Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Wild Within: Interview with Romantic Suspense Author 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

What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

I made a big change in my life in 2007, switching jobs and moving to a different state. The new people I met asked me what I liked to do outside of work. I said something like, “If I won the lottery, I’d like to write books.” Eventually I decided that if I wanted to write, I should make time to do it, not expect that time to fall into my lap. So I reprioritized things outside of work and created the space
to make my fantasy a reality.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

When I was young, I thought it was shocking to write in books. The school system probably drilled that into me. Now I often underline things when reading, make notes in the margins, and dog-ear pages. After reading a particularly informative book, I often make a Word document where I jot down the main points so I can find them again later.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

I have a day job working for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I do research on nursing homes. In VA nursing homes are called “community living centers.” I feel honored to work with community living center staff and residents to conduct studies on how to improve the quality of care. My main focus is improving the “person-centeredness” of care. This means having the regular routine of the community living center be focused on meeting the needs and desires of people who live there. It’s very meaningful working me. I feel privileged be part of a system that always strives to improve itself.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

I can only pass on what has been helpful to me. First, as I said above, is to make the time for writing, even when that feels difficult to do. I also found it important to learn how to edit myself. I worked on my first book with an editor from the publisher. He made wonderful suggestions, but I never was able to discern a pattern in what he recommended until I took an editing class. I also read a lot of books on editing, which I found very helpful. For me, finding an agent and a publisher were also important steps. I know some people have great success with self-publishing, but for me the more brains that work on a book, the better the book becomes. So I very much appreciate the steps involved in working with an agent and then working with a publishing house to create a final product.

What are you reading now?

I’m a grammar nerd. I’m reading Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris. I love the title. It’s one of my pet peeves when people say, “…give that to you and I.” You’d never say, “Give that to I.” You’d say, “Give that to me.” The rule about what follows a preposition doesn’t change just because you put someone else in the sentence. So I love that she made that the title.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on the next book in my Wild at Heart romantic suspense series. The first book was Wild Within. Book 2 is at the publisher and will be out in the fall. I’m working on Book 3. It’s set partly in Las Vegas, and what happens in Vegas in this book will not be staying in Vegas!

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