Monday, November 22, 2010

Meet C.A. aka Christine Verstraete, Tuesday's Guest Blogger

Tuesday the 23rd, is the scheduled day for C.A. (Christine) Verstraete's blog stop here, but since she provided me with such a wealth of material, I'm starting early. Today, meet C.A. as she reveals how she became a writer and frankly answers interview questions.

Here's what Christine says about getting hooked on writing:

     C.A. Verstraete
I grew up with my nose always in a book, so it seemed a natural progression that I wanted to be a writer. A prophetic wish, it seems, judging from my favorite baby photo as seen on my website of me with a newspaper and a pencil behind my ear. I studied journalism and continue to do freelance writing for newspapers.

I also enjoy writing all kinds of fiction, with stories appearing in several anthologies including the recent Steampunk'd from DAW Books (coming out Nov. 2).

My kid's mystery, Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, was #1 on Kindle for Miniatures books and was a 2009 EPPIE Award finalist for best YA/children's ebook by the Epic Foundation.


1. How long have you been writing?

C.A.  Forever? Ha! For years. Being trained in newspapers, I'm used to writing every day so the real question is probably when am I not writing?

2. What is your favorite genre?

C.A.  I confess to split personality writing. I'm drawn to mysteries, horror and kid's books, so I seem to write about the same as what I like to read. I love a good scare.

3. What's been the hardest thing you've written so far?

C.A. I'd have to say that learning more about science fiction-type writing has been interesting and a great challenge. I learned about a whole new category when writing my story for the Steampunk'd anthology and had a lot of fun doing it. Some of my stories had some magical and supernatural elements already, so I hope to try my hand at more of that.

4. If someone walked into your office, what would they see?

C.A.  Stuff! (Or what others call junk! :>)) Being a collector and crafter, as well as a writer, you tend to collect a lot of supplies, projects and materials, besides the books and other "writerly" items.

5. Is there a particular author who influenced you?

C.A.  I have several favorite authors, though I think Stephen King and Dean Koontz rank at the top. I also enjoy reading mystery authors like Margaret Grace, Elaine Viets, and others.

6. What made you decide to sign with Muse It Up Publishing as people are generally leery of new houses?

C.A. It sounded like an interesting venture and I have to admit I am impressed with how thorough and professionally it's being run. The openness is also refreshing. Publisher Lea Schizas has a good reputation and runs a tight ship.

7. What has been your worst experience since you became an author?

C.A. I'm sure just about every author has horror stories and bad experiences to share. A few things I learned along the way are the value of openness, open accounting, especially where fundraising and royalties are concerned, and the importance of checks and balances.

8. What has been your most positive experience?

C.A.  Growing as a writer. Seeing my work published in new anthologies and working with new publishers has been a fun experience for me.

9. What constitutes a good book, in your opinion?

C.A.  A good story. Nothing is more enjoyable than spending time with characters you like (or sometimes even hate!) and want to know better.

10. Which of your books is your favorite?

C.A.  I've learned something different with each book or story I've written, so in that respect, they all are special. I've enjoyed writing, and trying new things with each one, whether it was delving into past history and fantasy as I did in my story, The Dream Child (Dragons Composed), developing a friendship (and conflict) between pals Sam and Lita (Searching for a Starry Night), learning about time travel (Timeshares), or writing horror with a macabre sense of humor (The Killer Valentine Ball).

11. If you were asked by a new author for advice, what would you tell that person?

C.A.  Write every day. Writer's block is an excuse. If one story isn't working, write something else.

12. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

C.A.   I enjoy crafting and working in miniature. I collect dollhouse miniatures and like to make many things myself. (Click miniatures on my website for some samples.)

12. What can we expect from you in the future?

C.A.   More! Haa! I'm continually working on new projects. See my website and blog for updates.

Book page:

Tomorrow, be sure to come back to learn Christine's 10 Tips to Better Writing, and also read an excerpt from her light gore, The Killer Valentine Ball.

The Killer Valentine Ball
Author: C. A. Verstraete
Cover Artist: Delilah K. Stephans
Word Count: 3,094
Pages: 15
ISBN: 978-0-9865875-6-6
Price: $0.99
Release date: October 1, 2010
Warning: Light gore

Please welcome C.A. with a comment below. It would be much appreciated.


  1. Good post. Glad to see you continuing on with the VBT. Killer Valentine was an interesting twist.

  2. Welcome, C.A. I'm always glad to see you here.


  3. Welcome, C.A. Looking forward to reading the steampunk anthology.

  4. Thanks Morgan for hosting me, and for a two-day run too!

    Ron thanks for stopping, too.

    Elaine thanks for stopping. (Just finished Half-Price Homicide. Loved it! (tho I bet there'll be problems in the future with Helen and her beau; like the tv shows right? Gets boring if they're too happy? ha!)

  5. Hi C.A.,

    What interesting genres you write in...horror and children's lit. The two seem like they couldn't be farther apart. I guess you have to be careful which hat you're wearing when!

    Thanks for the interview ladies.


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