Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Interview with Christine Thackaray

This week I'm interviewing Christine Thackeray. She's a wife and mother and a multi-published author.

Christine, I’m so excited to learn more about you and your books.
What are your books’ names?

My first book came out in 2008 called "Crayon Messages: A Visiting Teaching Adventure." Then I co-authored a non-fiction book entitled "C.S. Lewis Latter Day Truths in Narnia." This Mother's Day I have a short gift book coming out called "Could You Be an Angel Today?" And my next visiting teaching adventure should be out by this summer called "Lipstick Wars."

Are your books fiction or non-fiction?
My books are both fiction and non-fiction. My WIP is historical fiction so I guess I'm all over the place.

What was your inspiration?
My first book was inspired by real visiting teaching experiences, as is "Lipstick Wars." I suppose I like to write about the silent struggle of being a full-time mom. It's the hardest, loneliest but most satisfying work I know.

What is the setting of your book?
"Lipstick Wars" is set on a high end cul-de-sac in a typical Midwest town. The only problem is that every home on the street is a veritable mansion except for the shabby Victorian shack at the end of the road, painted the same blue as tacky eye shadow.

Who are your main characters?
With a new baby and an escaping toddler, Lindsay is at her wits end. Her husband is constantly working overtime, and she feels overwhelmed and embarrassed by her fixer upper. The women from church invite her to walk in the morning. Desperate for friends she agrees, only to inadvertently kill the walking group altogether. Lonelier than ever (and thinking most of the people in the ward hate her) Lindsay finds herself at the door of a eclusive artist after chasing her little boy up a gravel road. These two women, who are so different, change each other's lives for the better and make miracles happen.

In what ways do you think you are like them?
I have always thought of myself more as the young mother but I turn 50 this year, so maybe I'm the reclusive crazy artist. Yikes. Whichever I am, I think I'm like both of them because I believe friends should come in every shape and size. One of my best friends is an edgy, young mom with a new baby and a hot temper, another is a retired social worker that makes me laugh until I pee my pants, and another is a freshman in college. I would much rather have a bouquet made up of a variety of unique and beautiful flowers than two dozen plain roses. Reaching beyond our comfort zones to find lasting friendships just makes life better.

In what ways are you different?
Lindsay hasn't figure out that you can't do it all yet and is burning herself out. I figure life is a smorgasbord and you can only take so much before you puke. So pacing yourself is really important. She ultimately learns to let the small things go. Eat the frosting and leave the cake-that's my motto.

What is your favorite scene in the book?
The first scene I wrote was a powerful one where Lindsay finds out a neighbor down the street with no children that always seems so perfectly put together has had a miscarriage. The last thing in the world she wants to do is go visit her, but she knows she should. I loved the scene where these two women, one with everything and the other with nothing, discover each other, but after writing the rest of the book the characters had evolved and the dynamics of the scene had changed. After many rewrites I think it turned out
really strong, but it was interesting to have to adjust the scene to match the real personalities of my characters rather than the ones I had guessed they would turn out like when I started the project. (I don't think I'll ever write out of order again.)

After you wrote the book, how long did it take you to get it published?
When I finished this story it was twice as long as it is now. I sent it in and it was rejected so I killed some subplots, cut it in half and tried again. I was shocked when it was accepted. It's a year later than I wanted it to come out, but I think it turned out sharp and will really ring true to those who read it.

Have you been published before?
My first book came out a little over a year ago, as I said above, but what I didn't say was that I had sent out my first manuscript to every LDS publisher I could find and was totally rejected. I finally gave up writing but my sister approached me about a project she was working on. After I finished working with her I realized that my first manuscript was much too long. I cut it from over 600 pages to 200 and it was accepted.

How did the publisher let you know your book was being considered for publication?
I got the contract in the mail. No one has ever told me by email. I'm always pleasantly surprised by a big bulky letter.

What did you do when you found out your book was being published?
The first time my daughter opened the letter and I literally thought she was lying to me until I read it myself. Then there was a lot of screaming- happy screaming.

Where can we purchase a copy of your book?
"Lipstick Wars" should be at most Deseret Bookstores, Seagulls and at the CFI website. Look for it this summer. And pick up "Could You Be an Angel Today?" for Mother's Day 2010



Anna del C. Dye said...

Another great interview, Tina. Christine is an awesome author. Thanks again for this post. I enjoyed visiting them.

Rachel Rager said...

Great job, Tina! It's fun to learn more of Christine!

C. K. Bryant said...

Great interview, Tina. I sat at the same table with Christine at the Whitney Awards two years ago and got to know her a little. She's a great lady.

Kimberly Job said...

Great interview. I won a copy of Crayon Messages and loved it!