I had the honor of being an influencer for Christy Barritt’s debut novel. I’d never been an influencer before and wasn’t sure what all it involved, but I did know it meant a free book. With a heroine who does cleaning jobs—okay, crime scene clean-up, but that’s pretty close—how could I resist? So I didn’t. Hazardous Duty, a chick lit mystery, was a really fun read (you can find a review on my website http://www.jennesswalker.com/ ), and Christy is an amazing writer. So, without further ado, let me introduce Christy Barritt.
JW: How did you get into writing?
CB: Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved stories. I’ve always had a great imagination and I spent a lot of time spinning tales. I remember writing my first “book” when I was in elementary school. It was about a turtle named Myrtle. In high school, I wrote my first complete novel! I continued pursuing my passion to write when I went to college and studied communications. After graduation, I got a job at a Christian publishing house. After working there three years, I left and began to work on my own writing again. I’ve been doing that ever since.
JW: A turtle named Myrtle? Now that sounds like a great read. Do you have a specific purpose for writing?
CB: Lately, it’s been impressed on me that I need to write in order to express truths. I’ve got a big heart for Christians who have been hurt by the church and I think my writing reflects that. I want to portray Christians honestly, so we can look at ourselves and realize the areas that need improvement. I also write to bring a sense of adventure and humor to those who read. Most of all, I write because I know that’s what God’s called me to do.
JW: Tell me about your writing space and routine. And how has having a child changed that routine?
CB: I wish I had some great and inspiring stories to tell you about my awesome writing space and routine. HOWEVER—my routine right now is mostly that I write on Tuesdays and Thursdays while my mother watches my 16-month-old, Eli. He’s banned from my cluttered little office, you see. At first, he just went through my drawers and disorganized them, pulled books off my shelf and gleeful poured dirt from my potted plant onto the carpet. The other day, however, he turned off my computer. The hard drive is on the floor and someone brilliantly designed it so that the “on” button lights up.
JW: Oh, no. Please say no…
CB: Well, little Eli just couldn’t resist. He pressed it. In doing so, I lost pages of work. Now, HE’S BANNED! I’m still trying to figure out how to balance writing with having a child. It’s challenging.
JW: I hear ya. It’s hard enough babysitting a dog who likes to poke his head in front of my screen and press mmmmmmmmmm. Okay, got a little carried away there. Challenging or not, you do a great job! Now, you do a lot of articles, novels, and non-fiction books. Do you have a favorite?
CB: Fiction is definitely my first love. I love the whole story world and creative process. Non-fiction helps to pay my bills, though!
JW: So how do you get the ideas for your stories?
CB: Everywhere! And honestly, one of the reasons I love writing for the newspaper is that I get so many “ideas” from the people I’ve interviewed (not directly, mind you). For instance, my next book (The Grim Sweeper) deals with an Elvis Tribute Artist. I got the idea after interviewing an Elvis impersonator for a story. When I saw how ga-ga some women were going over this man, I knew I had to use a fake Elvis in one of my stories. Usually, I have so many ideas that I don’t know what to do with them all. It’s hard to narrow them down. But somehow, I do. I usually pick the one that I can’t get out of my mind!
JW: I definitely hear you on that. So, Christy, you are one busy woman, but when you’re not writing, what are some of your favorite things? To do, to eat, whatever.
CB: My favorite things…I love singing and playing the guitar. I love musicals and dogs (I even have two!). I also love watching people and being a student of human behavior. My favorite thing in the whole world lately is just watching my son learn. It’s amazing! Really!
JW: My dad tried to teach me how to play the guitar. Those lessons went about as well as the stick shift lessons. I could give advice from that, but I’d rather hear some from you. Two bits of random advice—one writing-related and one not.
CB: Writing advice: Keep at it! Writing requires a lot of determination and perseverance. Use your setbacks to make you stronger. Rejection letters can often offer good advice to make you a better writer. Pushing ahead in seasons of dryness will strengthen your character. Learning the basics of the craft will make you more knowledgeable. One bit of non-writing related advice would be to enjoy the journey and not get distracted by whatever your end goal is. Life is short and we have to make the most of each day. I recently found myself in a situation where I’d taken on too much, and I was just miserable. All of the things I was doing would led me steps closer to where I wanted to be professionally, but it wasn’t worth it to feel so tired, lonely and overwhelmed.
JW: Thanks so much, Christy, for sharing with us. Folks, check out Hazardous Duty, a chick lit mystery that will keep you guessing…and laughing. And be watching for the sequel to be released from Kregel. I had a sneak peek at The Grim Sweeper, and it’s even better than its title. To learn more about Christy, check out her website at http://www.christybarritt.com/.