Friday, September 4, 2009

Interview With My Daughter, Author Christina Berry--The Familiar Stranger

There are days in the life of a mother when her heart nearly bursts with pride at the accomplishment of her daughter. Maybe it's the first time she uses the potty, or her high school graduation. (Hopefully there's a long time between the two!) Perhaps it's her wedding day, or the birth of her first child.

I've watched my daughter, Christina Berry, follow her dream for the past ten years--her dream of writing a book and having it published. I've seen her persevere through the times when it seemed like it may never happen, and I've been there to jump and squeal with excitement when it did. She's got a two-month blog tour going on with the release of her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger. It's my joy and privilege to introduce you to a side of Christina maybe you don't know.

Welcome to The Mother Blog, Christina. It's great to have you here. I hope you'll feel at ease as we spend a few minutes getting to know each other better.

I know you were born in NV, (I remember it well) but where else have you lived? What was your favorite place and why?

From NV to Georgia for the language school before you guys were sent to Nigeria, West Africa. Then stateside to recup in South Lake Tahoe, CA, one year in Reno, NV, most of my growing up in Fallon, high school in Pendleton, OR, college in Forest Grove and now settled in the metropolis of Gaston,OR. (625 people)

My favorite place would have to be ... your womb. I had no worries, was always well-fed and warm enough, and my skin was baby soft!

What was your family like?

Crazy! If I were to tell you some of the stories ... man, especially about my mother! She threw shoes before it was even Middle-eastern-cool to throw them. :-) Really, I had a fantastically close family growing up. Friends used to say that our house was better than Disneyland because they could feel the love. My parents taught me God's way not only with words, but with actions.

What was the best advice your parents ever gave you?

That life wasn't fair. I actually don't remember hearing this often, but you claim to have said it often, and I trust you, so I'll believe it. Here's the thing: you were right. This last year has proven beyond a doubt that life is not fair ... and that our God is!

How did you come to know the Lord?

My daddy was a pastor. Not even four years old, sitting in church, I heard Dad preach about heaven and hell, and thought, "I want to be with God in heaven." A very simple choice, which many could say didn't mean anything because of my depth, or lack thereof, of understanding and my young age. To that I say, like a marriage vow, a promise can be made for a lifetime with no real comprehension of what the commitment entails, but it's no less a promise.

Long about 9th grade, I went through a time of questioning: do I really believe this for myself, or am I leaning on my parents' faith? It didn’t take long to figure out that nothing in this world makes sense if God didn't make it, if He doesn't control it and redeem it, and nothing is worth living for if Jesus isn't coming back. Since then, I’ve never doubted, though I have wrestled.

Your book is entitled The Familiar Stranger. How did you feel about strangers when you were young? Has your perspective changed?

I'm pretty sure I was shy and ran from strangers. Now, I'm much more extroverted. I'll talk to inanimate objects if no one is around! Plus, listening to strangers' conversations or watching gestures is fascinating as book research.

Is there anything you've never confessed to me that you'd like to right here in front of millions of readers?

Once--unbeknownst to me--a chocolate chip got stuck in my belly button, melted, and I thought I was bleeding. Oh, wait, you already know that ...

I snuck out of the house one time in high school to walk the loop with some friends. Terrified of something tragic befalling me and you never knowing what happened, I left an apologetic note on my pillow in case you checked on me. Uh ... you already knew that too. Guess I have no secrets from you, Mom!

Your birthday is the last day of this month. What was your most unusual birthday celebration? The time you packed a picnic for us to take up on the huge stone hill in Nigeria. Once we spread out our food and began to eat, the witch doctor woman came out and yelled and cursed us and ran us off the mountain.

I thought that would be the one you picked! I remember being emotionally wrung out from that experience and we came home and I spent the rest of the day on the couch. You made your own birthday cake, using a little "play" mix someone had sent you for Christmas. I felt like I'd win the award for the International Worst Mother of the Year! But it didn't seem to scar you for life, and you've never held it against me.

Christina is a single mom and foster parent who carves time to write from her busy schedule because she must tell the stories that haunt her every waking moment. (Such is the overly dramatic description of an author's life!) She holds a BA in Literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem, as well. Her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, releases from Moody in September and deals with lies, secrets, and themes of forgiveness in a troubled marriage. A moving speaker and dynamic teacher, Christina strives to Live Transparently--Forgive Extravagantly!Her work has also appeared in The Secret Place, The Oregonian, and Daily Devotions for Writers. Find her at and
Christina, it's been fun to sit down and visit with you about your life and your book. We don't want to leave without inviting people to sign up for our infrequent, humorous newletter. There's a great contest going on at the Ashberry Lane newsletter, so everyone needs to stop by and sign up. Is there anything else you'd like to say in closing?

I just want to thank you for being the best mom in the whole world.
(So, okay, I didn't ask Christina that last question, but I'm sure that's what she'd say!!)
If you leave a comment on this blog, you'll automatically be entered to win an autographed copy of The Familiar Stranger.
Look for Christina's next interview tomorrow with Edwina Cowgill at


Christina Berry said...

Aw, it's both touching and hilarious. :) Love you, and you are the best mom in the world!

Lady Araujo said...

Well... I apoligize for intruding :) ... Hey Christina, beautiful words!! :)
I really enjoyed the interview, it was very funny.
I'd love to win a copy of this book because it sounds like great. I hope I win!! Thanks for the interview and for the giveaway!

God's blessings
Hugs from Brazil - Marta Araujo


Sherrie Ashcraft said...

Thanks for stopping by Lady Araujo. I don't usually get visitors from Brazil! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.


mariska said...

What a beautiful interview! :) I love it.
The answer for Christina's favorite place was made a big smile on my face :D
I do hope that i have a chance to win this book.
And i hope you don't mind to see me on every blog that has you, your book and great interview, Christina ^_*V
cuniquas at gmail dot com

Cherie Hill said...

Christina...your amazing humor is nothing less than a perfect gift from God. I can't wait to read your book...something tells me it will be heart wrenching and life changing. My guess is this book will speak into the lives of many and will be a vessel for healing. I agree with your mother...your strength and humor and perseverence to live and walk in forgiveness through the most difficult times of your life has been a testimony in itself. It has been a joy to follow your posts and it has given me just another opportunity to praise God for who He is!
Praying for you always Christina!

T. Anne said...

This was a wonderful interview! Truly God has blessed you both and I am in awe of your relationship! Terrific. Thank you for sharing!!!

Christina Berry said...

Lady Arujo, :) Yes, it does seem like such a lovely mother-daughter moment, doesn't it?

Mariska, I'll be so disappointed when I DON'T see your name show up in the comments section! You're here for the long haul, I have a feeling.

Cherie, blame my sense of humor on my mother! Your prayers have meant so much, and I hope and pray myself that I can continue to walk this path in a way that brings glory to God. In the fire of the trial, it was easier. As mundane life continues, I don't want my passion for Him to die down.

T. Anne, you're another faithful commenter that puts a smile on MY face. :)

Christina Berry said...

And thanks, Mom!

christa said...

Such a brave mom to interview your own kid!

Of course, she's had a terrific role model.

Thanks for sharing this...she is an exceptional writer-mom!

Lady Araujo said...

It's my pleasure to stop by.
I'll be back, I promise I will. :)

It's wonderful to see a relationship like yours. Mom is a gift sent by Lord!! We just have to be thankfull for living precious moments with them.

God's blessings
Hugs from Brazil - Marta Araujo


Robin Johns Grant said...

LOL, I love the witch doctor story! I thought I'd had some bad birthdays, but that one "takes the cake." (Sorry, couldn't resist.) You folks have definitely had some unusual experiences.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see a mother and daughter interview!! Loved the answers and questions!

I'd love to read this book.


Anonymous said...

I'm pleased to report that Christina's answer to the Favorite Place question only partially creeped me out, but, then again, little brothers can be so squeamish! Sherrie, I'm glad to see a recent update on this Mother Blog. We know you're busy, Sis, but we've all missed your unique 'take' on life. We love it when you give us the chance to resonate with you!

CathyB said...

Sherrie, What a FUN post on your blog! Didn't know you had a blog....I have one too, and it is usually NOT up-to-date, but life goes on! So, yah, I'd LOVE to win a copy of christina book. Hey, you 2 were writing on one when you lived here....did it get finished?? Miss you in our town!

Christina Berry said...

Cherie!!! You won a free copy of The Familiar Stranger by commenting on this post!

Send your mailing address to christina [at] christinaberry [dot] net and I'll get that puppy right off to you. :D

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