Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Break Out the Bubbly & Dark Chocolate--Celebrating Christina Wolfer's Debut Novel TWO BROTHERS

I'm delighted to have my first RWA Conference Roomie, Christina Wolfer, on the Veranda today. We met online via the RWA matching service and the 2009 Conference was our debut conference. Christina was a fabulous roomie. And we've become friends because of our shared love of writing. I'm excited to celebrate her debut novel, TWO BROTHERS, with all my friends. Please give her a warm welcome. I know you'll enjoy meeting her!!
Welcome to the Veranda, Christina. *Pop* Sizzle* Pour * Sip. How did you end up becoming a writer?
Saying I ended up as writer kinda makes it sound as if I made a conscious decision to be a writer, and I’m not sure that’s completely true. Yep, I did choose to pursue getting published, but the writer in me was always there, years before. I think I was born with or learned early on, a love and passion for creating stories. Writing drew less attention than talking in front of people and if I ever wanted the stories inside my head to have voice then I would have to do one or the other. Writing was a better option for me.
I'm so glad you listened to the voices in your head and wrote their stories. What is your favorite genre to write?
Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense. With each new story, I’ve become increasingly more suspenseful with my writing, and my last one is more of a murder/mystery.
Ooh, I love both genres. When you write them are you a plotter or do you follow the muse?
Somewhere in between. If the muse isn't cooperating, I plot it out.
It's a "Hybrid" type of writing I understand all too well. When you're finished writing, how do you relax?
Well, since my day job tends to interfere with writing, I write when I get home. When things are flowing, I write until it's time to go to bed, so sleep would be how I relax. 
I admire all my friends who have day jobs and who write at night. Wow. That's dedication. What do you read? What are your favorite genres? Who are your favorite authors?
I read a little of everything, but tend toward romantic suspense and contemporaries. I enjoy Carla Neggers and Robyn Carr, but my favorite author is Nora Roberts. I think she has a wonderful art of building characters that pull the reader into the story.
I love all three of these writers. Nora Roberts has more stories in her head than on paper. How about you? What is your current project?
I've got two projects in the works. I'm in the final re-write before I begin querying my novel, Emotional Warfare, which touches on love after loss, finding internal forgiveness and has a twist of international crime. I'm also working on my first novella, Undercover, about a female officer sent into an inner city high school as a student to bring down a drug dealer and ends up finding love in the unlikeliest place.
Both your projects sound fascinating. I love the Novella idea. I'm already curious about UNDERCOVER. Do you have any new releases? (For later)
My 2nd novel, The Daughter, will be released in January 2012.
Happy Dance! Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
Life. Imagination. Dreams. Wishful thinking. 
Wishful thinking and dreams are what lead to publication. How long were you trying to get published before you got the “call?”
That answer can be a bit deceptive. In 1995, I wrote a novel, joined RWA and submitted a query letter to Harlequin. I got a rejection letter, stopped writing and didn't renew my RWA membership. Then in February 2008, in the San Diego airport, on my way home from a week long business trip, my muse hit me, although I didn't know that's what it was called at the time, and I wrote the first two chapters of Two Brothers. I finished the manuscript in June and went to my first RWA chapter meeting in July. So a knowledgeable, serious pursuit of publishing was about 3 years, but if you ever got a hold of my journals, you'd see I pondered the question of one day being published when I was fourteen.  
I remember that conference *grin*. We both agreed we'd get there one day. I'm so glad you got the call!! How did you celebrate the "call" and new book contract?
Well, I got the call five days before Christmas, so it was a busy time, not much room for celebrating a book deal. But with all the family gatherings, it made it easy to let everyone know. It didn't seem real and I did not react the way I had imagined I would. And in-between getting the call and receiving the contract, I kept thinking they’d probably change their mind. So, I’m not sure I ever truly celebrated the call or contract, not in a memorable, definite way.
When I see you in person, we shall celebrate in style!! What encouragement can you give writers who face rejection?
It's a fact of a writer’s life. If you write and submit, you will get rejected. We’ve all read a book or saw a movie because someone told us how great it was only to find ourselves wondering what the heck that other person was thinking. We have different tastes, another fact of life. It’s the same with publishing. You have to find the agent/editor/publisher that has the same or similar taste as you, that someone who gets your writing. You won’t find them if you don’t put your work out there. And rejection won't necessarily stop once you get published. I know not every reader is going to like my story and my biggest fear is getting that first bad review. It’s just another form of rejection. So, I’ve been working on developing some thick skin.   
Very wise words, Christina. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
Having the confidence and belief in my own ability as a writer.  
Yes. It takes courage to push through our doubts. What is the most surprising thing you discovered after you received the call?
The first surprise was how many people think you're going to be instantly rich and famous because you're getting a book published. I've been asked several times when I'm going to quit my job. I can assure you, it won't be anytime soon. The second surprise has been the response and support from the guys where I work. I thought they'd be, "Oh you write those kinds of books." Instead, they are eager to read, ask frequently when the book will be released and ask if they'll be in my next book.
Thanks so much for joining me on the Veranda, Christina. One of our commenters will receive a copy of your book TWO BROTHERS. Turquoise Morning Press is the publisher so there's a print or digital option available. 
Here's the blurb folks:
Gorgeous Cover!

At eighteen, Amanda Riley got her first lesson in love when Jacob Henderson broke her heart. But then she made the biggest mistake of her life – she ran off and married his younger brother.
Ten years later, she’s divorced and moving back to her small hometown. She’s made a name for herself in the cutting horse industry. That should count for something… Right? But decade old mistakes won’t be easily forgotten by everyone in town. 

When Amanda and Jacob are thrown together to help an abused horse, old desires ignite and past truths are revealed. And just when they think they’ll get a second chance at love, the younger brother comes home.

 I know you will want to read the whole book after reading that blurb!!


Christina Wolfer said...

Hi Christine! I just wanted to pop in real quick and say how excited I am to be here today. We have history, girl, and it just seems right to be celebrating here with you. Not to mention, I have always loved the look and feel of your site. Makes me feel at home.

Thank you for hosting the party.

Christine said...

It's my pleasure to party with you!! I am very happy my roomie got a contract. Good things happen to good people. You're proof!!


Sandy Elzie said...

Thanks for introducing me to another author ...and book...that I must read.

I love suspense...even though I seldom write it, and this one sounds really good.

Gwen Hernandez said...

Great interview, Christine. You alway ask interesting questions.

Christina: Congratulations on selling the book! The blurb definitely hooked me. How rigorous was your editorial process? Did any part of the process surprise you?

Christina Wolfer said...

Thanks for stopping in. We've got you entered in the drawing. I hope you enjoy Two Brothers.

Christina Wolfer said...

Thank you, Gwen. Great questions. Obviously, I heard horror stories of major re-writes, so my biggest surprise was when my edits came back with minimal changes required. With that said, though, I must step back. This story had gone through major edits before it ever hit this publishers door. So the structure of the story was pretty solid. We removed a few scenes, which shocked me when I realized that doing so had no bearing on the rest of the story. Plus, I had to rewrite a few scences. All which made the story stronger. Overall, it was fairly pain free, but thorough.

Joan Leacott said...

Great interview, Christine. Sounds like a great story, Christina. I'm a huge fan of Robyn Carr as well. Who was your biggest supporter through the doubts?

Christina Wolfer said...

Hi Joan,

My husband is and has been the biggest supporter. My mom is also a huge support, but she doesn't have to live with me.

My husband's belief in this story never faltered. He is also very accepting of the amount of time I spend writing and is very good at letting me know when he needs some attention. :)

Do you have a favorite Robyn Carr story? I'm amazed at how she keeps the Virgin River series going and fresh.

Thank you for your question and stopping in.

Linsey Lanier said...

You're right Christine. I DO want to read the whole book now. Thanks for introducing us to Christina Wolfer. And thanks, Christina, for the insight into your writing life. I think you should start celebrating now and never stop. I'm thrilled for you. :)

Regina Richards said...

The upcoming Undercover sounds intriguing. Will watch for it.

Christina Wolfer said...

Thanks, Linsey. The celebrating is definitely happening inside and maybe that should be good enough. I kept thinking I should do something externally/visual, but really, what could be more signifigant than holding the actual book in my hands. That was a defining moment.

Thanks for stopping buy. I'm going to go check out your web site and books, now. I didn't look far, but thought I saw something about Chicago and some attitude that has me wanting to find out more.

Christina Wolfer said...

Hi Regina,

I'm enjoying writing the Undercover story. I hope to have it finished by the end of September and published before the end of the year. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Anonymous said...

Christine, thanks for hosting Christina. It is great to learn about her and her new book.

Christina,you book sounds great. It certainly has plenty of conflict. Stories with horses in the are always good.

Susan Carlisle
Heart Surgeon, Her...Husband?

Katherine Bone said...

Great interview, Christine! You know the best people. ;)

Christina, congratulations on your release! I'm late to the party but wanted to thank you for encouraging those of us who have yet to publish.

What is the biggest hurdle a struggling writer must face, other than rejections? And what is your advice in overcoming that struggle?


Christina Wolfer said...


Thank you for stopping by. I agree, stories with horses in them have always been my favorite, too. There is something about them that add an instant romantic feel to a story.

Christina Wolfer said...

Hi Katherine. I often find myself late to parties, too, but I'm just glad you made it by.

Wow! Biggest hurdle - that is really going to vary from person to person. The first thing that came into my mind when reading your question was the many, many differing opinions you'll get about your writing and how you deal with those opinions. The subjectivity of the industry, which never gives you a clear direction. You have to be able to trust in your gut whether to listen to the advice as to what works and what doesn't. That means your critique partners, your friends and editor. Love what you write because you're going to be reading it over and over. I think there are many hurdles, but there are just as many opportunities. Find them or create them. Just my opinion, though. Good Luck!!

Katherine Bone said...

Thanks for the advice, Christina!

And best wishes for success in all you do!