How Jigsaw Puzzles Can Jumpstart My Creativity

October 15, 2018

“Move.” I actually force myself to utter this word aloud when I get stuck while assembling a jigsaw puzzle. I’m kind of embarrassed to declare my love of jigsaw puzzles. The hobby seems like the antithesis of my right-brained approach to life. The pursuits that most reliably fill and nurture my soul are generally creative, like the novels I write. In fiction, there are no rules. Life is a series of endless possibilities, of infinite new paths, of countless unexplored destinations. A novelist’s protagonist (insert name here with whatever name you feel like assigning your protagonist) can choose option A, option B, option C or option “other” at any juncture at all. The choices are wide open. A jigsaw puzzle, of course, is the exact opposite: a pursuit with only a single acceptable solution for any given dilemma. That blank space in your picture can’t be filled by your imagination. It can be filled only by the one puzzle piece that exactly conforms to its dimensions...

Cover Reveal Scheduled March 19

March 8, 2018

The cover of Christine Hurley Deriso's upcoming novel, "Things I'd Rather Do Than Die," will be revealed Monday, March 19 at noon on "I'm so thrilled to show off this cover," says Deriso. "The art department had to do a lot of heavy lifting -- keeping the cover subtle yet nuanced, bold yet soft, smoldering yet cool -- while suggesting the contrasts between the polar-opposite main characters, Ethan and Jade." The novel, Deriso's 11th book, is a contemporary young-adult novel revolving around the two most mismatched seniors at Walt Whitman High School. When Jade and Ethan find themselves locked in an aerobics room overnight, their confinement forces them to push past the labels they've given each other. Amid hours of arguing, philosophizing, and silly game playing, Ethan and Jade learn there's a lot more to the other person than meets the eye. Can they sustain their newfound bond once they ease back into the real world? The book will be published Sept. 18...

Go Dawgs! Sic ’em! Woof, woof, woof

January 7, 2018

My former college roomie just shared a Washington Post article citing the University of Georgia’s “golden years” — the early ’80s, which featured, among other highlights, a national football championship, several athletes who defied physics on the gridiron and basketball court, a music scene to rival virtually any in the world (What’s the frequency, Kenneth?), the dopest cookie store on earth (RIP, Cookies & Company) and . . . me. Yep, I was there, too, so in anticipation of yet another national championship (GO DAWGS!), here are a few memories from the vaunted vantage point of my eighth-floor Brumby dorm:

  • My self-cleaning popcorn popper. Okay, it wasn’t really self-cleaning, but everyone (other than my poor roomie, Pam) was willing to accept my alternative fact that it was. Actual fact: It’s possible for a popcorn popper to be used every day for a year, never once see a dishrag and still not have its oil residue spontaneously combust. (It was like a...

Book-Signing Scheduled Dec. 12

December 11, 2017

Christine Hurley Deriso, an award-winning author of contemporary young-adult fiction, will sign copies of her latest novel, "All the Wrong Chords," Tuesday, Dec. 12 from 6-8 p.m. at the Book Tavern, 936 Broad Street, Augusta, Georgia. Included with each book sold will be a gift card for the music featured in the novel ("All the Wrong Chords" by the Beastings). Refreshments will be served, and Deriso will discuss the writing of the book during the event. The book involves eighteen-year-old Scarlett Stiles, who is desperate for a change of scenery after her older brother, Liam, dies of a drug overdose. But spending the summer with her grandfather wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. Luckily, Scarlett finds something to keep her busy: —a local rock band looking for a guitarist. Booklist cites the novel's "fresh and believable" subject matter, while Kirkus notes its "swift and light narrative flow." School Library Journal says, "Deriso skillfully handles the topic of drug ad...

Me, Me, Me

November 30, 2017

As the gift-giving season approaches, I find myself reminiscing fondly about my mom’s two iron-clad rules regarding thank-you notes:

  • They must be written within 24 hours of receiving the gift.
  • They couldn’t begin with the word “I.”
Trust me, I wasn’t a fan at the time. Within 24 hours?!? Couldn’t I at least have time to grow tired of the latest addition to my Liddle Kiddles collection before expressing my appreciation? (Her point exactly, I guess.) And the “I” rule, the one she absorbed in parochial school and applied to every type of note? Blecht! It struck me as impossibly archaic, stuffy, arbitrary, contrived and unnecessary. (I think “stupid” is the adjective that floated through my mind at the time.) I remember my contortions in trying to avoid it. To this day, I get lots of mileage out of “Words can’t express my appreciation…” and “What a thrill it was to receive…” If you’re wonderin...

Deriso Changes Tune with Upcoming Novel

November 7, 2017

  When Christine Hurley Deriso embarked on her 10th book last year, she had no trouble nailing the rhythm of the story. “I’m a lifelong music lover, and I’d recently started writing songs with my brother, a musician and producer in Nashville,” says Deriso. “The experience was so exhilarating that I knew I wanted to capture the energy for my book.” The book, a contemporary young-adult novel titled “All the Wrong Chords,” follows 18-year-old Scarlett Styles through a summer of grief, turmoil, discovery and, ultimately, love. “Scarlett is grieving the loss of her brother, who dies of an overdose after becoming addicted to the opioids prescribed to treat a basketball injury,” says Deriso. “I know so many families affected by opioid addiction, and I wanted to give voice to the wonderful people who through no fault of their own get caught up in this tragedy.” But the book, she stresses, is ultimately hopeful and buoyant. “Scarlett is spending the...

“All the Wrong Chords” Trailer Launches

September 24, 2017

Check out the "All the Wrong Chords" video here, and read my blog to learn about the making of the trailer.

“All the Wrong Chords” Album Launching Soon

July 10, 2017

The music featured in the novel, "All the Wrong Chords" (Flux, December 2017) will be available soon on iTunes ( In the meantime, click here to hear the first single from the album:

Things I’d Rather Do Than Die

June 27, 2017

"Things I'd Rather Do Than Die," a young-adult novel from Flux, will launch in 2018. Stay tuned for more details....

All The Wrong Chords

June 27, 2017

"All the Wrong Chords," a young-adult novel from Flux, will launch December 12, 2017. Information about signings and other events coming soon....

© 2019 Christine Hurley Deriso