CJ: It’s been a few months since we’ve last heard from you, welcome back. What have you been up to?
CS: Thank you, I can honestly say I am honored to be back. To tell you the truth I’ve mainly been focusing on potty training my one-year-old. She will be two this February and we only recently succeeded in getting her out of diapers. When you have two kids life has a way of keeping you busy. I find on more days than not, I have more errands than I do time in the day—but I enjoy every second of my time with them. Apart from raising my two amazing children, I am also working on several writing projects.
CJ: The work of a writer never ends. So, this piece is from a book you’ve been working on, A Junkies Journal: The Birth of Devastation. What’s your current progress on it? Any set release date?
CS: As of now, I am almost finished with it. I’m hoping to have it released by the end of this year. As a writer, I am my own worst critic—so I’m still editing.
CJ: It’s very rare any of us are ever truly satisfied with the final outcome of our work. It’s the curse of the artistic mind I suppose. Anyway, for those who may not be familiar, what is this book about?
CS: It stars a young woman named Mellany Brooks: we follow her from childhood, into her life as a young adult, and get a bird’s eye view of the struggles she faces daily. Abused by her mother, sold for drugs, and raped, Mellany is broken. She knows only cruelty at the hands of others and so she seeks solace in the only thing she thinks will help. During her journey of self-discovery, she encounters a man named Brett who changes her in ways she never thought possible. Born from devastation, she walks a long path to insanity searching for redemption.
CJ: Those are some serious themes you are covering. This must be a pretty personal story for you. Have you found any of it difficult to write?
CS: My father was an addict so I know first hand the devastation any substance abuse problem can bring. His drug of choice was prescription pain medication and at times during this story, I’ve had to channel the little girl I used to be. It definitely brought back painful memories, but it also reminds me of who I should be, of who I could have been had I chose the same path.
CJ: You’re pretty open about your life. Do you feel sharing it through writing (fiction or otherwise) helps clear your mind?
CS: Yes and No. On occasion, writing is the only way to clear my mind. Just as when I was a child, my imagination shielded me from a harsh reality; now it imprisons me. During the course of this book, I’ve had to relive so many memories both good and bad—but the knowledge that someone, anyone, could read my book—and think for just a moment that they deserve better, that they can do better, is enough to push me through to the finish line.
CJ: Writing such deeply personal forms of fiction can take quite an emotional toll on a person. But I think you’re very upbeat about life. Do you think you are going to pursue this book into a series? Or do you have other work on the horizon?
CS: At the moment I am working on two other books featuring Brett and Mellany. Though, when finished, each book will paint Brett and Mellany in a different light; allowing them to flourish as multi-purpose characters. The other books will be significantly different than AJJ. I wanted to give Mellany and Brett a chance at a normal life: one free from the strain of torment—though with the way it’s going, I would have to say devastation follows wherever they go.
CJ: Well, we wish you much success with your writing and we certainly hope to hear from you again soon. But before you go, do you have any parting words to any up-and-coming writers who might be struggling to find their voice?
CS: Just write from your heart. Don’t try to force the words onto the page. Writing is a gift we were given, a talent we are born with and learn to hone. Allow the characters to tell the story for you. When I write, my stories play across my mind like I’m actually living it. I feel each blow my characters endure. I cry with them, laugh with them, and do my best to tell their story the way I see it in my mind.
There you have it folks. We hope you enjoy Christen’s work as much as we have. If you’d like to see what else Christen is up to, you can check out her Twitter profile or read more from her on her personal page, Christa’s Diary.