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Interview with Christa MacDonald 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 Christa MacDonald! I can totally imagine the small town where Christa lives in my mind and would LOVE to walk the streets! And, I love her advice for aspiring writers. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a native of the Northeast, living on the east coast of Massachusetts currently. I’m married with three children, the oldest of which is off to college next year and the youngest off to middle school. We live in a converted carriage house in a small town with a whole lot of tourists in the summer. It’s a beautiful place and we’re blessed to be here.

Tell us about your current release. The Redemption Road is a contemporary, Christian romance with a wee bit of suspense. Set in a small town in the North Woods of Maine, it tells the story of Alex, a game warden who came north to escape a mistake that haunts him. He meets Annie, the owner of Coffee By The Book and is instantly drawn to her, but believing himself toxic, beyond redemption, he tries to keep her at a distance. Annie can see him struggling and decides to help him whether he wants it or not. As they draw closer together, his past catches up to him and both their lives are in danger.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful?  I have felt the pressure to reach a larger audience for sure. It usually hits when I tell someone I meet about my book and as soon as I get to the “Christian” part I see their interest fade. I’ve learned to remember that my purpose on this planet is not to become a best-selling author but to lead others to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. I write with that in mind.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher? Oh, this is hard. Critique partners and beta readers save the day on this one. Having their feedback is the only way I’d probably get anything out there.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I’ve always wanted to be a writer. In college, I had a few pieces published, but after graduating I got sidetracked with the need to work and pay back those student loans! It wasn’t until after my kids started school that I felt the urge to dedicate the time to it. My debut novel was written maybe two years later? It was my third finished work. The other two are sitting in a drawer where they belong (they were awful).

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I knew right from the start that I did not have the time or talent to do all the marketing of the book on my own.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I outline before every book, but I follow the story where it wants to go after that. Often the final product with all the detail and fleshing-out is quite different, but the bare bones are the same.

Do you have a pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Yes, 80k for a contemporary romance.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Try doing NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. It’s free and there’s a lot of good advice and encouragement in the program. Once you have something finished, find a critique partner or writing group. Beta readers are great and completely essential, but you’ll also want critical feedback before you try to query an agent or publisher.

What is your preferred method of writing? Computer. I type so much faster than I can handwrite.

Here is where you can find Christa online:
Christa is giving away a copy of her book The Road to Redemption to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway




Interview with Author Christa MacDonald 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 am very thrilled to have Christa MacDonald as my guest. While doing this interview, I absolutely fell in love with Christa’s heart for believers and, as she has termed them, aspiring believers. I feel like she and I could sit for hours and discuss Christ, love, and people. Plus she loves U2, so there you go! I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. And — Christa is giving away an ebook of her latest release! Read on to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m the mom of three and wife of one, a full-time manager at a media company, and an amateur, but enthusastic gardener. Late autumn/early winter is just about my favorite season. All the crafting, baking, gift planning is seriously fun for me.

Tell us about your current release: The Redemption Road is the third and final book in the Sweet River Redemption series. It’s a contemporary romance set in a small town in Maine. It has dramatic tension, romance, a bit of mystery, small-town life, the natural beauty of Maine, and a barmy cat named Hobbes. If that’s not enough to entice you, it’s the story of a woman willing to pay any price to help the man she loves find redemption.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? There’s no question that writing books with a Christian perspective, even if they don’t deal with a conversion story, narrows the audience. It’s still a big audience though and in it are believers and aspiring believers as I like to call them. There’s a lot of folks out there without a saving faith. People are led astray by some bad theology out there. There are many who end up worshiping a pale imitation of Christ thinking they’ve got the real thing. It’s a concern that weighs heavily on my heart so it weaves its way into my writing almost without me trying. If something I’ve written reaches even one person on the wrong path and directs them to the right one? That’s a greater success than hitting the bestseller lists.

What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? Reality. I don’t mean ‘gritty’ realism though. Authenticity. Depicting humans as they are, and importantly, Christians as they truly are. Christians are not perfect. As a reader I don’t enjoy idealized characters, folks so good they seem two-dimensional. We all still struggle with sin. Good Christian fiction needs to show sin, repentance, forgiveness, and the sheer joy and beauty of being redeemed by grace.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I type 80 words per minute so that helps.

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? Ronald Reagan being shot. My family was in California staying at my aunt and uncle’s house for a visit. They had a big TV in their den and a lazy-boy recliner right in front of it. My sister and I would fight over that seat to watch whatever was on. I had won the last tussle only to get tossed out as my uncle rushed in and turned on the news. I remember how quietly tense the adults were. Now I know they had already lived through the assassination of civil rights leaders and the Kennedy brothers, so they’d unfortunately had practice dealing with political violence.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? U2 was my first real musical crush. The music really spoke to me and the lyrics had a sort of Christian bent to them so my mother didn’t ban them from the house.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? If you’ve never written anything of length before, I’d advise trying NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s an online community of writers all trying to get to 50k words in the month of November. There’s a lot of encouragement and tips. After that, whether you hit 50k or not, I’d suggest finding a writing group to join and seeking out seminars or online resources to learn the basics of outlining, plotting, etc. Sometimes it can be easier to learn the basics after you’ve tried to do it yourself. There’s something there for reference.

What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? Outlining. I never saw myself as a planner. I was pretty committed to the romantic idea of sitting down at the keyboard and writing whatever came to my heart. What I found in practice is that leads to half-finished books or starts that never go anywhere. Now when I get a great idea, I write it down and come back to it when I have more, slowly building it up until I’m ready to write a full outline.

Find Christa online:

Find Christa’s latest release online:

Christa is giving away an ebook of her latest release Redemption Road! Enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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