Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Meet Christa Allan

Welcome to the Book Loft, Christa.
People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?
Did I have one of those? I’m sure I must have, but I might have been ten because I remember writing a notebook full of angsty teenage drama during high school. Life before publication was fraught with the anxiety of finding an agent, finding a publisher. . .I do recall having time to actually watch television and read the paper on the day it was delivered and eating meals with utensils (as opposed to those I can perch next to my laptop for quick one-handed feedings!)

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. An amazing novel. It will turn you inside out.

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
A Snickers Cheesecake. Here’s the link to My Recipes.

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
If it cooked, cleaned, and washed, it could hang around as long as it wanted to do so.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.
Christmas, 1999.

The picture I have of the evening is one of my most cherished ones. That was the year of the “Charlie Brown” tree that John, who was fourteen at the time, and I had chopped down on our land. We lived on eight acres, seven of which were overgrown with towering pines and scrawny bushes and assorted wildness. I think we found a pine tree wannabe. We dragged it into the house, creating a trailing mess of needles, bark, and oozing sap. I loved every pain of it. And I think it loved it as well. After we decorated, I think I even saw it smile.
We’re all in front of the fireplace, except for Michael, my oldest. He was in the Navy and stationed in Italy. Ken, me, John, Shannon, Erin pregnant with Bailey, Andrae, John my brother, his partner Rick, Sarah. My Jewish husband, my African-American son-in-law, my gay brother, my daughter with Down Syndrome. We look like a politically correct Christmas card.
We are happy. And that was everything.

What's one of your dreaded things to do?
Just one? Empty the dishwasher, grade papers, fold clothes, mammograms (can I say that?), and did I mention grade papers?

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
The next book is scheduled to release in March of 2013 as one of the books in Abingdon Press’ new Quilts of Love Series. The title is Threads of Hope. Here’s the pitch:
Career-driven Nina O’Malley is one promotion away from being named Senior Editor at Trends Magazine when she buys a quilt at an AIDS benefit she’s assigned to cover. Intrigued by the diverse panels, Nina joins the Families of AIDS support group that sews the quilts. She plans to write a series featuring each of the eight families that she hopes will attract the attention of her publishers. Her last feature spotlights Greg Hernandez, a single father of an HIV positive daughter from Ethiopia. Nina finds herself totally charmed by this little girl and equally so with her father, who designs the quilts. So when the offer to relocate to New York from Houston arrives weeks later, which life will Nina choose to stitch together?

You can purchase Love Finds You in New Orleans at Amazon.

Christa is giving away a copy of Love Finds You in New Orleans. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Teela said...

I'm gonna pop over and check out Christa's recipe for that cheesecake! Hope I win her book Love Finds You in N.O. (and here it is Fat Tues., right?) teelayoung at hotmail dot com

Judy said...

The first thing I thought about was that snickers cheesecake! I had to clear my thoughts! I would love to win a copy of "LFY in New Orleans".

I'm looking forward to "Threads of Hope" when it comes out next year.

Christa, it sounds like you have made peace with having a gay brother. I haven't gotten there yet with mine.


cjajsmommy said...

We had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree also. Our 9yo son knew money was tight so he decided to help and went out in the woods and cut down a tree. We put that little tree on a coffee table and decorated it just a if it was a grand and glorious tree. Of all the Christmas trees we ever had, that is the one our family remembers. Not a year goes by that someone doesn't say, "Remember the year Andrew brought home that tree?" Precious memories.

apple blossom said...

love these books thanks for the interview.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Diana Flowers said...

Yikes! I'm supposed be getting ready for a meeting and look where I'm at! LOL! I would love to read this! Pleeease enter me...gotta goooooooo.


wfnren said...

I really like the Love Finds You books and this one sounds like another great one.


Amy R.S. said...

The snicker cheescake sounds yummy. I also hate grading papers as well. Thanks for the giveaway.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Marianne said...

Thanks for the great interview and giveaway, Patty and Christa. i would love to win. i have The Language of Flowers on hold at the library...so will enjoy that one while waiting for LFY in New Orleans

Patsy said...

I love all the "Love Finds You" books. I live in the south so I would really enjoy reading this book.


Susan H said...

Great interview! My book club just finished reading The Language of Flowers, it is an awesome book! Look forward to reading Christa's books!

ann said...

Love New Orleans, this sounds like my kind of reading. Cheesecake sounds delicious to.
amhengst at verizon dot net

Abbi Hart (gatorade635) said...

That Snickers Cheesecake sounds really good!

Christa Allan said...

So many great comments! First, I appreciate all of you stopping by, and your kind words about the LFY series and my novel.

Happy Mardi Gras day to all, and let me know how all those cheesecakes turn out!

Christa Allan said...

Judy: My second novel, The Edge of Grace, is a loosely fictionalized account of my experiences coming to accept my brother.

In fact, he and his partner actually live on the first floor of the home we just moved into. After so many years of our not being together, it's nice to have him so close by.

Carol N Wong said...

I am intrigued what is the secret that sets her free. Louisana is a fascinating place to visit and to write about. I would love to read your book.


Nancee said...

This book sounds wonderful. I'd love to own a copy of it.

Lane Hill House said...

I have everything on hand except the Oreos and Snicker bars!
I love the song, "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? And miss it each night and day?... My father played this on the piano when I was a little girl. My parents went to the Mardi Gras. My mother died near that time at 41 when I was five. This song would have had great meaning for my father.
Would love to win this book!!
Here are all of the lyrics:
Louis Armstrong Do You Know What Means To Miss New Orleans Lyrics
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
And miss it each night and day
I know I’m not wrong this feeling's gettin' stronger
The longer, I stay away
Miss them moss covered vines the tall sugar pines
Where mockin' birds used to sing
And I'd like to see that lazy Mississippi hurryin' into spring

The moonlight on the bayou a creole tune that fills the air
I dream about magnolias in bloom and I'm wishin' I was there

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
When that's where you left your heart
And there's one thing more I miss the one I care for
More than I miss New Orleans

The moonlight on the bayou a creole tune that fills the air
I dream about magnolias in bloom and I'm wishin' I was there

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
When that's where you left your heart
And there's one thing more I miss the one I care for
More more than I miss New Orleans
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/l/louis+armstrong/do+you+know+what+means+to+miss+new+orleans_20626688.html ]

PatriciaW said...

Never heard of Snickers cheesecake. Maybe if I get another 20lbs off, I can try it. ;) pwriter1[at]yahoo[dot]com

Christa Allan said...

Oh, I love that song, and when we evacuated after Katrina, I couldn't hear it without crying. Even now, my eyes get weepy.

Sharing a fun fact: Right before I sent in the manuscript for this novel, our offer on a house in NAwlins built in the 1840s was accepted!

And...someone came to our house this past weekend to take pictures as a production company might want to use it for an upcoming film! Even if they don't, it's fun to think it could happen!

Lane Hill House said...

Oh, Christa, that would be wonderful. Possibly help with the cattle on a 1,000 hills our Lord owns!! Kathleen lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

He Owns the Cattle
(on a Thousand Hills)
Words and Music by John W. Peterson

"For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills."--Psalm 50:10

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
The wealth in every mine;
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and stars that shine.
Wonderful riches, more than tongue can tell -
He is my Father so they're mine as well;
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills -
I know that He will care for me.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed her comment about the Charlie Christmas tree. And, about her diverse family. I would love to have this bookLove Finds You.
Maxie Anderson ( mac262@me.com )

Katie McCurdy said...

This is my second entry! :-) Thanks for the chance.


Jo said...

I have been enjoying the Love Finds You books so would love to read this one as well.


Lane Hill House said...

Checking back in to see if a winner has been selected!

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