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Judy ChristieJudy Christie - After working as a journalist for twenty-five years, left the daily news business to open a consulting firm that works with individuals, businesses, and churches on strategies for meaningful life and work, including goal-setting, living fully, and balancing personal and professional lives. She is the author of Hurry Less, Worry Less; Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmastime; and co-author of Awesome Altars.

Favorite verse: Ephesians 3:20-21: ( NIV)  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

 Our interview with Judy Christie


 

What is your favorite Bible verse?

Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

How did you get started as a Christian fiction writer?

I guess it all started back at Parkview Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana, when I became a believer in Christ. The journey took me through years as a newspaper writer and editor. A few years ago, I began to write the inspirational nonfiction Hurry Less, Worry Less series.

All along the way, I nurtured an idea for a novel set in a small town in the South, with a lead character trying to find her path in life. The writing of the novel coincided with the launch of a new line of inspirational fiction by Abingdon Press, and the pieces came together almost miraculously.

What inspired the concept for Gone to Green?
 
Sitting on porch swings in North Louisiana for years and observing life at newspapers for a long time. I carry a notebook with me everywhere and have kept a journal since I was nine years old and still have all of them.  The inspiration for the novel was buried in all those notes.

I love the idea that we are each created to do something special with our lives – and that each person can change the world in his or her own way. I wanted to tell a story about that and show the basic goodness of people.

Is any part of Gone to Green factual?
  
Sure! Any Louisianan can tell you that the details about the August heat and humidity are 100 percent true. While the plot and characters are fictional, lots of the details are factual, including many of those about publishing a newspaper. The town of Green is invented, but it includes the personality of several North Louisiana towns.

How closely is Gone to Green based on your life experiences?

There is some of me in Lois, the main character, and there is now some of Lois in me. I was a reporter and editor for nearly 30 years, and that certainly played a part when I wrote Gone to Green. I have lived in the South most of my life, and that also shaped the story.

 

How did you choose the location for the setting?

This was such fun! I toyed with several places and came up with Green. It's so real to me now that I can't believe it wasn't there from the beginning. I wanted to create a town that could be a character in the book, a place readers would feel affection for, warts and all.
 
How long did Gone to Green take you to complete?
 
When I turned 50, I promised myself I would write the novel I had been thinking about for so long. I blocked off three weeks that summer and wrote most of it.  Of course, the revisions, editing, and so forth stretched on longer than that.

Do you have a favorite character in Gone to Green? Why?

It’s odd how attached I’ve gotten to all of the characters, but Lois is my favorite. She’s a strong, uncertain woman who is trying to find out who she is supposed to be. What I love about Lois is that she doesn’t always get it right, but she keeps growing. I can’t wait to see what happens in her life in novels two and three in the Green series!

Okay, I really like teen-ager Katy, too!

How much research did Gone to Green take?

I did a lot of “sponge” research for this novel, soaking up details and personality wherever I went.  I did some geographic wandering to capture the qualities of Green. And I asked a first-cousin a few questions about rural mail carriers and catfish farming. I did online research about small Louisiana and Arkansas towns, small newspapers and so forth. I even researched when the sun would rise at certain times of year.

What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing Gone to Green?

That catfish get fishy tasting when the weather is too hot.

 

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
I still have so much to learn about writing fiction. When I started on Gone to Green, I didn’t know what POV was or an ARC or even back-story … I am trying to catch up.

I have so many novels I want to write. That means I need to write more consistently and with more discipline, weaving fiction writing into my schedule more seamlessly.
 
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I absolutely love getting drawn into the story, inventing a town and people, and watching them take shape. I also have a great time playing with words. And I feel like I’m using a gift that God has given me.

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in-between?)

I’m a conflicted, enthusiastic, goal-oriented seat-of-the-pants writer.  I knew how Gone to Green would begin and how it would end … but a lot of developments unfolded along the way.  I wrote in-depth profiles of a few characters, including Lois, and the town of Green. I wanted to know the characters and setting inside and out before I started telling the story.

For fiction and nonfiction, I set deadlines for myself and try to stay on track. Otherwise, I get drawn off course by the distractions of daily life. My years as a newspaper editor drilled the art of deadlines into my being.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Yes … and who knew? This was one of the biggest surprises for me as a new novelist. They shaped the story in unexpected ways. A couple of characters are already asking me to give them their own books.

At first, I did not know if the book would be in first-person or third-person, but Lois has a strong, clear voice, and it quickly became clear that the story would be told in first-person.

 

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
  
I’m happily working on Goodness Gracious Green and Green Through and Through, the next two novels in the Green series (2010 and 2011), and getting ready to start on the nonfiction Hurry Less, Worry Less for Moms (Spring 2011).

I’m also looking forward to the release of Hurry Less, Worry Less at Work (September 2009) and Hurry Less, Worry Less for Families (Spring 2010). I’m so thankful for each of these projects!

What message would you like your readers to take from Gone to Green?

I very much hope this novel encourages readers to see life as an interesting, fun adventure and to take a leap of faith or two along the way. One of the great things about reading fiction is that each person takes different things from a book. I can’t wait to hear from readers about what they take from Gone to Green.

What is your greatest achievement?

Having my first novel published ranks right up there – with two more to come in the Green series.  Becoming the editor of my hometown newspaper when I started out as a child living in the government projects.  Running two marathons after I turned 40. Starting a business when I was in my late 40s.  Having a really fun, supportive husband. There are so many things that make me happy in life. I’m very blessed.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

I want to live God’s will for my life, bearing fruit that lasts. I very much want to encourage people through words.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I try to take my own advice every single day – slow down; enjoy life more.  I sit in the porch swing, walk in a nearby park, go to used bookstores, and scout flea markets for primitive antiques, preferably painted green. I daydream about spending a summer in Whale Cove, Nova Scotia, reading and writing and eating great food.

 


 

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