Friday, June 28, 2013

Please welcome Author Christy Farmer

Good morning, Leanne. Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. I look forward to chatting with you and your readers, today.
(Thank you, Christy. I'm delighted that you could come for a visit. And I can't wait to read about your author journey.)

How/why did you start to write?

Like many writers, I’ve written in some form ever since I started school. At age 7, I kept a diary and wrote short stories and poetry at age 9.  I did this in secret, of course, and the habit continued well into high school.

Then, senior year happened.

My English teacher caught me writing during class one day and confiscated it. Talk about mortified! I wanted to slide underneath my desk. Thankfully, he read what I wrote in silence but did ask me to stay behind after class. I thought for sure I was doomed for a reprimand of some sort, or worse, a visit to the principal’s office.

Instead, he smiled at me. He said, “I just wanted to let you know this is really good. Have you ever considered becoming a writer?”

To this day, I’ve never forgotten that teacher. He remains my favorite.

How did you become an author?

My journey as a writer began with short story contests. I entered a local contest. I had so much fun writing my debut short story entitled; “I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER” that I kinda “forgot” about the contest. Several weeks later, I received a phone call that my story won an award!

The experience led to a reception. We soon found out Fannie Flagg (author of FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFÉ) would appear as our keynote speaker. She is one of my all-time favorite authors. She delighted the audience with her funny, heartwarming stories and made us laugh so much.

In the elegant lobby, they had a large display of a train depot with the winning stories displayed on them. It seemed so surreal to realize one of them belonged to me. Later, that evening, I had the pleasure of meeting her. She is one of the sweetest, nicest people you could ever hope to meet. I’ve never forgotten our conversation. I could not believe someone I admire so much, who wrote such memorable characters as Idgie Threadgoode encouraged me to write. It remains one of the most humbling and most cherished moments I’ve ever experienced as a writer.

Afterwards, Mr. Farmer said, “You’ve got to write a novel now!” However, as a young mother at the time, I decided to pursue writing once my youngest child started school. It became a decision I’ve never once regretted. I now write full-time.

What was your first published piece?

I wrote an article about my experiences of attending my first concert and meeting Rick Springfield.

Where was it published?

The article appeared in my school paper.

How long ago?

Let’s just say Corey Hart was the opening act. (Winks….)

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

Before writing, I once worked for a domestic violence shelter as a child and teen advocate. To this day, it remains among the most cherished and rewarding experiences of my life.

How did it help me as a writer? I love to keep windows open for characters either to make a difference within their own storyline or to inspire someone on some level.

What inspires you?

People: One of the occupational hazards of writers is we are natural observers. I love to observe facial expressions, mannerisms, and body language. My former piano teacher tried to break my “musical ear”, which, didn’t work. I love to listen to the pitch, tone, and dialects of people as they speak.

While observation is great for writers, it offers funny moments when you celebrate Thanksgiving with 40 family members. Ha. Ha. 

The South: The South deeply inspires me both as a person and as a writer. Southerners tend to be natural storytellers and living historians. We love to share our histories, which sometimes include historical events as backstory!

To date, the most popular topic on my blog is about Southern culture. I’m deeply flattered and proud to call the South home.

Music: I consider music the equivalent of air. I take music everywhere I go, and love to listen to it as I write.

Great Books: I’ve been a voracious reader since I began school.

Please share one of your successful author platform building technique

I am what you might call, a story first, writer. Margaret Mitchell once said, “An author’s work must stand on its own.” I’ve found I agree. Nothing will ever sell a story more than word of mouth by enthusiastic readers.

As a reader, I pay it forward with books I enjoy. Whether it is a written review on a retail website or an enthusiastic mention on social media, which is how I thank writers who entertain me. (The same goes for music.)

That said I love the interaction social media allows us.  Readers are the best and I love to interact with them. We have a great time getting to know each other. Ever since I started my blog, I reply to every comment.

Parting words

I’ve never forgotten what it feels like to be a young writer. The hunger to write, the thrill of developing characters, finding out what works, and realizing what doesn’t.

The number one tip I would offer upcoming writers is, never write for what is currently popular on store bookshelves. Instead, focus on writing the book(s) of your heart. If we write scenes that moves us, chances are it will touch readers as well. As a writer, there is nothing more rewarding than to hear your story deeply moved readers in some way.

That is why I write.

Christy Farmer is a contemporary romance writer. Her love of storytelling began in the small towns, on the front porch swings, and seated around the kitchen tables, she loved as a child. Her debut short story, I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER paid tribute to early childhood influences and won an award in the Tale for One City writing competition in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

She never waited for her muse to show up, she simply married him. When she is not writing, you will find her in a café down South, where she sips glasses of sweet tea and engages in tall tales at the liar’s table.