Tell us about you.
My name is Christine Nolfi. I owned a small public relations firm in Cleveland, Ohio that closed after I traveled to the Philippines to adopt my children. I've been writing novels full-time since 2004. My 2011 debut Treasure Me is a 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards finalist. My most recent book Second Chance Grill was released in October.
Tell us about your book.
Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.
Welcome back to Liberty, where the women surrounding the town’s only restaurant are as charming as they are eccentric.
Second Chance Grill is the prequel to Treasure Me, 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards Finalist, which Midwest Book Review calls “A riveting read for those who enjoy adventure fiction, highly recommended.”
What inspired you to write this book?
I was in a yoga class and the instructor asked us to state an intention to the universe. Deep in Child's Pose, I asked for inspiration to write my next book. Within moments, the precocious preteen Blossom Perini with her tumble of corkscrew curls popped into my head.
What can readers expect when they open your book?
All of my books draw elements from a variety of genres--romance, mystery, suspense, literary. Readers invariably mention the lifelike qualities of the characters--which makes perfect sense, since I'm utterly convinced my characters are real!
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Taking my art seriously during the worst phase of my life. I began writing fiction full-time as my marriage fell apart and my mother was dying of cancer. Somehow I managed to keep my four frightened children healthy and whole while writing books and negotiating some very difficult years.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I never know how to answer this question. If an author reads well and widely--and all serious novelists should--how does one choose? Years ago I met Herman Wouk at a cocktail party. He told a story that began with a cow and two farmers, and ended with how a small group of people can change the world. I stood there thinking, "It doesn't matter how long I write. i'll never become a storyteller of his stature." Meeting one of the literary greats certainly put wind in my sails.
Do you have any suggestions for writers just starting out?
Write the first draft with your internal editor turned off. Join a critique group. Set aside a specific time to write even if it's only 30 minutes per day, four days per week. Never forget that while it's virtually impossible to develop a unique plot, it is well within your reach to hone a singular literary voice sure to stand out in the crowd.
What is your favorite quote?
"Do you want to be a follower or a leader?" My father liked to pose the question whenever my siblings and I were caught in a dilemma. As he lay dying in the hospital I shouted the beloved words back at him: "Dad, you have to fight! Do you want to be a follower or a leader?"
Despite the pain he smiled, and said, "Always a leader." Those were his last words.
If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?
I'd exchanged places with the emotionally battered college professor in a WIP set in Istanbul. But don't make me give too much away. I haven't finished writing the novel.
In the Second Chance Grill novel ... I'd love to become the town's fiery matriarch Theodora Hendricks for a day. She packs the wisdom of the ages in a petite frame and carries a Saturday Night Special in her buckskin satchel. I can't write her dialogue without laughing wildly.
If your book was made into a movie which actor/actress would play which character(s)?
Either Whoopi Goldberg or Viola Davis should play Theodora. Kate Hudson could play Birdie, the beautiful thief searching for more than a simple treasure. I'm stumped on who should play Hugh.
If the book being featured is part of a series, tell us more about it.
Second Chance Grill, the second book in the Liberty series, is actually the prequel to Treasure Me. The series follows the lives of a group of women in fictional Liberty, Ohio. Think "Steel Magnolias" (the film) or "Fried Green Tomatoes" (the book).
What does writing mean to you?
I'm a glass is half full kind of gal. My novels reflect my belief in good winning out, and the possibility of ordinary people rising to extraordinary goodness despite the worst of times. Given the reception my novels have received, readers seem to enjoy the message.
Anything else you want to share with us?
What's next for readers?
I'll release a more romantic novel in either late December or early January. The third installment of the Liberty series will arrive in either late spring or autumn 2013. I still can't decide if I should finish that work first, or my WIP set in Istanbul.
Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author:
1) Adopting my four children will always be my greatest success. Looking back, I'm glad I had the courage to build a loving home for four kids who'd suffered abuse and neglect.
2) I couldn't consistently write compelling fiction without an exercise routine. Take the gym out of the equation, and I'm a goner.
3) I'll skip lots of things but not sleep.
4) I remarried in August. Barry and I met on Match--it was love at first sight.
5) I still don't own a cell phone. I spend so much time interacting on the Internet, it's the only way I can carve out quiet time.
Where to connect online
FEATURED BOOK: Second Chance Grill
Genre: Contemporary fiction
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