Christine has worked in corporate America for over 30 years. She is currently in banking as an accountant.
Her love for writing was always there, but never acted upon until the age of 49. Her life experiences, such as, teenage pregnancy, single motherhood, a victim of a violent crime and a 10 year turbulent marriage catapulted into writing. It was her way of releasing all the painful memories, not knowing there was something more this journey. As she began to write in a biographical sense, she saw a way to enhance her story by turning it into women’s contemporary fiction. Her first book, To Begin Again, is just that. It is some of Christine’s real life experiences intermingled with fictional twists.
Christine is a woman who believes nothing happens by chance. Instead, she believes everything occurs in our lives for a reason and precisely when they’re meant to happen. She also believes it’s never too late to achieve your dreams!
Her book has been in publication since 4/4/2012 and Christine is working on two other projects, one which she hopes to complete sometime in 2013.
About “To Begin Again”
Birmingham, Alabama, fifteen year old Celeste Stanton’s life revolves around the strict religious upbringing of her aunt Ruby Stanton who has raised her since birth after her mother’s death.
Her world consists of church and more church. But when the pastor’s son, Jordon Jackson, confesses his love for her, they become more than just friends. Her first sexual encounter, changes her life forever. Shelby is born.
Becoming a mother at 17 would bring challenges not once but twice; Claudia is born eighteen months later; causing her to grow up faster than she could blink, but where there’s a will, there’s a way and she manages to survive with the support of her family, and best friend Joy. She experiences heartbreak, love and tragedy and learns that life is a constant; it never stays the same.
To Begin Again is the story of life's lessons; it's a story of the sheer will to persevere in spite of what obstacles may be in your way. It's a story of learning that no matter what we have been taught, no matter how much we felt we were being lectured and hovered over, it was for our good and it was all because of love. Celeste will find out all of those lessons and more.
UBAWA: When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?
Christine: I was a journal writer as a teen. I would always come home and write about my day. I wrote about what was going on in my life at the time, good or bad. That's how I was able to express myself and get things off my chest. However, I still didn't see the connection between myself and words.
When I made the decision to become an author, at age 49, I realized it was something I wanted to do all along. Writing was hidden way deep inside me.
UBAWA: How did you decide on the idea for your 1st book? 2nd book? 3rd book, etc?
Christine: This all started as a biographical project. I built the story around some real life events. I incorporated the fiction angle to bring more life and drama to the story.
UBAWA: How long did it take you to complete your first book? What was the process like?
Christine: It took about two years total. When I first started writing, I didn't have a computer. I wrote in tablets. On Christmas 2010 my daughter and son in law gifted me with my first laptop. My writing took off from there. I wrote every day. I would even keep a tablet next to me at work for when ideas came, I could jot them down. That was the process until my manuscript was done.
UBAWA: What’s so rewarding about writing books and being an author?
Christine: When someone walks up to you and says they enjoyed reading my book. When they say they can see themselves in one of the characters. When they tell me I write with integrity. If I can inspire a woman or anyone to go after their dreams just by reading my books, that is the most rewarding thing about writing and being an author.
UBAWA: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up?
Christine: In the beginning, yes. My first attempt at writing was a complete flop. The story was there, but not well developed. I had no idea how to really do this. I had all these words, but no real substance. At that time, I didn't know how to creatively bring it all together. I lacked confidence. There was a point where I wanted to just stop and throw it away.
UBAWA: There’s more to being an author than writing a book. How do you manage to handle the business side of things?
Christine: Being new to this, I haven't had the opportunity to experience that too much yet. One thing I've done was open an account that is just for the book sales. If I need to order more books or anything pertaining to that, I use that account. There is so much more I don't know and I want to learn.
UBAWA: Do you have an editor or do you edit your own books?
Christine: I have a great editor. Her name is Shonell Bacon. I met her on Facebook. She not only edits, but she teaches. She thoroughly reads your material. Her comments made me feel like I was in a classroom. I had two edits. The first showed me all that I was doing wrong. I took all of her comments and advice and revamped my entire manuscript. When I returned it for a second edit, it was right!
UBAWA: Who does the cover art for your book(s)?
Christine: The cover was done by another facebook friend, author Samara King. She is an awesome writer of poetry and erotica. The cover art was not even something that she does for other people, but she took on my project and produced just what I envisioned.
UBAWA: Do you ever encounter writer’s block? How do you get past it?
Christine: Of course! I step away from my writing and regroup. I don't beat myself up because I can't come up with any ideas at that time.
UBAWA: How often do you write?
Christine: I try to write every day. It could be a page, paragraph, sentence or a word. If nothing comes, that's ok. I have put in the effort to think about it. I don't force it.
UBAWA: Tell us about your last book signing.
Christine: My first book launch/signing event was in July 2012. I decided to have it at a local restaurant on the Riverfront in my hometown, Wilmington, Delaware. I told my family, friends and co-workers. I sent out a mass email and posted an invite on Facebook. When the day came, I was so nervous. My stomach was doing flips! I started second guessing myself, asking myself why I thought I could be an author. What if nobody came? I knew it was just nerves, so I packed up my books and props on this hot Saturday afternoon and off I went. It turned out to be so much more than I could ever imagine.
I had a great turn out of support. There were people I knew and didn't know. It was so surreal to sign copies and take pictures. There were plenty of hugs, kisses and words of encouragement. I looked around to see my family, smiles beaming as they sat back watching me interact with all the people, something I thought I could ever do. There were those there who already read my book and told me how much my story touched them and how much they enjoyed it. I was humbled by the whole experience.
UBAWA: Beside social media, what other methods are you using to get the word out about your book(s)?
Christine: Word of mouth helps a great deal. That's where I have received most of my sales. When someone reads my book and enjoys it, they tell others about it.
UBAWA: As a Woman of Color, what inspires you the most?
Christine: The women who have read To Begin Again have told me they could see themselves in the story. I've also been told that different emotions were stirred up ranging from happiness, sadness, pain, and joy to feeling a sense of freedom. Hearing these kinds of comments mean more to me than monetary gain. Reading books by other female authors has influenced me to continue to write with passion, but most of all to be sure I maintain integrity throughout the entire process.
UBAWA: Who is your biggest influence?
Christine: My daughters are my biggest influence. I was a teen mom and when I look at the wonderful women they have become, it makes me know that regardless of what we went through, God blessed us to make it to the other side. They have always been the ones to push me and tell me I could do it.
UBAWA: Have you ever done something in the past you regret? How did you get through it?
Christine: I sure have. I was young and dumb. If I'm supposed to elaborate more, I was in my twenties and I left a club with a guy I met that night. I went back to his place and he lived with his mama in the basement. I remember him having to take me home from Philadelphia. I am so grateful God watched over me because I didn't know him from a hill of beans. He did bring me safely home and I never did anything like that again.
UBAWA: How do you get through the tough times in life when life throws what it throws at you?
Christine: Pray and keep it moving! I do my best not to let anything cripple me. I feel if I can make it through difficult times in the past, I am strong enough to make it through whatever happens in my present and future.
UBAWA: What is one goal you want to accomplish for yourself in 2013?
Christine: I would like to finish my second book titled "Belinda's Song." I want to get out there more with my book and meet people.
UBAWA: What do you have planned next?
Christine: I just want to keep writing, enjoy my grandchildren, family and live life to the fullest. I would also like to become more involved in the literary community and learn more about the craft and promotional/marketing aspects. I want to become a better writer.
UBAWA: How can readers and others in the literary community reach you?