Christi Corbett was born and raised in Marysville, Washington, a town located about 30 miles north of Seattle. She graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Communications. Let’s learn more about her.
Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
My first job brought me to Green Bay, Wisconsin where I was the editor for the 5pm, 6pm, and 10pm newscasts. Then I got married and I took a job in the Creative Services Department for the CBS affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota. I wrote television commercials and eventually ended up as the head writer for a local, weekly show.
It was great fun, but I left my career in television when I had our twins to stay at home and raise them. But during that time I kept writing what would eventually become my debut novel, Along the Way Home.
Along the Way Home is a Western Romance about a naive society woman and her rugged trail guide, and their adventures as they journey across the 1843 Oregon Trail.
Tainted Dreams is the standalone sequel, and shows how those who survived the Oregon Trail arrived into Oregon City only to discover a whole new set of problems as they struggled to stake a claim in Oregon Territory.
The theme for both books is the importance of being a man, or woman, of your word. If you make a promise to another person you should be prepared to keep it, no matter the cost.
Along the Way Home won the 2013 RONE Award for Best American Historical Novel.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
Gone with the Wind. I finally read it when I was twenty-five years old, after years of listening to other readers rave about how good it was, and how much I was missing out on. Also, I wanted to see the movie and I’m a firm believer in reading the book first. I read it in one sitting; I started after dinner, read through the entire night, and finished as the sunrise peeked through the living room curtains. The book irritated me for the first 100 pages because I couldn’t understand why anyone would care so much about such a vapid and selfish character like Scarlett, but thankfully I kept reading and by the end I was fascinated in the character growth Scarlett went through throughout the book.
I would say Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of my favorite book series of my youth, the Little House books.
I got my first book of hers at a yard sale at age seven, and read it so much the covers crumbled from wear and eventually fell off the book. And I had my first moment of absolute book joy when I learned that there were many more of her books available (which was my first brush with the concept of a series).
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Spend time with my family. My husband and I have ten-year-old twins, and we cherish every moment we have with them because the first year of their life was very difficult.
What is one of the things you’re most thankful for as a writer?
The encouragement and understanding writers give other writers.
Where can we learn more about you?
I post writing news and fun family updates on my blog, which can be found at christicorbett.wordpress.com
Anything else you’d like to add?
I got the idea for Along the Way Home on a road trip, driving an overloaded Hyundai Excel from Green Bay to Seattle with my fiancé (now husband).
We were driving my 1992 Hyundai Excel (compact car) and the backseat and hatchback were loaded to the windows with all my worldly possessions. As an extra bonus, my husband is 6 feet 4 inches tall. Plus it’s February, and since the middle of winter in the Midwest is brutally cold we’re sporting layers of long underwear, flannel shirts, and puffy coats.
We decided to take our time and stopped off at a number of landmarks, including Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, and Wall Drug. By the time we reached the Montana border my hubby was ready to rip out the front seat and drive from the back one, and I was beyond bored. Around mid-Montana I started whining about how long it was taking, how there was nothing to do but sit, and how the scenery never changed. Then mid-complaint it hit me—we were traveling in one hour what would take nearly three days to accomplish in the 1800’s. (Recall we’d just come from Wall Drug in South Dakota so I think “the old times” were fresh on my mind.)
I whipped out my notebook and the ideas just started flowing. Soon I had pages and pages of notes and ideas about a possible book. Here’s the actual first line that started it all: A fantastic idea just occurred to me in light of the journey I have just taken… Occasionally I will pull out that same notebook to see how far I’ve come. (For starters, I learned using the same word twice in one sentence is a big no no.)
The descriptions for the two main characters are completely different from what Jake and Kate are now and there wasn’t one mention of a covered wagon or the Oregon Trail, but the basic idea was there. Make it about a man and a woman who travel west, each for their own reasons, to start a new life.