|Christa's lovely family|
Hello there, Harriet here in New Orleans, LA. I am just all a twitter. It’s my first time you know, well going anywhere would be a first time for me, except of course the Jersey Shore, but that don’t count. Anyhoo, I stopped here in order to spend a little time with Christa Allan. She is a fabulous author. I love her novels. And as it turns out I love her. She is a hoot and a half.
Christa and I met for lunch at The Joint, one of her favorite places to eat in the Bywater. We shared some baby back ribs with down-home sides of potato salad and baked beans. And as far as I can remember this is what we talked about (best of my recollection after a too-big slice of Peanut Butter Pie made with creole cream cheese straight from a local farm).
Harriet: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to visit with me. I understand you’re a school teacher as well as a writer? Well, that’s incredible. How do you juggle all that?
|Christa's Lovely house|
CHRISTA: Not very well, Harriet! Most of the time I'm just busy picking up all the pieces that fall on the floor. But I'm fortunate to have a forgiving and patient family, and students with a sense of humor.
Harriet: You know I love your writing. You have such a nice, easy style and I feel so drawn in to the loves of your characters. But what I really appreciate is that you are not afraid to tackle some tough issues. How has that been for you? Do you get a lot flack?
|Ahhh, Christa's lovely kitties|
CHRISTA: You're so kind, Harriet. In fact, I'll bet all those experiences and people you've met during your travels have opened your heart in ways you never imagined. You've tackled some pretty tough issues yourself, so I know you understand how important it is to be able to share those with others so they don't feel so alone. My life has been a series of unscripted events, meaning the ordinary life I thought I’d lead didn’t happen at all the way I planned. Along the way I’ve been a recovering alcoholic (for over 25 years now), the wife of a Jewish husband, the sister of a gay brother, the mother of twins with one born with Down’s Syndrome…I know I’m not the only Christian to struggle, but I wasn’t finding too much in the way of Christian fiction where these issues were out of the closet.
Flack? You betcha. After The Edge of Grace I received emails that were, well, less than kind. But for every one of those, I received ten that from readers struggling with the same issues who were comforted to know they weren’t alone. Jesus reminds me that the best armor I can wear is love. That, and I don’t recall any scripture passages that tell me to, “Go forth and be complacent.”
Harriet: What are you working on right now? Do you enjoy being a writer?
CHRISTA: Right now I’m working on grading research papers (I teach 11th grade English), and I’m trying not impale myself on my red pen.
I just turned in a manuscript for a Quilts of Love series that Abingdon Press will be featuring. My title, Threads of Hope, will release in March of 2012. I’m under contract for a three-book series, a generational saga, with Abingdon that will release in 2013 and 2014.
Being a writer is much like being a parent…there are days I am so fascinated and blessed and energized by it…then there are others that make me wonder what I was thinking when I signed on for this! And, like a parent, I don’t take this responsibility lightly. Just like I want my children to be honest and loving and faithful, so too do I want my readers to feel that my writing is honest and loving and faithful.
Harriet: That’s nice dear. Tell me about your family? Dogs? Cats? Ferrets? I have a Bassett Hound named Humphrey. I miss him so much. Funny how attached we get to our pets.
CHRISTA: By the way, Humphrey is a real gem. He has the most expressive eyes, I half expect him to talk at any moment.
My husband is a veterinarian who works part-time at an animal shelter, and I wish we could rescue every pet there. We don’t have a no-kill shelter, and two out of every three animals that enter, don’t make it…if you know what I mean. So, we are always advocating for pets and for pet owners to be responsible (spay and neuter and all that jazz). In the meantime, I’m always afraid I’m going to turn into one of those crazy cat ladies…We have three cats, all brought home as kittens after being dumped off. They’re slightly neurotic, so they fit in our family just fine. My brother and his partner live with us, and they have two dachshunds (one of which Ken rescued) who think they’re Dobermans.
I have five children (yes, my amazing husband knew this when he asked me to marry him!). My older son, Michael, has two daughters who will soon be seven and five. My daughter, Erin, is married to Andrae. Shannon and Sarah are my twins, and John is the “baby.” Their ages range from 35 to 27; so does mine.
Harriet: Can you tell me a little about your town? What’s the best thing about living in New Orleans?
CHRISTA: Ken and I have lived in Louisiana almost our entire lives, but recently we moved from the suburbs to the city of New Orleans. In distance, it’s less than an hour, but in terms of culture and experience, it’s like another world! We bought a home originally built in the 1840s; it’s named Camellia Manor. We’re minutes from the French Quarter and from the river, so we’ve had the chance to be much more involved in the goings on of the city. Plus, we’re within walking distance of great restaurants and yummy bakeries!
It’s crawfish season, so we’re enjoying some them boiled with potatoes, mushrooms, corn on the cob, garlic…The food, the Saints, the festivals, and the resilience of New Orleans are treasures.
Harriet: One of the things I’ve been doing as I travel is keeping my senses peeled for sensing God’s pleasure. What does it mean for you to feel God’s pleasure?
CHRISTA: I’d have to say waking in the morning to another day to be a better person than I was the day before is the time I most feel the pleasure of a loving God.
Harriet: Oh dear, look at the time. My bus will be here in just a minute or two. Thank you so much for inviting to lunch, Christa and no, no I insist, this is my treat. Is there anything else you’d like our fellow travelers to know?
CHRISTA: Thanks, Harriett for stopping to spend time with me. I can’t wait to follow you as your journey on to your son’s house!
If you ever need to find me, my website is www.christaallan.com, and I’m usually on Twitter as ChristaAllan, so feel free to tweet me!