Answering the Dames’ Dozen today is consultant and author D. K. Christi. That’s her quote up there in the title, I loved it so much I just had to use it!
1. Tell us about your latest book, Ghost Orchid.
One rare and endangered ghost orchid; four destinies. The beautiful model Neev and her mentor, Roger, seek the perfect subject in the perfect light, each with their own painful ghosts chasing them. Ghost Orchid is a mystery of love, lies and redemption wrapped in a ghost orchid found high in the canopy of Blair Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. NPR reviews praise the beauty of the Everglades that shines through every page where the ghost orchid is the heart and soul of the story. Do these lives unfold by coincidence? Or is the mystical ghost orchid working its magic among the ancient cypress?
D. K. Christi awakened to the ghost orchid’s beauty and mystery when it first bloomed on her own birthday in 2007. Obsessed by the ghost orchid’s gossamer beauty floating in the swamp breeze, she stalked its three months of blooming for four years, the earlier two producing the novel, Ghost Orchid. The story reaches deep in the heart and soul to express joy and pathos that brings tears for both to the eyes of the reader. The characters find more than they bargain for, and so does the reader, haunted by the mysteries that unfold long after the cover closes.
2. Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now?
My WIP title is Virgin Odyssey, a complex story with an ensemble cast of independent blue water sailors whose lives unfold and entangle in ports across the globe. It’s even more of an epic than my first novel, Arirang: The Bamboo Connection, an epic story that encompasses exotic, foreign locations with a bit of love threading its way through. I also write short stories some of which are found in The World Outside the Window anthology, Romance of My Dreams anthologies I and II and Amour – Stories of Love and Friendship (just published in Kindle). There may be a sequel to Ghost Orchid………
3. Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
Life that touches me in such a way that I must write it down. I am basically an essayist and write constantly about my feelings, observations, trials and tribulations among acquaintances, the impact of news, cultures, travel, etc. etc. At some point, these musings are organized into a story format.
4. What is a typical writing day like for you?
My goal is to write the equivalent (on average) of one 8 1/2 x 11 12 pt font page of text each day. That’s 365 pages in one year. So far, each novel has taken three years through edits and changes and publication.
5. Tell us a little bit about how you promote your work. Any tips for other authors?
My best promotions are book signings at locations other than book stores. It is not the signing so much as the pre-press that helps the promotion. Of course, I blog and participate in the usual plethora of social networking sites. Google alerts have helped me make contact with people interested in my writing topics. I also participate in book store signings, festivals, public events and charity events.
6. What is your most cherished reader reaction to your work?
Want you to know that last night I went to bed with my eyes unable to focus and it’s all your fault. It was a cold, rainy day off work & I didn’t feel like anything. In the afternoon I curled up in my oversized chair with an afghan and began reading Ghost Orchid. Wow! Where did that come from?
The twists and turns throughout the story kept me surprised. Just when I thought I had figured things out, I’d get to the next chapter and learn the outcome wasn’t predictable as I had thought. Yes, you nailed it! What a great story.
Now I have to pick up Arirang where I left off. But not today. In fact this is all I am doing on CPU today. By the last 2 chapters I was continually repositioning to keep the words from blurring.
Anyway, thank you SO much for writing! Thank you also for keeping me up on your books, keep them coming. You have left me wanting to make that turn into the sanctuary. The place I always viewed as a boring, dusty looking site for environmental extremists. How funny is that?
I know you’re at the “swamp” today with a book signing, I hope it went well. The society should consider putting your books at the Chamber office to promote the “swamp.” I am going to grab a copy for a life long girlfriend who just bought a winter place on Marco. They have homes in Missouri & Colorado so I only get to see this girl, whom I have known since we were babies in the nursery at church, when they are on Marco. I know she will enjoy the book.
7. Who or what has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?
My muse, the love of my life, without whom no words would be written by D. K. Christi, no stories told.
8. What part of the craft of writing has improved since your first book?
Dialogue. I am an essayest. Dialogue is a challenge. I have to remove long, detailed descriptions of environments and locations to keep from losing today’s readers.
9. Besides writing, do you have any other interests?
Reading, kayaking, science fiction, travel, dancing, bicycling, hiking and more.
10. All of the Dames love animals. Do you have any pets and if so, can you tell us a little bit about them?
Sport is my little red-bellied parrot, aging now at 14. I choose not to have pets; but she and I had a moment in the past when we were in danger and hit the road together. I have felt responsible to care for her since. I had a wonderful standard Poodle, Lady Ace, when I lived aboard a 70 ft. yacht Lady Ace as a live aboard – alone. She and I prayed together in the bowels of the yacht during tropical depressions, shaking like twins. She was unique, born to the yacht and its protector.
11. Do you like to travel or is home your favorite place to be? Is there any place you’d like to visit but haven’t gotten to yet?
I love to travel, rootless is my history. Lately, though, I don’t like airline flights over two or three hours. I prefer ships and trains. Travel has become such a hassle. I also enjoy road trips by car and would like to try a camper.
12. Mark Twain said, “Southerners speak music… and I believe that’s true, but I also believe every place has its own special language which is music to the people who live there. Do you have a favorite saying, colloquialism, expression from where you live that you’d like to share with our readers?
My own favorite expression, my D. K. Christi is, “All I know is in this moment,” the cousin to living today well so tomorrow has treasured memories instead of regrets.