Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Searching For A Starry Night

My guest this week in Cynthia's Attic is author, Christine Verstraete

Christine grew up in Chicago, the third-generation to live in the two-story house bought by her Belgian-born grandfather in the mid-1900s. She now lives just over the border in Wisconsin.

She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chicago's Columbia College, and has received various awards from llinois and national press associations for nonfiction articles.

Her favorite pastime, building dollhouses and miniature rooms, has served as inspiration for nonfiction stories, a nonfiction ebook, In Miniature Style, and plays a role in her just released ya mystery, SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT!

*Your "Miniature Art Mystery," Searching For A Starry Night, was just published by Quake in May of this year. Tell us...What, exactly, is a miniature art mystery?

Being a long-time collector of dollhouse miniatures, I had to somehow work that into my book. The title and subtitle refer to the search for a miniature replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting, (The) Starry Night. You can see an actual miniature oil painting of Starry Night at my blog, The Candid Canine or at MySpace,

*How did you approach writing this book? Did the idea come from a personal experience?

I’ve always liked Van Gogh’s art. I started writing a set of short stories that also featured my character, Sam, from SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT. One was set in an art gallery, which got me thinking about expanding the theme of art, which led to miniatures, which led to miniature art…. It was a six-degrees kind of thing, I guess. LOL!

*Your miniatures are fascinating, Christine! The little girl in me is envious of your dollhouse miniatures. Did a particular dollhouse inspire your passion for making miniatures?

Growing up in Chicago, I was lucky enough to be able to see Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle at the Museum of Science and Industry more than once. Created by a Twenties film star, the castle is filled with fantasy, books by real authors, jewels, and everything enchanted. You have to fall in love with miniatures after you see that!

*You are also involved in the anthology, "Heat of the Moment," that benefits survivors and heroes of the San Diego wildfires of 2007. Can you tell us a little about your contributing story? A little about the book in general and the writers?

My story, “Fire and Magic,” involves Sam and her mother, who face a menace from the past. The story is a little more “grown-up” themed since the book included stories that were fire-related. I was thrilled to be asked to contribute a story along with 20 other exceptional authors to help a good cause.

*How did the idea for this book come together?

Echelon Press publisher, Karen Syed, wanted to do something to help those who lost, and went through so much, in the wildfires. It also recognizes those who give so much to keep all of us safe, the firefighters

*How did the idea for this book come together?

In miniature or in writing? ha! I write fiction and nonfiction, so it keeps me busy. And when I’m not writing, I’m planning a new miniature scene. I tend to have quite a few projects going in both miniatures and writing.

*What are your upcoming plans for the release of Searching For A Starry Night?

This is among several blog appearances I’m doing to promote Searching For A Starry Night. I also am setting up in-person appearances and will be giving away a miniature scene and some fantastic prizes to visitors to my website, and to book purchasers in the coming weeks. So please be sure to stop at my website or check in at my Candid Canine blog, to see what’s new!

Mary, thank you for hosting me!


Helen said...

What a interesting passion you have, Christine, and wonderful that you could meld it into your writing. It's fun to find books about a subject that's new and different.

elysabeth said...

Nice job on the interview. Keep up the good work - see you all in the postings - E :)

Word Crafter said...

I love this book and the cover is just adorable! Who wouldn't want to buy it. Good Job.

Mary Cunningham said...

Thanks helen, elysabeth and word crafter for stopping by to read about the multi-talented Christine!

chris v said...

Thank you all also! I admit I love minis - and hope maybe I'll hook a few newbies, too. ha! You never know!

ChrisEldin said...

I love that painting!

Great interview! The book looks truly lovely--hope I can buy it!!

zhadi said...

What a great interview! I discovered the world of miniatures via Margaret Grace (Camille Minichiano) and it's just totally fascinating! I can't wait to read your book!