How did you start out your writing career? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I never dreamed I'd one day be writing books. It's a comical shock that God had in store for me. There's actually a long story about this that's interesting, but the short version is that my dream was to write music. I was always writing prose in journals, yellow legal pads, everywhere, but I never even considered writing anything or getting it published. One day a friend who was working with a literary agent asked me I'd like to write something, and it turns out God had something waiting for me.

How did you get the idea for your first novel “Providence”?

I was fascinated with showing how God can change one person's life. That's really the story of Providence condensed into one single line. I re-wrote the story 17 times trying to get it to a place where I thought it would be interesting for others to read. Now that it's out in stores, it's so gratifying to read the emails from readers who've been touched by Providence's story.

Did you come up with the title “Providence” ?If not, what was your working title?

Great question. The book started out with the title "The Sound of My Soul." Isn't that dramatic? Well, no one really liked it. Later, I changed it to "Christmas in Providence" since the story takes place against the backdrop of the Christmas holidays and I could picture a book cover with Christmas lights strung through a quaint, downtown city. Those smart people at David C. Cook publishing thought just "Providence" would be the best title since people could connect with the story all year round, and I agreed. They added the "Once Upon a Second Chance" subtitle too, which just blew me away.

I wrote a piece for the Afterwords section of A Beautiful Fall called "How to Write a Novel in 12 Weeks." When it came time to write a follow up to Providence, the only thing I had in the same contemporary fiction/romance genre was the title, "A Beautiful Fall." I knew it'd be a story set in the beautiful season of Autumn with all of it's color changes and beauty, and that it would be about a woman who experiences her own color changes. Emma Madison goes from climbing the corporate ladder, but to having a beautiful fall.

Did you come up with the title “A Beautiful Fall”? If not, what was your working title?

"A Beautiful Fall" has always been the story's title. It's something that just popped in my head. It the time I wasn't even going to write it down, but now I'm so glad I did.

I really have to write. It's how life makes sense to me. My desk is covered with lots of different note pads and journals. It's my creative outlet, and it's its own kind of excitement. I love seeing all the small points of a story coming together into one tale that makes sense and inspires, and makes you want to know more about the characters. I'm writing my 3rd novel now, and like Providence, it takes readers on a journey of love and adventure on many different levels. A Beautiful Fall is a smaller story that I wanted to share with the readers who love Providence. It's about simplicity, real love, the power of small town friendships, and discovering the father's love. I hope women readers especially will love this story.

Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has been surprising to you?

Being an author is everything I thought it would be and more. My favorite part is absolutely having the chance to write stories that people read and enjoy. It's something I never take lightly.

Can you tell me of two “Wow” moments you have had on your journey to being published and now afterwards? What made it a “Wow” moment for you?

Getting emails from readers. I try to read all of them. They are such an encouragement to me. Sometimes I pass them along to my editor, Stephen Parolini, or the folks at Cook, or my agent so they can be blessed too by what someone has honestly shared from their heart. Keep those emails coming, I love those.

On my computer I saved the audio message from my agent, Chip MacGregor, saying that Cook had made an offer on my first manuscript. That was a very happy moment. I also remember when the ending for "Providence" revealed itself one day while I was writing. That was an amazing moment that just sent chills down my spine. There's a scene in "A Beautiful Fall" when Emma is talking to her dad, Will, about her mother who dies when Emma is only five years old. He tells her something that turns the storyline upside down. I can't say more without giving it away, but that was an amazing moment because I had no idea it was coming.

Did you have a say in picking out the cover for either of your books? Was that a fun experience for you? If not, explain.

I wasn't sure if authors could give input or not, but my publisher David C. Cook has been so intentional to open up the creative process and invite feedback. They foster a creative working environment for authors that brings out the best in everyone.

Top Things you have wanted to ask Chris but were afraid;to so I did!!

Coke or Pepsi? Diet or Regular?

Are you kidding? I happen to know you live in Atlanta. Coke!! . . . it's the real thing (in soft drinks anyway)

How do you eat an Oreo cookie? If you don’t eat Oreo’s what is your favorite cookie and how do you eat that? (do you dunk?) If you do eat Oreo, what is your favorite kind?

My favorite is homemade chocolate chip cookies, warm from the oven, with a glass of cold milk. Dunking is optional, but likely. : )

Beach or Mountains?

Can't I have both? My family loves going to the beach. More than any other place in the world, it's the spot that says "vacation" to us. On the other hand, hiking in the mountains is one of my all time favorite things to do. It focuses me, and reminds me of God's perfection and beauty all around us.

Favorite Movie?

Probably something with Cary Grant. He's always funny, there's usually some action in his movies, and he always gets the girl. What more could you ask for?

What is the neatest place you have ever visited and why? What made it so neat, special, memorable for you?

I love to vacation in hot spots, Florida, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina. I also love to be near the water. Last Summer I went tubing in New Brumfels, Texas––which was a blast. I was recently in Perdido Key, Florida where my family walked along the beach and enjoyed ourselves.

If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money) to do anything you wanted to do; what would you do?

Great question! I love what I do, but there are two things I'd really love to do in my life. I have a dream of going to Ireland, England, or France and writing one of my books there. I think it would be incredibly relaxing and inspire some great writing. Maybe someday I'll take the trip. Secondly, I have ideas for other projects in other mediums (this is in addition to other books I hope the Lord grants me an opportunity to write). I have a stage play I'd like to write and produce that features a lot of music. I'd love to work with talented artists to see the project come to fruition.

What is your favorite color?

Cobalt Blue. I absolutely love it.

If you could interview or hang out with someone for a day who would you pick? Why?

I've lived such a blessed life! I've had the chance to hang out with some very rare and incredible people like Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Sheila Walsh, Third Day, CeCe Winans, and others. Hmm, this isn't a political answer, but probably President Bush. I think any interview with him that goes beyond the political questions he's most often asked would be facinating.

I was thinking about this the other day, about how much music I've listened to in my life. It was an absolute passion of mine when I was younger. I played in bands, even earned a bachelor degree from Berklee College of Music. My favorite style of music now is anything instrumental: Jazz, Classical guitar. I love listening to really good musicians.

Would you rather watch a sporting event on TV or in person? Which sporting events do you watch if any?

I'd rather watch in person. My favorite sport is Friday night varsity football. Cold weather, announcements from the press box, hot chocolate, cheerleaders, pep band. It's the whole package.

Thank you Chris for letting my readers and book club ladies get to know you better. I appreciate you hanging out with us.

Thank you, Nora. The pleasure's all mine.

Many blessings on your writing journey,Chris, I look forward to seeing you again soon!!!
Nora :)


  1. Nora & Chris
    it was fun to read your interview . . . especially since our book club had already talked to Chris earlier this year after reading Providence. thanks for sharing with us!

    Ann K

  2. Nora & Chris:

    Even tho you came to visit us, Chris, I got to learn alot more about you in this interview. I'm glad that 'A Beautiful Fall' is finally out! I hope to be able to see you when you come to the store so that you can sign my book.

    Chris G
    Dacula, GA