Sometimes I discover books I enjoy so much I MUST share them with everyone. Simply Mad by Christina Coryell is one of those books. I noticed this one because of its amazing cover, then I read the blurb and sample chapters and got hooked (it’s written in first-person, ya’ll!), and it also came highly recommended by one of my avid reader friends. Simply Mad is a light, funny romance, but with themes and characters that give it depth and believability.
Today, Christina is graciously offering a giveaway of Simply Mad, winner’s choice of softcover or e-book (USA only). Please read our interview, check out the sample chapters on Amazon, and comment for a chance to win below!
Here’s a little more about Christina (BTW, I am loving those epic heels in this pic, Christina!):
Christina Coryell is an Amazon bestselling author of Christian women’s fiction who resides with her husband and two children in southwest Missouri, where she received degrees in English and History from Drury University. She is rarely alone when she does her writing, and has penned chapters with kids climbing on her, loud guitar riffs playing in the background, and while cheering on her favorite baseball players. Her books include the highly rated Camdyn Series (A Reason to Run, A Reason to Be Alone, A Reason to Forget, and For No Reason) as well as the Girls of Wonder Lane series.
Christina on twitter
Interview with Author Christina Coryell
HG: I’m enjoying Simply Mad so much. I think many readers can relate to Maddie and her penchant for getting stuck in awkward situations. Was there any sort of specific inspiration for this character?
CC: I didn’t have a specific inspiration for Maddie, but it seems that we all tend to have awkward situations pop up into our lives from time to time. My goal when writing a main character is to make them easily relatable, so I tend to look at general personality traits of the people I consider friends and build them into my characters. That being said, there were several things Maddie went through in the novel that happened to me in real life. Not wanting to give spoilers, I will just say that two of these things are the Cheetos at work, and the thing with the teeth. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
HG: Aha–the infamous Cheetos scene! Simply Mad, though a romantic read, also explores a somewhat complicated mother-daughter relationship. I love this aspect of it, as well as the first-person narration. Was this something you set out to do, or did the themes just weave their way in (like forgiveness)?
CC: For me, the mark of a great romantic read is one that can interest me in the page-after stuff. The hero and heroine just met…so now she’s telling her best friend. Am I going to be invested in that relationship also, or does it become skimmable? Providing material that is non-skimmable is always my goal (Click to Tweet!). My initial intention in Simply Mad was for Josh to be the steadying force in Maddie’s rather topsy-turvy life, so I knew she would have a rather interesting family situation, but her mom naturally took on a life of her own. I don’t necessarily try to weave themes into my novels, but instead the stories begin to feel like allegories. Maddie’s relationship with her mom and her rather crazy work situations provided a great mirror in which to see herself, and in the end that was the big payoff.
As far as first-person narration, it can either make or break a novel, but in this case I loved it for the comical elements it brought to the story. Most of Maddie’s interactions wouldn’t be nearly as funny if her thoughts couldn’t be heard, adding that extra ingredient that allows the reader to really get to know the character.
HG: You have how many indie novels out now? Why did you choose to go the indie publishing route and what are some pros and cons of that?
CC: Five. I’d love to say I sat down and wrote out the pros and cons of indie publishing, but for me it was much simpler. I’d been waiting to write for years and years, never feeling like I had God’s go-ahead to pursue my goals. When I finally did feel that peace about it, it felt like a “now” kind of peace, not a “wait a couple years” sort of peace. I did take time to make a few contacts, and after I heard several repeats of “Amish, dystopian, or erotic,” I decided there were obviously themes publishers were shooting for, and I wasn’t going to fit into any of their boxes. Being indie has been so much better than I dreamed, though, because I have complete freedom to write the stories God has given me without fitting into a mold (Click to Tweet!). On the flip side, self-promotion has been my main con so far, because it’s so unnatural to my personality.
HG: I love how you know God was pushing you in that direction–I’m so thankful when He makes things clear for us. The cover for Simply Mad is…well, simply amazing! It’s so eye-catching I can’t tear my eyes off it. Can you tell us a little of the cover-art production process on that one?
CC: Making the cover art for this series was a load of fun! Being a big stickler for not having the same cover as another book, I’ve used local photographers for each of my book covers thus far. This particular book was a change of pace because I wanted an Alice in Wonderland theme, so we did a Girls of Wonder Lane photo shoot and used three different models, each with the appropriate props. The hardest part was finding girls who looked like the images in my mind, but since my photographer rocked the photo shoot, the easiest part was the post-production work on my end.
HG: Finally, is this the start of a series? If so, will Maddie be the main character in your other books or will you explore some other lives on Wonder Lane?
CC: Simply Mad is book one of the Girls of Wonder Lane series, which will have two other volumes: Crowned in late August and Curiouser in the fall. Maddie will appear briefly in Crowned, but that story focuses on Harley Laine, the reporter who lives at the end of Wonder Lane. Both Maddie and Harley will also return in Curiouser, which focuses on the newest addition to Wonder Lane, Alexis Jennings. Fans of my last books in The Camdyn Series who were wondering what happened to Jake McAuliffe will also get their answers, as he appears on Wonder Lane as well.
HG: Ooh, what great titles and I will be glad to learn more about the mysterious Harley Laine! Thanks so much for visiting, Christina!
***Please leave a comment below and tell us why you’d like to win Simply Mad! (Click to Tweet!) Also, leave your choice of e-book and softcover and your e-mail addy. I will choose a random winner next Monday!***