image: header
image: gownflare

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Spotlight on Christina Berry and The Familiar Stranger

This is part of a multi-site blog tour with multiple chances to win books! More details all the way at the bottom. Enjoy!


CHRISTINA BERRY is a single mother and foster parent who carves time to write from her busy schedule because she must tell the stories that haunt her every waking moment. (Such is the overly dramatic description of an author's life!) She holds a BA in Literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem, as well. Her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, releases from Moody in September and deals with lies, secrets, and themes of forgiveness in a troubled marriage. A moving speaker and dynamic teacher, Christina strives to Live Transparently--Forgive Extravagantly!

Her work has also appeared in The Secret Place, The Oregonian, and Daily Devotions for Writers. Find her at and

by Christina Berry
Published by Moody Publishers


Craig Littleton's decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise...if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.

They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, discover dark secrets. What will she do when she realizes he's not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?

Readers, buy your copy of The Familiar Stranger today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

In the summer of 2006, two stories appeared in the newspaper. One was a huge, national story; the other a smaller, local-interest item. I wondered what it might look like if those two stories conceived a child. Boom! I had the entire plot for The Familiar Stranger. It will be interesting to see if readers can figure out which stories inspired the book.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Any character has some aspect of my personality, for better or worse. I can only write what I know. I've seen a richness develop in my writing as I've grown in my faith and walked through some valleys in the last decade.

Denise and Craig's story is based on the lessons of forgiveness God taught me when my marriage fell apart...the first time. Accordingly, many of the emotions Denise goes through correspond to what I felt, though our situations differ. However, I also wanted to really understand the male perspective, so Craig had parts of me in him as well. The path away from God and following temptation is something we can all recognize and, unfortunately, identify with.

During the editing process and years after my husband and I reunited, our marriage of thirteen years unexpectedly ended. The words I had written as a happily married woman ministered to me in my singleness. My heart's hope is that this book will lead people to Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly!

3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

My hero would be Double Fudge. Hidden secrets means he's lying in both his professional and personal lives, but he has the potential to be delicious. Oh, and lots of women are attracted to him, which tends to be true of chocolate. ;)

Denise I would describe as a lemon sherbet. She's blonde, a little bit tart while still refreshing, and worried about calories!

4. Are there any themes in The Familiar Stranger that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I'll consider it a success. The recent changes in my life—losing my husband, facing finding a "real" job, selling my home—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. Maybe there's a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Most difficult part to write: I was in the middle of revisions when my marriage fell apart. God orchestrated it so that I was beefing up a "struggle with forgiveness" scene in those first few weeks of singleness. While aspects of that were hard to deal with, the very words I thought would help someone else ministered to me.

Favorite: I have a scene involving a Krispy Kreme donut that was particularly tantalizing to write. I laugh every time I read it. Also, I had to take a research trip to Multnomah Falls in the gorgeous Columbia Gorge. Using the beauty of that place in a scene was a lot of fun.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

I’m about 1/5 of the way through my next manuscript, Unafraid, a story about a girl's kidnapping, and how her life unfolds because of the trauma. One of my characters is a PI, so I’m having loads of fun with the research.

The humor Sherrie Ashcraft (my sometime co-author and always mother) and I display in our infrequent, humorous newsletters has garnered the attention of an editor. You just might see a funny, non-fiction cooperative work from the Ashberry Ladies at some point in time. You can sign up for that newsletter at By signing up, you will be entered to win a 4GB iPod Shuffle or free books for the life of my writing career.

Oh, and I have a funky TV-based devotional a house is interested in. Busy, busy, busy!

* * * * *

Thank you, Christina, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of The Familiar Stranger.

Christina will be doing TWO drawings for two TEN-BOOK GIVEAWAYS. The first will take place on September 30th, her birthday. She will draw 10 names, then repeat the process on October 31st. You could be 1 of the 20 winners!

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when the winners are announced each time.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

* * * * *


Tuesday, 9/1
Jennifer AlLee

Wednesday, 9/2
Tiffany Amber Stockon

Thursday, 9/3
Cara Putman

Friday, 9/4
Writing Career Coach Blog

Saturday, 9/5
Sherrie Ashcraft

Sunday, 9/6
Edwina Cowgill

Monday, 9/7
Nikki Raichart

Tuesday, 9/8
Patricia Woodside

Wednesday, 9/9
Jody Hedlund

Thursday, 9/10
Dawn King

Friday, 9/11
Grace Bridges

Saturday, 9/12
Laura Hilton

Sunday, 9/13
Bette Bantz

Monday, 9/14
Stormi Johnson

Tuesday, 9/15
Michelle Shocklee

Wednesday, 9/16
Robin Johns Grant

Thursday, 9/17
Novel Journey

Friday, 9/18
Tracy Ruckman

Saturday, 9/19
Karin Beery

Sunday, 9/20
Glynn Young

Monday. 9/21
Sharon Ball

Tuesday, 9/22
Cathy Bryant

Wednesday, 9/23
Roseanna White

Thursday, 9/24
Ashley Weis

Friday, 9/25
Brenda Anderson

Saturday, 9/26
Krista Phillips

Sunday, 9/27
Debra Ullrick

Monday, 9/28
Chila “Maggie” Woychik

Tuesday, 9/29
Lyn Cote

Wednesday, 9/30
Cindy Loven

Thursday, 10/1
Patty Wysong, Part 1

Friday, 10/2
Patty Wysong, Part 2

Saturday, 10/3
Jeannie Campbell

Sunday, 10/4
Christa Allan

Monday, 10/5
Jaime Wright Sundsmo

Tuesday, 10/6
Miralee Ferrell

Wednesday, 10/7
Martha Rogers

Thursday, 10/8
Delores Liesner

Friday, 10/9
Ann Shorey

Saturday, 10/10
Lil Duncan

Sunday, 10/11
Winter Peck

Monday, 10/12
Lisa Lickel bin/blog

Tuesday, 10/13
Mara Kim

Wednesday, 10/14
Jodie Bailey

Thursday, 10/15
Deborah Vogts

Friday, 10/16
Susan Reinhardt

Saturday, 10/17
Annette Irby

Sunday, 10/18
Beth Wiseman

Monday, 10/19
Tammy Bowers

Tuesday, 10/20
Margie Vawter

Wednesday, 10/21
Lynette Sowell

Thursday, 10/22
Trish Perry

Friday, 10/23
Jude Urbanski

Saturday, 10/24
Brenda Jackson

Sunday, 10/25
Kristen Johnson

Monday, 10/26
Carla Stewart

Tuesday, 10/27
Jean Kiney

Wednesday, 10/28
Angie Breidenbach

Thursday, 10/29
Linda Rondeau

Friday, 10/30
Camy Tang

Saturday, 10/31
Rose McCauley


Lady Araujo said...

I've heard this book is really amazing. I'd love to win it. Please, enter me.


Christina Tarabochia said...

Thank you, Tiffany, for hosting this. I really liked thinking about the ice cream flavors! Yum. :)

Lady Araujo, best of luck! Just keep following the tour around and you'll have LOTS of chances.

mariska said...

Wow..what a long book's Tour that you have : )
Hi Christina, I've been following you around lately, to make sure that i have the chance to win your fabulous book!
The Ice cream thing makes me laugh and 'YUM' :D
cuniquas at gmail dot com

Jeanette Levellie said...

What a delicious interview! I love the phrase "forgive extravagantly." And that you walked through it while writing makes it so meaningful.
Please enter my name in the drawing. Now I'm hungry to read this book...
Thank you!
Audience of ONE

Cherie J said...

I enjoyed the spotlight. This sounds like a wonderful book. Please enter me in the drawing.


Christina Tarabochia said...

It's been a pleasure to share what God is doing in my life through this book. Thanks for following, ladies!

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

WOW ~ you're going to be busy! You might want to stock up on ice cream, before you're too tired to run out and get it! :D

Your books sounds wonderful, I can't wait to give it try.

~ Lori

Linda said...

Great books. Please enter me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail com

Anonymous said...

I would love to win The Familiar Stranger as well as the other books Christina will offer. Please
enter me. Thanks.

Molly said...

The books sound really wonderful! Please enter me!


connie said...

Please enter me! Blessings!!!


squiresj said...

First off congratulations on the book. Secondly Happy Birthday early. I enjoyed this blog. The book sounds interesting and I'd love to win it.
God bless and annoint you and use you mightily for his glory.

Christina Tarabochia said...

Lori, I guess I need to stock up on ice cream and keep a fan happy. :) I like the way you think!

Thanks for being interested, all of you!

And thanks, squiresj, for the early birthday wishes! This is going to be one amazing year.

windycindy said...

Sounds like a great story line!
I enjoyed this interview very much!
Please enter my name in your book drawing.
Many thanks, Cindi

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Great interview. Please enter me.Blessings. AprilR

Anonymous said...

Great post! Please enter my name for the book giveaway!


Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I can tell this book would pull at my heartstrings. I've been through a similar situation with my husband. I'd love to read this.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful review..please add my name to this giveaway...thanks.

karen k

Erin said...

Count me in please, sounds like a wonderful book!

ellybean (at) connected2christ (dot) com