Christine Nolfi owned a small public relations firm in Cleveland, Ohio. Her articles and press releases have appeared regionally in northeast Ohio. Her short story, Night Hour, appeared in Working Mother magazine.
She closed the firm fifteen years ago after traveling to the Philippines and adopting a sibling group of four children. She has been writing novels full time since 2004. Treasure Me is the first book of the Liberty, Ohio series, available at Amazon. The second book in the Liberty series, Second Chance Grill, will be released summer, 2011.
Christine loves to hear from readers! Find her here at her blog, or on her Twitter. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molli: What is your best memory of writing Treasure Me?
Christine: The unanticipated arrival of the beautiful thief, Birdie, and the general plot. I’d written 100 pages of another novel when I awoke one morning with an amusing image of a young woman dangling from a window ledge. There was no planning involved, no preparation. Birdie simply arrived.
The rest of the plot quickly fell into place. I knew immediately that her relationship with Liberty’s elderly matriarch, the gun-toting Theodora, was a central theme. Birdie’s romance with Hugh was secondary, a plot point that would balance against his personal evolution in the story. Through it all, I tried to make the secondary characters just as vivid in the reader’s mind—an important consideration because the supporting cast develops and evolves throughout the series.
Molli: Which character was the most challenging for you to flesh out and write?
Christine: Birdie, hands down. My critique partners sent me back to the drawing board with page after page. I try not to think of the number of revisions involved in bringing the novel to market. It makes me shudder.
The problem? How do you create a realistic thief, complete with her jaundiced view of the world and her loathsome habit of stealing, and expect readers to like her? I hope I solved the puzzle in subtle ways through her interactions with other characters, like the Chens. Remember the stolen wheelchair in scene one? It arrived in the third or fourth draft as an indication of the soft heart hidden beneath Birdie’s tough exterior.
Molli: Do you enjoy writing for female or male characters more?
Christine: I have no preference. I simply love writing about people, their foibles and embarrassments, their moments of courage and times of redemption. The goal is always to imbue each character with enough depth to make the reader laugh one moment and cry the next.
Molli: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Christine: Nothing beats the experience of reaching the middle of a work-in-progress and becoming utterly immersed in the characters. They’re real by that point, flesh-and-blood people one might meet on the street. Yet I’m privy to their darkest fears and brightest hopes. It’s an exhilarating feeling.
Molli: Your character’s names—Birdie, Blossom, Wish—seem to hint at a bit of whimsy. How do you choose your character’s names, or do they choose their names?
Christine: There’s no set pattern for naming characters. Some, like Birdie, arrive fully formed. Others start with an archetype employed to aid in fleshing out the characters. In Blossom’s case, I wanted a name that conveyed “life” for a child facing death. Wish is another play on opposites. I think of her as a nefarious criminal who destroys the wishes held dear by others, a sort of death wish in human form.
Molli: If you could visit a “world” from another book or series, what would it be?
Christine: Hogwarts, of course! I’d dread running into Lord Voldemort, but Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Sign me up. My wand is already packed.
Molli: Do you have any writing rituals?
Christine: Working for many years in public relations gave me a love of constancy. No writer can create compelling fiction, book after book, without committing to a serious work schedule. Most days, I’m at my computer by five or six a.m. By noon, I need a break and head to the gym. Then I spend the afternoon editing the morning’s pages. That’s the first edit, mind you. I’ve never written anything that wasn’t submitted to an endless series of revisions.