16 May 2020

Virtual Author Visit with Nancy Christie

Hello Readers and Welcome Back to our Virtual Author Visits!

As you already know, from 5/3/20 to 6/7/20 I'm changing things up a bit. In addition to my weekly Wednesday post, I will play hostess to one of my fellow authors, as well as be a guest on their blogs. So, feel free to stop by each Sunday, read about these incredible authors, and follow me around as I visit one of their blogs. Join us on our blog tour, and at each stop you will learn a little bit more about these fantastic wordsmiths and their wonderful writings. You won't want to miss the fun!

Without further ado, I'm pleased to introduce to you my guest this week, award-winning author Nancy Christie!

Nancy Christie is the award-winning author of two short story collections: Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories and Peripheral Visions and Other Stories (Unsolicited Press), two books for writers: Rut-Busting Book for Writers and Rut-Busting Book for Authors (Mill City Press) and the inspirational book, The Gifts of Change (Atria/Beyond Words). Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary publications, with several earning contest placements.
A member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the Florida Writers Association, Christie teaches writing workshops at conferences, libraries and schools. She is also the founder of the annual “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day.

Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Publisher: Unsolicited Press
Genre: Literary Fiction
What do you do when the hand that life deals you isn’t the one you wanted? In Peripheral Visions and Other Stories, the characters choose to play the best game they can with the cards they’ve received. For some, it’s making the most of the circumstances in which they find themselves, even if it’s not the life they planned. For others, it’s following an unconventional path—not the easiest course or the one that others would take, but the one that’s right for them. But they never lose hope that life will get better if they can just hold on.
Peripheral Visions and Other Stories won second place in the Florida Writers Association 2018 Royal Palm Literary Awards (RPLA) competition, with three of the stories having also earned contest placements.
Buy the book: Peripheral Visions and Other Stories
Unsolicited Press: https://tinyurl.com/ya5o2dhm

Interview with Nancy Christie

How long have you been writing fiction? When did you start?
I remember writing stories when I was in second grade and continued writing them off an on for decades. But I didn’t think about submitting them for years. Then my first piece, “Free-Falling,” was accepted by Xtreme Magazine in 1994, followed by stories accepted by other literary magazines. But it wasn’t until Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories was first published in 2014, subsequently re-released by Unsolicited Press, that I finally felt like I was a real fiction writer.

Why did you start —what triggered your writing?
I don’t think there was ever a moment when I thought, “Oh, I want to grow up and be a writer.” While I was always a reader— as a child, my favorite author was Enid Blyton—I certainly never considered being an author!
I think what really started it all was simply because, ‘way back when (in other words, in the late fifties and early sixties), children didn’t watch much television but were instead encouraged to “go outside and play.” And for me and my best friend Danny, that involved a lot of “let’s pretend” type of adventures out in the woods. From there, it was a natural process to do “let’s pretend” on paper and write stories about imaginary characters.

What does the act of writing bring into your life? Why do you want to write?
In general, writing gives me a way to express my thoughts and fears. As for the fiction, it allows me to give my characters a voice and make people see them, since so many of my characters are lost and alone, unnoticed in the world.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most? The least?
When I am writing just for writing’s sake, and the words flow out and they are expressing exactly what is in my mind and heart, or the minds and hearts of my characters. That’s a joy that has nothing to do with money or publication but all to do with fulfillment.
Like most authors I’ve talked to, the marketing is the least enjoyable. While I love interacting with my readers, I am often frustrated by the time-sucking, nuts-and-bolts tasks associated with promoting my books, and never knowing which one will work!

What is your most recent book?
Peripheral Visions and Other Stories is my most recent book. It’s my fifth book and my second short story collection. In a way, the stories in this book are a counterpoint to those in Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories. While the stories in that book are about people who either can’t or won’t take control of their lives, the characters in Peripheral Visions and Other Stories are choosing to play the best game they can with the cards Fate has dealt them, hoping that life will get better if they can just hold on and stay strong.

Excerpt from "Peripheral Visions and Other Stories"

Shoot.” Lena caught sight of the sign pointing the way to the rest stop off I-77 almost a fraction of a moment too late. She turned the wheel too sharply, causing the right tires of her old Ford Escort to kick up bits of gravel from the shoulder, before she could navigate it safely onto the turnoff.
Shaking slightly, she slowed the car to a more sedate twenty-five-miles per hour before brushing the perspiration from her forehead.
That was close,” she said to no one in particular. Talking to herself was a habit she had acquired since her mother’s passing. The young think older people talk to themselves because they are going senile. But when there is no one left to talk to, you have to talk out loud. Otherwise, the silence can be deafening. And after decades as a practical nurse where she routinely carried on conversations with patients simply to ease the sterile loneliness of the oncology ward, Lena knew the value of the spoken word even when there wasn’t anyone around to answer.
She glanced up at her rearview mirror, hoping the blue highway patrol car that seemed to be shadowing her since she crossed into West Virginia hadn’t caught her latest misjudgment. That’s all she would need: flashing lights, a request that she show her driver’s license, and then a trip to the police station, where they would no doubt confiscate her car and contact her niece Claire.
Claire. By now, Claire might have figured out what Lena was up to, but she still wouldn’t be sure exactly where her aunt had headed. For who would expect a seventy-two-year-old woman who had never driven beyond the Kingsville city limits to drive the nine-hundred-plus miles from Ohio to Florida?
Not Claire, that’s for sure. Claire would have expected Lena to be looking forward to her move to Golden Glow, to behave as the sane, sensible, and highly responsible maiden aunt she had always been.
Not this time, though,” Lena said aloud, as she checked the parking area for other cars, including any with the telltale light bar mounted on the roof and distinctive twin gold stripes on the side, before pulling into a parking spot. For once in my life, I’m going to do what I want to do, instead of walking a straight line right up to the end.”
That’s the biggest problem with the world today, she thought as she gingerly slid out of the car, carefully stretching her back to work out the kinks. The pain that had plagued her shoulder was even worse than usual this morning, undoubtedly aggravated by too many hours behind the wheel.
She moved her body slowly, continuing her conversation aloud. People walk around with blinders on just like horses, their eyes glued on the goal, the ‘Big Picture.’ There’s no sidestepping, no walking off the beaten path, no road less traveled. You get ahead that way, it’s true. But what if where you end up isn’t where you should have gone?”
The West Virginia sunshine was welcoming and a darn sight better than the freezing northeast weather she had left behind almost four hours earlier. A wet, sleety snow had made the driving more than a little challenging, especially once she got on the interstate and had to contend with all the tractor-trailers that were crowding the roadway.
It wasn’t until she had approached the Marietta–Williamstown Interstate Bridge that would take her over the Ohio River and into West Virginia that the weather improved and the horizon looked brighter. Lena didn’t usually believe in omens but this time she took heart in the fact that across the border the sun was shining, the snow was non-existent, and that it would be a warmer, better place than the one she had left.
And now, safe in another state, even her back felt better—well, at least, compared to how it had felt all winter long. Of course, she knew that nothing would make it feel completely fine. Even the pills only dulled the edge of the pain, never relieving it entirely.
That’s really what decided her on this trip. She was afraid that if she waited any longer, either her nerve or her body would betray her and she would spend what was left of her time—three months, maybe less, she judged—in the fluorescent confines of the nursing home or hospital.
The whole time her niece Claire was talking—laying out stage after stage for her aunt as though Lena couldn’t put two and two together and end up with four—Lena’s mind flashed to tantalizing pictures of a bit of sand and sparkling water. It looked mighty appealing to her, especially since she was tired of shoveling snow from the driveway before she could leave the house. It was a good car, even if it was as old as dirt, and she thought it deserved better than to have its fenders frozen off for weeks on end.
For that matter, so did she.

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