It is October, and this month I’m basing many of these posts on awethors that fit the theme of the month whether it is psychological, thrillers, horror, and anything that gives us the bumps up our arms. Today, I have a very special guest that has released her first novel “Anatomy of a Darkened Heart”. If you don’t know her yet, you are in for an awethors treat this week. Give a warm welcome to Christie Stratos!
Christie Stratos is an editor and award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies, and is an audiobook reviewer at AudioBookReviewer.com. She is also a writer of published short stories, poetry, and novels. She dabbles in all genres. Christie can be reached through her editing business, Proof Positive, her author website and blog, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
William: I’ve been itching to get a hold of your new novel these last few weeks after the cover release, Christie. Go ahead and tell the readers out there the genre of your novel “Anatomy of a Darkened Heart” and some insight on what the novel is about.
Christie: Anatomy of a Darkened Heart is historical fiction that doesn’t have any historical figures in it – it’s historically accurate to the 1840-1861 time period. It’s also heavily psychological. The question underscoring the entire novel is whether your environment (i.e. family, friends, etc.) or your true self ultimately determines who you are. It’s such a complicated question, and I feel it can be explored many times over. AoDH digs into that question in a way that can lead to disturbing realizations about life and the choices we make – and the choices made for us.
William: Now, I haven’t interviewed too many authors that have set their novels in the Victorian Era, but what made you want to write the story in this time period?
Christie: I had a vision of a girl in Victorian dress who was torn between what was really inside her and what everyone assumed must be inside her. I had that vision for quite some time before I finally started writing, still with just that vision in my head. The book is set in the 19th century because it came to me that way, and I’m glad it did. I thought I knew a lot about the 1800s, but when I realized how many nitty gritty details I didn’t know, I started having a lot of fun discovering them and integrating them into the story. Among the etiquette and beauty we see in period pieces on TV and in books, there is a startling amount of darkness in that culture, which just added to the plot and subplots of the book. I’m excited to continue uncovering more and more I didn’t know about the Victorian era and integrating those discoveries into the next four books in the Dark Victoriana Collection.
William: I find it quite amazing and unique when writers dig into their research to discover new and unique material. Here’s the cover that Christie revealed a week ago that will have you wishing you could pull it from your computer screen. If you get a chance, pick it up TODAY! You can find the buy links at the end of the interview.
William: I’ve noticed you help many authors in the writing community with editing through your company Proof Positive. Also, after reading a few comments from the authors at #Awethors group many have praised you and your team in your efforts to provide quality and speedy work. Give us some details on the services you provide for authors.
Christie: Proof Positive offers proofreading/copy editing, (developmental) editing, and beta reading that can serve as either an in-between option of the previously mentioned two services or classic beta reading with “reader-type” feedback. We are flexible, and if you need a service we don’t offer, we can accommodate it. We also offer free social media publicity both pre- and post-publication as well as a permanent spot on our site complete with buy links.
William: Wow, you are a busy lady! With writing your novels and editing other author’s work, how are you able to juggle the two without banging your head against a desk constantly?
Christie: I won’t pretend it’s easy! I love editing other authors’ work because I can see the manuscript much more clearly than the author (my editor saw my book much more clearly than me, too), and cleaning up all these beautiful gems of stories is a very rewarding experience. I have to work around my editing schedule and set aside time – whether it’s hours or minutes – to write. I often use late weekend nights to do some writing, and I take time off from my job to ensure I can release my own creativity. I have to say, though, that reading other authors’ works every day is inspiring, and it just makes the draw of writing even stronger.
William: We all know that with every great author there is always a line of books that inspired them to get to this point in their career. Are there any particular books in your library that you could not live without?
Christie: I couldn’t live without my Shakespeare collection. I have all of his works in a giant volume, plus individual works in paperback. Shakespeare was the first author to draw my interest to psychology in books – Hamlet was the first play, to be specific. I think without my Shakespeare books, I’d feel lost and a bit empty. In fact, sometimes when I travel someplace new, if I feel uncomfortable about it, I bring Hamlet or Julius Caesar or Henry V for comfort!
William: Ah, Shakespeare! I have a collection as well that I dig into time to time. Especially through the play, Hamlet. Are there any motivational quotes that are special to you?
Christie: I can’t say I have a favorite motivational quote, but what I can say is that every book I read is motivational to me. Reading excites me and makes me want to write, and exploring various genres and writing styles teaches me what I do and don’t like as well as what readers do and don’t like. All of that adds up to the greatest motivation and inspiration to me.
William: What groups or people have brought you to this milestone in your writing?
Christie: My parents always encouraged me in writing, playing music, and sports. Anything I wanted to try, they gave me the opportunity. From there, I was able to figure out what I liked and didn’t like, then what I loved and didn’t love, and finally what I couldn’t live without. It all came down to writing, and have that definite knowledge thanks to them. I also had a World Literature professor in college who showed me how much more literature was built from than just imagination. He used to compare every single thing we read in class to current events and show how that piece of literature was all still relevant, no matter how fantastical or out of date it seemed. This changed my whole style of writing, and there’s a distinct difference between my writing before and after college because of him. And today, I have the #Awethors group, and they took the fear and nerves out of self-publishing. They’ve given me and everyone else in the group so much help and support, there’s no need to feel uncertain. All of those things are more than I ever could’ve asked for.
William: Before we wrap it up, do you have any tips for shy writers that might be hesitant on publishing their work?
Christie: For every writer there’s a reader, and for every reader there’s a writer. That’s why there are so many genres and subgenres and sub-subgenres. And if it’s bad reviews you’re afraid of, visit any bestselling author’s Amazon or Goodreads page to see the bad reviews they’ve gotten – because every single author has them. It’s just the nature of the job. And if you’re too shy to put your own name on your writing, use a pen name. Whatever you do, just get out there and achieve your dreams!
William: Thank you for your time today on “Interview with the Awethors”. It was an honor and pleasure to have you drop in.
Please check out her novel today at the buy links below. If you are looking for a good Halloween read for the month, Christie’s novel, “Anatomy of a Darkened Heart” will be a read you’ll never forget.
Thank you for reading and if there are any authors interested in being a guest on my series “Interview with the Awethors”, please feel free to send me and email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome any genre so don’t hesitate to send your submission for consideration!