April 21, 2017: It has been an exciting 8 months since The Rage of Plum Blossoms was published on Sept 27, 2016. With the clout of Kindle behind the book, it has sold well but more importantly, readers are enjoying it! Please check out the reviews in GoodReads (400 so far) and Amazon (165 so far) to see if you think it is something you might like.
In addition I have been invited to talk with readers at many local libraries in Ct and I have greatly enjoyed each one.
The mystery groups in Essex/Ivoryton as well as in South Windsor and Windsor Locks were amazing! Hello and thank you to all who attended and special thanks to fantastic librarians: Elizabeth Alvord, Margaret Kurnyk, and Eileen Pearce.
Also great thanks to Andy Northrup in Madison, Nick Beams in Pomfret, Joan Nagy in Simsbury, Darla Pigeon in Moosup, and Jill Adams in Waterford! Wonderful gatherings and talks in all of those towns and much appreciation on my part for their willingness to invite me to speak about my books, reading, publishing, and everything in between. And great thanks to those who took their time to come out after a long day to meet me. I can’t thank them enough.
My new novel, Hemingway’s Daughter, is with my agent and she is working on its placement. We’ll see.
July 2016: My second Book won kindle scout publishing! It will be published in Oct 2016 (or thereabouts!) Please look for it! THE RAGE OF PLUM BLOSSOMS!
November 14, 2015 I live in a small town outside Hartford, CT. The town next to me, Coventry, is having an Author’s event called “Authors’ Faire” on Saturday Nov. 14. I was invited to participate as a local writer and can’t wait. It will be fun, no doubt. Meeting people is one of the great things about writing and when someone has actually read your book (and enjoyed it) –well, it doesn’t get much better than that.
April 25, 2015 I went to my Smith College Club luncheon and heard J. Courtney Sullivan speak about her books. It was really delightful and so was she. Very natural and funny. I loved it. My book is with two editors from large publishing Companies and 5 agents. The concept has appeal. Now I can only hope that the writing is good enough.
January 18, 2015
Well, I sure have not been active enough on keeping up here. There is lots of news. The most exciting is that I am leaping Book 3 called HEMINGWAY’S DAUGHTER over book 2 as I feel it is a stronger book. I went to a book pitch conference in Sept. 2014 and the reception was favorable so I am just now starting to send it to the editors who expressed interest and also to send my query to agents. So 2015 may have some news. I will publish book 2 but as a new author I am hoping that if someone liked Book 3, Book 2 can get pulled along too.
Attending another Writer’s Conference in March 2015 to just keep going since nothing is a certainty without a clear established track record.
October 20, 2012 I was fairly surprised to see my ebook sales. Apparently, no one buys actual BOOKS anymore but does the download thing–which is great. I just had no idea how widespread it is. I sold three actual books versus 230 ebooks. I just had my book made into an ebook about 6 months ago. Should have done it from day one. Anyway, it is an interesting observation on the industry and how people are reading these days. I’m just glad people are reading!
October 12, 2012 I’ve been promoting the ebook form of the book on Amazon. It’s been very successful. Sales strong (relatively speaking. Not John Grisham yet!) Please take a look at latest interview if you have a chance.
Other events coming up and that have happened! Sept. 22 2011 at Mohegan Sun. Author’s Trail concludes and I’ll be there representing So. Windham. Jane Green will be the featured author and it promises to be a delightful evening.
August 11, 2011 Visit to South Windham library was terrific. Sorry I misstated it below as August 17. WRONG! Thankfully, the library got it right. I had so much fun and hope the library visitors did too. Thanks so much to beautiful and gracious South Windham.
August 17, 2011: Speaking at the Windham Library and on the Author’s Trail. I always love speaking at libraries. Some have read the book, some are just interested in the writing process. Either way, it’s very enjoyable for me, and I hope, for the listeners and readers.
I’m close to posting one chapter of my new draft book on my website. Perhaps by June?
In the near future, I will be speaking on WILI’s the Responsible Pet Owner. I’ll print the date here when firmed up.
New COVER is done! See it on the home page! I think it captures the sense of isolation but also a sense of hope as the ponies walk together into an emerging spring landscape. The red swatch suggests some threat, some violence, some risk and I liked the color against the stark background. I have to thank George Foster, the designer. We tried abstract, more thriller looks, and decided that this one captured more of the essence. SO let me know. Christine
Nov. 17. I spoke with three other writers from the Eastern CT area about writing, where ideas come from, and, just about anything. We had a wonderful time and the visitors to the Groton Library, the venue of our meeting, were terrific,
Nov. 4My visit to the lovely library at Wallingford was terrific. My discussion with the attendees was fun and we all had a good time. Thank you to Beth Devlin for arranging!
I spoke on Anjuelle Floyd’s blog radio in San Francisco with writer Fran Lewis on November 18, 2010. Great fun. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/anjuellefloyd/2010/11/05/christine-m-whitehead
– AnjuelleXXAuthorXMFT | Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio
CHANGE! Nov. 4, 2010 is now the Wallingford Library. We got “stormed out” last week.
September 30, 2010 Wallingford Library, Meet and greet. Reading. Discussion.
Sept 23, 2010 Mohegan Sun. Author’s Trail. Reception. 7:30 p.m.
Please read this write up about the event.
The Connecticut Authors Trail Returns To Mohegan SunConnecticut libraries will host a variety of local authors starting July 8th and capping off the tour at Mohegan Sun on September 23rd with Donald Bain
UNCASVILLE, CT (June 17, 2010) – Mohegan Sun has once again teamed up with the Connecticut Authors Trail and is set to cap off the great book signing tour on Thursday, September 23rd with acclaimed author of Murder, She Wrote, Donald Bain. The Connecticut Authors Trail kicks-off with popular author Jane Haddam. Other library signing dates will feature remarkable authors like Pam Lewis, Douglas Clegg, Denise Gadreau, Susan Campbell, Christine Whitehead, Suzy Graf, Mark O’Neill and M. William Phelps.
The Connecticut Authors Trail focuses on some of the state’s most brilliant authors and takes pride in bringing together a diverse collection of writers whose styles cover everything from suspense thrillers to romantic novels and self-help to local libraries across eastern Connecticut. All programs are free and open to the public. For more information and a schedule on the Connecticut Authors Trail, please visit http://sites.google.com/site/ctauthortrail2010/HOME
August 26, 2010 6:30 Gunn Memorial LIbrary, Washington, CT Discussion of writing, publishing, and my book.
August 17, 2010 6:45 Columbia CT Public Library. A discussion of the book and writing process. Thank you, Carol, for invisting me and hosting the discussion. I had a blast. I love Columbia.
July 28, 2010 7:00 Meriden Public Library Discussion of TELL ME WHEN IT HURTS as well as discussion of the writing process.
June 28, 2010. Andover Library 6:30 ish. It WAS great fun. we had a very enjoyable discussion about the characters, the impact, and the future of Connor and Archer. Thank you sincerely to all who attended and to Amy for setting it up. I appreciate it more than I can say.
May 20 discussion at Rockville Library was lively. We discussed the publishing industry; book covers; character development–and the book itself! Thank you, ladies! Thank you, Diane!
An interview with Patricia Raskin of Voice America for all things that involve better living and healing.
One of my recent interviews!http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:_veRNsysRqMJ:www.insidescooplive.com/author-pages/Whitehead-Christine_Tell_Me_Hurts.html+Tell+me+when+it+hurts+Christine+Whitehead&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
I also now am linked with www.readerscircle.org/
I’ll be talking soon on WILI 1400 AM on The Responsible Pet Owner segment with Sara and Donald Hassler. I am looking forward to it! Date and time will be posted once set up.
Wayne Norman of WILI 1400 AM interviewed me on Friday May 14. I had a great time and truly enjoyed meeting Wayne and the WILI crew. They were all gracious, fun, interesting, true professionals in every way, and generous. Hope some of you caught it.
My interview with Patricia Raskin was moved up due to a canacellation in Patricia’s schedule. It occurred on Monday May 10. Patricia hosts “Positive Living” on VOICEAMERICA and is a fantastic author herself as well as a producer/host of interviews with nationally acclaimed experts on self-help and personal growth. She is truly inspirational. www.voiceamerica.com
It is with great pleasure and gratitude that I can announce that Tell Me When It Hurts is the 2009 Readers Favorite Honorable Mention Winner for Fiction – General
The contest judges overall score was 5 on a scale of 1-5.
Tell Me When It Hurts was selected as one of Arbor Books 2009 Favorites!
“Our brief list of suggestions is a fun way to highlight some of the best books produced by the independent presses we’ve worked with–and a way to help consumers sort through the thousands of titles released each year” says Joel Hochman, co-founder of Arbor Books.
“The presses that Arbor Books works with are very special” says Mr. Leichman. “Just as the independents in the music, film, theater and art industries forge new paths, making available works and titles that would not be available to consumers otherwise, so do these independents in the publishing field, and we’re proud of each and every one of them”
The Hartford Courant (and the Chicago Tribune)
A Marriage Of Identities
By Carole Goldberg, a member of the National Book Critics Circle and Special to The Courant
Archer Loh is not what she seems.
When we encounter the heroine of Christine M. Whitehead’s first novel, “Tell Me When It Hurts,” she’s living alone in the Berkshires. Archer seems nothing more than a sour, 43-year-old woman with no friends but her dog and no wish to engage the world beyond her cabin.
Except when she smoothly carries out assignments from a clandestine vigilante organization that avenges miscarriages of justice.
We soon learn why. An Olympic-level horsewoman, Smith College graduate and successful lawyer, Archer was happily married and devoted to her young daughter, Annie.
True, there was her brief post-college service as a sniper for a shadowy government-sanctioned hit squad that killed international villains. But that was years ago, and Archer had since embraced the good and quiet life in West Hartford. Then her daughter is brutally murdered, and her killer goes free on a technicality.
Archer is devastated. Her marriage, once rock-steady, shatters.
That’s a circumstance Whitehead says she has seen in her Hartford divorce practice. Parents who lose a child may break up because they “have ways of dealing with it that are very different and discordant,” she says during an interview at her home in Andover.
“One may want to mourn, and the other needs to get back to the routine of life to go on.” They may realize, “I am thinking about it every time I look at you,” she says, which can destroy the marriage.
In Whitehead’s book, Archer gives up her work, divorces and withdraws to a cabin in the woods, unable to deal with friends, family and a world full of little girls who aren’t hers. It’s a constricted and rigidly controlled life, the way she needs it to be.
Then Connor — an Easterner by birth, Western sheep rancher by choice and a wealthy man who doesn’t accept “no” for an answer — boldly breaches Archer’s hermetic world. With the help of a dog named Alice and a horse named Millie, he offers a way to re-connect that she both fears and desires. Their banter and clashes of wills propel this novel that blends romance and thriller genres.
Whitehead is not what she seems at first glance, either. The owner of a 1765 Colonial home and 30-acre farm in Andover, she might be taken as simply a woman with a penchant for writing and a lush property with a barn and polo and jumping fields to enjoy.
She is far more. She graduated from Smith College in 1972 and went on to the University of Connecticut School of Law. She’s a former partner of attorney Robert Ludgin and current president of the Hartford chapter of the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers. She is also an avid polo player.
Whitehead, 59, says she has loved horses since she began collecting equine figurines at age 4. She owns two: Nifty, a thoroughbred, and Mariah, a black-and-white paint quarter horse. She also has a beagle named Vilulah and a Bouvier des Flandres called Gellie, whose full name is Angelina Jolie.
“I always wanted to be on a horse, since day one,” she says. But her interest in polo did not begin until she was 33, after her own divorce.
“I really wanted to do something well,” she says, and when a client invited her to take polo lessons, she said yes.
During her first lesson, as the horses galloped, she thought, “They’re so close together, I’m going to die,” but by her second, she was hooked.
“I went from horrible and clawed my way up to very poor,” she says of her polo skills. “But I love it more than you should love any sport. Polo is my home away from home. It got me through the hard times after my divorce.”
She also loves writing and “having control over a world that you’ve created.”
“I like to read things that are interesting, and I was having trouble finding a book I really wanted to read,” so she began writing one of her own.
She wanted a tale of two people who have problems yet make their relationship work — a story of “middle-aged passion.”
“I kind of fell in love with my characters — they felt really real. I had moments when it wrote itself,” and others when she realized, “Archer wouldn’t do that!'”
“I like romance and wanted it back in Archer’s life. She has shut down, and I wanted her awakened on every level. But I wanted her to help him, too.
“ Connor, who fathered a daughter he gave up to her mother, “also needs healing. He changes, too,” she says.
Whitehead makes Archer believable as a woman paralyzed by her loss, yet one who can with cold efficiency stalk and kill malefactors such as child murderers who get little or no punishment.
“I wouldn’t do something like that, but it’s understandable” why Archer takes things into her own hands, Whitehead says, “because the system is not dealing with it. We don’t want vigilante groups, but we can understand. She gets to act out our frustrations and finally make it right.
“ Whitehead, who lived in West Hartford from 1972 to 1991, began the book in 2001, with the help of an online editor, Peter Heyrman, who guided her in filling in gaps in the story. Most of it was written from 2004 to 2006, and it was finished about 18 months ago. It took plenty of research, on such things as Rambouillet sheep, which Connor raises, and types of guns and ways to get rid of evidence, which Archer must know for her missions.
With the help of Arbor Books, which works with self-publishing authors, she brought it out as a paperback (Hadley Press, $15.99).
Hadley is a name with significance for Whitehead. It’s also the name of Archer’s beloved dog and a character in Ernest Hemingway’s classic, “The Sun Also Rises.”
Whitehead is a devoted fan and holds an annual Hemingway-themed party at her farm, with trivia contests and skits. Her book is studded with references to his work.
He chronicled “the Lost Generation” — “and Archer’s certainly lost,” she says. Archer and Whitehead share some background: love of horses, education at Smith, work as lawyer and Hungarian ancestry. But not all: “I’ve never had kids and I never did a hit,” the author says.
We’ll take her word for that.
Her life had its own drama.
When she was 7 and her sister was 9, their mother, 36, died after surgery, and five months later their father, 42, a Presbyterian minister in New Jersey, had a fatal heart attack.
A family battle over their custody ensued. The girls were closer to their maternal grandparents, who had emigrated from Hungary, but their paternal aunts — and an alcoholic uncle — gained physical custody and brought them to their home in Easton.
“It was really weird growing up,” says Whitehead. “They had no experience with kids and were fish out of water as parents. Everything we knew, really, was gone. But they totally believed in education. I thank them that they encouraged it.”
Smith College has been a strong influence.
“Smith women are always doing something,” she says. “You are taught to have a goal and that you can achieve it.”
Whitehead has an outline and first chapter for a second novel but for now is focused on “Tell Me When It Hurts,” available from Amazon.com. and Bookworm in West Hartford Center.
“I’m having fun with it and the feedback is giving me a thrill,” she says.
“Whatever happens will be what it will be.”
•More information is available from tellmewhenithurtsbook.com
•Carole Goldberg is member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant