About the author:
David Cristofano has earned degrees in Government & Politics and Computer Science from the University of Maryland at College Park and has worked for different branches of the Federal Government for over a decade. His short works have been published by Like Water Burning and McSweeneys. He currently works in the Washington, D.C. area where he lives with his wife, son and daughter. THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE is his first novel.
On to the Q&A...
d: When did you decide you wanted to write? How long did this story percolate before you put it on paper?
DC: I started thinking I had a novel in me about ten years ago. Turns out I did. A lousy one. The up side is that it was a long lousy one—the equivalent of a trilogy—and I managed to get a lot of kinks out of my writing during that time. As for THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE (my third novel, first published), the story had been on my list, so to speak, along with seven or eight others, though not fully in focus. Writing the novel was a lot like going to the grocery store for a chicken and walking out with red snapper. The story morphed significantly over time (it was originally told from a male perspective). In the end, it turned out I really wanted fish all along.
d: Jonathan was kinda creepy, when I first "met" him. Like, "Hello! Stalker!" Was that intentional? If not, do you like how it ended up being? (I can't be the only one to think stalker-ish thoughts, right?)
DC: Indeed, Jonathan is a stalker—quite literally, really—as he has followed Melody with great regularity over the years. His intentions may be different from your typical stalker, though. Melody eventually finds out just how present he has been in her life—and how influential. He is part stalker, part guardian angel.
d: Melody ends up in a better place, physically, but how did she get there? All the other identities she's had, the Feds provided, including paperwork, etc. Is it that easy to get lost in a big city?
DC: The interesting thing about the Federal Witness Protection Program is that it re-creates the individual. All that official paperwork becomes a bit of an albatross. Not only are you a new person, you are officially a new person. Part of the plan is to make it look like the new individual always existed. But like runaways, sometimes the hardest people to find are the ones that completely fall off the grid.
d: Melody's emotional health is a thread running through the entire story. Can you PLEASE tell me that she'll be alright? Growing up essentially hiding from everyone, then "losing" the one person she finally could trust, that's got to leave a scar... (yup, I worried about her)
DC: Melody is certainly on the edge through the entire novel, getting through a hybrid worst-case scenario on a daily basis. And her ultimate fate was once again thrust upon her, just like every other change in her identity. I suppose like most folks she is left with the one trait that gets any of us through the day: hope.
And, my new favorite way to end an interview:
What is your idea of earthly happiness? Remember when Hostess made Chocodiles? Those were a true earthly delight.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? A parent outliving a son or daughter.
Who is/are your favorite heroine(s) in fiction? Juliet. Jamie Sullivan from A Walk to Remember is up there, too.
Who is/are your favorite heroine(s) in real life? My wife.
What sound do you love? The sound of snowflakes—when you get a snow so thick that it causes an absence of ambient noise and you can actually hear the snowflakes collecting.
What sound do you hate? My alarm clock.
The quality you admire most in a man? Honesty.
The quality you admire most in a woman? The ability to keep a man honest.
If not a writer, you would be a restaurant critic.
What is your favorite swear word? Actually, my favorites are the overspun, ridiculous-sounding clean versions that possess virtually no impact whatsoever: sugar, fudge, heckfire.
Find David Cristofano at his website, which is pretty cool, and where there are more Q&As. Read my review of The Girl She Used to Be, here.
And now, time for the giveaway! Thanks to Miriam at Hachette Book Group, I have 5 copies of The Girl She Used to Be, for you. Yup, 5. You have to love Miriam, as much as I do!!
For one entry, comment about the FBI. Anything about the FBI. =) As usual, +1 for following, +2 for sharing this with the world. Yup, that's +2 for each share. Come back & tell me where/how...
Regular HBG rules apply - U.S. and Canada only, no P.O. boxes. Sorry!
Come back after April 17th to find out if you're a winner. You'll have 3 days to get me your pertinent info, or some other lucky entrant will get your prize. Good luck!
If you can't wait to find out if you've won, click on the cover to get this lovely book at Amazon.