Sunday, March 10, 2013

Interview with Catherine Leggitt, author of Payne and Misery

 

Payne and MiseryABOUT PAYNE AND MISERY

Christine Sterling has developed a reputation for jumping to wild conclusions. With such an imagination, who is likely to take her seriously when she discovers a bruised and neglected neighbor named Lila Payne? Try as she might, she cannot interest anyone in Lila’s dire need for immediate rescue. Something about crying wolf once too often. But then Lila and Christine’s beloved dog Molly both disappear the same night. If no one will help her, she must find Lila and Molly herself. Heedless of possible consequences, Christine dives headfirst into a dark pool swirling with muddy secrets and misery. Her best friend throws her a lifesaver of prayer and soon she begins to sense God at work. But even with God’s help, can Lila and Molly be saved before it’s too late? Purchase Link:

AMAZON

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The Interview

Could you please tell us a little about your book? Disillusioned and lacking purpose in early retirement, Christine Sterling is reduced to snooping on neighbors and jumping to her own conclusions where facts may be scant. Given Christine’s unsavory reputation, who is likely to take her seriously when she discovers a bruised and neglected neighbor named Lila Payne living just down the hill? Try as she might, Christine cannot interest anyone in Lila’s urgent need for immediate rescue. Something about crying wolf once too often. Then one night, Lila and Christine’s beloved dog Molly both disappear. If no one will help her, she must find Lila and Molly herself. Heedless of possible personal danger, Christine dives headfirst into a dark pool swirling with muddy secrets and misery. Her best friend throws her a lifesaver of prayer and soon she begins to sense God at work. But even with God’s help, can Lila and Molly be saved before it’s too late? Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book? Okay, I’ll admit it up front. Christine Sterling is my alter ego. My husband retired and moved us to his dream house on the other side of the state--far from my friends and family. I did my best to adjust, as is my nature, but then menopause hit. What can I say? I just wasn’t myself. I began to cry out to God for mercy. His answer came in an unexpected way. One day when I was feeling particularly low, I looked out my upstairs window and saw the little gray house at the bottom of our hill. In over two years of residence in Grass Valley, we had never met the occupants of that house. Never even seen them. I sat down at the computer without even thinking, and a story about why those people never came out poured out my fingers. I never planned to write a book, certainly not that day. But the story insisted to be told. Sometimes I would delete whole chapters because they were too preposterous. The characters would insist that I put them back. (I am aware that does sound a bit crazy. Maybe slight insanity is a requisite for good writing.) Who is your biggest supporter? No contest there. All my family has all been supportive in their way, but my biggest fan is my oldest daughter, Jule. She’s my go-to girl when I want to quit, which is once a month or so. She will not let me quit. She remembers each affirmation I’ve already received and reminds me. She reads everything I write and often adds valuable insight, particularly medical facts. Jule has kept me writing through whatever life throws my way for over ten years. Last fall at the launch party for my third book, Parrish the Thought, I was privileged to present her with an award and publically acknowledge her huge contribution to my writing. Your biggest critic? God gave us family to support us and friends to keep us accountable. I have an incredible online critique group who will not let me get away with anything. They are five wonderful women: Valerie Massey Goree, Loretta Boyett, AJ Hawke, Marcy Dyer, and Marcia Lahti. This is a group that grew out of a larger ACFW critique group. I value their input greatly. They have been responsible for many important changes in my stories, for whole new directions of thought. They teach me and keep me on track. I am very grateful to know each one of these ladies. What are you currently working on? After writing and publishing three Christine Sterling Mysteries—PAYNE & MISERY, THE DUNN DEAL, and PARRISH THE THOUGHT—I completed another novel with different characters. In DYING TO BE NOTICED, a self-reliant journalist lands a career-making assignment to write a homicide article about the sensational murder of a young schoolteacher. But she soon finds that the young schoolteacher never existed. Can the inquisitive policeman who offers assistance be trusted? And why do the details of this murder sound so familiar? Within a seemingly perfect household churns a twisted climate for breeding defiance. Random snapshots unveil the younger son’s descent into rebellion while the rage of the good son develops in secret. Did unchecked anger push two brothers to the point of murder? I am currently searching for a publisher for this book. Meanwhile, I have started a fifth novel. The ideas for each of these last two books came from dreams. Do you have any advice for writers or readers? Just a few really important things: • There is no substitute for keeping the seat in the chair. To be a writer, one must write. Every day. • Don’t expect to be fulfilled by publication. Nothing outside yourself can bring you satisfaction. Be satisfied with each part of the process. Choose to be contented, published or not, bestseller or not, monetary success or not. • Accept all criticism with grace and thanksgiving. You can find something right about whatever anyone has to say. • Keep on learning. It can always be better. You have never arrived at excellence.  

ABOUT CATHERINE LEGGITT

Catherine Leggitt is an author and inspirational speaker. A native Californian born in the Bay Area, she raised two daughters, taught school, and cared for her aging parents in southern California before retiring to the north end of the state. Proud grandmother of six brilliant children, Catherine studies the Bible, reads, serves as a leader in Bible Study Fellowship, and sings in the church choir. Catherine wrote a trilogy called the Christine Sterling Mysteries, which include PAYNE & MISERY, THE DUNN DEAL, and PARRISH THE THOUGHT. The first book won 2nd place at the Orange County Christian Writers Conference in May, 2010. It was published by Ellechor Publishing in 2011. THE DUNN DEAL and PARRISH THE THOUGHT were published in 2012 by Ellechor Publishing. PARRISH THE THOUGHT made the quarterfinals in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. In addition, Catherine has completed a fourth novel with different characters called DYING TO BE NOTICED and coauthored a memoir for Sam Contino called STREET SMARTS. When called upon to share her story, Catherine’s main themes come from Christine’s struggles in her books, which also happen to be some of the things Catherine struggles with. Thus, since PAYNE & MISERY addresses complaining, the first message, titled Always Choose Joy, centers on how to be thankful and choose joy instead of misery. The spiritual theme of THE DUNN DEAL exposes with the nature of truth. Merely having faith is not enough. What we believe matters. Catherine named the second talk, Always Choose Truth. In PARRISH THE THOUGHT, Christine learns to love unlovable people, so Catherine calls the third message, Always Choose Love.  

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