Author of the Week – Chautona Havig

3d Typewriter with blank paper Top View

Welcome to ERG’s first Author of the Week Interview! This will be a weekly feature, and I’ll be interviewing popular authors in different genres. If you have a favorite author that you’d like to see featured, make sure to tell them to contact me.

So let’s get started. I’d like to introduce you to Chautona Havig. She writes Inspirational Christian Fiction and can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and Smashwords. You can sign up to receive emails about Chautona’s discounted and free promotions at her website, www.chautona.com.

40661_418091996772_3110604_nChautona, tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.

Let’s see. Tell about me. Are you sure you want me to do that? It could get boring. I live in California’s Mojave Desert–in other words, in the middle of nowhere–with my husband and seven of my nine children. Readers of The Hartfield Mysteries will get a glimpse of our town in the book Two O’clock Slump (to be released this fall, we hope!). My husband is a Computer Scientist for the Department of Defense (civilian) and I’m a kept woman–i.e. a housewife. And I like it that way. 🙂 We homeschooled our nine children (still have three to go before I can retire). I should confess here that I do not like teaching. I’m not one of those mothers who rhapsodizes over the beauty, the wonder, the joy of teaching phonics, prepositions, and photosynthesis… again. And again. AND AGAIN. Just sayin’.

Hobbies are a more interesting discussion. I love all things creative. For years I sewed for hours every day. As the mother of seven daughters, I sewed and smocked almost all their dresses (that’s almost all they wore as little ones). I love quilting and have spent many hours creating quilts. Over the years, I’ve been involved in many hobbies. Ceramics, porcelain doll making, sewing, smocking, embroidery, knitting, crochet, scrapbooking, and more recently, rubber stamping. I do love making cards with my (much too) large stamp collection. I make hundreds of cards every year and it’s a lot of fun for me.

As for interests, well… those are varied as well. I love theology–scripture. I love politics and history. I read voraciously and enjoy things like redecorating/improving my house.

When and why did you start writing novels?

Sometime around 2000, I began writing what was then called “Aggie’s Inheritance” (Ready or Not). In the middle of writing that, I began Noble Pursuits. Then Manuscript for Murder. Other books quickly followed–most before I had completed anything. Introductions, From the Cinders (renamed Recall), Hope 101 (Discovering Hope) and it all snowballed. I found myself writing for eight years before I even considered publication. By the time I published Noble Pursuits, I had over fifty books in the works and a dozen of those were complete or nearly so.

What made you decide to tackle writing as a career? 

I didn’t realize that writing IS my career.  I still feel like I’m “playing with words” half the time.  Honestly, if it wasn’t for my publicist, Ashley, I would still be writing books that only a handful of people read.  I’m one of those obnoxious people who says (and means), “I’d write even if no one read it.”  That said, I am also one of those writers who really does love feedback.  I love getting emails from people who say, “This really touched me” or “Someone  ‘gets’ me.”  One of the most amazing emails I’ve received was regarding Discovering Hope.  The woman told me that I’d managed to describe accurately the emotions, the reality, and the results of a traumatic brain injury.  She assumed that I’d experienced one either as the injured or that someone close to me had been.  I hadn’t.  I’ve never known anyone.  I just did research and prayed hard that I’d get it close enough that it could fall into the “everyone is different” category.  Those emails make the long nights, the millions of hours editing, and the “putting myself out there” (I’m naturally extremely shy) worth it.  So what made me tackle it?  Ashley didn’t give me a choice.  😉

Which one of your books or characters is your favorite?

That’s difficult.  I could cheat and say “Whomever I’m working on right now” but I won’t.  I’ll play nice.  I think it’s a toss up between Willow (from Past Forward) and Ella (from Recall).  I love the world of Past Forward.  It resonates with me.  Much of it is an idealized picture of what my childhood would have been like if my father had been Kari and had her opportunity to withdraw from society.  But I understand Ella.  I’d say that Ella is probably more like me than any of my characters.  Well, Dani is more like me–before she becomes Ella.  I know that’s ambiguous, but to say any more would be too much of a spoiler.

Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?

I’d have to say Prairie was both hardest and easiest to write.  I know that makes no sense, but it’s true.  It flowed like no other book I’ve written.  I wrote it in record time.  But it is a very emotional book and I am not an emotional person.  Because of that, I found myself struggling through each chapter.  The first person, the lyrical style, the depth of emotions–it all converged into one difficult “core” of a book.  However, A Bird Died is proving to be even harder.  As I reread and re-watch the posts, journals, memories, and videos from that terrible time in our lives, I find myself overcome with gratitude and emotion.  And, as I said, I don’t “do” emotions well.

Who is your favorite author and book?

I’d say that my favorite author and book are not “related.”  I would have to say my favorite author is probably C.S. Lewis.  The man was a genius.  He could say so much with so few words.  As for my favorite book– Definitely A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  Through that book, I discovered my desire to write.

What book are you reading right now?

Current read on Kindle is Restrike by  Reba White Williams.  So far, not a big fan.  I also just got back the book Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver from my daughter, so I’ll be starting that as well.  It’ll be tough because my daughter tells me it’s written in “first person/present tense.”  I despise first person/present.  UGH.

Where do you get your plot ideas?

Where do I not?  Okay, usually plot ideas come from one of three things.  I’d say most come from a question.  For example, the idea for Aggie came after I heard, YET AGAIN, “How do you do it with ALL THOSE KIDS.  I can’t manage the one (or two) I have.  I’d freak if I had eight (this was before I had 9).”  I always said, “Well, you don’t get eight at one time.  You get one.  Then you add another.  And then you have a minimum of nine months before you add the next, and the next.  It’s not an instant influx.”  Then I wondered.  “What would happen if you DID get eight kids all at once?”  From there I just complicated things for the fun of it.  “What would happen if you weren’t married–if you’d never spent time with small children–if you couldn’t have help from your immediate family–if you had a mother-in-law from the nether regions when you’d never been married?

Other times it comes from a character.  Past Forward began with a character.  Willow.  I knew who she was, how she was different, how she was interesting. I just didn’t know her history until I thought about who she was.  Then it all made sense.

And the third way I get ideas is an event.  I just think of something and the story goes from there.  A fine example of that would be Justified Means.  I think my original idea line want something like this. “Kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night, Erika can’t grasp the idea that this is to save her life.”

Of course there are other ways–Argosy Junction was a “sermon” against turning methods of serving the Lord into salvation issues.  But mostly my ideas come from those first three I mentioned and in that order.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

See question one.  Okay, okay.  I’ll answer more.  I like to read.  I like to correspond with my readers.  I like to do online puzzles and play Spider Solitaire.  I love to watch old movies, Doctor Who, and other British TV shows (Doc Martin!!!– aside from two episodes anyway).  I love classic book adaptations (Gaskell, Austen, and I don’t like Dickens in book form but I love him in movie adaptations).  I love to chat with friends and well… I LOVE to write.  One thing a lot of people don’t know is that I love to design book covers. I even design book covers for books that don’t exist!  Ashley-the-publicist says that I purchase stock photos the way most women buy shoes.  It’s an understatement.  I love to cook if the kitchen is already clean and things are put away in their proper places.  I love to play board games–particularly things like Settlers of Catan, Master Detective Clue, and Scrabble.

Note From Ashley: If you are interested in reading some of Chautona’s writing, both Ready or Not and Past Forward, Volume 1 are available for free! Chautona’s newest book, Speak Now is currently available for 99 cents as well. Chautona is currently running a giveaway for a Tiffany’s necklace at her website, go check it out!

Chautona’s website, click here.
Chautona’s Facebook, click here.
Chautona’s Twitter, click here.
Chautona’s Pinterest, click here.
Chautona’s Amazon Page, click here.

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Comments

  1. I thoroughly enjoy Chautona Havig’s books. Thank you for the interview here.

  2. I love Chautona’s books, there has not been a book that I did not like. Her word’s flow into worlds in our imagination that we can visualize and connect with. Thank you for sharing your books.

  3. Kathy Jacob says

    Thank you for this interview! I love getting to know authors better.

  4. I just found her books this year and I love them! I think Willow is my favorite character so far, but I am enjoying Alexa as well. Actually, I’ve enjoyed all the characters I’ve read about. 🙂

  5. TN Lizzie says

    Chautona is my all-time favorite author. I love the range of styles that she uses – and I really love how she has characters from one book appear in other, seemingly unrelated, books – Chuck is always a fun surprise!

    My girls and I want to *be* Willow when we grow up! Thank you, Chautona, for sharinging her world. Thank you, eReaderGirl, for sharing Chautona!

  6. I found Chautona through moneysavingmom and am so glad I did! Thanks for doing this interview; it’s great to be able to learn more fun facts about a favorite author.

  7. I’m always amazed to read people who say they know me and my work. Will that ever get old? I doubt it. Thank you all. And thank you Ashley–it’s so much easier to answer questions than “write a bio” for a website. 🙂

  8. This was a really fun interview! Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy Chautona Havig’s books as well. I’ve actually written up two reviews of them on my blog: http://mommynificent.com/2013/05/23/booknificent-thursday-2/ and http://mommynificent.com/2013/06/06/booknificent-thursday-4-speak-now-by-chautona-havig/

    It was really cool getting to “know” her a little better here. You asked great questions!
    May you be magnificently blessed today!
    Tina @ Mommynificent

  9. I have read several of her books.. have loved them all. touching, inspirational and motivating.. she always answers e-mails. loved this interview and getting to know a little more about this wonderful lady..

  10. Oh, Tina. Thanks for sharing the links. I’m off to read! 🙂