As part of Melissa Foster’s Awesome Support Group, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of wonderful writers and readers. Chrissie Parker is one of them. She’s just getting ready to release her first book, a paranormal suspense/thriller called INTEGRATE, and I’m thrilled to feature her.
Chrissie lives in London with her husband and is a freelance Production Coordinator working in the TV, documentary and film industry. She is also an author. Integrate, a suspense novella, is her first release. She is currently working on two suspense books due for release in 2014. One is set in Egypt, and the other on the Greek Island of Zakynthos.
Chrissie is passionate about history, archaeology and travel, and has completed two 6-month Archaeology and Egyptology courses with Exeter University. She also likes to read, collect books and listen to music.
To find out more about Chrissie visit her website http://www.chrissieparker.com
Twitter – @Chrissie_author
1. Hi, Chrissie. Welcome to Blue-Brown Books! How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?
I would describe it as a slightly dark, suspense/thriller with paranormal elements. It highlights how one person’s irresponsible and thoughtless actions can have a far reaching and devastating effect on other people, as well as highlighting the importance of family.
2. How did you get the idea for the novel?
The book is actually based on a screenplay I wrote in the 1990’s. I trained as a Media Production Assistant, and I had always wanted to write a screenplay and produce it. Integrate was written, but it got stuck in a box in my attic and never got made into a film.
I re-discovered it recently and loved the story, so I decided to turn it into a novella instead. It was a lot of hard work changing it, but I’m glad I did as I think the story works well.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The rough outline of a story came first, and characters quickly followed. Choosing the title was fairly easy, it’s a play on words, because of the way the characters all relate to each other. The lives of all of the characters literally integrate.
4. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I am most proud of the last chapter. Jack’s actions throughout most of the book are completely futile, and he has no idea that fate has already intervened, and that there is nothing he can do to stop what is coming.
I really enjoyed writing the last chapter, knowing what was going to happen. I felt like I was there watching the whole thing happen as I was writing it. It was a huge build of tension, and I could have written it in many different ways, but there was only one choice in the end, and the last chapter closed the circle on the story beautifully.
5. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?
I am pretty happy with it as it is, but if I was forced to go back and change one thing, I may have chosen to reveal Jack’s identity much later in the book. By doing that it may have made more of a punch, but I wanted to stay true to as much of the original screenplay as I could, and Jack was one of those characters that just wanted to be there showing his hand right from the start!
6. What inspired you to write your first book?
I know many authors say it, but I have always wanted to write. When I was at school I was always writing poems and short stories. I even wrote a 200 page ‘book’ when I was about eleven years old. It has something that has always stayed with me and I have boxes in the attic filled with half-finished manuscripts and poems. I never found a subject that really inspired me until recently. Now I can’t stop!
7. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
I have learned many things, but to me the most important thing is if you are going to be a writer, do it properly. Don’t rush the process, take your time and learn your craft. Don’t struggle on with a book if it isn’t right or if you’re not enjoying writing it. I would also say take any advice and criticism where it is given, you may not always agree with it but you can definitely learn from it. I would also recommend using a professional cover designer and a structural editor and proofreader, if your work contains mistakes, it will put people off. It is your name on the cover, and the last thing you want to do is let yourself down. Lastly, always be professional.
8. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?
I like creating the story, seeing where it and characters will take me. I really enjoy researching, delving into books, visiting libraries and museums. I have a big passion for history and archaeology and my forthcoming books will all have these elements. I’m a very creative person and writing allows me to be that person.
I think my least favourite part is that last check before publishing, shutting the world out and painstakingly going through the manuscript to catch any problems. It’s a draining process, but it has to be done and in some ways is the most important thing a writer will ever do!
9. What book are you reading right now?
I am currently reading Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan. At this time of year I always stock up on Christmas-related books; I love them!
10. What’s up next for you?
I am currently working on two full-length novels that will be released next year – an archaeological suspense set in Egypt, and a World War Two suspense set in Zakynthos, Greece. I am also working on plots for another three historical suspense books set in Jordan, Italy and the UK!
11. Do you have any advice for other writers?
I know I have mentioned this already, but take any advice or criticism you are given, most of it is there to help not to hinder. Write about things you have a passion for; it will help and shine through in your manuscripts. Read a lot; reading really helps, but never plagiarize or steal because that’s just wrong. Enjoy what you do; it’s meant to be fun!
12. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope that you enjoy my work, and thank you for taking a chance on me, and reading it. The support is much appreciated. I would also like to take the opportunity thank you, Mishael, for interviewing me on your fantastic blog.
You’re very welcome, Chrissie. Stop by anytime! 🙂