Monday, June 13, 2016

Talking Books with 'Wild Within' Christine Hartmann

Christine Hartmann grew up in Ohio and Delaware and loves traveling to exotic, romantic settings. After a college semester in Kathmandu, her first three “real” jobs were all in northern Japan, where she lived for almost 10 years. She currently splits her career between her daytime occupation (improving the quality of veterans’ nursing home care) and her nights/weekend avocation (writing both fiction and non-fiction books). Her husband Ron Strickland is a well-known long-distance hiker and trail guide writer and the founder of the 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. Christine loves reading, pilates, bicycling, and snorkeling, and health foods that taste like they’re bad for you. You will often find her at a keyboard, a German shepherd at her side, and Ron whispering sweet edits over her shoulder.

Her latest book is book one of the Wild at Heart series, Wild Within.

For More Information

A year after a family tragedy, Grace Mori embarks on the journey of a lifetime…

Two thousand, six hundred miles of blistering heat, wilderness, and soul searching—that’s what Grace signed up for when she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s not a voyage for beginners,
but with no husband and her family still recovering from her bother’s death, Grace is more alone than ever.

This trail meant something to her brother, and she’ll hike it in his memory, but she can’t do it alone. So with her brother’s gear and a small group, Grace takes the most important first steps of her life.

Grace finds something more than peace and magic on the trail…

When her first day of hiking ends in heat stroke, Grace is rescued by a handsome, red-haired hiker who calls himself Lone Star. Grace has an immediate connection with him, and their brief encounter leaves her fearing her soul mate has slipped through her fingers. Although he vows to keep in touch, Grace doubts she’ll ever see him again.

When fears become reality, the only people Grace can rely on may be killers...

Grace is surprised to find notes left at supply posts along the trail. Lone Star’s eloquent letters keep Grace going, clinging to the hope she’ll find him—and happiness—at the end of her journey. But as the trail becomes more perilous, menace grows within the group. And when Lone Star’s letters mysteriously stop coming, Grace fears the worst. 

As tensions flare and a killer emerges, Grace must battle to survive…and reunite with the man she’s sure is her future.

For More Information

  • Wild Within is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I am lucky in that so much of what I do involves writing. I have a full-time job working at the Department of Veterans Affairs, leading studies with veterans living in nursing homes and nursing home staff. That involves writing grants. Nights and weekends I reserve for writing my books. And if I’m not doing either of those things, I’m usually writing my next installment of the Wild at Heart romance newsletter. So I’m a happy camper!

When did you start writing?

My first book, So Far Away, a memoir about my experiences with my parents’ end-of-life journeys, was published in 2011. I began working on that book in 2008.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

The pivotal point of my writing life, without question, was deciding to write my first book. Before I made the decision, I would say things like, “If I won the lottery and had lots of free time, I’d love to write books.” The pivotal decision was choosing to make time for writing, not expecting time for writing to fall into my lap. Reprioritizing how I spent my time outside of work helped me find the space to write.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

My next book is set partly in Las Vegas. I’ve been to Vegas a few times, but a refresher couldn’t hurt. It would be great to “have to” see some shows, stay in a fancy hotel, go to amazing restaurants…

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I’d work on the next installments for a trail romance series in my newsletter. I did a survey of hikers who found romance on long-distance hiking trails. Couples sent me the most amazing stories. I can’t wait to get back to writing them up.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I’d love to set a story somewhere in Europe, maybe Paris, Barcelona, or Rome.

Back to your present book, Wild Within. How did you publish it?

My agents pitched the book to publishers. We signed a contract with Limitless Publishing, a terrific smaller publisher with a wonderful group of authors.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

Wild Within is set on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a long-distance hiking trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. I did some day hikes on the PCT, but I luckily didn’t have to hike the whole thing! My husband is a long-distance hiker and trail developer. He finished the PCT in 2004, so I picked his brain for details, in addition to reading a lot about the PCT in books and online.

Why was writing Wild Within so important to you?

My first book was non-fiction. What I write for work is non-fiction. I broke into the world of romantic suspense novels with Wild Within, so it’s very important to me for that reason. It’s the first book of the Wild at Heart series, a series with two books (Book 2 will be out this fall) and counting.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I get a lot of great ideas while I’m sleeping. I think it’s because I go to bed with the story I’m writing still whirring in my mind. I assume it keeps whirring while I think I’m at rest because I frequently wake up knowing the answer to a problem I couldn’t solve the day before.

Any final words?

-Everyone says it, but life is short. For me that means spending as much time as possible with people I love, doing what I love, and helping others. When those three things align, as they sometimes do in my writing, it’s miraculous.

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