by Betty Dravis

Betty Dravis: Christy, before I get into your fabulous writing career, I’d like to know a little about the Dames of Dialogue. Thanks to you for inducting me into this hallowed group. (laughs) I understand that you and author Maggie Bishop were the first two Dames. Please share with us how you decided to start this group of writers who care so much for other writers…and how it grew to five members.

Christy Tillery French: My sister Cyndi Hodges (aka Caitlyn Hunter) and I had talked about doing a blog for writers, and not long after that, we were attending a writers conference and Maggie approached me with the idea of starting a blog to help other writers promote their works. I told Maggie that Cyndi and I had been discussing the same thing, and as simple as that, Dames of Dialogue was born. We agreed early on to limit the number of Dames and started with Maggie, Cyndi and me. I knew you’d be a bonus, Betty, with your background and popularity. I had read and reviewed Laurel-Rain Snow’s books and thought she’d be a good fit for us too. I think we’re a diverse group of writers and love the rapport the Dames have with one another. We each have something unique to offer as well as readers and fans who support our efforts.

Betty Dravis: Thanks for sharing that, Christy. I enjoy my time with the Dames and was pleased that you Southern Belles asked us two sunny Cali girls to join you. Diversity, indeed… (laughs)

As you know from monitoring this blog, I like to start at the beginning, so please tell us when you first started writing and when you decided to make a career of it. Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?

Christy Tillery French: I first started writing when I was in the fifth grade. The principal asked me to publish a weekly newspaper for the school and I found myself writer, editor and occasional cartoonist. Think stick figures… (laughs) I fell in love with writing at that point although I didn’t actually write a book until my son and daughter were in school and old enough to trust to be in a room alone together without killing one another.

At that point, I had started a medical transcription service and when I wasn’t busy with that, I entertained myself by writing a romantic comedy about the relationship between two complete opposites. That book ended up being over 1,000 pages, has never been published and is sitting on a closet shelf. But it was a fun book to write. I occasionally play around with the idea of polishing it up, drastically reducing the word count and submitting it, but I’ve yet to actually do anything with it.

Betty Dravis: See, Christy, you had God-given talent and endless energy that wouldn’t be denied–even at that young age. Smart principal! I’m hoping that someday you might dust that first work off, revise it and give your fans another great read, but I can see how you are much too busy to do it anytime soon. (laughs)

Well, Christy, I and your fans are glad you decided to continue writing. Otherwise we wouldn’t have such great books as the Bodyguard series, the Chasing series and Wayne’s Dead. I’ve read them all, except that one and it was one of your first books.

Christy Tillery French: Oh, thanks, Betty. Wayne’s Dead is a psychological suspense about a serial killer suffering from multiple personality disorder, also called dissociative identity disorder. I got the idea while running my medical transcription service. Most of my clients were psychologists and psychiatrists and I learned a lot about psychological disorders through them. I initially titled the book Symbolic Killings but my agent didn’t like that and talked me into Wayne’s Dead, which to me sounds a lot like Wayne’s World. I get a lot of comments about that, let me tell you. (laughs)

This was probably one of the hardest books I’ve written because it not only required much research but I felt as if I were visiting a dark world while writing the serial killer character. I had help with the forensics from Arthur Bohanan, who is a renowned forensic scientist and the inventor of lifting fingerprints off of bodies. He’s also a featured character in the Jefferson Bass Body Farm books and one of the most generous, as well as interesting, resources I’ve ever used.

Betty Dravis: Well, now I must go back and read that one, Christy. And I know what you mean about getting into that dark world. In fact, I had to study Nigel Cawthorne’s Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: Profiles of the World’s Most Barbaric Criminals to get inside the mind of my serial killer in Dead Women Don’t Talk Back, which should be my next print book…or will it be an e-book? Only my publisher knows for sure. (laughs)

You’re an excellent writer, Christy, and I like all your works, but am really hooked on the Bodyguard series. You certainly have a dynamic, winning love match with Natasha and Striker. I’m rooting for them to resolve their differences in the next book in the series…but everyone who reads these books says the same thing. (laughs) I don’t know how you keep the series going so long and make it so captivating without them taking the wedding vows.

Have you started the next book yet? How many will that make? And do you have a title yet? Please tell us a little bit about that, if you can at this early stage.

The cover of the original print version of the first Bodyguard book.

Christy Tillery French: Thank you, Betty, for your kind comments. The conflict between Striker and Natasha over her choice of career is what keeps the series going. After all, how many TV series have we seen go downhill once the two conflicting characters come together (i.e. Cheers, Friends, to name a couple)? Striker, who owns a security service and tends to be over-protective toward Natasha, is well aware of the dangers of being a bodyguard and wants nothing more than for Natasha to quit this field and marry him. Natasha–who loves Striker immensely yet is fearful of being absorbed by him–refuses to give up the career she feels validates her as a person and fulfills her great need to protect those (humans and animals) who, for whatever reason, cannot protect themselves.

Striker is a traditional man, Natasha more contemporary. They have karma and acknowledge they are life mates, yet have to find a way to overcome this vast difference. I am sure the final book in the series will end with the wedding scene between the two (for those readers who have asked me this). I can’t picture their relationship ending any other way.

The cover of the e-book version of the first Bodyguard book.

The next book, which will be the sixth, is The Bodyguard and Bridezilla. I got this idea during the year-long process of planning my daughter’s wedding. My husband and I eloped and I had no idea planning a wedding could be so arduous and stressful. After watching my daughter have one of her “meltdowns” over a problem–along with the interactions between her and her bridesmaids over some misperceived statement or when a glitch would occur—the thought occurred to me: What a great character for Natasha to protect! A “bridezilla”–not that I’m calling my daughter that–who manages to alienate everyone with whom she comes in contact… (laughs) That’s one thing I like about this series, there is a plethora of quirky characters I can place around my bodyguard.

Betty Dravis: Wow, Christy, another great title and a fabulous idea. Quirky, indeed, but that makes for the best romantic comedies. I can’t wait to read it!

I read on one of the blogs in Dames of Dialogue that you and your sister–Cyndi Hodges who writes under the pen name of Caitlyn Hunter, as mentioned above–have a big, nonfiction work in progress. What’s that all about?

Christy Tillery French: Whistling Woman is what I call a faction (part fact, part fiction). By the way, I picked that up from you with your 1106 Grand Boulevard. (laughs) I am really excited about the book and am honored to co-author with Cyndi, whose voice is so magical to me. It’s about our great-aunt Bessie who grew up in Hot Springs, North Carolina during the late 1800s. Her father was marshal, and our dad tells these wonderful, humorous stories about Aunt Bessie’s growing up years with his great-grandfather (her father), as well as about other mountain people he knew. We tried to incorporate as many of his stories as we could into the book along with historical information concerning Cherokee medicine, the Melungeons, the Dorland Bell Institute, the healing waters of Hot Springs as well as Hot Springs itself. We’re receiving a lot of interest from people in that area and will be launching the book there.

I have to share with you that Cyndi and I think we channeled Aunt Bessie while writing this book. We each wrote different chapters and I thought I could never match my voice to Cyndi’s (she reminds me so much of Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird – that Southern, genteel, poetic cadence I find so appealing), yet now that the book is finished, there are places where neither one of us can tell who wrote what.

Also, in the first chapter, Cyndi describes the house Bessie was living in at that time in her life. Our dad had told us that his great-grandfather was a carpenter and Daddy thought one of the houses he built was still standing in Hot Springs. During a visit to Hot Springs, we stopped in at Harvest Moon Gallery, Gifts & Music, which is in a house greater than 100 years old, and it was like stepping back into that book. The house was laid out exactly as Cyndi had described, with a front parlor, steps in both the front room and kitchen which is in the back of the house, etc. We both looked at one another and knew Aunt Bessie had been talking to us from “beyond.” A very weird, yet comforting feeling…

The above painting belongs to the authors' father who often told a sad story of an old woman and her chicken. Christy and Cyndi used the story in "Whistling Women" so are using this photo on the book cover.

Betty Dravis: OMG, channeling your aunt! You are spooking me, Christy… (laughs) But it certainly seems possible that Aunt Bessie could have taken you and Cyndi over for brief “spells” during the writing of Whistling Woman. I know what you mean by the cadence of your sister’s writing voice, too. I also adore her tremendous sense of humor. Talent certainly runs in the family… I can’t wait to read this one, even if it is a departure from your usual fiction, and it’s a smart move to launch it in Hot Springs.

I’ve often wondered about your middle name. Is that your maiden name? Tell us about your parents and your lovely daughter Meghann.

Christy Tillery French: My dad, for some reason unexplained to this day, did not want any of his daughters to have a middle name, so I use my maiden name, Tillery. My daughter named her daughter (my first grandchild!) Gabriella Tillery Parrilla, which I think is lovely.

My dad is a talented artist and storyteller. Whenever we’re around him, we’re always pestering him to tell us stories of his childhood and the mountain people of North Carolina. Whistling Woman is a legacy to him as we’re passing down some of the stories he told us. We’re also using one of his paintings as the cover for the book. My mom is the strongest woman I’ve ever met. She’s in her 70s, yet healthy and vibrant. She’s the one who taught me, by example, to love reading. I remember, when I was a child, she would always get up early in the morning to have a cup of coffee and read a bit before the day began. Each week, she’d take all five of her children to the library where we could pick out books, and she’d buy us each a bottled coke afterward. Absolutely my favorite day of the week…

My bodyguard Natasha is based on my daughter Meghann. Meghann is athletic, smart, and beautiful. Although she has two degrees, one in psychology and the other in social science with an emphasis on criminal justice, she works a security position for the government, carrying a gun and malevolent-looking equipment. She oversees her own team and loves to train so she can shoot machine guns, throw grenades, wreak havoc on all kinds of things. She’s independent, passionate about life, and a hoot to be around. I couldn’t have asked for a better daughter. Oh, and she can make you pass out in five seconds… Just saying… (laughs)

Betty Dravis: Wow, Christy, your description of Meghann confused me for a second; thought you were describing Natasha. You’re absolutely right! They are alike! But remind me to always write complimentary material about you! I certainly don’t want Meghann (or Natasha) coming after me. (laughs)

Three books in the Chasing series.

I know you’ve won many awards with your books. In fact, they’re too numerous to mention here, but if anyone wants to know more they can check your website where they’ll also find your poetry awards and other credits listed.

I’m very impressed, Christy, and in addition to all the awards, your books have been chosen by numerous book clubs across America as their Book of the Month, and all nine books have been placed with the McClung Historical Collection of the East Tennessee Historical Center as part of the local and genealogical history of East Tennessee.

I know you were born and raised in the south, are proud of your home state and are on the Board of Directors of Tennessee Mountain Writers. You also served on the Board of the Southeast Mystery Writers of America (SEMWA) Skill Build Committee, representing East Tennessee, and organized and hosted a skill build in Knoxville, Tennessee in August of 2005, sponsored by SEMWA. Does this account for your joy in writing about quirky southern women?

And do you work outside the home? If so, how in the world do you multi-task so efficiently?

Christy Tillery French: Thank you, Betty. I’m honored to have received the awards and to have my books featured in the museum. Yes, I love quirky Southern women. They’re feisty, independent, outspoken, and not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. And very much fun to write… I think I respect these women so much because I grew up in a strict Southern Baptist environment, my parents espousing the opinion children should be seen and not heard. So, in essence, I learned to keep my mouth shut. Through these fictional women, I get the chance to portray a strong woman who is not afraid to stand up and be heard. The type of woman I hope I’ve become.

I do bookwork for C&S Forklift Inc., an industrial equipment business my husband and I own. I did have my office at our building, but moved it home a few months ago so I can babysit Gabi when Meghann and her husband Roberto are working.

As for multi-tasking, that’s debatable! I used to be so much more organized than I am now and hope to get back to that so I can at least finish the next Bodyguard book!

 Betty Dravis: Yes, you are a strong woman, Christy… and a bit quirky too. (laughs) Thanks for sharing about your “real” work. It’s always enlightening to be able to picture our favorite authors in all aspects of their lives.

Christy, I’ve always been fascinated by good book covers and you certainly have some dramatic, eye-appealing ones. I’m really intrigued by foreign covers and since the translation rights for Wayne’s Dead were sold to Yacom Publishers of Seoul, South Korea and the translation rights for Chasing Demons were sold to Futami Shobo Publishers of Tokyo, Japan, can you share those covers with us today? Do you display them along with your other books when attending book signings?

The original book covers for all five of French's books in the Bodyguard series.

Christy Tillery French: I think book covers are an integral part of the book, Betty. I’m sorry to say I don’t have the jpg for either one. I was pleased that Chasing Demons went into a second printing in Japan shortly after its release and I’m happy to say that during its first year, it outsold all my other books combined. I don’t display my foreign books with my others simply because they’re in another language and not sold in the States in that format.

Betty Dravis: Aw-www, I’m disappointed because it’s always interesting to see how other cultures depict our books and our characters, but perhaps one day you will take a photo holding the books that garnered foreign interest… just for me… (laughs) Seriously, congratulations on Chasing Demons doing so well in Japan. That’s wonderful.

But speaking of characters, which of yours is closest to your heart? And why…? In the same vein, which one (or two) lines is your favorite from all your works? This would also be a good place to share your all-time favorite male author and female author and share why you chose those particular writers.

Christy Tillery French: My favorite character from my stand-alone books is Bessie’s dad, John Daniels, in Whistling Woman. Cyndi and I both really liked him more and more as the book progressed. And I have to add Bessie. She was born a hundred years before her time and was a true “whistling woman.”

As for my series, I would say Natasha. I purposefully wrote her as a young, somewhat immature woman so she could mature as the series did. I like her feistiness, commitment to protecting others, her great love for Striker.

Favorite male author: Two: Stephen King and Dean Koontz – their earlier works.

Favorite female author: My sister Cyndi… I love her voice. I also like Tess Gerritsen and Shelly Fredman and, of course, the Dames…

Betty Dravis: Very good choices, Christy. King and Koontz used to be my very favorites, too, but I switched to Pat Conroy after I read Prince of Tides and to Joseph Finder when his High Crimes became a movie. I still love horror, though, so King and Koontz are still up there…

This is not an unusual or original question, Christy, but please tell us about your writing day… Where is your favorite place to write and what’s your best time?

Christy Tillery French: I’m not as disciplined about writing as I used to be. I usually work on business matters for C&S Forklift in the morning and in the afternoon devote time to answering emails, promoting, and trying to work on manuscripts. Once Whistling Woman is released, I’ll be doing a bit of traveling with Cyndi, promoting the book and doing signings. I’m looking forward to that as it will give me a chance to spend time with one of my most favorite people in the world.

I usually write in my office at home. We have a houseboat and I try really hard to write there, but water has such a calming effect on me, I don’t get much done. Besides, I’d rather play when I’m at the lake. No self-discipline at all there!

Christy with her beloved Weimeraners Amma and Memphis.

Christy with her beloved Weimeraners Emma and Memphis.

Betty Dravis: I can see you bustling about your morning chores with the business, then switching to writing mode in your home office. I wonder if you whistle as you work? (laughs) You also paint a pretty picture (in my mind) of you trying to write on the houseboat, while the water lulls you. It’s the opposite with me: I have fond memories of finishing The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley on my balcony that overlooked New Brighton Beach when I lived in Capitola.

Besides water, what distracts you the most when trying to write? (laughs) And who or what is your biggest inspiration? This is a great place to tell us about your mentors, if you have any.

Christy Tillery French: Without a doubt, my grand-dog Memphis distracts me the most. That dog barks at any and everything and runs in and out of the house like a little kid. When I’ve got Gabi, nothing gets done. She’s almost walking now and into everything. It’s fascinating watching her reactions to new things and interacting with her. I adore her…

My biggest inspiration… Actually, I have two: Cyndi and my dad. Cyndi is always upbeat and positive and certainly understands the frustrations of writing. As an artist, my dad does, as well, in regards to creating. Every time I talk to him, he wants to know what I’m working on, how it’s going. I always have Cyndi read my manuscripts before I submit them because she is great at catching glitches or inconsistencies. And she’s honest with what works for her and what doesn’t, which I appreciate. When I’m going through writer’s block, Cyndi and my dad commiserate. It really helps having people who understand the process.

Christy's beloved sister Cyndi Hodges (aka Caitlyn Hunter) is pictured here with her dog and one of her print books.

Betty Dravis: That’s encouraging that your family supports your writing the way they do. I’ve interviewed many people who were held back due to lack of support from their families. In my opinion, that’s the biggest help any artist can have.

Christy, I love receiving reviews and input from my readers and know you do too. I bet you have had some interesting fan mail and reviews. Please tell us about some of the more unusual incidents, ones that moved you the most.

Christy Tillery French: The most moving fan mail I received was from a woman who told me she had been going through a really difficult time in her life and that my Bodyguard books helped her to laugh again and escape from her worries for a time. I wanted so much to be able to give that woman a hug. Her words moved me a great deal. I could feel her pain and felt such empathy for her.

My favorite is a letter I received from Dolly Parton who told me she loved my books and that I’m as “crazy and out there” as she is. I cherish that letter.

As to other writers, I’ve had reviews where it was obvious the reviewer hadn’t read the book and had their own agenda in placing the review. I always wonder at that. I’m happy to say that most of my reviews are good ones. I appreciate the legitimate reviews, whether good or bad, because they sometimes give me a different perspective. It’s very hard to be objective about one’s own work.

 Betty Dravis: Wow, that letter from Dolly Parton must have really perked you up. To be “crazy and out there” like her is not a bad place to be… (laughs) And as for the woman who wrote that you had lifted her up out of a hard place… Well, that’s what we all hope for from our readers. Good for you, Christy!

What is the most unusual place you’ve ever held a book-signing?

Christy Tillery French: At different hospitals around East Tennessee. A dear friend of mine, Sherry Russell, had a medical connection and she and I teamed up and did signings together at hospitals and medical centers. I really liked the tag-team approach. I would talk her book up, she’d talk mine up, and we managed to sell quite a few books together. Sherry has since moved to Florida and I miss her.

 Betty Dravis: That is different, Christy, and I bet the people there appreciated you and Sherry sharing your books with them. My most unusual signing was at a Christian men’s luncheon, complete with opening prayer and gospel music. It was a lot of fun, as well as spiritually uplifting. (laughs)

What’s the wackiest thing that ever happened to you as an author? An embarrassing moment or something…?

William Thourlby, the original Marlboro Man.

Christy Tillery French: Wacky…? This may not be so wacky, perhaps, but it was certainly interesting: During a get-together at a book fest at East Tennessee State, I met the original Marlboro man, William Thourlby (who told me he was never a smoker). (laughs) Even though he’s quite a bit older, he’s very handsome and writes self-help books. We connected and spent a lot of time talking. He encouraged me to write romantic comedy, which motivated me to write the Bodyguard series. I really enjoyed meeting him.

Betty Dravis: I’d like to learn more about William Thourlby, Christy. He would make a fabulous interview subject. I’ll never forget those first Marlboro ads; he was gorgeous…but Tom Selleck stands out in my mind as a later Marlboro model. Me and a million other women… (laughs)

Getting serious again, in addition to your business with your husband, tell us about your previous jobs.

Christy Tillery French: Oh, boy, Betty… I’ve owned a medical transcription service, court reporting transcription service, co-owned an industrial battery service, industrial tire service, cartage company, and industrial equipment service. My first job was as a legal secretary, moving up to paralegal status, then office manager.

Betty Dravis: Wow, Christy, you have done a lot of fascinating things in your life… And now you have an amazing career as a writer and are well-loved by your many fans. I’m curious about how you feel about marketing and how you help your publisher, L&L Dreamspell, market your books. Is most of your marketing in the Internet Social Media?

Christy Tillery French: And I love my fans, Betty. Nothing pleases me more than hearing from them. Most of my promoting is via the internet. Due to recovering from a lengthy illness, I don’t promote as actively as I used to but plan to get back to that. I’ve found, however, that word of mouth is the best promotion. As an example, author Shelly Fredman, who writes the popular Brandy Alexander series, was kind enough to recommend me to her readers and I’ve been lucky enough to cultivate fans among her readers who have told their friends, and so on; kind of a snowball effect. I really appreciate that.

Betty Dravis: I find that to be true, too, Christy, and it works with my celebrity interviews, also. One person told another person they liked my interview and pretty soon I had more wonderful people to interview than I could handle. I love it… (laughs)

Christy, there was a time when I would not even dream of reading on an electronic reader (e-reader). The very thought seemed almost sacrilegious to me and made me feel disloyal to traditional print books. But my son bought me a Kindle and now I can’t pull myself away from it. In fact, all my novels are now in e-book format and they’re outselling my print books. That’s a bit frightening, especially to a traditionalist like me.

I notice most of your books are now in electronic form also. How do you feel about the electronic revolution in the publishing industry? In a way, I feel that New York publishers asked for it by shutting so many good authors out for too many years.

The e-book cover of Christy's novel "Chasing Demons."

Christy Tillery French: E-books are the future, no doubt. I was like you, Betty, once preferring a dead-tree book to the electronic format. Once I got my Kindle, that all went out the window. I love e-books and rarely pick up a paperback or hardback unless it’s one that’s been sent to me for review. Like you, my e-books outsell my paperbacks.

As for New York publishers, they seem to be trying to catch up re: e-books, but they still don’t get it. I don’t understand why they price their e-books as much as their paperbacks, but do hope that will encourage readers to look around at authors with small or independent publishers who offer e-books at a much lower price. And yes, they have shut out good authors, but that’s their loss.

However, the problem with e-books is that anyone can publish one, so I fear it will make it harder for readers to cull the good from the bad. But I think every author needs to read J.A. Konrath’s views re; publishing e-books. Even though he’s published through one of the major publishers, he is very honest about the reality of e-books and how well his self-published ones are doing in that format.

 Betty Dravis: I’ve read Konrath and also John Locke, who was the first one to sell a million e-books. We should be so lucky, and we can learn a lot from them. I definitely agree with you about anyone and everyone jumping on the e-book bandwagon. I have been stung by buying a few that were definitely bad, but I’m learning to check a little closer and “cull the good from the bad,” as you so adequately describe it. (laughs)

I would be remiss if I failed to ask you the question I ask almost all the people I interview: If you could spend an entire day with any person in the world (living or dead) who would you choose and why. It will be fun hearing your response. (laughs)

Christy Tillery French: I’m sure many answer the same, but God. I’d like to know how the universe can be infinite; after all, everything has a beginning and an end, doesn’t it? And what’s beyond the universe, if anything? Were we put here for a purpose or are we some kind of wacky experiment to see what we’ll do to each other and this world? Who or what created God? How can He hear each and every prayer? Does He check in from time to time, or are we watched constantly? Are we alone? I could go on forever…

Betty Dravis: Your choice is excellent, Christy. But poor God… It sounds like you would interview Him for Dames of Dialogue…or something. The Bible tells us only He knows all the answers and we will know when we get to Heaven… It will come clear to us then, so please be patient. (laughs)

Can you tell us one thing about yourself that readers would be surprised to know?

Christy with her first grandchild, adorable Gabi.

Christy Tillery French: That’s hard, Betty. I guess it would be that I married my husband after only knowing him for thirty days–and 39 years and counting, we’re still together. (laughs)

Betty Dravis: Congratulations to you and your husband, Christy. I always love hearing about successful marriages, and have always wondered how some make it after knowing each other for a short time, while others who have “been together” for years and years often don’t make it. One of life’s mysteries…

I read that you live on a mini-farm in Tennessee with your husband, four dogs and two cats. I know you have a great love for Weimaraners and part of your book proceeds are donated to their causes. Please tell us about your work with animals.

Another cherished photo of little Gabi.

Christy Tillery French: I love animals, especially dogs, horses and cats. Weims are wonderful dogs but require a special kind of owner. They’re called the Velcro dog because they attach themselves to their owner(s) and want to be with them constantly. They are not what I consider a dog-dog (I call them hu-dogs, part human, part dog) because they prefer to interact with humans than other dogs. Very intelligent, crafty and manipulative…

We also have a black Lab and Australian blue heeler who are best friends to the point that I’m already worried about how the other will react when one of them dies.

I donate proceeds to our local animal shelter, Wolf Creek Weimaraner Rescue, ASPCA and Doris Day Animal League. I’m a volunteer with Wolf Creek, where we take in abandoned and neglected Weims and find forever homes for them. In a perfect world, there would be no kill shelters, all animals would have a loving home, and animal abusers would face the same fate as those who abuse humans.

Betty Dravis: Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of a “hu-dog,” Christy. (laughs) Your pets all sound so special, and it’s commendable that you donate so much time and money caring for other animals, as well as your own. You are, indeed a dynamic, caring woman.

But back to your books: If your Bodyguard series ever becomes a movie, as many of us would love to see happen, who do you envision as Natasha and Striker?

Christy Tillery French: For Striker, I envision a younger version of actor Eric Schweig who played Uncas in The Last of the Mohicans. He’s gorgeous. As for Natasha, that’s hard. If my daughter were an actress, I’d say her!

Betty Dravis: Sounds good to me, Christy. Like you say, Schweig is a hunk, all right, and your daughter is beautiful enough to be an actress and has the skills of a body guard, too.

Since a book-to-film is every author’s dream, Christy, I’ll leave you on that happy note and with the wish that you’ll become the next best-seller among my author friends. But before closing, please share the thing that’s most exciting to you at this very moment.

Christy Tillery French: Thanks, Betty. And right back at you, kiddo… Most exciting: waiting for Whistling Woman to be released. Cyndi and I are both excited about this book and hope others may perceive it to be on par with To Kill a Mockingbird. It was fun to write and I know we’re going to have fun promoting it.

Betty Dravis: Wow, you’re on fire, Christy! So many projects going on… I, the other Dames and all your readers are rooting for you. Go, girl…and Cyndi too.

And last, but not least, here are your important links, so more people can find you and become involved with Natasha, Striker and the other fascinating characters that spring from your fertile imagination.

Thanks a million for taking time to be with us, Christy. I appreciate it and I’ll keep track of you by following every blog that Dames of Dialogue post. Cheers, sweet Southern Belle.

Christy Tillery French: Thank you, Betty, for taking the time to put together these intriguing questions.