A literary journalist and publicist since 2003, Dee Stewart's writings have appeared in Precious Times, Romantic Times, Spirit Led Woman Magazines and on The Master's Artist Blog. She is also the owner of DeeGospel PR (www.deegospelpr.com,) Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA. Visit her Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 6 years old in July at http://christianfiction.blogspot.com. Her debut novel "A Good Excuse to Be Bad (Kensington/Dafina) releases Summer 2011. Talk to her in real-time on Twitter at @deegospel.
Fall into Faith, Fun, and Romance with Shana Burton
Fall is one of my favorite times of year for reading. The summer book best-seller blitz is over. My book tour winds down. My next book isn’t due to my publisher for a few months, so I have time to visit some book festivals and soak myself in a good read.
This year I wanted to read something funny, romantic, and filled with Christian principles. Georgia Book of the Year Nominee and Double Day Book Club Pick Shana Burton’s new book, Catt Chasin’, fit that need. I’ve known Shana for a few years. She is the sweetest person you’d ever meet, and she’s quite shy. This month she opens up about the book, how its message brought her closer to Christ, and why dating coaches and people watching make great fodder for plot points.
Describe Catt Chasin’ in one paragraph.
Catt Chasin’ is the journey of two people looking for something that they find in each other. Catt is the “church mouse,” who needs to live a little. Jamal is the skirt chaser, who needs the love of a good woman. While neither is what the other one wants, they may turn out to be exactly what the other one needs.
Where did you get the idea for this story?
After my divorce, a friend of mine, James Lunsford, appointed himself as my dating coach. Because I’d been out of the game since ’98, he gave me all kinds of inside information about how men think and the games they play. One thing in particular that fascinated me was his 30-Day Plan, which is a month-long series of tests he puts women through to decide whether or not the woman and relationship are worth pursuing. I thought it was a great premise for a book, and I based my male lead, Jamal, on him.
Why is Catt Cason special?
She is special because she represents many women in contemporary society. She’s beautiful and successful. She’s a devout Christian, but she still has her issues. She deals with insecurities, she’s self-conscious about her weight, she’s made mistakes with men, and she has a past, but she’s not a victim. She wants a man, but she’s learned not to compromise herself in the process.
What message can a single Christian woman gain from reading Catt Chasin’?
The most important relationship you can be in is with God. The next most important is with yourself. Another message I would like for women to grasp is always to be willing to walk away, whether it’s from a relationship, a job, whatever, when it’s no longer adding value to your life.
Why the title?
Actually, a friend on Facebook gave me the idea for the title. I was going to go with Chase the Catt, but she suggested Catt Chasin’. The lead character is named Catt, and she’s being pursued, so it’s the perfect title. I was trying to be sort of coy with the title, knowing the connotation of the phrase cat chasing. Of course, if anyone asks me about it, I tell them to get their minds out of the gutter!
(LOL) Share your writing journey.
Like most authors, I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, and reading since I could hold a book. All through school and college, everything I was involved in revolved around writing, from being on the yearbook and newspaper staffs to writing research papers for money or penning love notes to objects of my affection.
I wrote my first book, Suddenly Single, on a whim and for fun. Thankfully, it landed me a book contract.
Of course, I failed to mention the hundreds of rejection letters I received, the late nights writing followed by getting up in the morning to work all day, the hours of research trying to find a publisher and an agent, and all the money I spent doing all of the above. And going through a divorce, choosing between finishing a chapter and spending time with my kids, feeling frustrated and depressed . . . you know, all of the messy stuff!
Please don’t say “fans.” I don’t like that word. I have readers, not fans! I don’t know why they keep coming back, but my guess is because I’m real, and it comes through in my books. Even though it’s Christian fiction, I write about real people with real problems. I don’t know anyone over the age of twenty who is a virgin. My friends and I enjoy a margarita every once in a while. I don’t always do the right thing; neither do my characters. The people I write about are like the people we all know and can relate to. I think readers appreciate that. My books also show that God can work with anybody.
What are you working on next?
I’m about three-fourths finished with Flaw Less, which is the sequel to Flaws and All. I’m afraid it might be too hot for Christian fiction, though.
What are your literary influences?
Everything and everyone. I honestly mean that. People all around me influence me all the time. I love to read, but I also people watch. The way people act, their mannerisms, their nuances: all of that influences me as a writer.
What would you like to say that I didn’t ask?
I would like to say thanks to everyone who has supported me during my writing journey. You have all played a part in helping my dreams come true. That’s powerful!
PR Tip. Use your blog to host a free Fall Online Writing Workshop, like me, on October 20, 2011, at www.mirandaparker. com.