Thursday, July 22, 2010

Please Welcome Chris Verstraete, Mystery Writer, on Her Blog Book Tour

Writing Real vs. Fictional Friends

Thanks everyone for hosting me and kicking off my blog tour for Searching For A Starry Night on Kindle/, and the upcoming new print version.

I noticed that most of my characters have friends, which I consider a good thing. After all, who wants to read about someone always talking to themselves, unless you intended to picture them slightly unglued, of course.

Friendship is at the heart of the story in my children's book Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery just released on Kindle.

Friends can play an important role in solving a mystery, even if it's just for the company. Holmes had Watson; Stephanie Plum has Grandma Mazur; even Miss Marple needed someone to talk to, usually the long-suffering police chief who listened (grudgingly) to her ideas.

In Searching for a Starry Night, 13-year-old Sam and her BFF Lita have a pretty good relationship—most of the time.

They usually agree, but friendship, especially one of many years, can, and does, have its own source of conflict, as when Lita gets mad at Sam for taking her fear of ghosts lightly by teasing her. Lita feels even more threatened after she's the first to uncover an unusual document connected to a spooky event in the family's past.

After they argue and Lita withdraws, Sam is now the one feeling threatened and fears that her decades-old friendship could end. She also may have to continue her hunt alone for the missing miniature replica of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting, something she'd rather share with her friend.

As in real life, fictional friends have testy moments. Friends can argue. They can disagree while having a central goal. Writing such moments into a story is what makes characters real and helps the reader feel a touch of empathy or even a little anger at the character's actions or attitude.

It's like reacting to what's going on in a movie. When the reader (or viewer) starts yelling at the character or feels something towards them, be it joy, anger, disgust, impatience, judgment, etc. – you know you've succeeded in making them real. You've made a connection.

That's the fun part. Giving your characters friends not only adds some conflict and a little tension to the story, it can add some light moments and it makes the story that much more real.

Thanks for letting me meet your blog visitors!

Anyone commenting on any of the blog stops on the tour can win:
*One person who comments on any of the blog tour stops will win a free Kindle copy of Searching for a Starry Night. (You can download Kindle for PC free here.)

* One person will also win a miniaturized dollhouse collector's edition of the first chapter from the first print edition, made by miniaturist LeeAnn Borgia. See my
blog for links and photo.

** To celebrate the revised Searching for a Starry Night, one person will win a copy of the new print version when it is available.

* Website
* Blog
* eBooks page
* Searching For A Starry Night on Kindle
Next Few Tour Stops:
Mon, 7/26: Morgan Mandel's Double M blog - Dogs and Such
Tues, 7/27: Killer Hobbies with Camille Minichino - Crafts and Writing, what comes first?
For the Full Blog Tour Lineup See
Don't forget to comment for a chance to win! An email address will help to track you down.


CA Verstraete said...

Thanks Morgan for your hard work and hosting me. Even if you dug out that photo. haa!

N. R. Williams said...

This sounds like a good read. The cover of a dog is great. Friendships are a good source of conflict and humor.
Good luck,

Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Acme Authors Link, Chris. Have a fun time here today.

Chris will also be at on Monday. She'll be blogging about dogs then and lots more.

PS --
I'd like to add online friends to the mix. They've become very real to me also.

Morgan Mandel

chris v said...

Thanks, Nancy, I love that dog! And he's quite the troublemaker, too! ha!

Debra St. John said...

Hi Chris,

Those secondary friend characters in stories are really important. I find it saves my hero/heroine from a lot of internal dialogue that becomes boring to readers.

Those friends can also make for great spin-off books, because they often have a story of their own to share!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good post, Chris, with advice that we can all use. Good luck on your blog tour.


Unknown said...

Lovely post. I love the cover of your book.

Blog tours are fun. I hope you enjoy yours. Good luck.

Unknown said...

Friends play a big part in all our lives, and never more than when we're children.

Love the cover, and good luck on your tour.

Margot Justes said...

Hi Chris,
Welcome to Acme, nice to see you here. Do you rememebr the doggie event we did together?
Margot Justes
A Hotel in paris

Helen Ginger said...

I've always thought that Petey was such a cute cover dog and the book has a great story to tell kids.

Cheryl said...

I love the cover of this book! Best of luck.


chris v said...

Hi Margot, Oh I can never forget that event! In fact I think I mentioned that one lady in my upcoming post at Morgan's blog (about dogs!)

Hi Ginger, Cheryl, Helen, thanks, I like that cover too.

Hi Lorrie, Marilyn, Debra, thanks for stopping by! I agree; we all need friends, right?

Jean Henry Mead said...

I've got to read your book, Chris. I just finished my first children's mystery for 9-12 year-olds with a 13-year-old girl protagonist. Now that it's finished, I'm in a quandry as to where to submit it. (I write primariliy for adults). Do you need an agent to sell children's mysteries?


Norm Cowie said...

Friends? What is this word 'friends'?


chris v said...

Hi Jean,thanks for stopping by. I think kid's books are so much fun to write. It depends what kind of publisher you're looking for if you need an agent, unless it's a smaller or independent press.

Hi Norm, hey your Fang girl is scaring the dog! ha!

chris v said...

Hi Cherie, Lorrie, marilyn and Ginger, Hope I didn't miss someone!
Yes blog tours are fun; I agree, tho some work.ha!

I've done tours before but this time I tried to actually write different posts so that was a challenge but fun to see what I could come up with.
Thanks for stopping by!

Earl Staggs said...

Hi, Chris. You have a good handle on the value of friends, in our writing as well as in real life. Good luck on your tour and I wish you great success with your book.

Shirley said...

Chris, I just bought your book for Kindle. Can't wait to read it. However, I wonder how many kids actually have Kindles or other e-readers. Be interested to know how well your book sells as an ebook.

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

I still remember the friends I had at that age, and that was a long time ago.

CA Verstraete said...

Hi Earl, good to see you and thank you!
Larion, thanks for visiting!

Shirley, wow thank you. I hope you like it. Well kids have all kinds of gadgets now right? (More than I do! haa!) It will be in other ebook formats soon once I format it. (only 2 hands. ha!)
Hope I didn't miss anyone! Quite a party!!

CA Verstraete said...

Oh forgot to add!!!

Just saw that Starry is #1 in the Kindle store under miniatures!!

Anonymous said...

A daschund with glasses? Too cool. And if a book giveaway is free I'll take two please. Best wishes for your contiunued success.

Stephen Tremp