweetheart of a beagle named Molly.  I’ve always loved writing, but I put it on the back burner for many years figuring there was no time for it in real life; then I missed it so much that I finally started making time for it again.  And I’m so glad I did!  I write both novels and screenplays in multiple genres, and last fall I got the thrill of a lifetime when one of my screenplays was featured as a staged reading at the Gotham Screen International Film Festival in New York.  (http://www.gsiff.com/content/staged-screenplay-reading-1)  And then I got my first official publishing offer soon after that—from Crimson Romance—for my book Coming Home.  It’s been an exciting year!

Congratulations on your Gotham feature.  Coming Home is your debut novel.  What was the writing experience like for you?

I had written a few manuscripts before Coming Home, but I wasn’t able to get them published.  A couple of them were pretty rough, and I cringe now when I reread them; then I bury them in the back of my filing cabinet where no other human being will ever see them.  But a couple of them also had good potential, and if I had sent them out to more than a handful of publishers, who knows what might have happened?  I think I’ve learned since then that one of the most important elements of being a writer is persistence.  You have to ruthlessly carve out time to write, you must be willing to rewrite the same manuscript over and over, and you have to doggedly send out your book again and again despite getting 67 rejections because the 68th time just might lead to an acceptance.
 
That’s kind of what happened with Coming Home.  I already had a full-time job, but I made myself write regularly.  And then I sent it out and started writing another one…and another one…In the middle of that, I got the email from Crimson saying they wanted to publish me.  Yay!

Please tell us more about Danny McCutcheon and Callie Sorenson from Coming Home.  And what do you love about them?
 
I love that Danny is down-to-earth and solid. Dependable.  He’s the kind of guy that will never leave people hanging, and he stands up for his principles.  He’s had his own share of tragedy, but instead of making him bitter, it’s given him a certain appreciation for the moments in life worth treasuring. 
 
What I love about Callie is that she’s a flawed but relatable heroine.  She has trouble getting close to people given that her father abandoned her family when she was a child, but a part of her really longs to overcome that.  I also love that she is bold and independent and has made some daring choices in life that I would never have the guts to make.  I get to live vicariously through her, I suppose. (smiles)

Do you have a favorite scene or passage from the book that you would like to share?
 
Sure.  Here’s an excerpt about a third of the way into the book.  There’s some tension between Danny and Callie due to a rift that developed the last time she was home visiting, but her mother manages to orchestrate a kind of dinner date between the two, albeit a casual one…
 
It was clear that she didn’t want to be here. She sat stiffly in her seat and looked everywhere else around the sports bar but at him.
 
“You can pretend to watch that baseball game if you want to,” he said dryly, opening up his menu and looking it over, “but don’t think for a minute that I’m buying it.”
 
“What?” she returned. “Maybe I like baseball now. For all you know, I could be the Yankees’ biggest fan.”
 
“Fine,” he said without looking up. “Then tell me what a ground rule double is.”
 
She mulled it over. “Oh, shut up,” she muttered finally.
 
He grinned at her then, unable to help himself, and she reddened. But she smiled a little, too. He felt a sweet stab of pleasure at the sight and told himself not to ruin things by saying anything else.
 
Their waitress stopped by their table and turned her attention immediately to Danny. “Ready to order?”
 
“Steak,” Danny said. “Medium rare.”
 
“The same,” Callie echoed. “And a side order of onion rings.”
 
“Anything to drink?”
 
“A beer.” He glanced at Callie.
 
“Make that two.”
 
The waitress upped the wattage of her smile, and Danny returned it politely but only for a moment, and she left. “Quite the appetite,” he observed. “I remember you as more of a soup and salad kind of person.”
 
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me anymore.”
 
“I suppose so. It’s a little unnerving.”
 
“Really?”
 
“Don’t look so pleased.”
 
She smiled again, and he felt a little more of the tension between them melt away.
 
“So tell me,” he asked, careful to keep his voice casual, “what else don’t I know about you now?”
 
Their waitress delivered their beers and the onion rings, smiling coyly at Danny again. “Anything else I can get you?”
 
“Thanks,” Callie said with a pointed stare. “We’re good now.” She waited until the other woman left before answering Danny’s question. “Hmm. Let me think…I’m unemployed now.”
 
He nearly choked on his first swallow of beer. “What?”
 
She shrugged in an apparent lack of concern and sampled an onion ring. “My choice. I’ll find something else when I’m ready.”
 
“When you’re ready?” He thought he felt his blood pressure rise on the spot. Did she not have a practical bone in her body? “Callie, jobs aren’t just—”
 
“Have an onion ring,” she interrupted, thrusting one into his open mouth.
 
“Callie—”
 
“And don’t talk with your mouth full. It’s rude.”
 
How could she make him want to shake her and laugh with her at the same time? He considered himself to be a laid-back sort of person, but she brought out tension in him that he hadn’t even known existed. No one else made him worry quite like she did.
 
She took a drink and leaned back in her chair. “What else…I’m addicted to salsa.”
 
“The condiment?”
 
“The dance. Oh, and I’ve been mugged a couple of times.”
 
“You were mugged? Why didn’t you tell anybody?”
 
“Oh, come on. You haven’t truly experienced New York City until you’ve been mugged,” she said. “And I’ve got a tattoo, a pimp, and a coke habit, too.”
 
“What?” He watched as a wicked grin spread across her face, and his eyes narrowed. “You little sadist. Was any of that true, or was it all BS?”
 
“The tattoo part was true.”
 
Picking up his beer, he put it to his lips to stop himself from asking where the tattoo was. Bad enough that images were already popping into his mind of inked artwork in intimate places…

I love them already.  That scene definitely had me laughing.  Since you’re new to the publishing world, what’s something you wish you would have known before you actually got started?
 
How important social media is nowadays in the writing world.  I was a latecomer to Facebook, and I’m still intimidated about starting with Twitter, but I’m learning just how important they are when it comes to connecting with readers and other writers.  

I hear a lot of authors taking about getting rejection letter after rejection letter.  How long did it take you to find a publisher and what was it like, when you FINALLY got THE letter? 

Rejection hurts, but chocolate helps.  So does ice cream.  I wrote for a few years in my twenties and only got rejection letters back; that’s if I heard back from publishers and agents at all.  After a while I thought the practical thing to do was pursue a different career.  A few years ago I picked up where I left off with the writing and finished Coming Home.  The first couple of publishers took months to respond and then decided to pass on the book, but I had another one that I was working on in the meantime, so I set Coming Home aside for a bit while I worked on the second one.  Then I heard about Crimson and decided to query them.  They read Coming Home, liked it, and offered me a contract.
 
That was a great day.  I called up all my family members and squealed like a little girl.  Thankfully, they’re very understanding and patient.  And have tough eardrums.

I understand that Coming Home recently came out, but is there anything else you’re working on that you would like to tell us about?

Yes, thanks for asking!  Crimson Romance is publishing a second book I’ve written, tentatively called The Bargain.  It’s another contemporary romance, and here’s a brief description from off my website:
 
An awkward wallflower pursues her former high school crush by enlisting an unlikely ally–his estranged ne’er-do-well brother–in a wary bargain that ends up transforming them both.
 
Shannon Mahoney is a lot more comfortable with power tools than she is with high heels or lipstick, and she often wishes she could reinvent herself and finally tell her perfect boss that she has had a crush on him since high school.  But when his ladykiller older brother Michael returns to town–a former bad boy looking for redemption–Shannon starts to realize that maybe love isn’t about reinventing yourself after all.  It’s about finding your perfect match.
 
I’ve also placed in several screenwriting competitions over the past year with a paranormal sort of thriller called The Bloodline and a comic fantasy called Heroes for Hire: Discount Prices, and I’m planning to write novel versions of both while I attempt to shop the screenplay versions around (anybody out there know Steven Spielberg?  No?  Just checking…) Plus I’ve got some other storylines to flesh out.


FUN QUESTIONS:


What’s your favorite color?

Blue—no, yel—Aaaaaaa… (If you’re a Monty Python fan, you’ll get that.)

Junk food eater or healthy all the way?

Uh…I aspire to eat healthy.  I just don’t always achieve it.  Wait, is my husband going to see this?  Then, healthy.  Definitely healthy.

Paperbacks, Audio Books or eBooks?

Tough choice between paperbacks and ebooks.  Paperbooks remind me of treasured childhood classics and the time I spent holding them in my hands, but ebooks are just so handy and quick, you know what I mean?  You can download a book just like that [snaps fingers].

Flats or High heels?

Flats.  When I’m in high heels I stagger around in a most unladylike manner.  (It ain’t pretty.)

Alpha hero or Beta hero?

Beta, with a hint of alpha now and then.

Thank you again Christine.  It’s been a pleasure getting to know you.  Is there anything else you would like to add about Coming Home or yourself?

Just thanks so much for having me, and I welcome feedback from readers any time.  Stop by my website at http://christinesfeldman.com and say hi!
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2 comments:

  1. *waves* Hi Christine!!! Just think, you have a little over a month maybe two and then you have VACATION!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'm just kind of taking it one day at a time right now! Spring fever seems to have hit, and almost every kiddo in the classroom has it. I think I might be getting it, too...

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