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Christy was daring enough to share a few things about herself we might not guess, so let's turn the floor over to her!
Three things you would never guess about me.
1. First of all, I am not a fisher woman.
I’m a take a boat ride or a cruise type person. Several times I’ve gone snorkeling and that was fine, but I’ve never been a fan of messing around with hooks and bait. Many years ago, we were in Florida visiting with friends in Ft. Lauderdale. Howard, our host and the owner of the boat, was taking us out to lunch at a dockside restaurant. On the way home, he told us he still had live bait in the well from the day before and wanted to know if we would like to fish. Since the others seemed inclined, I wasn’t going to be a spoilsport. About ten minutes later, not too far from Port Everglades—where the cruise ships dock— I accidentally hooked a big tarpon. Just my luck he had to take a snap at my line. It took me over two hours to get him next to the boat. My arms were about to give out, so my dad hoisted it into the boat. My hands were blistered; they were frozen and I couldn’t hold anything, but I managed a “wave” to all the people in boats bobbing around us who’d been watching and cheering me along. Back at the house, Howard took my photo with the big guy and cut the line, which I didn’t even realize at the time. A month later I received an official looking certificate in the mail—along with the test line and hook— stating that my tarpon was the largest fish to be caught on a ten pound test line. Today, the tarpon is mounted in our rec room along with some of my husband’s trophies. When he tells guys that his wife caught it, they look at me with respect. I don’t have the heart to tell them it was all a fluke. After all, I came along for lunch—catching the fish was sort of an accident.
2. Even though I do not write historicals, I do have a few people of historical note in my family tree.
I am a relative of Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII, and her daughter, Elizabeth I. Naturally, I am not a descendant of either, but related to both.
How are we related? It began with Sir Geoffrey Boleyn (1406- 1463?), Lord Mayor of London, who purchased Hever Castle in Kent. Sir Geoffrey’s son, Sir William Boleyn was the father of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire. Thomas was the father of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England and the maternal grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I. Both Sir Thomas and his daughter Anne—in her early childhood— lived at Hever castle which still stands today in the village of Hever in Kent. I am a direct descendant of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn and several generations later, our family joined the Cromwells through the marriage of Elizabeth (Boleyn) Bromley to Sir Oliver Cromwell of Hinchingbrook—not the infamous Lord Protector of England—but he is a relative.
Through Edith Cromwell’s (1660-1694) marriage in 1679 to Christopher Gist I (1650 to 1690) in Maryland, we would have two more interesting family members. Christopher Gist was a surveyor and scout for the Ohio Company and a good friend of George Washington. I have a book filled with letters between the two men. My last relative of note is William Henry Gist, the 68th governor of South Carolina. He was governor when his state seceded from the Union. His home, Rose Hill Plantation in Union County, South Carolina still stands and is open to the public.
3. Big animals, horses, dogs, and elephants don’t scare me one bit, but spiders, centipedes, and chameleons scare me to death.
I can never muster up the courage to kill one of them. If I see a bug at night, I either put a glass or bowl on top of it and leave my husband a note on the mirror in the bathroom. That system works pretty well for me. If he’s out of town for a few days he might come home to having a half dozen pieces of china or glassware scattered around the house. One night while he was gone when I went into the bedroom to go to turn in I saw a giant centipede on the wall. No way could I fall asleep knowing that hairy legged creature was in my room. So I ran to get the vacuum, hoping he would stay in the same spot. Fortunately, he was still there staring at me when I returned. I pulled out the long extension, turned on the power and chased him all over that wall, but I finally got him. Weak with relief, I climbed in bed but couldn’t fall asleep. What if he had friends and they were out looking for him?
Pierce Hastings, son of Gabrielle’s benefactress, grudgingly agrees to take her under his wing and acclimate her to Atlantic-Hastings. Never one to mix business with pleasure, Pierce stuns himself when he ignores his own self imposed rule. Gabrielle’s complete lack of artifice, unvarnished honesty and quirky sense of humor are intoxicating to him―and he’s rapidly becoming addicted. He’s blindsided when Gabrielle confesses that, in spite of her growing feelings for him, she will never fit into his world of power and privilege and has no desire to try.
Pierce answered him with a glare. What the hell was wrong with him? What difference did it make what she thought of him? Until a few weeks ago, he had never heard of Gabrielle March. So why had she suddenly become so important to him?
"I think our Gabrielle has gotten to you little brother. What a pleasant change it is for you to be the one cooling your heels."
The crunch of gravel drew their attention to the driveway. When Elizabeth’s blue Mercedes came around the curve, Pierce abruptly turned his back to the driveway and leaned against the porch railing.
James snorted with laughter. "Wouldn't want the lady to know she'd been missed would we." He sauntered down the steps to greet Gabrielle.
"Did you have a nice afternoon?" James opened her car door.
Pierce swiveled to face them but remained on the porch, propped against a sturdy post, his strong arms folded across his chest. "You missed some excellent water skiing this afternoon, Peaches."
Gabrielle came even with him on the porch. "Really? Why I'm surprised you need skis at all," she sniped. "I assumed someone like you walked on water."
I can’t pin point precisely when I knew I was different from everyone else−at least from my tight group of hometown friends. Didn’t everyone have movies playing in their heads starring beautiful characters leading adventurous lives in exotic places? NO—they did not. Did that mean they were normal and I was the odd, slightly wacky duck? My answer to that conundrum came when I attended my first writer’s conference in Savannah. Nervous about being on my own at the crowded event, a kindly writer from Texas took me under her wing and introduced me to at least a dozen writers. Surrounded by so many writers who were so like me, I fit right in. I wasn’t an “odd” duck after all; I’d simply been in the wrong pond!
As a result of that conference, my desire and conviction to write blossomed. Still working a full time job at a Louisiana cancer center, I carved out time to write every night and on weekends. My first manuscript went through four incarnations, and a year under the bed, before success came knocking.
Today my family and our two Labs—Lambeau, the Green Bay Packers unofficial mascot and Gracie, who is just plain, sweet Amazing Grace—live in a picturesque little town in Ohio wrapped around a lovely town square with an intricately carved gazebo where weekly band concerts take place all summer long.