Interview with Christine Dillon and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I have Christine Dillon joining us again! I had the amazing opportunity to speak at the Omega Christian Writers Conference in Australia a couple of years ago, and doing so opened my network up to so many amazing Australian authors. Christine is a missionary who is the child of missionaries.  I love seeing service to Christ going back generations. Read on to see more about her writing process, her heart for her stories, and to see how you can win a copy of her book!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a missionary and the child of missionaries and have had the privilege of spending most of my life in Asia (Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines). This has meant that many Australians think I’m a foreigner but has reminded me that I’m a citizen of heaven first and will always be alien here.I have spent the last twenty years telling God’s story in southern Taiwan.

My writing journey started with poetry and non-fiction and now I’m working on book three in a contemporary Australian series.

I love reading (of course) but also hiking, kayaking, cycling and doing genealogy.

Tell us about your current release. Grace in the Shadows is book two of a Contemporary Christian fiction series which now looks like being six books. It is based mainly in Sydney, Australia with a brief excursion to Port Macquarie.

Physiotherapist Esther has survived cancer, but wounds within her family remain unhealed. Is her revived faith the reason for the rift or could a simmering secret be the root cause?

Cosmetics consultant Rachel buried her past – and her father’s God – but the past refuses to stay buried. Will she continue to run or is confronting her pain the way to freedom?

Two women.

One collision course with truth.

Can God’s grace shine even in the darkest of shadows?

Book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZqWov5IBQU

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? I started writing fiction out of obedience to an inner urging that had been pressurising me for about seven years. There were so many other (easier) things that I would have preferred to be doing. So in one sense I wrote for the audience of one. Along the way the first person to benefit was myself. However, writing these stories is a ministry. Yes, I’d write for one if that was what God asked but I always hoped that there would be more than one who would benefit.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? This links in with the previous question. The pressure is always there to write for worldly success but I have no intention of giving in. I write for God and myself. I am writing the fiction that I like to read. I don’t mind reading thrillers and mysteries … but my favourite books are life changing ones. Ones that push me to follow more closely after Jesus. I am successful when I chose to be obedient. If God wants to give me ‘success’ in terms of many people reading my books that is his business. I am enjoying the slow and steady build up. I don’t think I would have wanted a sudden ‘success’ in worldly terms.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? The key is prayer and being sure what it is that God wants me to do. That gives me confidence that he will help me write a worthwhile book. Many others join me in prayer. I have for two excellent editors. I have been tempted to only have one editor and thus save money but the two have different strengths. I trust them not to let me release the book until it is ready. I also have a team of readers who give me many comments and later a team of proofreaders. Then I also work with an excellent cover designer.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? Yes, I’m a plotter. I use small coloured index cards both in Scrivener (my writing software) and on a bulletin board. If there are two characters, I use two different colour cards. I first work out the crisis points at the 25, 50, 75% points and then work out one main idea/chapter between those points. Generally it is around 40 chapters. Things also develop as I write and sometimes I have to add extra chapters … 

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? The general guideline length for women’s fiction is 70-90,000 words. So I set 80,000 in my Scrivener software and I have found that the story fits well into that guideline. (Hint for new writers: Look up on google ‘what length should a X genre novel be?’)

Do you talk out plot lines with others, and if so, who? Over the last three years I’ve been slowly becoming part of a different writing communities. I now have three other authors and we support and encourage each other. That includes beta reading each others work or talking through our plots …

I’m a verbal processor so I’ll often talk through a plot with one of my editors. I can also ask for prayer or ideas on my closed Facebook group. That group also vote on titles, covers … 

How hard is it to come up with names for your characters? What are some of the sources you use? For the first book I chose the names myself. Knowing the personalities of each character I tried to choose an appropriate name. During the first book launch I ran a competition and allowed those attending to choose some of the minor characters names for book two.

For book three, I have asked those who are part of my private ‘storytellerchristine’ Facebook group to suggest names. I always give a summary of the person including personality, age (birth decade) and cultural background. Often people choose a name to honour someone in their life. I do the same.

Involving others in the process increases their excitement about the upcoming book.

Find Christine’s latest release online:

Here is where you can find Christine online:

https://www.storytellerchristine.com/

https://www.facebook.com/storytellerchristine/

https://www.pinterest.com/storytellerchristine/

Christine is giving away an ebook copy of her newest release to a lucky reader! See below how to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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20 Responses to Interview with Christine Dillon and a Giveaway!

  1. Paula Marie says:

    I love stories set in different places like Australia – it’s my armchair travelling!

  2. Sherri G says:

    It’s nice to “meet” you, Christine. I’ve admired the cover on Grace in Strange Disguise but haven’t read it yet. I’ve just borrowed the audio version on Hoopla and I look forward to listening to it.

  3. Paty Hinojosa says:

    Christine Dillon’s books sound awesome!!
    I’d love to read any of her books!
    Thanks for the chance!!!

  4. Linda Palmer says:

    I’ve read both Grace in the Shadows and Grace in Strange Disguise. I loved how Christine does not shy away from difficult topics. And she presents them in a very natural and real way.

  5. bn100 says:

    interesting info

  6. Trudy says:

    Another new-to-author!! The book sounds good! Reading about Australia is probably the only way I’m going to get there!

  7. Sherri says:

    Beautiful cover. Thanks for the contest.

  8. Kathryn says:

    I enjoy reading Christian fiction, however most of them are set in America. I love reading ones that are set in Australia, and I’m going off now to suggest my library purchase them!

  9. Jan says:

    I enjoy Christian fiction as well as traveling the world in books! There is always a wonderful adventure waiting for me! Thanks so much for the chance!

  10. Michelle L. says:

    I am going to request your first book at the library so that I can read it. Looking forward to it!

  11. sara beth says:

    Sounds like a good series. Thanks for sharing! Christine, do your travels in ministry ever influence your stories that you write?

    • Good question.
      I am somewhat surprised that my first novels have been set in Australia as they could so easily have been set elsewhere. There are plenty of bits and sample conversations that might have occurred first in Chinese. There is a Chinese character in the first book who is amazing.
      A friend commented on my books that everything I did with her in discipleship is slowly coming out in the books (in the natural places). So yes, ministry (wherever it is) does leak into the books.
      Maybe in the future God will have me set my novels in Asia. I can’t see that far ahead. I have 3 more stories for this series and am really keen to write some biblical fiction. That would make sense since I spend most of my life telling Bible stories.

  12. Andrea says:

    Christine’s thorough approach to all she does as part of her listening to and serving God is an inspiration. I am sure He is smiling in delight at this developing writing adventure.

  13. Arletta says:

    What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome moving between the three different countries in Asia? Was it easy to learn new customs? Are there big differences between the three in relation to food, customs, getting around?

    • I was a child when I moved between Malaysia, Taiwan and Philippines. I was also either with my parents or in a Western boarding school. That culture was probably harder to adjust to than the three countries. I didn’t have to learn language as a child and that was unfortunate because it was much harder to learn as an adult. I have learned two Chinese dialects – Mandarin and Taiwanese/Hokkien. They sound totally different but have almost the same grammar.
      Yes, all three countries have totally different food … but the result is that I love all sorts of food. My favourites at the moment are Thai, Indian and Vietnamese.
      Having grown up moving and adjusting, this is normal for me.
      One funny thing about writing when you speak another language is that I have to watch out for passives as Chinese has a lot. For example, “The jug fell off the table” instead of letting us know that “The dog knocked the jug off the table.”
      Christine Dillon recently posted…How to love your favourite authors – part 1My Profile

  14. Robin Davis says:

    I can’t wait to read this new book. I’m always looking for books daily when i’m not reading.

  15. R D says:

    I first came across your nonfiction work about biblical storytelling. I would love to see examples through story of how this storytelling thing works out in life and relationships.

    • RD – The novels contain examples (just as part of the story). However, my short ‘Stories aren’t just for kids: 10 myths about Bible storytelling’ booklet (subscribers to my newsletter – via my website …) get a free copy. It has tons of examples and as it is only 16,000 words it is very accessible.
      The storytelling website http://www.storyingthescriptures.com also has plenty of examples under the ‘world stories’ tab
      Christine Dillon recently posted…Book trailersMy Profile

  16. Thank you everyone for participating and congratulations to Paula on winning the giveaway. I enjoyed the questions and interaction and hope to connect with some of you again. Hopefully you’ll talk your libraries into getting copies of my books – in print or digital of audio forms.

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