Thursday, July 17, 2014

AP Author Spotlight: Christi Corbett

Christi Corbett
Twitter ID: @ChristiCorbett
Describe yourself in three words:
Tell us a little about your latest release:
Along the Way Home
Kate Davis is intrigued when her father reveals his dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory. Settlers out west value a strong woman, and though she manages the financials of her father’s mercantile her competence earns her ridicule, not respect, from Virginia’s elite society.
Jake Fitzpatrick, an experienced trail guide, wants land out west to raise cattle and crops. But dreams require money and he’s eating dandelion greens for dinner. So when a wealthy businessman offers double wages to guide his family across the Oregon Trail, Jake accepts with one stipulation—he is in complete control.
Departure day finds Kate clinging to her possessions as Jake demands she abandon all he deems frivolous, including her deceased mother’s heirlooms. Jake stands firm, refusing to let the whims of a headstrong woman jeopardize the wages he so desperately needs—even a beautiful one with fiery green eyes and a temper to match.
Trail life is a battle of wills between them until tragedy strikes, leaving Jake with an honor-bound promise to protect her from harm and Kate with a monumental choice—go back to everything she’s ever known or toward everything she’s ever wanted?
Along the Way Home is set on the 1843 Oregon Trail, so it’s little wonder I got the idea for this book while on a cross-country road trip.
Allow me to set the scene:
My fiancé (now husband) and I were traveling from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Marysville, Washington.
We’re driving my 1992 Hyundai Excel (compact car) and the backseat and hatchback are 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.
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.
And from that moment, a story was born.
What is your earliest memory?
Riding on my dad's shoulders through the house and almost bumping my head into a doorframe :)
What would you consider the greatest moment in your life?
Holding my twins in the hospital, with my loving husband by my side.
What’s the hardest thing in in life you’ve done?
I'm the first in my family to attend college, so I didn't really have anyone to give advice on what to expect. I was completely out of my element the first few months, but eventually I figured it all out. Graduation made every struggle worth it!
What have you learned in life so far?
If you never give up on your dreams, and you are always trying to learn and improve, you'll succeed.
Everyone’s favourite question: if you could invite five people for dinner, who would it be?
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Mark Twain, and my Great Aunt Ada.

Chance for our readers - what else would you like to know about Christi Corbett?


  1. Christi, a very insightful post and an insight into a few things I didn't know about you as well. I love those you would sit down to dinner with ... excellent company for sure :) And keep those dreams alive, you have so much more coming in your future !!!

    1. Florence,

      I'd invite you too and that way we could finally meet in person! I sincerely hope one day to have the privilege :). We could wander the streets of New York City together and then people watch and write stories about them.


  2. I think your three words fit you perfectly!!! Also, I have a similar memory of my Dad! Only in our case, Dad was holding Rachel sitting in the palm of one hand, and me sitting in the palm of the other (we were literally just old enough to balance upright the first time he did this, so too young to remember, and he did it until we were 4-5) and he would lift us until we bumped our heads on the ceiling. It was an awesome perspective from up there.

    1. Artemis,

      What an amazing first memory, with your Dad and your twin sister. How fun! Would you two hold hands for balance or did your Dad just hold you in his hands? Also, did your Mom know he did this? :)


    2. No hand-holding, Rachel and I just sat there while Dad balanced us. And yeah, Ma was taking pictures, so she knew he was doing it :)

  3. :D Love how you describe your novel. Looking forward to the next one!

    1. Thanks Karen!


  4. Your dinner party sounds like it would be great. A question - what was your research process like for "Along the Way Home?"

  5. Monica,

    A nightmare. The first few drafts I wrote around the only landmarks I could remember from playing the Oregon Trail computer game obsessively as a kid. Yep, I did you not.

    Then I got serious and spent a LOT of time at libraries, museums, looking at photos, doing interviews, and reading everything I could about the Oregon Trail, so I could portray their journey in an accurate manner.

    So far, it seems to have worked out because I've only gotten one comment from a reader about something being historically inaccurate.

    Now if my current book would cooperate I'd be a happy lady! :)


    1. Thanks for sharing! And I predict success with Book #2...