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?
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