Welcome to the Wickeds, Christine Keyes!

By Liz, who has been waiting for this day for a really long time!

You guys. I’m so excited. After almost 15 years of knowing what an amazing writer (and person!) Christine Keyes is, now you all get to meet her! Here’s a little background – Sherry, Edith and I met Christine at the Seascape Writers Retreat, hosted by Roberta Isleib, Hallie Ephron, and Susan Hubbard back in 2008. She literally crashed the party all the way from Australia and it was definitely fate. I spent the night on the floor of the room she and Sherry had, and we’ve never looked back. She’s an amazing chick and you’re gonna love her. She’s here with a post called Tell me a story. Take it away, Christine!

I hate nothing more than people who say they’re “gonna” do things and don’t. I even call these people “Gonnas”. One day in 2008, I heard myself say for the third time that I was gonna to write a novel. That made me a “Gonna” and that was not acceptable. So I sat down and wrote a book. It’s the way I roll. It didn’t take that long once I set my mind to it. And I knew enough about publishing to figure out I should get feedback on the novel before I submitted it.

The following year, in 2009, I thought I might as well get that feedback at a mystery writers’ course. I never do things by halves so I travelled all the way from Australia to SeaScape in Connecticut. Sure, we have courses in Australia, but where’s the fun in that? Looking back now, it probably was a little crazy. Even the taxi driver agreed. He was quite sure he was dropping me off at a cult, full of serial killers and I would never be seen again. He even went inside to do a little recon, before he allowed me to stay, making me promise to call him at the first sign of danger.

The rest, as they say, is history. I shared a room with Sherry Harris and Liz Mugavero. Edith Maxwell was in our group. I did not join a cult, I got (mostly positive) feedback on my novel and best of all made lifelong friends (with people who only write about serial killers).  I’m being serious now. It’s inspirational to see how dedicated they are to their craft and how many novels they’ve published in the 13 years since we met. I guess they have theoretically killed quite a few people though.

I did finish that first novel and I tried to get it published, but since then life has taken over and my writing has taken a backseat. To be honest, I’ve made myself feel pretty guilty for not wanting to do it. But a recent gap year (OK, midlife crisis!) helped me discover what I truly loved doing. I spent four months traveling across the USA and Europe with no plans and no schedule. I saw amazing places and met fascinating people. I laughed. A lot. And then I wrote about it. Truly, writing the festivaloftina.com was like waking up from a coma. It has changed the course of my life, because I’ve finally worked out what I want to be when I grow up. And guess what? I’ve actually been doing it all along. Meeting people and hearing their stories. And then telling them, on television, in books, online and in person. 

Everyone has a story to tell but not everyone can write. I know now that I can.

Readers, what about you? Anything you’ve been “gonna” do that you want to commit to? Tell us in the comments.

18 Thoughts

  1. Gosh, Christine, I love having you here! That Seascape was a life changer for so many of us – Barb, too. Remember that you and I were the only two who wanted to go for a swim in the Long Island Sound Saturday afternoon? I love that you took off on your own personal gap year and used it to explore. And wrote about it!

    Please tell us more about your television storytelling.

    1. It’s been a great year to celebrate and reflect. Storytelling is the same no matter where you do it. I just love to talk to people and hear their stories. Usually they forget the camera is there until we say ‘cut’!

  2. There’s tons of stuff that I’m always “gonna” do. But who has the time these days? I’ve got enough to do just to keep going through daily life with a roof over my head and food in my belly, there isn’t a whole lot of time to possibly carve out to try writing that mystery/thriller/crime book I’d love to do.

    Maybe if I hit the lottery or something and can retire.

    1. Life can be really hard. Getting up and putting one foot in front of the other is a huge achievement and one you can be proud of.
      I have been looking forward to this time to myself for ages. Probably the 13 years since I met Liz, Sherry and Edith. There was a lot of treading water in between.
      The fact that you are here on the blog, thinking and planning is a big deal. Your time will come. Hang in there!

  3. Welcome, Christine! You have joined a cult, the cult of writers – but we’re pretty friendly and we don’t bite. 🙂

    I’ve done my big “gonna” in that I wrote a book and got it published (multiples, in fact). One of these days I’m gonna have a “cabin in the woods,” but that will take a little more money before I can make it reality.

  4. Thanks for the welcome Liz! I like the sound of the cabin in the woods. I think I’m gonna do that too…

  5. Love that you took a personal gap year. That really started my wheels turning, but I don’t think hubs would be on board. It would be awesome to be a traveler with a cat in the backpack. Sigh…..

    I’ve done most of my big gonnas. Now I’m working on a bigger gonna – This year I plan to have multiple books written and out in the world. Deep breath!

  6. Love your story, Christine, and your picture with your kitty. I’ve never been able to take a year off, but I’ve frequently taken 3-4 weeks off and traveled. I have pretty much done all my gonnas. I’m not a Gonna, but a Doer. I’m still working on a couple that got delayed because of COVID. I’m not a writer, I just collect the stories in my memory and share them when appropriate.

  7. I love this so much, Christine and am so happy I got to see you during your travels. You came just when I really needed you. My gonnas are travel related. I hope everyone reads you Festival of Tina blog! So funny.

    1. I have a new gonna. I’m gonna travel somewhere with Sherry Harris. Hawaii anyone?

  8. Great story! And I love the part about the taxi driver! So glad you found such a great group of women in your writing tribe!

    1. He was a great taxi driver. I often wonder what he is doing now… and there is a great idea for a new story!

  9. And yes, I am writing. And getting into all the subjects and volunteering and research and friends that I can manage! Yes, I retired!

  10. Hi Christine! I was at Seascape, too, though not in your group and definitely not involved in late night shenanigans. I have a few gonnas on the back-burner now and am in the process of arranging my life so I can get at them.

    1. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you then Barb, but I’ve been hearing all about your adventures for years now. I look forward to involving you in future shenanigans.

  11. Wait a minute? We aren’t a cult? How disappointing!! 🙂

    Sounds like your trip then and your more recent trip were both fantastic. I’m definitely jealous of both.

  12. We have been “working” on decluttering the house for a while. It is hard to go through the house with my Mom’s things. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

  13. Thanks for the warm welcome to the blog! You have all inspired me to keep going. And I say to you in the words of the Masters Apprentices: “do what you want to do, be what you want to be yeah.”

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