It is always a good time to start to make your wishes come true. It is up to you. Simonetta Lein
Yes, women can! When it is difficult they try harder, when it is hostile they fight more, when it is uncertain they transform circumstances. I stand for women and I want to remind them of their true nature. I put all my trust in future generations of girls becoming strong independent women. Girls, this interview is for you so that you can get inspired to achieve your dreams just like this incredible woman: Christine Brae.
When you were a child, did you wish for the career and for the life that you have manifested today?
Not exactly. I knew I wanted to be successful in whatever it is I decided to do. There were so many bumps along the way and I never really found my identity until later on in life. I married at 24 to a man I had dated for only six months after I dated someone else for eight years! And then I had babies right away. Three children and 29 years later, we have this life that is filled with simple joys! He saved me from so many things and allowed me to really grow and pursue my dreams. I’ve always been very independent. He loves that about me and bails me out whenever I fly too high or run too fast.
Moving to this country from the Philippines with two young children over twenty years ago brought many challenges with it. Despite having a college degree from a foreign country, I was not able to get a job. So, I worked for a law firm as a copy girl. I learned about humility and the value of hard work. I didn’t pass the CPA exam on the first try, either. But I persisted and stuck to my plans - changed jobs every three years until I found the perfect company to call home. With the right mentors and a relentless work ethic, I worked myself up the ladder to my current position.
**Christine was born and raised in the Philippines, moved to Vancouver as a teenager, went back to La Salle University in Manila and worked as a staff member for the Committee on Economic Affairs. She met and married her best friend and moved with him to Chicago where, as a certified accountant, she started working as a Senior Executive in one of the most respected advertising companies in the country. After Christine’s mother passed away she started to write “something” dedicated to her. She had no idea that manuscript was becoming her first book, The Light in the Wound (July 2013), and that she would be publishing back to back books every year thereafter : His Wounded Light (December 2013), Insipid (June 2014) and In This Life (January 2016). All of her titles debuted in the top 1,000 at Amazon and continued to rank in the Top 100, in their respective genres, months following their release. She has another book, Eight Goodbyes which is currently in pitch and due for release in 2018. Christine continues to do all of this as she keeps her position of a business woman, mother and wife. She prooves that with hard work and dedication women can really do anything.
When did you know you wanted to write books? How did that come about?
I published my first book right before I turned fifty. A few years ago, I experienced the loss of my mother and I wrote my first book, The Light In The Wound, as a tribute to her. I never imagined that it would be followed by four more! The book was written as therapy for me, to write about my childhood and my relationships. I thought I would self-publish one book and then return to my normal life with my family and my career. Women who identified with my main characters began to contact me on Facebook. Someone set up a fan page. Another one set up a discussion group. And the rest, they say, is history!
My stories relate closely to the life I have, the emotions and passions I’m feeling at the moment give birth to these stories. And all of them take us on the different paths that women take in life – with love as a central theme and the stupidity that comes with loving the right or wrong person.
Since that first book, I have used my writing to inspire women from all walks of life to seek out their dreams and live them. I’ve tried to show them that there is beauty in imperfection. I wrote about first love and marriage (The Light in the Wound, His Wounded Light) When I went through a mid-life crisis, I wrote about it (Insipid). I’ve been very open about my struggles and I’ve used my words to encourage women to be bold and to take chances.
**When I first spoke with Christine I identified with her as an immigrant. I myself came to this beautiful country with lots of challenges but was determined to bring something positive and unique. Inspiring women became my personal battle and I think I wouldn’t never have understood true beauty without experiencing so many hardships. I am in love with Christine’s story, an author who is dedicated to empowering women and holds a true and unique relationsh with her readers. Being a writer is such a blessing for those who write and read, and it is beautiful when you can inspire others and receive feedback.
Your Twitter and Instagram profiles say you are a Secret Agent. Can you explain?
Well, I am currently living two very different lives in parallel. I am in the Finance field and hold an executive position at a global Advertising agency. As a romance writer, these two lives couldn’t be any more different. I don’t divulge this at work because I am very particular about keeping these two lines separate and distinct. Hence, the Secret Agent reference. No one in the book world knows what I do in real life, no one at work knows that I write.
**I have a feeling that the time for them to know has finally come.
How has it been? Living a full life, with two careers running at full speed and raising a family?
It’s been such a fulfilling experience! I get the best of both worlds. As a career woman, I’ve had the opportunity to rise up the corporate ladder, proving once and for all that hard work always breeds success. As a mother, I’ve learned the hard way to accept that everything I do won’t be perfect – and that as a family, we adapt to the “work hard, play hard” mentality. We take great vacations and spend quality time together. I’ve stopped beating myself up for not being around as often as I want to. As a diverse woman who grew up in a different country, with an entirely different culture, I use my position at work as well as my writing to push agendas that are near and dear to my heart – veterans causes and diversity in thought, word and action. What happened to me last year just shows how much inspiration one can be to others.
You said above that 2016 was really a pivotal year for you. Tell us about it.
In 2016, I was promoted to the top of my career. At the same time, I finally broke through the past three most tumultuous years of my life. I was trying hard to find myself, what I wanted out of life. One day last year, I woke up from the fog and realized that I had everything I needed right in front of me. Then, to add to the skyrocket of my career, my fourth book, In This Life, was optioned for film! The story of that connection is really one for the books!
See Variety Article here: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/emmanuelle-chriqui-adrian-bellani-romance-in-this-life-1201918277/
Tell us how that came about?
Can you believe that a respected Hollywood actor picked up In This Life by mistake while he was at the gym? He was searching for another book, found my book and started reading it. By the first few chapters, he was hooked. That night, I was sitting outside on my deck feeling hopeless about the way this book had just gotten buried by other releases – when he messaged me on Instagram! I thought it was a joke at first. I said, “no way. You’re Gerardo Celasco, Sloane (Emmanuelle Chriqui, Entourage)’s boyfriend. This is a joke.” Well, it wasn’t a joke. He messaged me as he read the book and optioned it rather quickly! We just got along and I trusted him completely with my work. The rest is history. We have weeks of threads on Instagram – life stories, jokes, daily mundane stuff. Amazing how social media connects people and forms friendships.
I will never forget what happened after that. The most important outcome of this whole process is that I met such a wonderful human being who I can now call my friend.
**I have been talking about wishes and dreams for years now and I would use Christine’s story as an example for life. If you have a pure wish and you send it out to the universe it will find its way, and most of the time it happens when you are able to feel gratitude and joy for everything. For sure, what you really wish for with a pure heart, will happen. The unexpected makes life magical, like the famous actor who “by mistake” picked up her book. Dreams always find their way.
Name a wish that you had for your life or for humanity that finally came true.
I never realized how much I yearned for peace in my heart and in my life. I had a crazy childhood. I married so young. In all the chaos of raising children, I forgot about myself. I finally have it, I think. I finally have acceptance. And I’m loving the right people now. I think that’s important.
**That is the base of what you need to make your wishes come true
If you were granted one wish for humanity or for our planet, what would it be?
I wish for prosperity and tolerance. I moved to North America when I was twelve years old, at a time when there wasn’t much tolerance for differences. It was difficult, growing up as a teenager and craving for acceptance among my peers. I would never wish it on anyone, and was very protective of my children when they were younger. The world is so much smaller now – in a matter of hours, you can find yourself on the opposite end of the globe. We need to know that difference is power. Diversity in thought, word and action, allows us to develop and flourish. As a country, as a continent, as a world.
If you could go back in time and ask one question from anyone from history, who would you want to meet and what question would you ask?
I would love to meet Joan of Arc.
I would ask her – “how did you accept your fate without question? How did you believe so much in your faith enough to die for it?” I admire human beings who truly stand up for their beliefs. We don’t have much of that these days. Everyone is afraid of perception.
Please tell me what influences your unique sense of style?
Comfort and confidence influence what I wear each and every day. I am in front of people all day long, I need to command a presence. When I’m comfortable and I know I look good, I project it. I’m tiny in height, so I need to choose the most comfortable heels I can find so I can walk in them all day. As I grow older, I go for quality and not quantity. I don’t amass a closetful of junk anymore. I also love to mix and match – one statement piece can carry a whole outfit. And I have this huge fear of walking into a meeting and wearing the same piece as someone else. That’s why I’ve shied away from some great but accessible retailers. I buy mostly from personal shoppers who send me things from different places.
**I love these fashion tips. Confidence is the first rule to go out and conqueer the world, in style.
Who is your favorite fashion designer or brand right now and why?
Tricky question! I go in phases. If you ask me right this minute who I’m crazy about – I am addicted to Zadig and Voltaire and Theory. It’s the right amount of individualistic and funky for me – and even if I’m in my fifties, it doesn’t make me feel like I’m trying too hard. Rag and Bone is my go to for jeans. Lanvin and Chloe are current purse targets for the fall.
**Christine is definitely a fashion lover. I suspect we are going to talk more about it.
What is your fashion mantra?
Haha. My kids always make fun of me because I say this all the time.
You have to suffer to be beautiful.
**My grandmother always used to say the same thing to me :)
What’s on the horizon for you? Anything in the near future?
My latest project is entitled Eight Goodbyes, schedule for a Valentine’s Day 2018 release.
Here is the link to the synopsis:
I am also very exited to be collaborating on a project with Anvil Publishing in the Philippines to write a book just for them!
What is your final message for our readers?
I always tell people this because I believe in it so much. As women, we need to be more cognizant of each other and treat each other with much more kindness. What I learned from writing and publishing my books is that there are so many of us out there who are going through the same exact thing each and every day. What I want women to know is that they are not alone. They are never alone. We all share the same trials and joys, frustrations and heartaches. Reach out. And let’s always make a conscious effort to lift each other up in our very own ways. I do it through mentorship and leadership and through the strength of my words. Find your strengths and use it to make a difference in the world.
It’s never too late to live your dreams. If I was able to do it, anyone can.
**Thank you Christine Brae for being a role model and an amazing author who empowers women. I feel uplifted by knowing that there are genuine authors who care about their readers. Reading is food for your brain. I did not interview Christine simply to suggest that you read her books. I did it to let peolple know that someone out there can really inspire you through her stories as she already has done with thousands of other readers. If not now, when?
You can find more LINKS to better discover Christine Brae’s world here:
Christine’s Radio Interview for In This Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GCEqUFyFUs
Christine’s Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/christinebraeauthor
Christine’s Webpage: https://christinebrae.com/
Christine Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristineBrae
Christine’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinebrae
Christine’s Goodreads: http://bit.ly/cbraegoodreads
Christine’s Amazon page: http://amzn.to/29Tlg82
Christine on CNN: http://cnnphilippines.com/lifestyle/2015/09/14/Young-adult-books-author-Colleen-Hoover-Tarryn-Fisher-Christine-Brae-MIBF.html
As always make your wishes come true.
From Philadelphia, The Celebrity Wishmaker Simonetta Lein