Christa Allan is a true southern woman who has been busy teaching high school English for more than 20 years. Ms. Allan also earned her National Board Certification in 2007, no small task.
She is now busy promoting her second novel, The Edge of Grace, following her highly received debut Walking on Broken Glass.
Ms. Allan is the mother of five grown children and the estatic grandmother of two. She and her husband reside in Abita Springs, Louisiana. Readers can learn more about Christa Allan by visiting her website as well as connecting with her on Facebook.
Please tell us a bit about your book, The Edge of Grace, and what you hope readers take away from reading it.
BOOK: An early morning call shatters Caryn Becker’s world. Her brother David announces that he is gay, and Caryn completely rejects the one person who stood beside her during her husband’s illness and death. Unable to cope with David’s news, Caryn disappears into her own turbulent life as a single mom and new business owner.
TAKEAWAY: Over a decade ago, my brother — my only sibling — told me he was gay. The news fractured our relationship, but the truth of it is I was the one with the hammer. It took years, too many years, for me to realize that placing the word “gay” in front of the word “brother” did not change the substance of the person I’d known and loved all my life. He is my brother, and I don’t define him by his sexual orientation. In fact, he doesn’t define me by mine either! When my brother’s partner of more than 15 years was attacked in the French Quarter, that was my motivation for getting serious about the novel. The Edge of Grace grew out of those experiences. I wanted other families to realize that they weren’t alone and, what God wants most, from all of us, is to love.
Who are your favorite characters in the story?
Max, David’s partner, and Julie, Caryn’s friend, are my two favorite characters.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?
She shrugged her shoulders, raked her blonde hair off her forehead with her fingers, and looked at me as if she was seeing me for the first time. “How would I feel? I wish my brother was gay. Instead, he’s an unemployed alcoholic and an idiot.”
If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?
Caryn: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
David: Brendan Fraser
Max: David Schwimmer
Their personalities mesh with the characters.
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
The surprises that evolve when writing. In the book I’m writing now, the ending chapters happened in a way I didn’t expect or even consider when I sketched them out. I’ve learned if I follow the characters, they will tell me where they (and I) need to be.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Barbara Kingsolver, Bill Bryson, Margaret Atwood, William Faulkner, Joyce Magnin, Jenny B. Jones, Elizabeth Berg, Lolly Winston, David Sedaris
What are you reading right now?
Love is an Orientation (Andrew Marin)
The Girl Who Chased the Moon (Sarah Addison Allen)
If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors — dead or alive — who would they be and what would you serve them?
I would invite Margaret Atwood, William Faulkner, Gabriel Garcia Marquz, Sarah Addison Allen, and Louisa May Alcott.
I would serve them shrimp and crab gumbo, with hot French bread, and my Snickers cheesecake for dessert.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
A novel I just read that I thought was beautifully written was The Language of Flowers. It’s just one of those books you put down after reading the last page and think, “I would like to have written that book.”
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
“Don’t run with scissors.” (It’s all about taking care of ourselves and others!)