When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved reading and writing. But it wasn’t until someone asked me, “What would you do with your time if you won the lottery?” that I realized I needed to reprioritize my life to include time for serious writing.
How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on the book. My first book, a memoir, went through many iterations over a few years. I wrote the first draft of Wild Within over one summer.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I have a full-time job, so I mostly write on the weekends. I can go for a full day without a problem. I have a standing desk, so I don’t get too tired. But I do need to take breaks—go to the kitchen to refill my water bottle, throw a load of laundry in the machine, sit on the floor and pet the dog.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I love editing. I don’t think everyone likes it. But I love squeezing out the last prepositional phrase when I have the time.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I try to stick close to home, pumping my family and friends for information about the topics in which they’re expert. My husband, Ron Strickland, is a long-distance hiker and the founder of one of America’s national scenic trails. He was the hiking expert for Wild Within. I ran to him all the time with questions, “What’s it like to hike on snow?” “What kind of food do hikers hate?” “What do hikers do when their feet hurt?” But some of the information in Wild Within is also what I absorbed from living with him.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was in my mid-40s when my memoir, So Far Away: A Daughter’s Memoir of Life, Loss, and Love was published.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love bike riding and swimming, and I’ve just started running. I hope to do that carefully enough to avoid injury. It’s freeing to cover miles that I normally would only see behind the wheel of a car.
What does your family think of your writing?
Everyone’s been incredibly supportive.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I learn so much about myself in the process.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Two. They’re completely different. The memoir is about my end of life journeys with my parents. The other, Wild Within, is romantic suspense. I like them both. But it was easier and more fun to write Wild Within, that’s for sure!
Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read books on how to edit. My personal favorite is Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I heard from a lot of So Far Away readers about how much my story impacted them and helped them through events in their own lives. Wild Within’s just came out—I look forward to hearing what people think!
What do you think makes a good story?
An engaging plot, realistic dialogue, characters with believable interactions.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
If you’d asked me when I was nine, I would have said, “psychiatrist, because they help people.” But I think it was really because the word sounded mysterious.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Make time for writing if it’s important to you. I used to think I didn’t have time because I had a busy full-time job.
Where are you from?
I was born in the mid-west but grew up in Delaware.
What inspired you to write this book?
In many ways, my husband. He’s both romantic and wild. The last line of the book is really all about him.
Is there a message in this book that you want your readers to grasp?
A lot of it’s probably summed up in Wild Within’s last chapter. That you make your own life what it is. You can’t wait around for the perfect moment or opportunity.
What book are you reading now?
Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen. Told you I like editing!
Wild Within, Book One of the Wild at Heart Series
A year after a family tragedy, Grace Mori embarks on the journey of a lifetime…
Two thousand, six hundred miles of blistering heat, wilderness, and soul searching—that’s what Grace signed up for when she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s not a voyage for beginners, but with no husband and her family still recovering from her bother’s death, Grace is more alone than ever.
This trail meant something to her brother, and she’ll hike it in his memory, but she can’t do it alone. So with her brother’s gear and a small group, Grace takes the most important first steps of her life.
Grace finds something more than peace and magic on the trail…
When her first day of hiking ends in heat stroke, Grace is rescued by a handsome, red-haired hiker who calls himself Lone Star. Grace has an immediate connection with him, and their brief encounter leaves her fearing her soul mate has slipped through her fingers. Although he vows to keep in touch, Grace doubts she’ll ever see him again.
When fears become reality, the only people Grace can rely on may be killers...
Grace is surprised to find notes left at supply posts along the trail. Lone Star’s eloquent letters keep Grace going, clinging to the hope she’ll find him—and happiness—at the end of her journey. But as the trail becomes more perilous, menace grows within the group. And when Lone Star’s letters mysteriously stop coming, Grace fears the worst.
As tensions flare and a killer emerges, Grace must battle to survive…and reunite with the man she’s sure is her future.
Christine Hartmann grew up in Ohio and Delaware and loves traveling to exotic, romantic settings. After a college semester in Kathmandu, her first three “real” jobs were all in northern Japan, where she lived for almost 10 years. She currently splits her career between her daytime occupation (improving the quality of veterans’ nursing home care) and her nights/weekend avocation (writing both fiction and non-fiction books). Her husband Ron Strickland is a well-known long-distance hiker, trail guide writer, and the founder of the 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. Christine loves reading, pilates, bicycling, snorkeling, and health foods that taste like they’re bad for you. You will often find her at a keyboard, a German shepherd at her side, and Ron whispering sweet edits over her shoulder.
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