The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Christine DePetrillo, whose latest release Alaska Heart is available from The Wild Rose Press. She also has a historical romance that will be released by Whispers Publishing on May 21, For Love of Liberty, and a second, Speak Easy to Me, has a release date of August 26. A dark paranormal romance entitled Abra Cadaver is also coming soon from The Wild Rose Press (release date TBA).
Christine, in addition to writing, is a fifth-grade teacher, but when she was growing up she wanted to be neither author nor teacher. Instead, she said, "I wanted to be an ad exec like Angela Bower from Who’s the Boss."
Even as a child, though, she has always loved inventing characters and plots. She started writing seriously about twelve years ago. In addition to the upcoming books, she has seven currently listed on her website.
She does most of her writing from 7-11 pm, Monday through Friday, whenever she can on the weekends, and then all summer long.
"I love the summer!" she exclaimed.
I asked her what comes first in her own writing: plot or characters.
"I’ve had it happen both ways," she said. "Sometimes I hear a voice in my head and that voice takes on a physical form in my imagination. Then, poof, I have a character. Other times, I’m in a situation and think, 'What if this happened?' I let my mind wander and next thing I know, I have a plot. When the two of these happen at the same time, I’ve got a story."
Nora Roberts is Christine's all-time favorite author.
"I have absolutely loved every book I've ever read of hers," she told me. "I always enjoy her characters and, whether the story by contemporary or paranormal, I just know I will be satisfied. Nora Roberts is a guarantee and you can't say that about much these days."
Christine always keeps a notebook close by her at all times. She has a page in it specifically for jotting down title ideas as they come to her. Usually, she's not at the computer when these ideas appear; more often she'll be in line at the grocery store, driving in her car, walking around her neighborhood, etc. By having the notebook close at hand, she can make sure to keep track of them.
When it actually comes to writing, however, her ideal spot in the summertime is her patio. Her backyard is a National Wildlife Federation-certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat. She loves sitting out there with her laptop and enjoying the birds, bees, butterflies, and flowers as she writes. It's apparent in her books how much she loves nature, and she likes putting her characters—especially those from the city—into natural surroundings and getting the connected with nature.
In colder weather, she writes on the reclining sofa in her living room. She usually has headphones on, tuning out the television her husband is probably watching, and listens to the playlists she creates for each book to help her delve deeper into the story.
"What is one surprising thing you learned in creating your book?" I wondered.
"That the reason firehouses sometimes have Dalmatians is that those kinds of dogs can’t hear the sirens. Who knew?"
In her spare time, Christina also likes to read, work outdoors, do home improvement projects, bake, exercise, and make jewelry.
On a personal note, Christina shares her home in Rhode Island with her husband, two cats, and a lizard, but she's been thinking about getting a dog for some time.
"My book, Alaska Heart, has huskies in it," she explained, "and I would love to have one of those. Or an all black German Shepard."
I asked her to share a little bit about Alaska Heart with us.
Alaska is supposed to be cold, so why is Alanna Cormac on fire?
Sent on a dream assignment to Denali National Park, nature magazine writer Alanna Cormac has no intentions of falling in love with Dale Ramsden, sexy Iditarod winner. When Dale, his family, and even his eighteen sled dogs charm their way into her heart, however, Alanna’s fast-track New York instincts crumble. The Alaskan landscape and the caress of a man too good to be true ignite feelings she never had time to explore before. Feelings that have her so blissfully busy she’s unaware she’s being watched. Judged. Targeted.
Love will either save her or swallow her whole. Is there a difference?
Some things you might not know about Christine:
She dreams about Harry Connick, Jr.
Her favorite food is pizza and her favorite pizza is cheese and black olives.
She thinks scientists should invent a way to teleport.
Once they do, she will teleport to Hawaii for the weekend.
She is neither a morning nor a night person, calling herself instead "a noon person." She doesn't like waking up, but she doesn't stay up late either.
She loves thunderstorms and thinks her cat, Shikari, conjures them up. Shikara and Christine like to watch them out of the living room window.
She has to have total darkness in order to sleep.
She hates soda and prefers to drink either green tea or cranberry-pomegranate juice.
If she could wish for anything, it would be to meet a real vampire or shapeshifter. "I think they’d make interesting friends," she said.
Finally, I asked her, "What advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?"
"Write," she said promptly. "Just do it. No excuses."
You can keep up with Christine on her blog, http://christinedepetrillo.blogspot.com