Interview with Christi Snow plus giveaway
The name Christi Snow may sound familiar to you all but you may not quite be able to put your finger on it yet. Well, let me enlighten you. Christi is the blogger extraordinaire who writes the book review blog Smitten with Reading. She is that super sweet lady you may be chatting with on twitter and the blogger who amazes you at how many books she can crack open in one week. Well, now Christi is also the author of a new contemporary romantic suspense series and she is here today to chat about it! Everyone give a HUGE round of applause to the one, the only, Christ Snow.
So do you remember what day of the week it was that you woke up and thought ‘Hmm…I think I’m going to become an author today”? Just kidding. You’ve said that you have always thought of writing but never followed it through. What made you decide to give it a go – other than a certain birthday milestone that you reached?
When I started writing it was about a year after my husband retired after 20 years in the Air Force. I spent 17 of those years staying home and taking care of the house and kids during his long hours (he regularly worked 12-14 hours/day) and many deployments. I decided it was time to do something for me and nothing was going to be gained if I didn’t at least try.
I had no idea if I could even structure dialogue correctly, much less create an interesting story. I simply decided to do it for me…and I’ve been typing away daily ever since. BTW, that was my 41st birthday (August 12th- just over a year ago) and my husband gave me a little netbook to write on that I have since worn out its keys …two full books, about 4 more with 20,000 words or more, and probably 7-9 others started.
Tell us about your When the Mission Ends series and about its first installment, Operation: Endgame.
The When the Mission Ends Trilogy is based on a group of six friends in Lubbock, TX. The three guys have been in the Air Force and, when there’s a life-changing event in their lives which happens in Book #1, they all decide to separate from the military.
Book #1 takes place 6 months after Chris (Cassie’s twin brother and Jake’s best friend) is shot down and killed in Columbia. The three of them were best friends until that event and the subsequent fall-out from their grief. But now Cassie, who is a military history professor at Texas Tech University, is being stalked. Jake has come home to help and things escalate from there.
You decided to go the self-publishing route. *gasp* That takes guts! What made you decide to go that route? Do you think you’ll shop publishers with this series someday?
Honestly, I started to go the whole querying route with it and spent about a week, writing and rewriting blurbs and query letters before I decided this was NOT what I wanted to be doing with my writing time.
At the same time, I was following another author’s blog who had just decided to go the self-pub route after working with the big-name publishers. I decided to give it a try. So far, I like the control it gives me and doubt that I will ever want to give that up.
Those who follow your book review blog are well aware that ‘friends to lovers’ is your favorite type of contemporary romance story to read. And lo and behold, Operation: Endgame is a friends-to-lovers story! Did you write your first book with that type of romance because you love reading it?
Absolutely, this first book features all my favorite things that I love to read:
*friends to lovers- check
*romantic suspense- check
*University/college setting- check
*military hero- check
*kick-ass heroine- check
*Christmas timeframe- check
*wolf shifters- oops….well, almost all my favorite things.
Since this is your first book, I am going to ask you questions about things I always wonder about but never thought of actually asking new authors…until you. (This is where you should be shaking in your booties bwa ha ha. Okay, not really)
When Jake and Cassie kiss, Jake finds she tastes of wintergreen and plums. In fact, he finds she tastes that way…everywhere. *wink wink* Why wintergreen and plums? Where did that flavor come from?
LOL…I probably was on a Bath and Bodyworks kick that day. I really don’t remember where it came from, but it totally suits Cassie’s personality. She’s sweet, but she has this tough side that is so kick-ass when needed…I love her and her sass/spice.
How did you decide what your characters would do for a living and what sort of family they would be born into? I’m assuming the boys all being soldiers comes from the fact that you are the wife of a retired military man (is that how you would call it?) But why is Cassie a war expert, why does Penelope own a book store and so on?
Actually the military aspect of these stories comes from my son who spent his childhood playing the war games just like the kids play in the prologue of the book. That is what he and his friends used to do at Pope AFB, NC…and there was always one girl who tagged along with that group of boys. My imagination and the story started from there and then the characters started talking to me telling me the rest of their story.
The Robertson kids (Colton, Chris, and Cassie) were orphaned when their parents died in a plane crash. Colt was ten. The twins were six. Their father was a Major in the Army at the time. As a result, they all grew up with a respect and fascination with the military. The prologue of the book starts with explaining how Chris and Cassie met Jake. The twins were actually playing war games in the neighborhood and recruited Jake to join in. They started this lifestyle way early so it was a natural for all the guys to go into the military. At the beginning of the series, Colton is an AC-130 Gunship pilot, Chris was an F-22 pilot, Jake is a PJ (para-rescue jumper).
Cassie grew up loving the military just like the guys, but I wanted her to have a more intellectual roll and that’s how she became a military history professor. Then there are Cassie’s friends, Penelope and Julie. Penelope is a free-spirit and secret erotica author. She owns and runs a bookstore next to the University campus. Then there’s Julie…the balloon-twister. Oops, wrong Julie…hehe. I am just now starting to write her story and have to admit I was surprised at how she came to be a Physical Therapist. I love it when my characters surprise me. I start out with the bare-bones of ideas and they just come and tell me all the details which flesh their characters out.
How about choosing how your characters would look? Why did you decide to give Jake a crazy awesome body? Okay, scratch that. Stupid question. But why did you decide on Cassie having red hair for example?
LOL…yeah, the hot guys are a given. For the most part, the physical characteristics of the characters just come to me based upon their personality.
Cassie having red hair? I love redheads…I am totally straight, but I think redheaded women are hot and uber-sexy. Cassie grew up as a tomboy, hanging out with all these guys, but somewhere along the way, she turned into this sexy professor, while still staying incredibly tough. She’s tall…with that gorgeous mane of red hair. I always picture her in a pencil skirt as a naughty professor type. Smart, tough, is just as comfortable with guys as she is with women, with this incredibly sexy package.
If anyone is curious about how you picture your characters (and other parts of your books) they can see it all on your Pinterest board. I think it’s very interesting that you find visuals for many different aspects of your books – and the boys you pick as your heroes are yum-my! Do you look at your pins then decide on the characters or do you have all of your ideas in mind and just try to find visuals to match?
It happens both ways. Sometimes I find the picture first and build the character around that, but sometimes it works the other direction too. For most of the characters in this series, the characters came first and then I found pictures. The notable exceptions to that are Ricky (book #1) and Thomas (book #2). It should be noted that I loved Thomas’s character so much and found him so arresting, that I am building a follow-up series around him and his family’s ranch.
Book two, Operation: Endeavor, is coming out in February 2013. Did you learn anything from writing and publishing the first book that you are bringing to the table for this book?
Actually book #2 comes out in January and it is going through the editing process right now. There’s so much I learned from book #1 since it was my first book to go through this process. Self-pubbing is very different than the process publishers go through. You expect to be able to upload and control when something is released. It doesn’t work that way. When I was working on the print edition of book #1, I accidentally published it several months (June) before its release date in September. *yikes* Note: once you approve that proof copy of your book, they consider it done and ready to go on websites. As a self-pub author, you don’t control that, which is somewhat frustrating. I know better now. I won’t hit that “approve” button until I’m ready for it to go on Amazon.
Tell us what readers can expect from this second book.
The second book features big brother Colton, who just happens to be my favorite character in the series. He’s a huge, protective, bossy Alpha. He’s used to being in charge of all aspects of his life, but he is thrown for a loop when he suddenly finds himself back in Lubbock, looking for a new career, and suddenly living with free-spirited, hippy chick Penelope.
It was a fun book to write because he and Penelope are such different personalities. There’s also another suspense story line that I hope will keep everyone guessing.
Okay, Flash Four time
Flash Four questions about books and writing ~
How long, from start to end, did it take you to write “Operation: Endgame”?
The first draft took 2 ½ months, then there was another 3 months to go through the rewrites, editing, and formatting for publication.
Did you see yourself being a writer as you were growing up? Yeah…you already answered this one so let’s ask something else. Um…If you were made to write a book but you couldn’t write a romance book, what genre would you write?
Cozy mysteries maybe…
It’s funny, I’ve never been one of those who’s been able to figure out “whodunit” while reading a book, but it’s so much easier to write and put forth all the clues in the story. I love that whole process!
In what room of your house do you write from?
My living room. We have a high (pub height) game table in the living room and I use it as my writing area. It’s handy and it’s right by the wet bar/coffee bar…alcohol and caffeine…essentials for authors everywhere!
Do you tend to come up with the title for your book before you start writing it, while you’re writing it or when it’s all done?
Usually I come up with the title within writing the first 5000 words or so. By then, I have a pretty good handle on where the story is going and the pertinent points to the plot.
Flash four questions about random things ~
Sweet or salty snacks?
What color is your toothbrush?
Your high school experience: good or bad?
What do you like on your pizza?
Pepperoni and mushroom
Thank you so much Christi for stopping by today and taking the time to answer my odd questions. I wish you a ton of success. Seriously people, Christi is one of the sweetest people I know and if anyone deserves to be successful in fulfilling her dream, it’s her.
Aw, thanks Julie. This was so much fun. Love you, girly!!
Christi is offering a really great giveaway. She is going to be sending a print autographed copy of Operation: Engame to one lucky commenter! Just leave a comment by Sunday September 23rd 2012 11:59pm est and you’re in! Giveaway open internationally. Good luck to every one of you who enter and THANKS Christi for the awesome giveaway!