It was really hard for Red to miss the smartly dressed, fit young lady with the perfect hair sitting by the window. Christine was flipping pages on her Kindle when Red made herself at home across the table. Christine put the book down to give Red the skinny on the series and the nocturnal gems.
M3: Christine, let’s get the M3 Readers familiar with you. Can you give them a glimpse of who you are?
CN: Some writers are gifted with an unusual life and I’m certainly one of those. I’ve lived in Ohio, Virginia, California, Utah and now South Carolina. In college I was featured on the front page of the Houston Post for a lark that erased all my debt. I met my four adopted children for the first time in the sweltering heat of the tropics. I helped build several companies and was lucky enough to earn a living doing what I love best—writing—in a PR firm I owned.
M3: So, is Houston where you got your original start in the publishing industry?
CN: In my early twenties I published a short story, Night Hour, in Working Mother Magazine. Two million women read the story—I received fan mail for months afterward. Later, I owned the PR firm.
M3: Before we get down to the rest of the questions, do you have someone you want to thank?
CN: Myself. Women instinctively put everyone else first. I learned to make time for my own needs and goals.
M3: I think you must have been listening to the Saturday Evening Post! Since you brought up goals, what do you have brewing at the moment?
CN: I’ll release a dramatic novel, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, in several weeks. In April the next book in the Liberty series will appear, Second Chance Grill.
M3: You have been slaving away. How do you find the time to write so much?
CN: Working in public relations taught a respect of deadlines. I usually begin my writing day before dawn—but I am known to take naps!
M3: I bet I can pick out your poll answers! Do you have the foresight to schedule naps or is your job just that flexible?
CN: Many writers slog through the 9-to-5 and still find the energy to produce fiction. I write full-time, usually fifty hours per week. Every novel is revised, rewritten, torn apart then rebuilt. Offering readers a rich emotional experience makes all the hard work a pleasure.
M3: Fifty hours a week sounds a bit rough, Christine. I am not so sure a cat nap would cut that effort much. Do you take a vacation or go on hiatus?
CN: Great fiction needs time to germinate. My best story ideas arise when I’m jogging on a treadmill or walking my dog. They sprout when I’m baking bread or gardening. The notion that any artist can create memorable works without ample time for play is just plain silly.
M3: You are in very good company with that theory. With two books due out soon, I have to ask. Has the economy changed the way you produce?
CN: Absolutely. I’m the single mother of four young adult children. I strive to produce stellar books that readers will enjoy because my ability to sell impacts my children. I write must-read novels to ensure I have the financial means to protect them.
M3: You are preaching to the choir! Speaking of another generation, what advice do you have for the aspiring authors of the M3 Readers?
CN: Your body is a precious gift. Make time for exercise, eat well and get adequate rest. I worry about a younger generation of writers spending long hours in front of a computer. Will they lead shortened lives because of the reckless choices made today?
M3: I think that is a worry of every parent, Christine. Let’s talk industry. Tell me what you think of your colleagues.
CN: I’m incredibly grateful. My book designer, Jan Marshall, takes the time to read each novel before developing cover art. Countless critique partners have edited thousands of pages on my behalf. Book bloggers have written the lovely 4- and 5-star reviews for Treasure Me that launched my career. And readers select my works out of a treasure trove of available titles, allowing me to continue this singular journey.
Publishing is a collaborative effort. I couldn’t survive without the interest and dedication of so many other women.
M3: I know how much work you put into your novels. Do you feel the traditional publishers look down on self-published material from indie authors?
CN: They should. Too many Indie books are inferior. Stories are slapped together with little structure and less editing then spilled onto Amazon in an awful deluge.
However, small groups of Indie novelists are now forming to cross-promote stellar books. We work quietly and relentlessly to prove that excellent novels are produced independently and deserve to reach the reading public. Ironically, traditional publishers tend to snatch up great Indie writers once they’ve built a readership.
M3: It is the breaking of the Catch-22. Tell me what makes your new book close to your heart.
CN: Much of the plot of The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge arises from my experiences as an adoptive parent. It’s incredibly painful to fictionalize something as dreadful as child abuse with the knowledge that my children experienced something similar. The novel has been compared to John Irving’s Cider House Rules insofar as I’ve tried to breathe life into an uncomfortable topic that reasonable adults should broach. Every day, in every corner of the globe, children suffer physical and emotional abuse. If we begin to care then we’ll work toward change.
M3: There are other novels out there with strictly fictionalize child abuse. What makes this one different from them?
CN: The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge combines so many elements—family saga, mother-daughter relationships, terrifying drama and heartwarming resolution. The book combines romantic elements with a subtle commentary on the foster-adopt system in the U.S. And it speaks to the eternal question: Who am I?
M3: Yes, do tell me who you are. Tell me a secret, just between us.
CN: That I often write in my pajamas and rarely sleep well as the writing journey progresses. I’ve been known to rise from deep slumber with entire scenes erupting from my subconscious. And please don’t tell them that I need to make time to have my hair styled.
M3: We have so very much in common…I did not know Mantra made house calls!
CN: Here’s something else I’d rather you didn’t share: I write my novels with desperate joy. There’s nothing more humbling than the knowledge that I can make a reader feel deep emotion. A great book transcends the differences between people and connects the reader to her humanity. Stories are powerful.
M3: Indeed, they are, Christine. Sum it up for me. Give me a 15 word sales pitch. Why should the M3 Readers buy your book?
CN: My novels deliver a deep emotional experience. You won’t be able to put them down.
Dearest M3 Readers,
Please take a few moments to check out Christine Nolfi and her novel Treasure Me, available on Amazon. Visit Christine’s blog to learn more about the author and her books. Follow her on Twitter for the latest on Treasure Me, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge and her other upcoming releases. Look for an update on M3 when her newest novel is available.
Thank you for your continuous support of the talented M3 Coffee Shoppe authors. When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #authors, #books and #WW.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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