Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chris Verstraete Talks Dogs, Minis, and Other Fun Stuff

Today, we welcome Christine Verstraete who enjoys writing mysteries, children's fiction and short stories.

Besides writing her children's book, Searching For A Starry Night - (now in Kindle and coming soon in a new print version!)  Christine has had short fiction published in various anthologies including Timeshares and the upcoming Steampunk'd from DAW Books, plus in Dragons Composed and The Bitter End: Nautical Tales of Terror. Her latest spooky stories in eBook include "Motherly Love" and "The Killer Valentine Ball" (coming in Oct.)
1. Tell us about Petey, the Dachshund, and Snowy, the Malamute mix, they are too cute for words. Besides that, why are they included in your blog header at Candid Canine ? Is either one included in any of your books?

I know you're a big dog fan, Morgan. I love dogs, too, (Hi Rascal!) and try to add them to most of my fiction.

The funny thing is I add a dog to all my dollhouses and miniature rooms, too. (One project, The Dogcatcher's House, has at least 100 dogs. See my website and click miniatures.)

Petey the Dachshund plays a big role in my kid's mystery, Searching for a Starry Night. Besides causing trouble, he uncovers some clues, too. Snowy, the Malamute mix, is part of my adult mystery set in a diner that I'm sending around to publishers. She's modeled after my real-life dog, Shania, whose picture (the white dog) is on my blog header.

2. When did you first get fascinated by minis, and how do they figure in your books?

I've been collecting miniatures for longer than I care to admit. Ha! I think I've always been fascinated by small things. Once I discovered there were actual dollhouse shows that sold just about everything you use in real life, only smaller, I was hooked. In Searching for a Starry Night, Sam and her friend, Lita, are searching for a lost miniature replica of Van Gogh's "Starry Night."

I also own an actual miniature oil reproduction of the painting, which can be seen at my blog here.

3. Tell us about something that happened at one of your book signings. Anyone ask you where the bathroom was? That seems to be a favorite question. (g)

Yes, I directed some people to the bathroom at Barnes and Noble. Ha! I think my most memorable, funny, and stunning experience was at a dog show. Not a good event choice, it turned out. But this one woman when asked if she liked to read admitted she only read religious nonfiction. When asked about fiction, she said, "No, I wouldn't waste my time." Well.

4. Do you prefer personal appearances over online promotion, or are they equal in your eyes?

I enjoy online promotion, but I've noticed in the last year, especially with Kindle and ebooks, etc., there is starting to be a glut of writers. We all are promoting to each other! I think it may be getting near the saturation point of too many voices in the stream, especially with more and more writers coming online. So a writer will have to make dents in other ways as well.

I also write in other genres, with a nonfiction, how-to book on miniatures coming out next year, so I wear two promotional hats. I hope to attend a miniatures show this fall and in spring which lets me share my handmade miniatures and my books. I also enjoy bookstore promotions and talking to younger readers.

5. Do you belong to any writing groups, in person and/or online?

I belong to a fantastic small critique group in Wisconsin led by science fiction writer Jean Rabe, whom I met at a book signing event. I also enjoy writing groups online through Yahoo groups. I am planning on joining Sisters in Crime in the future.

6. Do you have a set writing schedule?

As a journalist, I'm used to writing every day without fail. I continue to write nonfiction so I work on that besides fiction, short fiction, blog writing, etc. No rest for the wicked. Lol.

7. Tell us how you got involved with Mysterical-e. What do you enjoy most about being part of its process?

I've been involved with Mysterical-e as a columnist for a number of years as part of my own online presence and because I enjoy doing interviews. I like talking to other authors via my Author Snapshot column (as I did with Morgan, see her interview here and giving them another platform for their books and writing.

8. What about ebooks? Are they a good or bad thing for the book industry?

I think ebooks are an interesting innovation and any additional way to get people interested in reading has to be good. Plus, there's a lower selling price, which is also a bonus in our present economy.

9. What else would you like to say? Spill the beans for us.

A new version of Searching for a Starry Night is coming out in print shortly and is being designed as I speak. I'm hoping that readers will try either the Kindle or ebook version, or get the new print version if that is their preference.

Morgan, thanks for letting me meet your blog visitors!

Anyone commenting on any of the blog stops on the tour can win:
* One person who comments on any of the blog tour stops will win a free Kindle copy of Searching for a Starry Night. (You can download Kindle for PC free here.)
* One person will also win a miniaturized dollhouse collector's edition of the first chapter from the first print edition, made by miniaturist LeeAnn Borgia. See myblog for links and photo.

** To celebrate the revised Searching for a Starry Night, one person will win a copy of the new print version when it is available.
* Website
* Blog
* eBooks page
* Searching For A Starry Night on Kindle,

Blog Tour Schedule Next Three Stops:

Tues, 7/27: Killer Hobbies with Camille Minichino - Crafts and Writing, what comes first?
Weds, 7/28: Marian Allen's Blog at - Talking about Writing
Thurs, 7/29: Helen Ginger, Straight from Hel - Getting Kindleized
Full Schedule, including posts you may have missed, can be found at:

Okay, gang, don't forget to comment to be eligible to win a prize! Leaving an email address would be helpful to find you when you win. Think positive, but if you don't win, you can always buy the kindle from the handy Amazon link above. Thanks for visiting Double M today, Chris.
- Morgan Mandel 


  1. Hi Morgan! oops did I goof? I had 7/26 down for my blog stop here?

    anyway, thanks for posting! And Starry Night is now #1 in the Kindle Store under miniatures!!

  2. Hi Chris,
    You didn't goof. I thought I'd give you a weekend along with Monday for those who don't get to their computers during the week.

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Very interesting interview. You write in a wide variety of genres. I don't collect miniatures, but it'll be fun to hear about your how-to book on them.

    I do believe Petey is the cutest cover-dog.

  4. Hi Helen, thanks, the how to book is a lot of fun. It'll be out next spring with over 40 projects! The cover is on my website,

  5. Anonymous9:44 AM

    eBooks are a pretty awesome innovation. But I don't think they'll completely replace the traditional bound book. In fact, I'm off to the lobrary today to pickup more traditional books to read. Have a great weekend.

    Stephen Tremp

  6. Hi Chris,
    I like the cover with Petey, and just bought Starry Night on Kindle.

    Good luck with it!

    Bob Sanchez

  7. Hi Bob and Stephen, thanks for stopping by!

    Thanks, Bob (let me know how it looks on Kindle; I hear so many horrors!)

  8. Loved the interview and the picture. Being a dog lover who couldn't fall for such a cutie. I can't buy from Amazon...tears, tissue. Colorado has an internet tax law and Amazon won't sell to us. If I win give the prize to another deserving person.

    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  9. I love your cover. I don’t own a Kindle or eReader so will have to wait for the print version. What age group is your book geared toward?

  10. Hi Nancy, that's right, you live in non-Amazon land. Had an issue here in Wisc. too that discounted books couldnt' be sold here. The print book is coming.... getting close. phew! Plan to get it loaded to smashwords soon too.

    (Btw, you don't need a Kindle - you can download Kindle for pc - for your computer -- free at amaazon.)
    B&N is doing that too, as I think most are doing...

    I love the dog too; the print cover will be slightly different, just with my name and the subtitle also in dark blue.

    Jane, thanks, see above. And it's for ages 9 and up. Or good readers to adults... (or good readers and adults? ha!)

  11. Wonderful interview. Your work sound fascinating, Chris. I love dogs too, and the cover picture is adorable.

    Thanks ladies.

  12. Thanks Beverly obviously, I love dogs too!

  13. Enjoyable interview with some interesting information. The cover is cute and I'm sure it will be a popular book with kids and dog lovers! Thanks, Morgan and Chris!

  14. Thank you Connie, glad you stopped by!

  15. I had to stop in and say how I loved this post I would LOVE to read this book* adding it to my wish list lol* What a cute cover~!


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