Monday, April 11, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Christine Hartmann, author of WILD WITHIN

Christine Hartmann grew up in Ohio and Delaware and loves traveling to exotic, romantic settings. After a college semester in Kathmandu, her first three “real” jobs were all in northern Japan, where she lived for almost 10 years. She currently splits her career between her daytime occupation (improving the quality of veterans’ nursing home care) and her nights/weekend avocation (writing both fiction and non-fiction books). Her husband Ron Strickland is a well-known long-distance hiker and trail guide writer and the founder of the 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. Christine loves reading, pilates, bicycling, and snorkeling, and health foods that taste like they’re bad for you. You will often find her at a keyboard, a German shepherd at her side, and Ron whispering sweet edits over her shoulder.

Her latest book is book one of the Wild at Heart series, Wild Within.

For More Information
About the Book:

A year after a family tragedy, Grace Mori embarks on the journey of a lifetime…

Two thousand, six hundred miles of blistering heat, wilderness, and soul searching—that’s what Grace signed up for when she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s not a voyage for beginners,
but with no husband and her family still recovering from her bother’s death, Grace is more alone than ever.

This trail meant something to her brother, and she’ll hike it in his memory, but she can’t do it alone. So with her brother’s gear and a small group, Grace takes the most important first steps of her life.

Grace finds something more than peace and magic on the trail…

When her first day of hiking ends in heat stroke, Grace is rescued by a handsome, red-haired hiker who calls himself Lone Star. Grace has an immediate connection with him, and their brief encounter leaves her fearing her soul mate has slipped through her fingers. Although he vows to keep in touch, Grace doubts she’ll ever see him again.

When fears become reality, the only people Grace can rely on may be killers...

Grace is surprised to find notes left at supply posts along the trail. Lone Star’s eloquent letters keep Grace going, clinging to the hope she’ll find him—and happiness—at the end of her journey. But as the trail becomes more perilous, menace grows within the group. And when Lone Star’s letters mysteriously stop coming, Grace fears the worst. 

As tensions flare and a killer emerges, Grace must battle to survive…and reunite with the man she’s sure is her future.

For More Information

  • Wild Within is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

During the question and answer at a book reading I attended, the author emphasized that you need to find an expert for whatever subject you want to write about. If you want to write about flying, for example, you should interview a fight attendant. I left the reading inspired to write fiction, but searching high and low for an expert seemed too difficult. “Wouldn’t it be easier to find the expert first? Then I could craft a story around what the expert knows.” My husband, Ron Strickland, is a nationally-known long distance hiker, one of only two living founders of a national scenic trail. Ta da. I had my expert. He was my go-to person for all things hiking: hiking in the desert and mountains,
what the parts of a tent are called, and how you prepare for a months-long hike.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I was lucky enough to have my agents, Parkeast Literary, do the pursuing of publishers for me.

How did you choose your cover?

The publisher, Limitless, was in charge of cover design. I love what they did. I am one of the least artistic people on the planet. If cover art had been up to me, Wild Within would have had stick figures on the cover.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I did both. I revise as I write. I read what I wrote the day before and revise that before beginning a new section. And I, of course, went through the book numerous times to edit after it was completed. I also loved working with my editor at Limitless. The more brains involved in editing a book, the better, I think.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book? 

I have coffee mugs with the cover on them. I wanted swag that was both pretty and practical.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I’m all for doing what needs to be done to get the word out about my books. I’ve given away some copies of Wild Within. I will do the same with the next two books in the series, which should be coming out this year.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Start working on the next book, particularly if you’re writing a series. Keep in contact with your readers. Keep your social media presence current.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

Wild Within is the first book in the Wild at Heart series. My long-term plan is to keep the books in the series coming.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

This is my first work of fiction, and the feedback from readers has been terrific. They see the story from so many different angles. For some it’s the romance that draws them in. Others emphasize the main character’s healing process as she hikes the trail. Others like the suspense. Sometimes people see things I didn’t even see clearly myself. I love hearing from readers, so keep the comments coming!

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