BE MY GUEST: Author Interview: Christine Nolfi

With her fondness for great literary classics and her ability to write in a poetic style, she comes out as someone with class and culture. She oozes confidence with elegance in the way she talks, and a certain amount of maturity which comes with her unique life experiences such as adoption.

In my candid chat with her, she talks about her first book in the Liberty series, “Treasure Me” and gives a sneak peak of her upcoming books. Read on to find out her views on e-books, self-publishing, the role of book blogs in marketing and much more!

RG= Review Girl 
CN= Christine Nolfi 

RG: Why did you think of becoming a writer? Did some person or incident in life inspire you? Or you thought you had the germs to be a writer?

CN: Honestly, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t write. Poems. Short stories. Later, novels. After college, I owned a small public relations firm. But I was always moving toward the day when I’d write fiction.

Like all writers, I began with an insatiable hunger for books. When I was a child, I used to wander through libraries drawing my fingertips across the spines of books. I felt like I was touching other souls, reaching into other lives I would only know through their words. No one author inspired me. Many books, enjoyed over many years, did.

RG: What kind of books do you write?

CN: My novels fall under the wide umbrella of women’s fiction, with mystery and romantic elements. The Liberty books feature comedic elements, but my stand-alone novels rarely do.

RG: Why did you choose to write in those genres?

CN: The evolution came naturally from years of reading great literature. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Henry James—and modern authors like Sue Monk Kidd, Stephen King, Ann Patchett and Alice Walker. So many great writers. Each one, in his or her singular way, influenced my genesis from reader to writer. I owe a debt of gratitude to them all.

RG: What books have you published so far and what are they about?

CN: Treasure Me, the first book in the Liberty series, was released on Amazon in late April. It’s a blend of comedy, romance and mystery. Petty thief Birdie Kaminsky arrives in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue passed down in her family for generations: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart.

The beautiful thief wants to go straight. She secretly admires the clue’s author, freedwoman Justice Postell, who rose above the horrors of slavery to build a new life in Ohio. As Birdie searches for the treasure, she begins to believe a questionable part of the story: a tale of love between Justice and Lucas Postell, the French plantation owner who was Birdie’s ancestor.

If the stories are true, Justice bore a child with Lucas. Some of those black relatives might still live in town. Birdie can’t help but wonder if she’s found one—Liberty’s feisty matriarch, Theodora Hendricks, who packs a pistol and heartwarming stories about Justice. Birdie doesn’t know that an investigative reporter who has arrived in town will trip her up—as will her conscience when she begins to wonder if it’s possible to start a new life with stolen riches. Yet with each new clue she unearths, she discovers a family history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she imagined.

“Second Chance Grill”, another book in the Liberty series, will appear on Amazon in this summer. It’s a “prequel” of sorts depicting the love story of Dr. Mary Chance, the town’s doctor, and Anthony Perini, a single dad with a very precious daughter. Of course the feisty women of Liberty—including Theodora Hendricks—will be featured. You’ll learn more about the “bad blood” between Theodora and Ethel Lynn Percible. Their battle was “fur and feathers” in Treasure Me; in “Second Chance Grill”, they’re even wilder.

The third novel in the series, “The Impossible Wish”, arrives on Amazon in late autumn. It’s the story of Birdie’s infamous mother, Wish Kaminsky. The hero and heroine of that novel are nothing like Birdie and Hugh: think “clutzy female scientist” and “Mad Greek.” And, heaven help us, the evil Wish kidnaps Theodora. Don’t make me give anything else away. I’m striving for laugh-out-loud comedy from start to finish.

The other two novels are stand-alone books that will appear on Amazon this summer. I’d tell you the titles but I keep changing them as I polish the chapters.

RG: If you could be one character from your book, who would you choose to be and why?

CN: Theodora Hendricks, Liberty’s elderly town matriarch and an important character in the series. She’s my inspiration of how I’d like to age—with fire and sass.

RG: Where do you get ideas for your stories and characters?

CN: Usually I get the kernel of an idea, a conflict, and the characters most apt to struggle with that particular issue begin to appear. In bits and pieces. It’s rather like moulding a sculpture from clay, with the final result hidden for many months.

RG: List 5 suggestions/writing tips for those who want to venture into writing fiction.

1) Read often, and across genres.

2) Polish each draft relentlessly.

3) Join a critique group.

4) Read books on craft, and strive to improve.

5) Make time for your art every day, if only for twenty minutes. 

RG: Do you think that book blogs play a vital role in getting the books across to readers?

CN: Of all the changes arising in publishing, book blogs are among the most important. Think about it: avid readers now create blogs that quickly blossom from several followers to several thousand. Who is better equipped to vet books than avid readers?

Big publishers no longer decide what readers will read. You do, every time you post a book review.

RG: Printed books vs. E-books. What’s your take on this?

CN: Digital publishing offers a marvelous opportunity for talented authors—especially authors who don’t fit easily into a traditional genre—to reach the reading public. My career path is a case in point. A division of Penguin considered bringing Treasure Me, and the upcoming Liberty books, out in hardcover. Earlier, Random House was interested in “Second Chance Grill”. 

In both instances, the editors were flummoxed. Were the books women’s fiction or romance? Or something else? The prose was close to literary, with cozy mystery elements and snappy dialogue thrown into the mix. Given the financial investment a publishing house makes releasing a debut novelist, it is understandable why both editors were hesitant. They weren’t sure, exactly, how to promote my novels.

That said, I don’t believe traditional books will ever disappear. Don’t we all love the scent of a newly printed book? The affordability of e-books has certainly increased readership, but a segment of the public will always prefer print books.

RG: List 5 advantages of self-publishing.

CN: There are so many benefits of self-publishing:

1) Complete editorial control over your work.

2) Fast response from readers positively impacts your work-in-progress

3) Control over cover art

4) When your books begin to sell, you receive royalty payments quickly

5) Social media and writing connections allow you to control--and increase--the buzz around your career. 

RG: List 5 disadvantages of self-publishing.

CN: Some minuses would be:

1) Time spent writing your next novel diminishes as marketing chores increase.

2) Creating a “buzz” around your books isn’t a job you can foist on a publishing house’s marketing department. 

3) Worrying about the design and impact of your cover art.

4) Staying organized as you write, edit, promote and work with a book designer.

5) Finding time for family and friends as your career takes off.

RG: How much time did it take for you to complete this book? What was your routine for writing?

CN: Some novels are written in eight months; others take several years to perfect. My writing routine stems from my previous career in public relations: rise early, write until noon, and then head for the gym. After working out, I polish the morning’s pages.

Picture Perfect: Christine with her children
RG: How do you balance your family life and your writing commitments?

CN: Lately, not well! The positive response to Treasure Me has been overwhelming. My four adult children and my fiancĂ© have been very understanding. I’d tell you everything will settle down soon but, with “Second Chance Grill” heading to Amazon this summer, it wouldn’t be true.

RG: Are you inspired by any particular author? Who is your favourite author?

CN: I don’t have a favorite author and inspiration comes from many sources. The sheer number of talented authors working today is astonishing.

RG: Among other author’s books, any character which you could relate to and you will always remember? What was the character about and how could you relate to it?

CN: The abuse suffered by Celie, the poor, uneducated black narrator of “The Color Purple”, will always haunt me. Three pages into Alice Walker’s masterpiece, and I was in tears. Later in the novel, her triumph over hardship becomes one of the most moving passages in literature. A truly stellar book.

RG: I believe that there are only two categories of books: good books and bad books. In your opinion, what are the qualities of a “good book”?

CN: Depth of characterization. Flawless execution of plot. Succinct, creative prose and a relentless pursuit of editorial perfection. Great books are also character-driven.

Time for some fun questions! 

RG: How do you relax when you have free time?

CN: I’ve been a single mother for many years now. “Free time” comes at a premium. I’ve learned to exercise daily and reserve the weekends for my family. I love to cook, garden, visit museums, dance … and, of course, read. Everything from “The Economist” and “Scientific American” magazines to the latest novel that catches my eye.

RG: Complete these sentences: 

· Love is …devotion, tenderness, kindness and trust.

· Life is …fast, fleeting, precious—a gift.

· Sex is …commitment … and a worry when your children reach adolescence.

· Marriage is… a leap of faith, especially when you’ve experienced the heartache of divorce.

RG: Thank you for such a lovely interview! It was a great pleasure having you on my blog. Wish you all the best for your upcoming books as well as your current book.

Read my detailed review of her book,"Treasure Me"

About the Author:

Christine Nolfi owned a small public relations firm in Cleveland, Ohio. Her articles and press releases have appeared regionally in northeast Ohio. Her short story, Night Hour, has appeared in Working Mother magazine. Christine closed the firm fifteen years ago after she traveled to the Philippines and adopted a sibling group of four children. She has been writing novels fulltime since 2004.

To know more about her and her writing, visit her blog: http://christinenolfibooks.blogspot.com/

 To buy her book on Amazon, click here.


  1. Great interview, Christine! There's a lot of good information there.

  2. Delightful interview . . . hope this puts you over your '200' mark. ;-)

  3. Thanks to Judy and Deborah for enjoying the interview!:) 200 mark..hmmm..let's see!;)

  4. Fantastic interview! Donna


  5. Wonderful interview - well done by the both of you. Your hard work and dedication are evident through your passion. So glad to have connected on AC. ~Janet~ JLB Creatives

  6. These are such great questions and responses, I read many of them twice. I'm interested to hear how many favorite authors we share--from Stephen King to Ann Patchett. I too had many 'almosts' from the majors (did finally just sell to one) and I know how hard it can be when editors love your work but can't quite position it. I agree with all your 'pros' to indie publishing, but of the 'cons' I'd say that an awful lot of marketing/need for buzz falls on the author even when s/he's with a traditional publisher. It's true that having a publisher provides one line between the author saying, Read my book, and someone else doing so...I guess time will tell which side of the fence is best for whom. My sense is that each will always have their advantages and disadvantages, and like you, I don't see one medium taking over or disappearing. Whew, sorry for the long comment--this was so thought provoking! And I am going to check out your books--love the covers!

  7. Such a wonderful interview that I fell in love with Christine Nolfi.She writes so well n so frequent. She is a responsible single mother who adopted four childern n made them happy. Her style of writting is very mature.
    Komal Im thankful to you for introducing first her novel n then Christine herself. Great effort. Well done.

  8. @Donna: Thanks so much dear for always giving your prompt feedback! Stay tuned in!:)
    @Janet: Glad u enjoyed the interviewer n the interviewee!:) Hoping you will come back for more comments on posts!

  9. @Jenny: I loved your detailed comment and the fact that you noticed the questions as much as the answers! I hear your thoughts on traditional vs self-publishing and though I am not an author, I agree with you. Both have their pros and cons and I think it also depends on which kind of book it is, and what kind of audience it is being targeted for.
    I am going to do a giveaway of "Treasure me" very soon, so stay tuned in, to enter! I am sure you will love the book as well.

  10. @ankhseojhal: She is a sweet person indeed. I am happy you loved the interview so much. Just want to thank you for being constant in commenting. It really feels great to know that readers are so responsive and enjoying my blog! A BIG CHEERS TO YOU AND MY OTHER REGULAR COMMENTATORS!:)

  11. Hi Jenny,

    IMHO the publishing industry will utterly transform by 2014. Here are my observations, in no particular order:

    1. Indie publishing now allows quality, genre-mixing novels (like Treasure Me and many others) reach a buying public no longer restricted by the physical confines of a bookstore. At the same time, too many novels that are below traditional publishing standards are flooding Amazon and other outlets. Amazon, book bloggers and other online forces will quickly develop avenues to elevate the quality fiction but won't give play to lesser books.

    2. Traditionally published books will always release a digital version and play by the new Indie rules: star power will mean less as the playing field allows entry to more writers. Gone are the days when 100 authors worldwide garnered the vast majority of sales.

    3. Digital reading devices will drop below $30 within a year. Manufacturers in China and Taiwan are fast at work, making this possible. Once that happens, many readers will leave behind the physical book. Readers under age 40, who've grown up in a digital world, will lead the way.

    4. All novelists, whether legacy published or Indie, will be increasingly forced to "own" the marketing process--which will increasingly occur on the Internet.

    5. Huge populations are entering the middle class in countries like Brazil, China, India. Their new affluence will bring new habits: including the reading habit. Demand for quality content will skyrocket. Large numbers of talented authors worldwide will enjoy a good living producing fiction for an international readership.

    Btw, congrats on your legacy sale!!!

  12. Judy, Deborah, Donna, Janet and Ankhseojhal: thank you for reading along! It's been a blast getting to know so many of you on FB's Author Central and Indie Author's International. If any new authors are reading this post, consider checking out both groups. Great way to connect with other writers!

  13. @Christine: Thanks for sharing your precious observations and letting my readers know abt these groups!:)


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