Thursday, January 21, 2010

Interview with Christine Columbus

Christine Columbus’ “The Perfect Country and Western Story” will be released by The Wild Rose Press on February 5, 2010.

“Alexandra has the Stetson hat, now all she needs is the cowboy. But with three days and over 50,000 faces to search, will she be able to find the man who stole her heart? Ben still can’t believe he was foolish enough to let the beautiful thief walk away with his autographed Toby Keith cowboy hat. If the heart breaker dares to show up at Country time again this year, he’ll not only be looking to get his hat back, but aiming for a little payback as well.”

Christine, welcome to Heroines with Hearts!

1. “The Perfect Country and Western Story” is a great title. Please talk about your novel’s plot and how you came up with it.

I was at WE Fest in 2006 sitting around the campfire with my daughter, sister-in-law and nieces when I told them an editor suggested writing a story surrounding a cowboy hat. I liked the idea of a backwards Cinderella story where the woman had a hat and was looking for the cowboy that could wear it. So, sitting around the campfire we began to plot. I left the concert filled with ideas. When I started the story all I knew is I had a woman with a Toby Keith autographed hat and she needed to find her cowboy at an outdoor concert.

2. You write deep POV that really explores both Alexandra’s and Ben’s inner turmoil as they struggle to reunite. How do you balance deep POV and action? How do you deal out emotional insights and information while keeping the story moving forward?

I struggle with emotion and insight. Dialogue is easy for me, I can hear what the characters are saying, but I don’t take the time to try and figure out why they say what they do. After the third or fourth time through the story at the prodding of my editor I begin to flesh out the reasons why they say the things the do.

3. How do you edit? Do you use a critique partner or group? What have you learned to look for when editing your work?

Editing…I have a lot of family and friends that I badger. Will you read this again? I feel like an eye doctor after a while…What do you like one or two…two or three…three or one. Thank goodness, everyone is very supportive and helpful. Although I did have one of my sisters tell me… no more. Unless the story is completed she doesn’t want to read it because she has all these characters with only partial stories to wonder and worry about.

4. You have sold nine short stories to The Wild Rose Press’ Sweetheart Rose, Rose Petals, and Champagne Rose lines. Did they request this new full-length book, or did you submit it? What can you share about working with The Wild Rose Press?

I love working with The Wild Rose Press – in my opinion they are the best. I actually submitted the story as a short, but after a number of suggestions from the editor the story bloomed into a novel. I really like writing shorts because I have a very short attention span and I lose interest quickly. So, writing a novel takes a lot of discipline for me. I try to write every day. I generally get up an hour before work and write at that time. Evenings are spent doing chores, like walking with the neighbor or working out at Snap Fitness, then I spend the rest of my free time promoting or fooling around on the web. Oh yeah and occasionally I even clean my house, shovel snow or mow the law.

5. What have you learned since you were published that you wish you would have known while you were working to become published?

A long time ago I had a teacher tell me that writing is 95% perseverance and 5% talent. I believe she is right. I do wish I had paid more attention to grammar when I was in grade school. I spent my days daydreaming. Teachers would always give me two grades on my papers. A’s for content and F’s for spelling and grammar. So, I never bothered to learn how to spell or write. This is a real drawback and why I have a group of people helping me with editing my work mostly for grammar.

So, I believe that 90% perseverance, 5% talent and 5% technical presentation (grammar).

I am proof of perseverance. Growing up I had two goals, one was to be published. The other was to have a daughter before I turned 30. I accomplished both. Sometimes I do wonder why being independently wealthy wasn’t one of my wishes or the ability to construct a proper sentence.

6. What do you think makes a really good romance novel?

A really good romance novel has character that a reader can like or maybe even love. Sometimes in life-- love can be an underdog and when a reader sees love succeed there is a little bit of magic, like a first snow, a babies smile, a warm embrace—a good romance novel creates a feeling that the reader wants to experience again and again.

I believe that people should fall in love as many times as they can--something about the twinkle in the eyes of a couple that has been married for fifty plus years…I believe those couples learned how to fall in love over and over again. And a book that is a sequel or a novel whose pages get torn and tattered… have heroes that readers fall in love with over and over again.
Christine will be available to answer questions and comments on Friday evening and Saturday. So post away!

Christine Columbus currently lives in Minneapolis, MN, but believes this is a temporary situation. Someday she will trade in her snow shovels, boots and scarves for sunscreen and sandals. She believes you should fall in love as many times as possible—even if it is with the same person… and you should laugh. She writes for The Wild Rose Press, and has had her poetry performed at the Bloomington Center for Arts. Her 2009 flash fiction “Tween Seasons” was a mini-story winner at MN Artist. She has been published also in creative non-fiction and children’s fiction. Visit her at


  1. Christine, I LOVE your idea that couples can and should fall in love with each other many times. That's the essence of a real romantic relationship!
    Great interview, I really enjoyed it.

  2. Good post. The excerpt really caught my interest. Unlike you, I find shorts hard to write. I have too much to say. I try to write a little every day to keep the story fresh in my mind. I struggle with POV as well. I can carry on pages of conversation but why do they feel that way - hmmmm.

  3. Hey, Christine,

    Your story sounds great! Will it be available for print as well as an ebook?

  4. Great interview! Is the answer to the question 'smile.'

  5. Hello and Thank you for stopping by… I have the worst time when it comes to Posting a Comment… I can build a web page… write a novel and even teach the dog to play the piano….but I can’t post a comment on a blog… Go Figure…

    Yes the book will be coming out in print… In fact when I got home from work the doorbell rang and there “He Was… UPS… with a box of books… My books…” What a thrill.

    And of course people should smile and Fall In Love … as many times as they can.

  6. In case anyone is interested... it seems on my computer that if I am using Firefox... I can leave all the comments I want... just not sure where they are showing up.... I guess I've been writing between the cyber lines...

    Right now I am feeling pretty darn proud of myself...My fingers have run a marathon...trying to post ... Bummer is that all my really witty posts... are floating around somewhere...

  7. LOL, Christine, I think we all have problems at times with this wonderful world wide web! But, as a writer who was writing in the pre-internet days of the 60's and 70's, I have to say that this facility of interaction with other writers is the best thing ever! There is simply no comparison with my early writing days when I had no contact with any other writers.