It’s Friday! That means it’s time for an author spotlight! Today’s guest post is from New York Times Bestselling Author Christie Craig.
Christie is also giving away a signed copy of her new release Don’t Close Your Eyes. How awesome is that? Read on for details!
Where the heck did you get that idea?
In truth Ideas come from all sorts of places. Some of the just show up on your doorstep knocking. You open the door just a little bit and they barge in. You don’t have a freaking clue how they got there, but they move in and take up space in the crevices of your brain.
Other ideas are invited in after you read an article, see a movie, or hear someone at the table next to you at a restaurant telling secrets. Yes, I admit it, I eavesdrop. So be careful what you say in public.
Don’t Close Your Eyes didn’t come from Walmart or from eavesdropping. I sort of invited it in, but life got crazy and I decided it needed to move on its merry way. Problem was, it wouldn’t leave. It was a squatter that dug in so deep I couldn’t get that sucker out with a crow bar.
You see, I had watched the movie, Prince of Tides over a quarter of century ago. I was enthralled by the idea of how a childhood trauma, a secret, could follow someone and affect their adult life.
The what-if doodad, that thingamajig in a writer’s brain that starts turning something over and over and seeing plot possibilities kicked into gear. What if a five-year-old girl saw a cousin being buried and because it was so traumatic, her mind hid it from her. How would this affect that girl’s life? What if as an adult something triggered that memory? Would she believe it? Would anyone else believe her if it happened twenty-five years ago?
Yup, Annie, my five-year-old girl came alive and the story started piecing together. At the time, I took a class on writing screenplays at Rice University. So I wrote a screen play and about Annie and gave her a hot detective—with his own set of flaws— to help solve her problems. And to create a few more. Hey… It’s called conflict.
I titled it To Remember Jenny and entered it into a screenplay contest. It won. But I wasn’t really into writing screenplays, so I tried to evict it from my mind, but the darn thing wouldn’t leave.
Fast forward ten years when I was a one-book-wonder and was trying to break back into publishing. To Remember Jenny dug itself out and demanded I write it as a novel. I did. And I entered it into contest and it won again. But right then I sold four humorous romantic suspense novels and because this idea was darker, I decided it had to go. I served it an eviction notice, but it bunkered down again.
Then fifteen years later—two years ago—I decided to challenge myself and try my hand at writing something darker, something edgier. The idea of To Remember Jenny unearthed itself from beneath all those dust bunnies of my mind and yelled, “Me. Me. Write me!”
So I did it. To Remember Jenny became Don’t Close Your Eyes. With that idea out of the closet, I decided to write two more books in the same vein. And the Texas Justice Series was born. I’m right now finishing the second novel, Don’t Breathe a Word, and I’m enjoying it.
I love writing about wounded heroes that fight to overcome their past. Heroes that have skeletons in their closet and must bring them out and dance with them before they can really heal. Now that I think about it, I’m glad the idea ignored my eviction notice.
Below are four fun facts about Don’t Close Your Eyes.
- Don’t Close Your Eyes revolves around Annie Lakes, who is dealing with a repressed memory. This subject, how victims remember trauma, is among one of the most explosive issues facing psychology today. Some experts believe that traumatic experiences are unforgettably engraved on the mind. Others argue that the mind can defend itself by banishing traumatic memories from awareness, making it difficult for victims to remember things until years later. The argument is debated so vigorously because it used so often in legal cases.
- Annie Lakes, my heroine, suffers from posttraumatic nightmares. These are more intense than regular dreams and similar to flashback memories that can contain replays of the actual traumatic events. However because some dreams can only be symbolically related this makes unraveling the truth extremely difficult. For Annie, this makes her feel like an unreliable witness to something that happened to her.
- Like Isabella, a secondary character in Don’t Close Your Eyes, I’m bi-lingual. I love writing about Hispanic characters and adding different cultures in Texas-themed books. When I was young, I lived in Venezuela, and spoke only Spanish for almost two years. Living in Texas, Spanish comes in handy and I kind of love to shock people when they are speaking Spanish and I’ll just chime in. With my blonde hair green eyes, I really throw some people off.
- I enjoy murder. On paper. And on film. Actually what I honestly enjoy is solving cases. I’m addicted to the ID channel. I can stay up until two in the morning watching Forty-Eight Hours and Cold Case. I love sifting through the evidence and trying to figure out who did it and see how they catch the bad guys. Suspense has played a part in most every book I’ve written, even my young adult novels have suspense.
Congratulations to Missy for winning the signed copy of Don’t Close Your Eyes!
Thanks for such an awesome post, Christie!