I am happy to have my friend Christy Barritt as a guest on The Borrowed Book today. I first met Christy when I attended my first ACFW conference in 2005, and it's been a pleasure to see her writing career take off.
Christy is an author, freelance writer and speaker who lives in Virginia. She's married to her Prince Charming, a man who thinks she's hilarious--but only when she's not trying to be. Christy's a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who's known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado. She's only won one contest in her life--and her prize was kissing a pig (okay, okay... actually she did win the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery for her book Suspicious Minds also). Her current claim to fame is showing off her mother, who looks just like former First Lady Barbara Bush.
When she's not working or spending time with her family, she enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and exploring small, unsuspecting towns where people have no idea how accident prone she is.
For more information, visit her website.
Welcome, Christy. Your book Organized Grime recently released. Give us a short blurb about the book.
Crime scene cleaner and wannabe forensic investigator Gabby St. Claire knows her best friend, Sierra, isn’t guilty of killing three people in what appears to be an ecoterrorist attack. But Sierra has disappeared, her only contact a frantic phone call. Crime scene evidence Gabby discovers while cleaning tie seemingly random murders together—and point to Sierra as the guilty party. Just what has her animal-loving friend gotten herself into? If that’s not disturbing enough, who’s the person following Gabby? A federal agent who hopes Gabby will lead him to Sierra? Or someone with more sinister plans? To find Sierra and prove her innocence, Gabby will have to rely on all of her training and abilities, plus the help of a man she loves and the protection of a God she’s only recently begun to believe in.
This is the third book in your Squeaky Clean series and features crime scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire. What inspired you to come up with this character?
From page one, Gabby St. Claire took on a life of her own! I started writing the first book, Hazardous Duty, knowing the basics on Gabby. But honestly, she surprised me just as much as anyone as I wrote the book. There were times when I paused and said, “Did she really say that?” or “Did she really just do that?” She just became so vivid in my mind and, after a while, she felt like a friend. I loved telling her story.
Gabby is a delightful heroine that I met in your first book in the series, Hazardous Duty. Describe her for our readers.
Gabby was going to college to be a forensic investigator, but had to drop out because of some family issues. In the meantime, she decides to get close the crime scenes a different way—by cleaning them. She’s got some major issues when it comes to men. She’s never afraid to voice her opinion on something, including God, botched police work or messed up romance. She’s her own person. She comes across as tough on the outside, but she’s actually got a huge heart and wants to help people.
Every great heroine needs an appealing hero, and Gabby has one in Riley. Why does she feel like he’s out of her league?
Gabby didn’t grow up with much. Her father was an alcoholic. Her mom died of cancer. She scrubs blood off of the floor for a living. Riley, on the other hand, comes from an affluent family. He’s a lawyer. And his life has been lived pretty flawlessly. They’re quite the contrast, but they complement each other nicely.
Is Organized Grime the last in the series, or will Gabby continue to clean up crime scenes and the scum of the earth in future stories?
We’ll have to see! I’m definitely open to some more Gabby stories. I’ve also considered telling Sierra’s story sometime. Sierra is Gabby’s best friend—an animal right’s activist. My readers really seem to love Sierra, and I think it would be fun to tell her story.
What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
First and foremost, I want them to be swept into another world, to feel like they’ve made a new friend in Gabby and the gang, and to be entertained. Aside from that, I want them to realize that forgiveness is always within reach, hope is always available, and that all of the messes in our lives can be used as tools for something really great.
What are you working on now?
I’ve been a busy girl. I have new Love Inspired Suspense novels releasing this year. Race against Time comes out in April, and Ricochet in September. I also just signed a three book contract with Love Inspired Suspense for a series centered on characters from The Last Target (September 2011). One of my first books, The Trouble with Perfect, is being re-released in April, and I have a mystery novel, The Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife, coming out in May. Oh, one last thing (I did mention that I’ve been busy, right?). I wrote a book on writing called The Novel in Me. I’ll be giving it away for free in April as a way of saying thank you to my readers who are also interested in writing.
Wow, you really are busy. What words of encouragement would you like to leave with our readers today who may be experiencing problems in their lives?
I say this quite frequently, but I say it because I honestly believe it—I’ve lived it. I truly believe that whatever you’re going through in your life, that God can use your circumstances for his glory. 2011 was a tough year for me in many regards. But I know that through all of the heartache, the pain, and the broken relationships that God is working out all things for his good. I know my character has been deepened, my focus clarified, and I’ve truly learned to trust in God. It’s hard to realize the things in the midst of the storm, but just hang on to God. He won’t let you down.
Wonderful words, Christy. Thank you so much for being with us today. Christy would love for you to leave a message of encouragement for her, too. She's giving away a copy of Organized Grime tomorrow. Stop back by for a chance to win.