Saturday, July 21, 2012

Author Interview-Christine M. Fairchild


About Christine: Originally a journalist, I've been working as a writer/editor ever since (about 25 years), from tech to marketing to exec communications to entertainment. So I have an extremely varied background, which has informed my writing style and my tactical editing approach.
Currently, I'm focused on writing fiction, though teaching is my other love ("The Editor Devil's Guide to CHARACTERS" and "The Editor Devil's Guide to DIALOGUE"). I'm indie publishing my debut novel, "An Eye For Danger", to Amazon for Kindle July 30th, 2012.
What inspired you to become a writer?
All my manuscripts originated in dreams. So that's another major influencer. But the roots of my author side have been there a very long time. Honestly, I grew up psychic and was the kid of a psychic. (I used to give life-path/archetype readings.) So I knew 2 things about my own future from a very young age: that I would be a published author and that I would meet the man I was going to marry around 30. Try telling an adult that when you're 10 years old! Anyway, those have both come true. And, funny enough, both my parents told me in my twenties the SAME intuitions about me (they don't speak, so there was no colluding on the subject). I must have been born with an instruction manual for us all to be on the same page like that.
Anyway, when I was in 3rd grade, I kept getting "best essay" in class and got to read my stories aloud. I fell in love with storytelling and the look on the audience's faces. From there, I angled toward animal stories, like Black Beauty and Where the Red Fern Grows. Of course, these were standard reading material in grade school. But something in me understood story structure, how to build invisible worlds and characters (especially when they were animals), and the power of the imagination to give you something to hope for in the world.
Then in high school I got into journalism, which is all about fast storytelling, and I focused on the short story masters. That carried me into college and studying James Joyce (needless to say "Dubliners" is my favorite collection). Frankly, till the day I graduated college, I thought I'd be a short story writer, not a novelist.
Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
Easy question. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Rochester. There's so much complexity and sexual tension in the very few conversations they hold. That's brilliant writing. I tend toward darker romances and deeply flawed characters. I also love Darcy and Elizabeth for their dance around social obligations and objections, and for their need to transcend their family dramas to individualize and achieve their own happiness. And both stories offer a tempered and yet realistic happily ever after (HEA) ending.
Frankly, I'm not a traditional romance reader. I came to the romance genre late and with a lot of stereotypes about it, especially since I came from not just a literary degree background at UC Berkeley, which I realized post-degree was a rather snobbish department (always battling for the #1 spot with Yale), but also from a journalism background. So I grew up with the attitude of "hard news and hard truths." And yet I can't stand reading Wuthering Heights. It's too dark to me. There's no joy, no hope.
So when I finally saw the light with romance books--that they offer hope and joy and the experience of falling in love again and again--I was nearly 40. I was burned out on reading literary fiction stories with tear-jerker endings. I burned out on sadness and finally learned to value happiness in my fiction. I love a good HEA!
Tell me what inspired this story.
Like I said, all my stories evolve out of dreams. Which are probably influenced by all the crime fiction movies and TV shows I watch. Currently, Castle and Person of Interest have my attention. I like the charm and self-effacing wit of Castle's characters (I'm a huge Nathan Fillion fan) and the sleuthing of gritty, self-sacrificing Reece in POI. I'm a big fan of the hero and heroine fighting for a cause larger than themselves, while fighting for their own redemption.
I also like puzzle stories, i.e. mysteries. And I like stories of corruption and bad guys getting their comeuppance. You'll probably never find me writing a serial killer story. There's plenty of those already. What interests me more are the psychopaths and narcissists living normal lives and abusing the power and trust of the people. (Let's just say I used to work in politics.)
In my book, "An Eye for Danger", my dream comprised the opening scene to the book: the dilemma of an undercover cop (FBI Agent Sam Fields) breaking protocol and taking a woman (former war photographer, Jules Larson) hostage to get away from the one of the detectives (Stone McCarthy) he's investigating for corruption. Basically, the book opens with the bad guy looking good and the good guy looking bad. I think it's important to allow your heroes and villains to switch places. In this case, there are other key bad guys who go down. Stone is an ongoing rival throughout the series, a personal nemesis to both Sam and Jules. Like Sherlock Holmes' Moriarty, he keeps rising from the shadows.
How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?
Wow, you could not have asked a harder question. I'm not good at balance, frankly. In the past, I wrote at night after work till I couldn't keep my eyes open. So I burned the candle at both ends.
Now, I swing wildly, and I'm very all or nothing. I can go for 15 hours a day for weeks at a time without sleeping or eating or showering--just writing my brains out. I wrote the first draft of An Eye For Danger (120k words) in less than 4 weeks. A bit manic, I know. My hubby doesn't like this mode so much. Maybe it's the greasy hair. But it only happens once a year, so I try to roll with the inspiration. And shower more often.
Right now, I'm so bogged down in reading materials for other people and finishing edits on my novel, that I'm not writing. So I'm taking 2 months off to write this summer. Fortunately, I have a husband who is the major breadwinner, so I no longer have to work a day job, which gives me freedom to be in the art studio. That being said, he's also looking forward to my sales coming in. That's only fair, right?
But I'm not one to say you have to get up at 5am and write for 2 hours or 2 pages if you're a real writer. I always think that kind of talk is silly. Everyone's different. Find your own rhythm. You'll be more productive that way.
 Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I'd like to offer your readers a bunch of amazing advice they can use forever: Write, write, write. You'll never be happier than when you're manifesting your story in physical form and breathing life into your characters. Even if your writing sucks! The nay saying/ers be damned. Just write. It's like oxygen.
Also, I'd like to offer a free copy of one of my Editor Devil Guides to your readers. They can email me (ChristineFairchild@ yahoo.com) and get either the book on Dialogue or Character Development, depending on their needs. For more information to help them choose, they can visit my blog (http://EditorDevil.blogspot.com) or the Amazon pages with reviews and descriptions of the books:
The Editor Devil's Guide to DIALOGUE (http://amzn.com/B007K1PZZC)
The Editor Devil's Guide to CHARACTERS (http://amzn.com/B007PTQKXA)
*An Eye For Danger will be published July 30th to Amazon for Kindle.

3 comments:

  1. Christine,
    I love Jane and Rochester too! Thanks for joining us today.

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  2. Hi Christine,

    Great interview! I'm a big fan Rochester and Jane, too (though I will admit to liking Wuthering Heights, too), but then, I gravitate to the darker stuff!

    Congratulations on your book, and best of luck with this and all your future projects (and love your "Editor Devil" monicker--I'm a believer that edits should be HARD!)

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  3. Christine has been having technical difficulties with Blogger and she asked me to post on her behalf:
    Thank you, ladies, for the kind words and well-wishes!
    Seems we all love brooding men. I can handle Heathcliff better on screen than in the book. Then there are the brooding but funny guys, like Mel (Nathan Fillion) in Serenity/Firefly series. My character, Sam, is more like him.
    Anyway, cheers!

    ReplyDelete