Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a bit of a “scare” in her writing. Her stories have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Mystery Weekly, Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Siren’s Call Magazine, and more.
She also is the author of books on dollhouses and a YA novel, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie. Her latest novel is Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. Learn more at her website, http://cverstraete.com and her blog, http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com.
TDBW: When did you start writing?
Christine: I started with some poetry in high school and knew I wanted to write, so I decided to go into journalism and began taking English courses and got on the newspaper in junior college.
TDBW: What was the first story you remember writing?
Christine: I can’t remember the first story, but I do remember writing everything from stories on student parking and campus goings-on, to a story on the circus for the school newspaper. I started writing fiction much later.
TDBW: What genre is your most preferred?
Christine: I’ve always loved reading mysteries and horror, so I seem to lean more towards that.
TDBW: What challenges you the most in your writing?
Christine: Trying to get it right, especially when dealing with historical facts. You check 50 times and well, sometimes mistakes still happen!
TDBW: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Christine: There’s nothing more fun than when you end up with a cool scene that you’re proud of and makes you smile when you read it! You hope others enjoy it as much as you do. Ha!
TDBW: What do you like least about being an author?
Christine: The promotion work can be exhausting, especially with a new release! J
TDBW: How many books do you currently have available?
Christine: I have two nonfiction dollhouse books, a kid’s mystery, and two zombie books, plus short stories.
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Visit Christine (C.A.) Verstraete’s Amazon author page for more exciting books
TDBW: What projects are you currently working on?
Christine: I’m trying to outline part two to Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. I also have some short stories I’m trying to finish up.
TDBW: Do you have any books coming out soon?
Christine: Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter is on pre-order for Kindle and comes out Sept. 13 in print and Kindle.
TDBW: Which book, or series, is your favorite?
Christine: Wow, it’s like choosing which child or pet you love more! I loved writing Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and coming up with some completely unique twists on history and a famous person. But my YA zombie book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie also holds a special place in my heart since it was the first I wrote in this genre other than a short story.
TDBW: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Christine: Stephen King, of course. I read in a wide range of genres: Historical: Michelle Moran, Deanne Gist; Horror/zombie: Jonathan Maberry, Dana Fredsti; Mystery: Joanna Campbell Slan, Terrie Moran, Camille Minichino/Margaret Grace, and many, many others not mentioned!
TDBW: Which book(s) inspire you the most?
Christine: I love a good twist. I loved King’s sequel to The Shining. His detective trilogy also has been different and interesting to read. I enjoyed the Rot and Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry and really liked the unique twist in his Dead of Night series. I especially love Michelle Moran’s take on history and making the past seem real. I’m reading her book, Madame Tussaud right now. I also am reading some YA dystopian fiction, which can be pretty violent, but the stories get you hooked.
TDBW: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what band(s) do you play?
Christine: My music is like my reading and writing. I kind of skip all over. I always have the radio on so it’s usually pop or sometimes alternative like WXRT. I like Celine Dion and Sarah McLachlan to the Beatles, Dan Fogelberg, Leon Russell, Bruno Mars, Adele… it’s a long list. I also like ‘40s Big Band music.
TDBW: Any hobbies?
Christine: I enjoy building dollhouses and making miniature furnishings and accessories. Some of my creations are on my website.
TDBW: Tell us some more about yourself including your website and where we can find you on social media sites:
Christine: I’m a roller coaster fan (front seat, please!) so I must’ve always liked getting scared. I enjoy going to Haunted House attractions, too, and would love to visit a real haunted place someday. I’ve had dogs all my life and even raised dwarf seahorses for while.
I also write for newspapers and magazines, and have won a number of nonfiction writing awards. Somehow I’m always creating, whether it’s writing or doing miniatures.
My website: http://cverstraete.com
TDBW: Care to share a bit of one of your books with us?
Christine: Here’s a little bit from the beginning of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. (Each chapter has a historical excerpt at the top. Sorry, it’s true to fact but not for the squeamish.)
Q. You saw his face covered with blood?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Did you see his eyeball hanging out?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you see the gashes where his face was laid open?
A. No sir.
—Lizzie Borden at inquest, August 9-11, 1892, Fall River Courtroom
August 4, 1892
Lizzie Borden drained the rest of her tea, set down her cup, and listened to the sound of furniture moving upstairs. My, my, for only ten o’clock in the morning my stepmother is certainly energetic. Housecleaning, already?
For a moment, Lizzie forgot her plans to go shopping downtown. THUMP. There it went again. It sounded like her stepmother was rearranging the whole room. She paused at the bottom stair, her concern growing, when she heard another thump and then, the oddest of sounds—a moan. Uh-oh. What was that? Did she hurt herself?
“Mrs. Borden?” Lizzie called. “Are you all right?”
She wondered if her stepmother had taken ill, yet the shuffling, moving, and other unusual noises continued. Lizzie hurried up the stairs and paused outside the partially opened door. The strange moans coming from the room sent a shiver up her back.
Lizzie pushed the door open wider and stared. Mrs. Abby Durfee Borden stood in front of the bureau mirror, clawing at her reflected image. And what a horrid image it was. The sixty-seven-year-old woman’s hair looked like it had never been combed and stuck out like porcupine quills. Her usually spotless housedress appeared wrinkled and torn. Yet, that wasn’t the worst. Dark red spots—Blood, Lizzie’s mind whispered—dotted the floor and streaked the sides of the older woman’s dress and sleeves.
Lizzie gazed about the room in alarm. The tips of Father’s slippers peeking out from beneath the bed also glistened with the same viscous red liquid. All that blood! What happened here? What happened?
She gasped, which got the attention of Mrs. Borden, who jerked her head and growled. Lizzie choked back a cry of alarm. Abby’s square, plain face now appeared twisted and ashen gray. Her eyes, once bright with interest, stared from under a milky covering as if she had cataracts. She resembled a female version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Another growl and a moan, and the older woman lunged, arms rigid, her stubby hands held out like claws.
“Mrs. Borden, Abby!” Lizzie yelled and stumbled backward as fast as she could. “Abby, do you hear me?”
(To be continued…