Welcome to today’s blog where I am delighted to have as my very special guest Christina Berry. Christina’s debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, will be released by Moody Publishers later this month!
As a single mom and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time out of her busy schedule to write about the heart and soul of life. She lives with her family in rural Oregon. Get to know her better at http://www.christinaberry.net/ and http://www.authorchristinaberry.blogspot.com/
Thank you for having me!
Tell me about your novel.
The Familiar Stranger—formerly known as Undiscovered—is about a couple going through a really rough patch in their marriage. When an accident incapacitates the husband, their relationship must be redefined. Which would be a lot easier to do if BIG secrets from his past didn’t raise their ugly heads. Despite the upheaval, the choices they make involving forgiveness and trust might allow a new beginning. Or … they might not.
You can see the back cover copy and what other authors have said about The Familiar Stranger by going to http://www.christinaberry.net/books.aspx
How did you come up with the story?
In the summer of 2006, two stories appeared in the newspaper. One was a huge, national story; the other a smaller, local-interest item. I wondered what it might look like if those two stories conceived a child. Boom! I had the entire plot for The Familiar Stranger. It will be interesting to see if readers can figure out which stories inspired the book.
Tell me about receiving The Call.
My agent, Sarah Van Diest, had been back and forth with me on the phone and over email for a few weeks as two houses were showing a lot of interest in what was then titled Undiscovered. House “A” had said they would be making an offer, but nothing concrete came in. House “B” was rushing the project through so they could compete. Being a compulsive email checker, I actually found out House B—Moody—had come through with an offer about three minutes before I answered The Call. Instead of breaking the news to a clueless author, Sarah had to listen to me shriek with excitement for a few moments before she could even speak!
What takeaway value do you hope readers receive after reading your novel?
The recent changes in my life—losing my husband, facing finding a “real” job, selling my home—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.
I love that – Live Transparently-Forgive Extravagantly! That’s truly how we should live.
What part does God play in your writing?
I believe He guides the story, adding layers I’m not even capable of comprehending while I write it. I’m not great at starting my writing time with prayer, but I try to stay open to where He might lead me.
I see writing as one of the tools He uses to form me into His image—a tool to teach me patience, self-control, determination, reliance on Him, and other life lessons. I also see writing as a gift that brings hope, fulfillment, and purpose when the rest of my life is falling apart.
How can we pray for you?
Behind every book is an author, but what I tend to forget is that the author is a real person with real struggles, doubts, and hardships. This happens to be a period of pain, growth, and change in my life. I would love to be held up with prayers for the following: grace and strength to show Christ’s love to everyone I come in contact with, the ability to find joy wherever possible, and financial, emotional, and spiritual safety for my family as we continue the transition to a single parent home.
What fun facts may surprise your readers about you?
I was the team captain and second answerer in the speed round for our family on Family Feud in 2000 … and we won! Also, I grew up in Nigeria, West Africa, while my parents were Southern Baptist missionaries. I remember being awed at the selection of toilet paper in the grocery store when we returned to the States.
Christina, it has been a pleasure to have you as my guest today. I pray God’s richest blessings on you as you continue writing for Him!
Thanks for having me, Edwina. I enjoyed talking with you.
Christina is celebrating the debut of her first novel in two incredible giveaways.
1. She will be giving away 10 copies of The Familiar Stranger on September 30 and again October 31. Leave your comment on this blog to be entered into the two drawings. Just think – if you win a copy, when Christina publishes her 100th book, you can say “I own an original, first edition of The Familiar Stranger.”
2. Check out Christina’s humorous newsletters at: www.ashberrylane.net/update/aspx Just by signing up, you will be entered to win a 4GB iPod Shuffle or free books for the life of my writing career. “Hey Christina, can I sign up??”
Tomorrow, Christina will be visiting Nikki Raichart http://beinggratefullygrounded.blogspot.com/