Today, I welcome Christine Verstraete who enjoys writing mysteries, children’s fiction and short stories. Yes, I know Wednesday is supposed to be food day, but Chris has a weiner dog in her book, and that’s close enough.
Besides writing her children’s book, Searching For A Starry Night, (just released for Kindle!), Christine has had short fiction published in various anthologies including Timeshares and the upcoming Steampunk’d from DAW Books, plus in Dragons Composed and The Bitter End: Nautical Tales of Terror. Her latest spooky stories in eBook include “Motherly Love” and “The Killer Valentine Ball” (coming in October.)
In Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, Sam, her Bff Lita, and a mischievous Dachshund named Petey, face a cranky housekeeper, a dog-hating gardener, and an ancient family curse as they search for a missing miniature replica of Van Gogh’s famous painting, “Starry Night.”
Samantha Ann Carlton would rather spend her summer vacation anywhere but a spooky old house in Wisconsin… like Lake Geneva! Somehow Sam knows it’s going to take more than a couple days to find a missing painting no bigger than her hand.
Maybe things won’t be so bad, she thinks, since she gets to take a friend’s lovable but mischievous Dachshund, Petey, and her best friend Lita. If they’re lucky, the three of them can find the miniature replica of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and help Sam’s mother get it to the museum where it belongs.
It’s not going to be easy, Sam realizes, when she meets the crabby housekeeper, a dog-hating gardener, and discovers her own family has some spooky secrets. Then Petey digs up an ancient curse, and Sam fears her friendship with Lita is doomed…
Will they find the miniature masterpiece in time? Will Sam and Lita go home friends — or enemies? – a fun mystery for ages 9 and up.
Q: What inspired this book?
A: As I collect and create dollhouse miniatures, it seemed a perfect extension to write a story having two young sleuths hunt for a missing miniature painting. See, who says hobbies don’t pay off? Ha!
Q: How did you handle writing adults as secondary or minor characters and children as main characters, or was it no trouble for you?
A: Some readers believe an adult should have a barely visible presence in a kid’s or YA book, but what’s wrong with showing a good relationship between a child and parent without the parent overpowering the story? Sam and Lita still make their own decisions; some good, some bad and some with consequences.
Q: Is this the first in a series?
A: Kind of… I have a set of short you-solve-it mystery stories featuring the two girls that I am sending out.
Q: What’s your favorite type of writing?
A: The project I just finished? Ha. Even better when it gets published and has a paycheck attached!
Marian, Thanks for letting me meet your blog visitors! Anyone have any specific hobby or writing questions?
**CONTEST: Anyone commenting on any of the blog stops on the tour can win:
* One person who comments on any of the blog tour stops will win a free Kindle copy of Searching for a Starry Night. (You can download Kindle for PC free here.)
* One person will also win a miniaturized dollhouse collector’s edition of the first chapter from the first print edition, made by miniaturist LeeAnn Borgia. See my blog for links and photo.
** To celebrate the revised Searching for a Starry Night, one person will win a copy of the new print version when it is available.
* eBooks page
* Searching For A Starry Night on Kindle
Blog Tour Schedule:
Thurs, 7/22: Acme Authors Link – Real vs. Fictional Friends
Mon, 7/26: Morgan Mandel’s Double M blog = Dogs and Such
Tues, 7/27: Killer Hobbies with Camille Minichino – Crafts and Writing, what comes first?
Weds, 7/28: Marian Allen’s fiction site – Talking about Writing
Thurs, 7/29: Helen Ginger, Straight from Hel – Getting Kindleized
Fri, 7/30: J.E. Taylor’s blog – Writer’s Quiz and Other Stuff
Mon, 8/2: Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers – craft how to with Anastasia Pollack – Writing and Crafts: Make Easy Miniature Cloth Decorations
Tues, 8/3: L. Diane Wolfe, “Spunk on a Stick” – Making the Switch from Nonfiction to Fiction
Helen GingerJuly 28, 2010 at 9:30am
Hi Christine. I like your ideas for this series. Kids who have a good relationship with parents, and a weiner dog to boot! Hope the series gets bought and continues.
Straight From Hel
Mary Montague SikesJuly 28, 2010 at 10:35am
“Starry Night” in the title attracted me as I am sure it will attract young readers (older ones, too). That’s probably the best-known Van Gogh painting. In my elementary school art classes, we usually do a project relating to that particular painting every year. We certainly talk about Van Gogh! Best wishes for the series!
Stephen TrempJuly 28, 2010 at 10:59am
I almost bought a weiner dog once. But wifey brought home a Yorkie and we could only really have one dog because our place at the time was so small. Best wishes for the success of Starry Night.
chris vJuly 28, 2010 at 11:12am
Hi Ginger, thanks; I toyed with the stories for a while but I wanted to try something different…
Thanks Mary what school do you teach at?
Thanks Stephen! Well guess I’m partial here (tho in real life I have a malamute mix!)
Sabrina5000July 28, 2010 at 12:08pm
I have a weiner dog named Willy and they are so smart, This will def be agreat book. Everyone will love it.
chris V.July 28, 2010 at 12:12pm
Hi Sabrina, I bet your dog is cute! short or long hair? The book is also coming out in print and ebook formats… process underway. Thanks for stopping by!
BrendaJuly 28, 2010 at 5:24pm
This sounds quite interesting!
chris V.July 28, 2010 at 6:59pm
Hi Brenda, thanks for stopping by! Hope you’ll check the book out!
Nancy WilliamsJuly 28, 2010 at 7:35pm
We had dachshunds and cats growing up. Once, after the cat had kittens and the dog had pups, momma cat tried to teach momma dog how to catch a bug. It was hilarious…the dog was trying to walk like a cat and fell over. I think kids everywhere will love your book.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author
chris vJuly 28, 2010 at 8:55pm
Hi Nancy, too funny~ I can picutre them jumping all over! ha! Even funnier thinking of the dog’s ears jumping all over.