Cerridwen Press Interview
What do you like to do when you're not working?
When am I not working? Yikes! When is that? Let's see … for my day job I'm an editor/writer/photographer for the eyewear industry. I also have a small jewelry business where I create one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets and earrings that are displayed in a local art gallery. I volunteer for a number of non-profits putting on events and raising funds. I love to read but can't when I'm in the middle of writing; otherwise I lose my unique voice and my characters start sounding like other author's characters. So reading becomes a special treat, a reward for finishing a novel.
What do you like about where you live?
I live in a small mountain community in Southern California called Big Bear Lake. My home office looks out onto the sloping hillside of our backyard that is currently covered in native plants and wildflowers. Hummingbirds come up to my window to check on my progress, alerting me to their presence with the whirring sound of their wings. Surrounded by pine trees under an umbrella of blue sky, it's my own little piece of paradise.
If you could have one special super or magical power, what would it be?
That's easy. I would want to clone myself so I could get everything done that I need to do. I volunteer for way too much stuff. I need to learn to "Just say no!"
What's your favorite smell?
I love the smell of freshly ground coffee, although strangely enough I don't like how coffee tastes. I love the smell of rain hitting hot asphalt and of freshly mowed grass in the summer. I love the smell of the desert after it rains—the parched soil and sagebrush explode with an aroma that makes me want to roll around in the dirt. But my most favorite smell is how my husband smells after we make love. Yummy!
What makes a man attractive to you?
It's nothing physical. It's the way he looks at me. If I'm the center of his universe, he will have a better chance of being the center of mine.
What's the most interesting thing you've ever done?
Oh my God. I've been on this planet a good long time. I could write a book about all the cool stuff I've done. (Hey, maybe I will!) The story I tell the most is how I made a list for the perfect man, called to the universe to bring him to me and then married the guy when he appeared. Then I wrote a book about that—MAGICAL MAN LIST—coming out in October. (Forgive the shameless plug!)
What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
I have novels circling over my head waiting to land and sometimes can't write fast enough to get them all down on paper. My characters talk to me, argue with each other and sometimes try and run away with the novel. I have to ask, "Who's in charge here?"
I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes with complete storylines in my head and have to get up and write it all down before I go back to sleep. Otherwise when I wake up I've forgotten it all and I'm left with this feeling that I'm missing something.
Ms. Walker Bos self-published her first novel, The Magical Man List, a romantic comedy about finding your soul mate. This novel has been re-released in E-book format as Magical Man List,by Cerridwen press with a new chapter one and a new cover.
Her second novel, The Write Man for Her, was also picked up by Cerridwen press and was released on July 6th, 2007. The Write Man for Her is now available in Print.
She just completed novel number three, Getting Back to Delaney, a fun romantic tale involving three fairy godmother type neighbors who have a penchant for interferring in other people's lives. Getting Back to Delaney was released on October 23rd and is now available as an E-Book. Ms. Walker Bos is currently working on novel number four titled, Pandora’s Closet.
AllRomance E-Books Interview
Interview: Apr 14, 2009
Wildfire would like to welcome author Christie Walker Bos
Julie: How long have you been writing? What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create characters that capture the imagination?
Christie: I've been writing since I was ten years old. I took the journalism path in college and then worked for several newspapers and trade publications. It was only recently that I started writing romantic comedies/contemporary romances. Having accumulated some life experiences—both good and bad—I finally had something to write about.
Julie: What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
Christie: My stories often come to me at two in the morning compelling me to get to the computer or a pad of paper and write down the basic storyline, almost a synopsis. Then when it's time to actually write the story, I make an "action list" for the chapter. From that point on, I fly by the seat of my pants.
Julie: What influenced you to get published? How long did it take for your first book to get published?
Christie: I've had a lifetime of being published, so for me, it wasn't "Would I be published?" but by who. I'd had several non-fiction titles published before I switched over to fiction, so I knew…or thought I knew how to go about getting published. But fiction is a whole different animal and after a year of sending my first novel around, through an agent, no less, I decided to self-publish through a print-on-demand site. That worked very well for me and I sold enough of that first novel—The Magical Man List—to make back my investment. Then at a writer's conference I had an appointment with Raelene from Ellora's Cave and discovered they had a contemporary fiction line as well, Cerridwen Press. I pitched book number two—The Write Man for Her—and they were interested. After that, they also re-printed my first novel with a slightly new title—Magical Man List—and a new cover. Since then, I've had a third novel published with Cerridwen—Getting Back to Delaney. All three novels will make you laugh and end with you saying "Ahhhh."
Julie: When you write, is atmosphere important? For example, do you use mood music or candles? Do you need complete quiet to concentrate?
Christie: Since I work all day at a computer for my job as an editor, the last thing I want to do is write on the computer. For me, the computer doesn't let my creative juices flow. So when my work day is done, I move out to the living room, sit in a big comfortable leather chair with a yellow pad of paper and pen. I write each chapter longhand and then on another day, I type what I've written into the computer, usually at night when I'm tired of thinking.
Julie: What are the elements of a great romance for you?
Christie: I want believable characters and situations. After reading one of my novels, my readers should feel that what happened to the heroine could happen to them. In order to make my characters and story come to life, it has to be real.
Julie: Do you have a habit that you know you will never change?
Christie: I can't see ever writing my books on a computer. I love the feel of placing pen to paper. For me, computers are just smart typewriters. But my creative writing takes place in a dozen different locales—under a tree, on a plane, at the beach, camping—places where I don't want to haul my computer.
Julie: Out of all of the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
Christie: I love Delaney. She's determined to succeed with her art gallery and doesn't want any help. She wants to do it herself. She's lost who she really is along the way and spends the book re-discovering the real Delaney—hence the title, Getting Back to Delaney. She reminds me of my struggle to be the best writer I can be.
Julie: What do you do when you aren't writing? Any hobbies or special interests that you can tell us about?
Christie: Besides writing, I am a jewelry maker and have my work in three locations up here in Big Bear Lake. When my brain is too tired to think, I pull out my jewelry-making supplies and keep busy designing new items. I never make the same piece twice, mostly because that bores me, but it also makes every item unique and one-of-a-kind. When I'm not writing or making jewelry I'm outdoors hiking or snowshoeing, camping or traveling. Life is too awesome to miss even the tiniest moment. You can probably tell I'm a bit hyper. If you ever find me sitting still looking out a window, you can beat that I'm writing a scene or playing out dialogue in my head.
Julie: Do you ever experience writer's block? If you do, how do you cope with it?
Christie: Since I don't force myself to write every day, when I do sit down to write it flows like an unstoppable river. I have six novels outlined and waiting for me. All I have to do is read the short synopsis I've written and then I'm off.
Julie: Are there any absolutely-must-have characteristics for your heroes or heroines?
Christie: Sense of humor. Since my personal tagline is: Where Love and Laughter Meet, my characters are usually witty and have the ability to laugh at a situation and themselves.
Julie: The editing process is so critical. In your opinion, what are the most important aspects of the editor/author relationship?
Christie: Trust. You have to trust your editor. You won't always agree but you need to trust their judgment. My editor at Cerridwen Press, Kelli C., is awesome. Not only does she catch all my bloopers but she lets me know when I've made her LOL, which is very important when you're writing romantic comedy.
Julie: Dealing with writing deadlines can be a challenge. What do you do to cope with the stress?
Christie: Stress, what stress? I put more stress on myself with internal deadlines than are put on me by my publisher. Working at home I have more time than most since there is no commute involved going to and from work. When I have a deadline, I buckle down and "Git her dun."
Julie: If you weren't writing romance, what would you be writing?
Christie: Nothing. Romantic comedy is my passion. I can't imagine writing anything else and until I run out of stories, I don't see a need to change.
Julie: What's next for you?
Christie: I had a consultant tell me my dialogue was terrific and so I'm going to attempt to write a…screenplay. I know, scary, but I figure a screenplay is ninety percent dialogue and ten percent description of action. My plan is to take that first novel, The Magical Man List and turn it into a screenplay. Currently I'm working on the final draft of novel number four and then I'm off to try my hand at writing a screenplay. Once that is finished, I'll go back to writing novels since I have several in the queue shouting, "Pick me. Pick me."
A hopeful romantic, professional photographer, multi-published non-fiction and fiction author of books and articles, editor for the optical industry, professional jewelry maker, peace advocate, environmentalist and feminist, Christie Walker Bos has embraced her love of romantic comedy with her three published novels from Cerridwen Press—Magical Man List, The Write Man for Her, and Getting Back to Delaney.
Women on Writing Interview
WOW: Christie, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. Why did you choose to become a romance writer?
Christie: I’ve been a writer all my life, and since I’ve just turned 54, that’s a good long time. I started in 7th grade by writing essays for various contests, and when I actually won a couple, it really sparked my interest in writing. I began writing contemporary romance back in 2000 after taking a rather unusual route to finding my soul mate. After telling the story over and over again to friends and watching them double over with laughter, I figured I had a pretty good story to tell. I turned my real life experience of making a “man list” and creating a sacred ceremony into my first fictional novel, The Magical Man List.
WOW: What a great way to get started as a writer--using your own magical man list as a basis. I think many of us would actually like to check out that list! So, besides your own life experiences, what draws you to the genre?
Christie: When I think about what movies I like the best, my favorites are always quirky romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, No Reservations, and one of my favorites…Only You with Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei. This type of story has always captured my imagination; so when it came to writing novels, I gravitated to this genre. When it comes to reading, I love the smart-ass romantic comedies, humorous murder mysteries if you can call them that. I like my characters to be witty and have that snappy come back, not slapstick falling down laughter.
WOW: Your book definitely reminds me of that movie genre. Wouldn't it be absolutely fantastic if some (or all!) of your books could be made into movies? Every writer's dream, right? With working a "real job" too, what is your writing routine like?
Christie: Since I spend the day at the computer for my “real job”—a journalist for a trade publication in the eye wear industry—when I want to be creative I need to be anywhere other than in front of a computer. So I’ve worked out this crazy way of writing my novels. I start by writing my first draft using a pen and pad of yellow paper (easier on the eyes than white). When you are writing a 90,000 plus word novel, that will give you quite the writer’s bump. Then I put on my typist hat and type each chapter (usually as I complete each one) into the computer. Then I print out a hard copy and let it cool off like a cake. When I return to the hard copy, I find a comfortable chair and a red pen. Wearing my editor hat, I mark up the copy with corrections, additions and deletions. Back to the computer once more, I enter all the corrections and make another print out. This copy goes to three trusted readers who then mark up the manuscript again. Back to the computer once more to input corrections and make more changes. After all of this, I finally have a manuscript I can send to my editor at Cerridwen Press. If she accepts the manuscript for publication—and I’ve had three accepted and published through Cerridwen so far—then she will mark up my manuscript one more time. More corrections, more re-writes and then finally, it is done; and I have a glass, no, a bottle of wine to celebrate! The celebration is short-lived though, since by then, I’m already working on the next novel.
WOW: Obviously that system works for you, and it sounds like you have been very successful with it so far! Plus, every writer needs to celebrate with a good bottle of wine. What are some of the benefits to having your books in e-book format?
Christie: One benefit to me as an author is my novels see the light of day much faster than if they went through a print publisher, which has an extremely long wait time from the signing of the contract to the book being on the shelf. Another thing I like is my novels reach a whole new market and group of people on-line. Cerridwen actually publishes my novels twice—first as an e-book and then as a print trade paperback. This allows my novels to reach two different markets. I must say, most of the people who read my novels prefer to wait for the print version, stating that they like cuddling up with “a good book.” Of the three novels currently published by Cerridwen Press, three are available as e-books and one, The Write Man for Her, is now available in print. Another benefit of an e-book over a print book is the price. The Write Man for Her in print is $9.99 while it only costs $6.99 as an e-book.
WOW: It's really nice that your company publishes all your novels in e-book and as a hard copy! That's a great idea and nice for you to appeal to all types of readers. So, let me ask you, what makes contemporary romance different than other romance genres?
Christie: I believe contemporary novels are more grounded in reality. There are no witches, shape shifters, space ships, or knights in shining armor, not that I have anything against those types of romances, but in a contemporary romance you are dealing with the here and now. When I’m writing a contemporary novel, I am mindful of what is going on in the world right now and keep the dialogue and situations very real. I do a lot of research on the location, so I can shape my characters based not only on when they live but where they live as well. I treat the location as a silent character that shapes and impacts the novel in subtle ways.
WOW: You bring up a very interesting point about the setting of your book. Since I have read one of your books, I can definitely see how setting is almost like another character for you. Your story could not happen just anywhere. In your book, The Write Man For Her, your main character, Jessica, is attracted to her creative writing professor. How much of you is in this book since you are a successful author?
Christie: Sometimes it’s hard to separate reality from fiction. I would say there is a part of me in every one of my characters, even my heroes. I’ve had friends and family read my novels and comment that a particular line was “so you.” But they also recognize themselves in certain characters as well. I borrow liberally from everyone I meet—personalities, mannerisms, ways of speaking, quirks, and even funny phases—no one is safe. I saw this wonderful t-shirt that said, “Beware, you could end up in my next novel.” That is so true.
WOW: I've seen that t-shirt before, too, and I thought I should get one of those. I'm always using my friends' names in my creative work. So, not only do you have the hero and heroine in your book, you've also got the antagonist. Simon! UGH! He's such a jerk. Is it easier for you to write about the villain or the hero in your books?
Christie: I must admit, I love a good bad guy. You meet so many jerks in life that it’s easy to come up with plenty of examples of what you don’t want in a man. I find it far more difficult to come up with a realistic hero…someone who is basically good but not a saint. I married one of those heroes, but he was one out of the 50 jerks I dated before I found him. So I find there is plenty of “material” out there to create believable male villains and not as many examples of wonderful men. I have to be more creative in that department and rely on wishful thinking.
WOW: Another great point, which I think all women can relate to who are reading this blog post. We've all met the jerks, and I think many of them creep into our creative writing--EASILY! Every leading lady needs a sidekick, and in this book, it is the delightful best friend, Cath, and Jessica's bird, Merlin! What made you give Jessica a bird as a pet?
Christie: My kids had birds for pets when they were young. We had finches and a parakeet but our favorite was a cockatiel that we hand raised. Of all the characters in the book, Merlin the bird is the only one who is portrayed exactly feather for feather. No worries there about being sued or anything. All the other characters are composites of people, personalities, and my overactive imagination.
WOW: I'm glad to hear that Merlin is based on a real bird. I loved him in the book! So, then how much fun did you have writing about Cath?
Christie: Cath is that kind of person who says what other people only think. She’s always out there, in your face, making you do the very thing she’s afraid to do herself. Cath is my inner voice before my conscious mind takes over and makes me say and do the right thing. I liked her so much that I wrote a short story starring Cath. "Stakeout for Love" is a new FREE read available from Cerridwen Press, starring the aforementioned Cath. The idea of the free read is to give readers a taste of an author’s style with the hope being that they will like what they read and go onto buy one of the author’s other novels. "Stakeout for Love" debuted on March 23rd. Hopefully your readers will check it out along with my other novels at ChristieWalkerBos.com .
WOW: Christie, thank you so much for taking the time to share so much wonderful information with The Muffin today. We'll definitely have to check out your short story, "Stakeout for Love." And I hope all readers will take my advice and read The Write Man For Her. You won't be disappointed!