Reading has been a passion since I started in first grade. I’ve read many books whose characters and rich writing have captured my heart. I have favorite authors who could write on the backs of cereal boxes and I’d devour every word.
Home Another Way arrived as I was leaving for a writers conference, so I didn’t have time to read it before I left. I returned home with over twenty-five new novels written by my favorite authors. Choices choices choices.
I read nightly before turning out the light for the night and knew this blog tour was approaching, so I decided to read a few pages. Sarah Graham snagged a corner of my heart with her cranky attitude and wouldn’t let go. The more I read about her experience in Jonah, NY and the quirky cast of characters she met, the more I had to keep reading.
Home Another Way is an amazing novel written by debut author Christa Parrish. Beautiful descriptions, unique characters with their own voices, and a story that tugs on the heart. I was so touched by Sarah’s story that I couldn’t stop thinking about her that I e-mailed Christa to tell her how much I loved the book. She graciously agreed to an e-mail interview. I encourage you to read the interview to learn more about Christa and her writing journey. Be sure to read Home Another Way and travel to fictional Jonah, NY where Christa’s characters will leave footprints on your heart.
1.Your novel is filled with a quirky cast of characters. Which one was a favorite for you to write?
I try to think of my characters as children – you can’t say you love one of your children more, but you can say that each child has certain personality traits you like more than others. That’s how it is in Home Another Way. Each character served a purpose, and I enjoyed writing each one for different reasons, usually because they have some trait I wished I had.
2. You brought in the rich flavor of the mountain living setting. Is Jonah set near you?
Jonah is a fictional town based on several small towns around the Adirondack Mountains, where I live in upstate New York. Yes, there are people not far from me who still live in homes with dirt floors. And, yes, the story Zuriel tells about taking the tub in and out of the house is also true, and as recently as twenty years ago.
3. Home Another Way is your first novel. How did you come up with this story? Where did Sarah’s character come from?
Honestly, the story just kind of came to me all at once, as did the characters. Well, all the characters except Memory Jones. She came later on, but it was also in one instant; I head the name – yes, at least one person really does have the name Memory Jones – and the character popped into my head. Until that point, I felt something was missing from my novel but couldn’t pinpoint it. Memory’s character filled that hole.
4. Your protagonist, Sarah Graham, is a Julliard-trained violinist. Do you play the violin?
I wish! I love classical music and for the past ten years have really wanted to learn to play the violin. So, I’m living vicariously though Sarah.
5. Is Home Another Way a stand-alone book, or does Sarah’s story continue?
Currently, it’s a stand-alone. But many readers are asking for a sequel. I’m not discounting one, but Sarah isn’t talking to me right now; if she starts spilling more of her story, I’ll start writing it.
6. As a new writer, what was the hardest part about writing the book? The easiest?
I think both the hardest and easiest parts are the same – the actual writing. When I write the perfect sentence or capture a moment exactly as I see it in my head – those are the joys of writing. When the words aren’t coming and I have to slog through page after page, I ask myself why I even bother! It’s worth it, I know, but in the hard times I have to keep reminding myself of that.
7. How do you juggle family, teaching, and writing? Do you have a set writing schedule?
I don’t juggle well, honestly. Not yet. I’m working on it, but I still tend to be a streaky writer. Since I homeschool my son, I can’t sit down and do the typical “10 to 3” writing schedule many authors do (or whatever daily time they set aside). I mostly write in the moments when my son is working independently, or when he’s on a play date. And then I typically write at night after Jacob goes to bed, from about 9:30 to sometime in the morning, maybe 1 or 2 a.m., if I’m not completely fried from the day. I certainly haven’t gotten into the “write every day” mentality. But I have a set word count each week.
8. What surprised you about the publishing industry while going through the process of having your first book published?
How hard it was to title my novel. Seriously.
9. Do you have a life verse that guides you through your day?
My verse changes often, depending on what’s going on in life. Currently it’s Matthew 25:21 – “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” It helps me to remember that, while writing a novel is really insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it’s what I’ve been called to do for this time. I need to be faithful in that.
10. What are three things your readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a rabid New York Yankees fan and I love football. I write with earplugs in (but only a certain brand called Skull Screws) and can’t work unless my back is facing a wall. And I couldn’t live without my Birkenstocks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Christa Parrish graduated high school at 16, with every intention of becoming a surgeon. After college, however, her love of all things creative led her in another direction, and she worked in both theatre and journalism.
A winner of Associated Press awards for her reporting, Christa gave up her career after the birth of her son, Jacob. She continued to write from home, doing pro bono work for the New York Family Policy Council, where her articles appeared in Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine. She was also a finalist in World magazine’s WORLDview short story contest, sponsored by WestBow press. She now teaches literature and writing to high school students, is a homeschool mom, and lives with her family in upstate New York, where she is at work on her second novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK
After her mother’s death and her father’s abandonment, tiny infant Sarah Graham was left to be raised by her emotionally distant grandmother. As a child she turned to music for solace and even gained entrance to Juilliard. But her potentially brilliant music career ended with an unplanned pregnancy and the stillborn birth of her child.
In an attempt to escape the past, Sarah, now twenty-seven, is living life hard and fast–and she is flat broke. When her estranged father dies, she travels to the tiny mountain hamlet of Jonah, New York to claim her inheritance. Once there, she learns her father’s will stipulates a six-month stay before she can recieve the money. Fueled by hate and desperation, Sarah settles in for the bitter mountain winter, and as the weeks pass, she finds her life intertwining with the lives of the simple, gracious townsfolk. Can these strangers teach Sarah how to forgive and find peace?
A story of grace, of God’s never-ceasing love and the sometimes flawed, faithful people He uses to bring His purpose to pass.