Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Getting Familiar: Interview with Chrisitina Berry, Author of The Familiar Stranger

Today I'm welcoming one of my blog followers, Christina Berry, author of The Familiar Stranger.

Jen: I'm so excited to have you here, Christina, so we can get to know you a little better.
Can you tell us a little about your debut novel?
Christina: The Familiar Stranger—formerly known as Undiscovered—is about a couple going through a really rough patch in their marriage. When an accident incapacitates the husband, their relationship must be redefined. Which would be a lot easier to do if BIG secrets from his past didn’t raise their ugly heads. Despite the upheaval, the choices they make involving forgiveness and trust might allow a new beginning. Or … they might not.

You can see the back cover copy and what other authors have said about The Familiar Stranger by going to

Jen: What takaway value do you hope readers gain from reading Familiar Stranger?

Christina: The recent changes in my life—losing my husband, facing finding a “real” job, selling my home—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.

Jen: Wow, I love that theme. All of us need to grow in those two areas. What fun facts may surprise your readers about you?

Christina: I was the team captain and second answerer in the speed round for our family on Family Feud in 2000 … and we won! Also, I grew up in Nigeria, West Africa, while my parents were Southern Baptist missionaries. I remember being awed at the selection of toilet paper in the grocery store when we returned to the States.
Jen: Wow, I guess we take those little things too much for granted.
I notice you and your mom write together. How does that work out in practical terms?
Christina: Well, it helps to share a brain! We honestly do finish each other's sentences or say random things at the same time. Because we did in depth character charts, we were both able to write all three points of view. Then we would switch chapters and edit each other's work. By the end of the book, we didn't even remember who had written which scenes. And feedback from editors is that they only hear one voice.
We put the 65 chapters we had plotted up on note cards and just took the next one, no matter which character is was, and wrote the book linearly.

Jen: I love that you think as one. What a blessing!
Lastly, I'd like to ask you how your writing journey has changed your Christian walk?

Christina: I see writing as one of the tools He uses to form me into His image—a tool to teach me patience, self-control, determination, reliance on Him, and other life lessons. I also see writing as a gift that brings me hope, fulfillment, and purpose when the rest of life is not so nice. The journey has sharpened me, yet also softened me.

Jen: Thank you so much for joining us today, Christina. I know my readers were blessed by this glimpse into your life. I certainly was!

If you'd like to purchase The Familiar Stranger, you can go to one of the following links:

And if you leave a comment at the end of this post, your name will be entered in a 10-book giveaway drawing on Oct. 31st. Make sure you leave me your email address like this: jeanettelevellie(at)gmail(dot)com so if you win, Christina can email you to get your addy.

Tomorrow, join Christina and Trish Perry at for the next stop on the tour of Familiar Stranger. Thanks for joining us!


  1. I'm looking forward to reading this! Thanks for the interview and don't enter me because I already have it. :-)

  2. This is in my TBR pile. Everytime I hear the premise for the story it makes me want to dive right in.

    I loved getting to know more about Christine, and I appreciate how transparent she is with her audience.

    Great interview!


  3. Everyone is RAVING about this book.
    So...I am torn between my usual tack of buying the book to support my fellow inkwellers OR doing a doubletake at this month's budget (post daughter's wedding) and signing up for the freebie.

    Christine, your parentage of Southern Baptist missionaries (mine were in China) tilted the scales of literariness.

    Bookstore, here we come!!!
    Thanks for a great post!!!

  4. What a great interview. I follow Christina's blog. She lives a strong testimony to God. Her book is getting a lot of press, too.
    ~ Wendy

  5. Wow, Familiar Stranger, sounds like a great book with massive takeaway value.

    A must read!


  6. Sounds like a great book. Thanks, Jeanette, for the interview.


  7. Great interview and I think it is so wonderful that they write together but it comes out as one voice. God's hand for sure.

  8. Excellent interview, Jeanette & Christina!

    Don't enter me in the giveaway. I already have the book (which I loved!).

    Susan :)

  9. Great interview! thank you so much for sharing about it. I think it is my kind of read:)

  10. Jeanette, a great interview with Christina. Sounds like a fabulous book written with heart and caring.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  11. I watch a lot of Family Feud reruns, so now I know who to look for! :O) I am hoping to buy the book, so no need to enter me. Sounds great!

  12. Thank you for a wonderful interview. I am amazed that she and her mom write together so well.

  13. I've read Christina's book and LOVE it! I want another one to give away with a Christmas gift, so please draw my name out of the hat!

  14. Great interview! Please enter me in the contest. stinarose(at)bell(dot)net

  15. I'm so tired right now I haven't read your post, so don't enter me in the contest. Let the prize go to one who interacted.

    That said, here are your five words, Jen.


    It can be fiction, non-fiction, auto-biographical. You make the rules!


Oh, it's YOU! I'm so happy to see you here today, and look forward to reading your comments.