Friday, January 28, 2011

Interview with author Sally Franklin Christie

Today, my guest is suspense author, Sally Franklin Christie.  Sally is here to discuss her recently released novel, If I Should Die. 

Sally has a special treat for anyone who stops by her website, too.   She has a January Contest on hersite.  It runs till midnight the 31st.  Participants are invited to comment on "Why do you read?"  The winner gets a $20. Amazon Card.  Please stop by and leave a comment.

1) Tell me a little about your book.
Blurb – If I Should Die
Peyton Farley has settled into a new life in southwest Montana.  Research and fact checking for a local newspaper is a perfectly safe job, or is it?  One morning, Peyton awakens and finds a strange man in lace up work boots who is bleeding out on her kitchen floor.  As Peyton calls 911 from her bedroom, someone is stealing the body.  

Who is the dead man?  Why is he bleeding to death in Peyton’s apartment?  Can one research assignment evolve into murder, embezzlement, betrayal and silence? 

If I Should Die is a suspenseful journey into the lives of many people.  The choices and impacts are repulsive and inspiring.  Silence will never sound the same.  

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
In November 2007, I participated in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.  The idea is to write a complete novel in 30 days.  Brevity is my longsuit and I worried I could not meet the goal.  So, I wrote the first draft of this book without a plan.  This was also the first time I wrote using multiple viewpoints.  My previous novels were limited to the protagonist’s point of view only.  The idea for If I Should Die came out of a frantic need to know I could write a novel from start to finish in a single month without editing.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I write in my mind full-time.  But, in real life, I work for Eternal Press and Damnation Books as a Marketing Manager.  I am a home schooling mom and a free baby sitter for two grandchildren.  Someday, maybe I’ll write full-time, for now, I will practice.  Practice is the best teacher, after all.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I remember writing short stories in grade school on the topic of what I did during summer vacation.  I was a chatty child and I think my need to talk evolved into writing.  In high school I discovered I loved research.  I went to a liberal arts college where I honed some of my skills.  The arrival of word processors took the drudgery of using white-out and carbon paper out of the game and made things more enjoyable.  Yes, I evolved from a chatty child into a writing adult.  

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Keep your back door locked.  Keep your cell-phone within reach and avoid white collar crime.  Mostly, I want people to put the book down and know that there are times when silence, however hideous the crime, is the best way to respond.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I like writing suspense and tragedy.  I grew up in the genre and it feels comfortable.  I also write a lot of speculative fiction and paranormal stories.  I also like writing flash fiction and dearly love posting to my blog.  

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
The toughest part is the eye-roll followed by the ‘you must be rich’ comment.  The other tough part is finding homes for my novels and short stories.  There are dry spells and days when a less than kind comment comes around in response to one of my stories, but writers get used to that.  I create my own success and I know that most of what I write is not supposed to be read by anyone.  Practice is the best teacher.  

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
I write a blog called Life is a Story – Tell it Big.  Everything I write is a blend of experiences, eaves dropping, and telling it big.  I admit to drinking moonshine from a pickle jar on a riverboat captain’s boat.  Emma, the apartment cat who appears throughout the novel is real.  We adopted her as a kitten about 15 years ago.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Peyton Farley loves to research.  I would love to have a job that involves researching facts and writing about them.  Peyton does the things I wish I could do.   She reacts to her abduction in much the way I imagine I would.  Unlike me, though, she is self reliant and very productive.  

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I have a stack of books on serial killers, criminal behavior and the world is at my fingertips.  I needed to research a prison that never made it into the book.  I also researched Washington state and planned a trip through Kansas.  

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
I have never written a sex scene, I need to confront that issue.  It is outside of my comfort zone, not that I don’t have access to the experiences, I have a darling husband who is always glad to help in that particular research area.  Violence is okay with me, but torture is not.  If I Should Die has several deaths between the cover, but no sex and no prolonged agony after the opening scene involving the stranger with the gaping, sucking chest wound.  I think I will put a violent and sexual scene on my list of things to write in 2011, practice is the best teacher and who knows, it may show up on my blog or in my WIP.

12) What about your book makes it special?
Silence.  If I Should Die addresses Silence in many forms.  Some things never need to be told.  Some should be shouted from the rooftops.  When should we shout and when should we be still and keep the truth in our hearts?  Peyton Farley finds silence a deafening thing and struggles with the sounds of silence throughout her captivity.   She is nearly driven mad by the silence ringing in her ears.  Silence can be overwhelming and golden.  

13) What is your marketing plan?
I’ve been promoting If I Should Die in my spare time.  I have my blog, a huge Facebook group and email.  I have paid for cover ads on some online sites.  I send a sell sheet to local bookstores and plan to choose one Montana population center at a time and work my way through the 56 counties with letters of introduction and my Bio, Blurb and Excerpts.  I really want to concentrate on internet e-book sales because I am certain the future is now.  

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
You can find me at and FaceBook.  I also moderate every third Wednesday at

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Besides the recommendation to read and follow the guidelines presented by the agents or publishers, I think the key to writing is practice.  Like Silence, not everything a person writes, needs to be read.  Be willing to write badly, write well, write often and tell it big.  Try writing by the seat of your pants if you are prone to planning and if you are a pantser, go ahead and plan something.  Research, go beyond the web and make sure three different sources agree on something before you weave it into your work.  Keep a pen and paper in your car, your bathroom, with your cell phone and be open to ideas and advice from others.  Take lots of photos, then describe them in words.  Remember, Life is a Story – Tell it Big.  Tell it aloud.  Whisper it.  Put it in tiny print, blow it up and share it with whoever wants to listen.  But, do it.

Places to purchase If I Should Die:
All Romance eBooks

Coffee Time Romance Book Store

MobiPocket Book Store


Amazon Paperback


  1. I had to come over to read the interview with the "star"--a reference I saw on Facebook...I enjoyed If I Should Die, Sally. I didn't see that ending coming. Thanks, Penny, for giving us access to the star!!!

  2. Hi Sally,

    If I Should Die sounds like it is right up my alley! What an interesting concept. I can't believe you wrote it in a month! I admire you. I don't homeschool or have grandchildren. I don't work outside the house and it takes me a year and a half to finish a book! I can vouch for the great job you do at Eternal Press. Keep up the good work.


  3. Janet, Sally is one busy gal. Thanks for commenting. Glad you enjoyed her book.

  4. Maggie, thank you for commenting. I know what you mean. Writing a book in a month is an amazing accomplishment.