I read The Familiar Stranger a few months ago and let me tell you, I was simply swept away and could not put the book down. If you read ONE book this year, this is the one you need to pick up. And to top it all off, it has been nominated for a CHRISTY award, a very prestigious award in Christian fiction. Woo-hoo Christina! I contacted her and she offered to do an interview, so I get the FIRST interview with Christy finalist author, Christina Berry!
And now, without any further ado, here is Christina...
The Familiar Stranger—formerly known as Undiscovered—is about a couple going through a really rough patch in their marriage. When an accident incapacitates the husband, their relationship must be redefined. Which would be a lot easier to do if BIG secrets from his past didn’t raise their ugly heads. Despite the upheaval, the choices they make involving forgiveness and trust might allow a new beginning. Or … they might not.
You can see the back cover copy and what other authors have said about The Familiar Stranger by going to http://www.christinaberry.net/books.aspx
How did you come up with the story?
In the summer of 2006, two stories appeared in the newspaper. One was a huge, national story; the other a smaller, local-interest item. I wondered what it might look like if those two stories conceived a child. Boom! I had the entire plot for The Familiar Stranger. It will be interesting to see if readers can figure out which stories inspired the book.
What takeaway value do you hope readers receive after reading your novel?
The recent changes in my life—losing my husband, facing finding a “real” job, selling my home—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.
What part does God play in your writing?
I believe He guides the story, adding layers I’m not even capable of comprehending while I write it. I’m not great at starting my writing time with prayer, but I try to stay open to where He might lead me.
I see writing as one of the tools He uses to form me into His image—a tool to teach me patience, self-control, determination, reliance on Him, and other life lessons. I also see writing as a gift that brings hope, fulfillment, and purpose when the rest of my life is falling apart.
How can we pray for you?
Behind every book is an author, but what I tend to forget is that the author is a real person with real struggles, doubts, and hardships. This happens to be a period of pain, growth, and change in my life. I would love to be held up with prayers for the following: grace and strength to show Christ’s love to everyone I come in contact with, the ability to find joy wherever possible, and financial, emotional, and spiritual safety for my family as we continue the transition to a single parent home.
What are you currently writing?
I’m about 1/5 of the way through my next manuscript, Unafraid, a story about a girl’s kidnapping, and how her life unfolds because of the trauma. One of my characters is a PI, so I’m having loads of fun with the research.
The humor Sherrie Ashcraft (my sometime co-author and always mother) and I display in our infrequent, humorous newsletters--sign up at www.ashberrylane.net/update.aspx --has garnered the attention of an editor. You just might see a funny, non-fiction cooperative work from the Ashberry Ladies at some point in time. Plus, I have a funky TV-based devotional a house is interested in … Busy, busy, busy!
Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life?
Though the plot of The Familiar Stranger came from news stories, I’d been looking for a fictional vehicle to express the lessons I’d learned regarding forgiveness in my own marriage. I knew no one was interested in reading my particular story, but I still felt God had given me something to say. My husband and I worked through a major issue seven years ago and found a vibrant, completely renewed marriage on the other side.
However, a year ago, that same issue broke our bond. Now as a newly-single woman, I’m in the midst of promoting a book that touches far closer to home than I would have ever dreamed. If no one else ever reads it, I’ve been convicted and encouraged by my own words. If that isn’t a gracious God at work, I don’t know what is!
How can our readers purchase your book?
Here are two links:
You can also have any bookstore order copies for you if they don’t have any in stock.
Do you have any parting words of advice?
Write with purpose, whether it is a letter to a friend, a blog entry, or a full-length novel. The Lord says we will be held accountable for what we’ve said, so let’s make these words of our count for eternity!
I am so excited to have Christina here. Her book is one of the best I have ever read and while reading, I literally could not get a full breath of air. She never put me down. I hope to meet you someday, Christina! Thanks for being here and I wish you the VERY best in the Christy award!!
6 hours ago