Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Meet Christina Berry, Author of THE FAMILIAR STRANGER

It’s my great pleasure to introduce my friend, debut fiction author, and all-around great gal, Christina Berry. And it's also my honor to kick off her first-ever blog tour!

JA: Welcome, Christina, and congratulations on your debut novel! Please tell us about it.
CB: The Familiar Stranger—formerly known as Undiscovered—is about a couple going through a really rough patch in their marriage. When an accident incapacitates the husband, their relationship must be redefined. Which would be a lot easier to do if BIG secrets from his past didn’t raise their ugly heads. Despite the upheaval, the choices they make involving forgiveness and trust might allow a new beginning. Or … they might not.

You can see the back cover copy and what other authors have said about The Familiar Stranger by going to http://www.christinaberry.net/books.aspx

JA: Was there a particular spark that ignited the idea for The Familiar Stranger?
CB: In the summer of 2006, two stories appeared in the newspaper. One was a huge, national story; the other a smaller, local-interest item. I wondered what it might look like if those two stories conceived a child. Boom! I had the entire plot for The Familiar Stranger. It will be interesting to see if readers can figure out which stories inspired the book.

JA: You’ve had some challenging events in your own life that come close to life imitating art. Would you like to share a bit about that?
CB: Though the plot of The Familiar Stranger came from news stories, I’d been looking for a fictional vehicle to express the lessons I’d learned regarding forgiveness in my own marriage. I knew no one was interested in reading my particular story, but I still felt God had given me something to say. My husband and I worked through a major issue six years ago and found a vibrant, completely renewed marriage on the other side.

However, seven months ago, that same issue broke our bond. Now as a newly-single woman, I’m in the midst of promoting a book that touches far closer to home than I would have ever dreamed. If no one else ever reads it, I’ve been convicted and encouraged by my own words. If that isn’t a gracious God at work, I don’t know what is!

JA: What do you hope people take away after reading your novel?
CB: The recent changes in my life—losing my husband, facing finding a “real” job, selling my home—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
CB: I’m about 1/5 of the way through my next manuscript, Unafraid, a story about a girl’s kidnapping, and how her life unfolds because of the trauma. One of my characters is a PI, so I’m having loads of fun with the research.

The humor Sherrie Ashcraft (my sometime co-author and always mother) and I display in our infrequent, humorous newsletters--sign up at www.ashberrylane.net/update.aspx --has garnered the attention of an editor. You just might see a funny, non-fiction cooperative work from the Ashberry Ladies at some point in time. Plus, I have a funky TV-based devotional a house is interested in … Busy, busy, busy!

JA: What fun facts may surprise your readers about you?
CB: I was the team captain and second answerer in the speed round for our family on Family Feud in 2000 … and we won! Also, I grew up in Nigeria, West Africa, while my parents were Southern Baptist missionaries. I remember being awed at the selection of toilet paper in the grocery store when we returned to the States.

JA: The current theme of my blog is The Year of Dreams. If you could realize one life-long dream right now, what would it be?
CB: If I could do anything, absolutely anything, I would live in France for a year. (Assuming I can take my children along!) The first place I would visit is Monet's garden. We'd follow that up with trips to the Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and all the normal touristy things. I'd ride a little bike with a basket to the market every day for baguettes and chocolate and cheese.

My high school French teacher, Madame Hoffman, created a deep hunger in me for all things French, especially art, so I'd be on a first name basis with the docents at the museums. I recently found Madame on Facebook. Wait, can I take her with me too, since my "fluent" French is pretty rusty?

Yes, Christina, you can take Madame with you. And thanks for taking all of us along on your journey today!


As a single mom and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time out of her busy schedule to write about the heart and soul of life. She lives with her family in rural Oregon. The Familiar Stranger is her debut novel. Get to know her better at http://www.christinaberry.net/


Craig Littleton has decided to end his marriage with his wife, Denise, but an accident lands him in the ICU with fuzzy memories. As Denise helps him remember who he is, she uncovers dark secrets. Will this trauma create a fresh start? Or has his deceit destroyed the life they built together?
Purchase the book at Christian Book Distributors or Amazon.


Christina is having a humongous book giveaway! Leave your comment here. During the month, Christina will collect all the comments left everywhere during her blog tour. On her birthday, September 30th, she’s giving the gifts… a copy of her awesome novel, The Familiar Stranger, to 10 lucky winners!


How does a 4GB iPod Shuffle or free books for the life of Christina’s writing career sound? Just sign up for her infrequent, humorous newsletter at www.ashberrylane.net/update.aspx and you’ll be entered for a chance to win!

Tiffany Amber Stockton's blog


Christina Berry said...

Jennifer, I'm thrilled you're the kick off to this crazy 61-day blog tour! Thanks for a great interview ... and if any one wants to voyagez along with me to France, leave that with your comment. :)

Adieu pour maintenant!

Sherry K said...

Great interview! Would love a chance to read The Familiar Stranger. We walked with several friends through marriage difficulties that ultimately ended in divorce. Such heartbreak. But God is faithful and will never leave us or forsake us! I have been to France and there really is nothing more beautiful than the Eiffel Tower, especially at night. My hubby and I were there with our two year old who chose the bottom of Eiffel Tower to throw a major fit. Somehow the romance of being there did fit with a screaming child. It is a beautiful and interesting place to visit. Have a blast on your blog tour!
Blessings to you.
Sherry K

T. Anne said...

It's so nice to learn more about you! France for an entire year? That would be a blessing indeed. I pray the Lord graces you with great success. i cannot wait to read it! Pick me, pick me!!!!

Linda said...

Will we know the stories that created this book, or will we have to figure it out. I assume they are nationally covered items. Please add me to your contest. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi Christina. I've been following you around to get the chance to win this book :)
Congrats for the release!
cuniquas at gmail dot com

Christina Berry said...

Sherry, if the Lord decides to bless me with another marriage, maybe our honeymoon can be to France. :)

T. Anne, are you coming with me? Venez avec moi? (I'm probably butchering these translations!)

Linda, this is my fantasy on revealing the news stories: you have a book club of five or more people read the book. If you're local, I attend the meeting in person. If you're far flung, I "attend" by phone. And we secretly discuss the stories without ruining the plot for anyone as they've already read it!

Mariska, keep following! Only about 60 more chances to win. I would LOVE it if you left a comment on EVERY post of the blog tour. In fact, special offer just for you: if you do, I'll give you a free copy if you don't win one!

traveler said...

I enjoyed this interesting interview. To spend a year in France would be wonderful and fascinating, especially if you are fluent in French. What an opportunity. Wishing much happiness, best of success on your great book and most of all continued great health.

Deborah M said...

Wow - what a great way to start a career. I have a WIP and hope someday to be in Christina's shoes and launching my debut novel. Good luck Christina and keep up the good work.
Deborah M.

Lady Araujo said...

Wow, I loved this interview. I'd be glad if I win this book, sounds like very good... I'm not married but I think I could learn a lot about it :) yeah - I know - it can sound crazy... lol
Anyway, Christina you're going to see my name a lot... (lot of laughters).

God's blessings
Hugs from Brazil

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Would love to win. Blessings. AprilR

JenniferB said...

This book sounds very good would love to read it
thanks for the chance to win

ejxd95 at gmail dot com

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

This book looks really really good.

Carolynn W. said...

I would love to read this book, thanks for the chance to win!

Anonymous said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read the post. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.