Ties That Bind is a novel that follows its main character, Kristen Bradley, as she navigates her way through a very difficult situation. Kristen’s passion is acting, but she has been so busy with nursing school and a troubled relationship, there hasn’t had time to step foot on stage. So when the opportunity to join a local theater company arises, she jumps at the chance, and it isn’t long before she’s drawn in deeply to the tight- knit group. The company, Riverbend Community Theater, is like a family, only it’s ties are stronger than blood – so strong, it’s almost cult-like. All its actors bow down to one very powerful director. Just when she thinks she’s found her place in the word, Kristen learns that something dark exists behind the surface of Riverbend’s perfect facade, and that the charismatic director she’s learned to trust and confide in not only controls his actors onstage, but off as well.
Ties That Bind is the story of a vulnerable young woman who quickly learns that things aren’t always what they seem, and that the line between maintaining her coveted place with the company and having to walk away forever, is as thin as a tightrope. The question you’ll be asking yourself throughout the book is, “Will she fall?”
How long did it take you to write your book?
From start to finish, this book took me a year to write. I did most of the work during my kids nap and bedtimes, because otherwise they’d be dragging me away from the computer! There were days I could sit and write twenty or thirty page without stopping, and other days I’d drum my fingers on the keyboard, completely at a loss. During the year, I had a four month period where I didn’t write one word because I was stuck and unsure where the story was going. I thought maybe I’d never finish. Then one day it just came to me, and I did.
How much of you is hidden within the characters in the book?
There’s quite a bit of me in Kristen, the main character. They say “write what you know,” and Kirsten is a character who goes through a lot of intense emotions. It’s hard to write about feelings you’ve never experienced, and I needed my readers to sympathize with, and understand why Kristen does the things she does, whether they make sense or not. I’d have had a hard time portraying her accurately if the emotions she went through in the book were completely foreign to me. Kristen’s story is not mine, but her emotions are. I’ve been in her shoes many times.
Who is your most likeable character?
My favorite character is Owen. Ah, Owen. Would it be wrong to say I developed a little crush on him while writing this book? (Sorry, Honey). Owen is the world’s most awesome guy. He’s a fellow theater member, and though he hasn’t a clue what Kristen is going through for much of the book, he ends up being her biggest source of support without even realizing it. He’s also funny and sexy. He brings a bit of romance to the book, and who doesn’t want a little of that?
Do you think writing this book has changed your life? How so?
Absolutely. This book started out as an interesting story swirling around in the back of my mind. I joked from time to time about putting it to paper, but never thought I’d be able to accomplish such a feat. Then one day I sat down and wrote the first sentence, which led to the second, the third, and so on. Before I knew it I was halfway through this story, which was rapidly becoming a full-length novel. Then I toyed around with the idea of self-publishing, but thought I’d see if anyone would be willing to pick it up first. A few months later I had a publisher interested, and the rest is history. I guess what I’m getting at is this: My book went from an impossible feat to a palpable reality. I now know that I can accomplish anything – even things I never set out to do! I learned that there’s creativity within me I didn’t even know existed and would encourage anyone out there with a story to tell, to do it. Just write that first sentence. That’s all it takes.
Does writing come easy to you?
Not really. Like I mentioned, while writing Ties That Bind, I’d have nights where the words would just flow out of me effortlessly. I could write page after page without even looking up from the computer screen. Then I’d hit a slump – writer’s block I guess – where I had nothing to offer. I’d sit and try to write, but no words would come. Through this process I realized I’m not in control. When the creativity flowed, it flowed, and when it stopped, all I could do was be patient and wait for it to come back.
If your book was made into a TV series or a movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?
Oh, that’s a fun one. I think every author dreams of their book becoming a movie, and enjoys the task of casting – even if only in their minds! For Ties That Bind, I can’t imagine a more perfect cast than one including Hugh Jackman, Alexis Bledel, and a young Simon Baker as Owen.
What writer influenced you the most?
Hands down, my favorite author is Elizabeth Berg. I love her writing style, and her stories fall right into the genre I prefer to read and write. They’re very true-to-life. Her characters are always multi-faceted, so you can relate to all of them in one way or another, which helps you fall right into the story. Once I start reading one of her novels, I can’t put it down. I always close the book at the end and think, “Wow, that was awesome.”
What are you working on right now?
My current work-in-progress is a novel entitled The Depths of the Sea. It’s about a mother suffering from post partum depression who drowns her beloved son in an episode of sleep walking. She doesn’t remember a thing. I have one more novel on the horizon that is much more light-hearted, a comedy even.
Where can people learn more about your books?
Through my publisher’s website – SecondWindPublishing.com, on Amazon.com, and on my Twitter (@CHJennette) and Facebook page (Christian Jennette – Author).