Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Interview With Christine Steendam, Author

I first became aware of Christine Steendam’s writing when I joined in on NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it (and don’t feel like using Google) NaNoWriMo is an abbreviation for the National Novel Writing Month- a sort of contest wherein you try to write a 50,000 word novel within the month of November. I say TRY because I have yet to complete a NaNo- 50,000 words doesn’t sound like a lot (and it really isn’t) but doing it in 30 days is extremely challenging especially with day to day life and other writing commitments to attend to.

Unless your name is Christine Steendam.

Then you seem to do it with ease. 

Long story short, Christine was one of the people whose daily word count was one I used to push myself forward as motivation for finishing (And I was kicking her butt last year too- until she decided she was going to kick mine. Hard.) and somehow or another we started talking and got to know each other and now we’ve become great writing friends and I’ve been privileged to hear some of the stuff she has coming up and I’m pretty excited for it- and you should be too.

If you were to go on Amazon and look up her books, you’d see that they fall under the Romance category. (What’s that, Andrew? You read girly romance novels and you think I should too? Have you lost it?) While Christine calls herself a romance author, and make no mistake, romance does play into the stories, her work is hardly limited by those preconceived notions that we have about “Romance” novels.

Action, adventure, humor and well developed secondary (I refuse to call them background because they always shine in their appearances) characters are all part of Ms. Steendam’s writing. Not things, I for one, would think of being part of a romance novel. To me she’s just an author, and one that gets better with every outing. Without further ado, let’s get to the questions and get to know Christine and her writing a little more.
1.  Christine tell us a little about yourself- give us a short bio so the readers here can get to know you a bit.
Well, I live on a small 15 acre hobby ranch with my husband, two sons and various pets. I’m a born and raised Winnipegger and love it here, except when it’s -40 lol.

2.  What made you want to be a writer?
I don’t think any one thing made me want to be a writer. I’ve always loved telling stories and reading. As my writing skills developed story telling naturally progressed into writing and as I got older those stories became longer and more complex. I really can’t remember any time that I didn’t write.

3.  What are your books about? Give us a brief overview of each.  
I have two series on the go right now. The first one is the Ocean series, of which Heart Like an Ocean is book 1. It is a historical romance novel that takes the readers on an adventure on the high seas. But beyond romance and adventure it is a story about finding your way in the world.

The Foremost Chronicles is a series that is centered around a town, more than a group of characters so each book can be read as a standalone novel.
Unforgiving Plains is first book and is about Rayna Fields, a city girl that finds herself thrown into the Canadian Wild West after the death of her estranged father. She has to learn to let go of a lifetime of hate and learn to love the beautiful Alberta plains.

4.  Heart Like an Ocean and Unforgiving Plains- they’re very different settings- what made you change from pirates to cowboys?
 I didn’t so much change as just add. I’ve always thought pirates and the ocean held so much adventure back in the golden age of piracy. When you’re a young girl looking to find your way in the world what better place to do that than the sea? I started writing Heart Like an Ocean when I was in a similar place in my life as Senona, the main character, so I wrote what I drew from my emotions and thoughts and set it in the most romantic period and scenario I could think of.

Cowboys… well, what’s not to love? Horses have always been a part of my life, so naturally I have an affinity towards cowboys. I wanted to switch gears a little and write a contemporary novel and the “wild west” is what spoke to me.

5.  Walk us through how YOU write a book. Are there any specific things you do each time you write one? Do you just sit there every day working on writing it until it’s done?
It usually starts with a single scene for me. I envision that scene and then I start asking questions. Who is in the scene? What do they do? What are they searching for? Why are they here?...etc… in asking these questions the story usually finds its way.

After I figure out the general story I write a short paragraph or two description to get the idea of the beginning, middle and end. Then I just start writing. I don’t plot too much because I like to be surprised by things.
I try and write 5 days a week for a minimum of an hour or 2,000 words. That doesn’t always happen but it’s my goal every day when I sit down at my desk.

6.  What’s next for your writing?
Well, I hope to submit book 2 of the Ocean series to my publisher soon. After that I’ll be switching gears again and editing a sci-fi romance novel I wrote a couple years ago. There is also another Foremost Chronicles book waiting to be written. Lots coming up. Oh yeah, and I'm collaborating on a comic book with a guy you might know... Andrew Lorenz ;)

7.  Who are some of your influences?
I love the wit in Oscar Wilde’s writing. His dialogue is just fantastic. I could read ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ over and over again.

Tolkien, William Golding, H.G Wells, Jane Austin, and Charles Dickens are some classic influences of mine.

Some indie authors that I have great admiration for Sara Barnard, Carmen DeSousa, Lisa J Hobman, and Andrew Lorenz. These are the people that always push me to do and be better.

 8.  What are some of your interests outside of writing?
If I have free time you’ll probably find me either out with the horses and dog or curled up reading a book.

9.  You win $10,000,000 in the lottery. What’s some of the things you would do with the money?
Wow, I’m not even sure I can fathom that much money. First, I’d pay a huge chunk to the government as income tax LOL. Then I’d send my entire family on a vacation. I’d build my mom a barn for her horses, give my dad a cheque to buy any and every book he’d want. Then I’d build myself an indoor riding arena, invest some money in some indie publishing ventures...the possibilities are endless! Lol well, maybe not endless but my imagination could definitely go wild.

From Christine:  I write historical and contemporary romance that takes you on an adventure. Stop by and say hey on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to hear from you.

Owned by the Ocean

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