Friday, March 23, 2012

Guest Christy Barritt Shares How She Creates Suspense Novels

Christy Barritt is an author, freelance writer and speaker who lives in Virginia. She's married to her Prince Charming, a man who thinks she's hilarious--but only when she's not trying to be. Christy's a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who's known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado. She's only won one contest in her life--and her prize was kissing a pig (okay, okay... actually she did win the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery for her book Suspicious Minds also). Her current claim to fame is showing off her mother, who looks just like former First Lady Barbara Bush.
When she's not working or spending time with her family, she enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and exploring small, unsuspecting towns where people have no idea how accident prone she is.

For more information, visit her website at:

Were it not for her cop neighbor, widowed mother Madison Jacobs would be dead. Thankfully, Detective Brody Philips interrupts an attempt on her life in the nick of time. But the would-be killer hasn't given up, and each tick of the clock brings the madman closer to finishing what he started. Brady vows to catch the serial killer plaguing the sleepy Virginia town…especially when he realizes the danger has followed him from the big city. With everyone around him at risk, it'll take everything Brody's got to do his duty and keep Madison and her son safe

1. How did you go about plotting the book and writing the first page?
The idea actually developed because of my five-year-old son. I came home one day from dropping him off at preschool and I heard a timer ticking as soon as I walked into the house. For just a moment my imagination went crazy with the “what if” possibilities. It turned out my son had simply left the egg-timer on in the bathroom. Sometimes we set it for him to brush his teeth! The story grew from there. It seems every good story starts with those “what if” questions.
2. The ticking timer is eerie, and a great instrument for creating suspense. Did you think of that early, or did it appear in a rewrite?
The ticking timer was definitely the catalyst for the entire story!
3. The other things involved in the first attack were unusual for a murderer and quite involved. Did you need to think those things through to be sure the victim could do the things commanded, especially under stress?
I always try to think each scenario through and run them past my husband

(who’s way more logical than I am!) for potential flaws. Every once in a while, you’ll catch me acting something out to see if a person can move a certain way or drag a person weighing 200 pounds behind them. It’s a little strange, I suppose, but I do try to think each situation through!
4. Do you read a lot of suspense?
I do! I love mystery and suspense. In fact, it’s hard for me to read a book without any mystery or suspense!
5. Know anything about law enforcement, suicides, and how a coroner works or did you have a good source?
I try to stay away from being too procedural with my writing. I’m not a police officer, so it’s hard to know exactly how they would handle every situation. I try to focus more on the other aspects of the investigation, things that are less technical. I have been through a citizen’s police academy, as well as the FBI citizen’s academy. One of my friends is a medical examiner also, and she’ll answer my questions for me!
6. What is your background in writing and publication?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember! I went to college to study communications, and afterward I got a job as an assistant editor at Christian publishing house. I moved back home to be with my father who was terminally ill. It was during that time that I decided to try my hand at writing a novel again. I also became a reporter for my local newspaper and began freelancing for several other publications.
7. Do you have another novel in the works now? Give us your short summary of it.
I actually have several things in the works right now. I’m re-releasing two previously published novels in April—The Trouble with Perfect and Hazardous Duty. I also wrote a nonfiction book called The Novel in Me: The Beginner’s Guide to Writing and Publishing a Novel. In May, my cozy mystery, Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife, releases, and in September my next Love Inspired Suspense, Ricochet, will hit shelves. Whew. Yes, I’ve been very busy! All the information about the books is up on my website.
8. What have you done that makes you most proud?
My boys! I love my kids, and nothing makes me happier than being with them.
9. Finally, how do you believe faith should affect the outcome of a novel?
I think that as Christians faith saturates every part of our lives. I really try to let the faith elements in stories grow naturally from the characters and situations. But I want every story to end with hope and redemption because that’s what the Christian life is about.
10. Where can we contact you?
Please visit my website at It’s being revamped right now, but will launch in April. I’ll be having a huge Reader Appreciation Month then and am doing tons of fun giveaways—including winning a part in one of my novels! Please stop by for a visit. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.