I giggled a little when I read Christine’s Indy Author Talk, because she is so awesome! If you follow her personal page you will see this author who is full of life and will try anything! SO FOR HER TO BE CLUMSY, I find that funny. but anyway read on and you will get to enjoy her too!
Funny thing about Christine is that I met her at the Atria Indies Book Tour. She was with Laura Ward and they were taking pictures with the bus. I offered to take their picture and introductions were made! TA DA!!! Her books are awesome. Reviews are coming! Prepare yourself for a new author that will take the dystopian genre by storm! Grab her books TODAY!!!
I hope you enjoy today’s installment of Nerd Girl’s Indy Author Talk!!
<3 Gladys #XOXOtheNerdGirl
Being an Adrenaline Junkie!!
I’ve known for a few months now that I had an Indy Author Talk scheduled with Nerd Girl and I’ve agonized over what to write about. I wanted to do something that would be interesting to readers and I experimented with a couple of different ideas, but eventually I decided to tell a story because that’s what being an author is all about—telling stories. And, of course, it’s an embarrassing story because those are my best ones.
I’m an adrenaline junkie. I love anything that can get my heart racing. I’m that crazy friend that wants to try bungee jumping or skydiving. I’m the kind of girl that gets excited about the idea of mechanical bulls or white water rafting. If you invite me out for drinks, I’ll politely decline. But if you invite me out to a rock climbing gym or a zip line course, I won’t be able to put my sneakers on fast enough.
The only problem with my adrenaline addiction is that I don’t really have the appropriate skills to be a properly talented dare devil. I desperately wish I was one of those people who can stand on top of a fence and flip off just for fun. Heck, I’d be okay with being able to vault safely over the fence one-handed like a cowboy. Unfortunately, I’m the kind of gal who would attempt to jump over the fence, trip over my own feet, and end up hanging upside down by my underwear. I’m that clumsy.
But my clumsiness has never deterred my desire to experience exciting activities. When I was about eleven, my dad thought it would be a great idea to take me and my siblings to a BMX track near our house. I don’t know if BMX tracks were just a thing in the 80s, or if they still exist now, but it was my first time going to one. It was also my last.
The BMX track was a racecourse that consisted of a series of big dirt hills. At the top of the very first hill where the starting line was located, there was a metal gate system. The gate was designed to corral all the bikers in to make sure that everyone started at the same time. My dad led me and my siblings to the top of the first hill and got us situated on our bikes behind the gate. Being the oldest, I was pretty confident that I was going to win the race, even though I’d never been on a BMX track in my life. It didn’t even occur to me to worry that my bike riding skills were shady at best. I was confident, eager, and ready to win.
Despite my confidence and obvious superiority in age, however, I knew my nine-year-old brother wouldn’t let it be an easy win. I would have to go fast and hard right out of the gate. And that’s exactly what I did when my dad let the gate fall . . . I raced. I peddled as quickly as my pre-pubescent legs could go, the wind whipping through my hair as I sped down the first hill and up the second one. I was far ahead of my siblings and the exhilaration I felt was incredible. I could almost imagine the thrill of crossing the finish line first.
I crested the second hill at top speed and I didn’t just pop over the hill in a cool bicycle hop. Oh no. I was going so fast that I launched into the air like a rocket shooting into space. My bike and I seemed to hang in mid-air for several breathless seconds and it was in that brief moment, high above the ground, that I realized the error of my overly-aggressive ways. The ground was a long way down and I knew my unexpected flight wasn’t going to end well when I was reacquainted with the ground.
It was a disastrous wipeout. You know when skiers crash so badly that they lose all of their equipment, including their gloves and socks? That’s called a yard sale. What I had that day on the BMX track was far beyond a yard sale. I hit so hard that both of my British Knight high top sneakers were thrown from my feet, all of my jelly bracelets disintegrated on impact, my Jams shorts were shredded as I slid across the pebbly dirt, my Swatch stopped telling time properly when crushed into the ground, and my neon green banana clip flew off into the woods never to be seen again. In one vicious accident, I had the 80s knocked right off me. It was a crash of epic proportions. Every bit of skin had bloody scrapes and cuts, and my bike didn’t fare much better.
I screamed. I cried. I limped back to my parents while dragging my traitorous bike. In case you were wondering . . . no, I didn’t win the race. I didn’t even make it past the second hill. Once I crashed and my dreams of an indisputable win were shattered, I acted like the bruised and battered little girl I was. Sadly, my dad was pretty unsympathetic. In fact, he couldn’t stop laughing and recounting the legendary leap I’d just made on my banana-seated, purple Huffy. He called me Roscoe P. Coltrane for months afterward. Thanks for that nickname, Dukes of Hazzard.
One might think that after that disaster I would give up dangerous activities forever. Nope. It only made me more determined to do better. When I went to college, I joined an exhibitional gymnastics club called Gymkana. Being a member of Gymkana was a lot like being in a circus. There were trampolines to jump and twist on, hoops of fire to flip through, ladders to dangle from by my feet, and all manner of things to do handstands on. In the years that I was a member of Gymkana, I met others like me who were also hungry for danger and adrenaline. Peer pressure forced me to learn how to rollerblade down a flight of stairs, ski and snowboard down a black diamond ski slope, try rock climbing and repelling, and jump off a 10-meter diving board. Sure, there were a few minor injuries here and there, but it was all as awesome as you might imagine.
As I’ve dabbled in risky sports and activities, I’ve learned a very important detail about myself. There’s just something about risk, danger, and adrenaline that makes me feel alive—like I’m getting more out of life than I paid for, even if I end up crashing and burning along the way. I suppose that love of risk and excitement is one of the reasons why I enjoy featuring extreme sports in my writing. It’s not the focus of my books, but it adds something different to my stories and it’s my way of introducing readers to some of the things I find exciting . . . like roller derby!
So get out there, take a risk, dance with danger, and get a shot of adrenaline any way you can. It’s a much better high than anything else you can imagine, even if you crash and burn every once in a while.
The first thing Christine does when she’s getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She’s addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. Books, books, books. She also has a weakness for adventure, inappropriate humor, and coke (the caffeine-laden bubbly kind). Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.
Q. When and why did you begin writing?
I always enjoyed writing when I was younger, and I even went to writing camp during a couple of summers while in high school, but writing was always something I did just for fun. In college I studied fine art and even took some creative writing classes, but I never seriously considered I could become an author. After I graduated, I worked as a graphic designer and it wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home-mom that I realized I could try to pursue my love of writing. I started writing a blog in 2009 called Tine vs. The World where each post was a humorous take on the silly things that happened to me. Once I felt like I had my writing style down, I began writing my first book in 2010.
Q. What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book, Deviation, was inspired by all of the news I constantly heard about terrorists. I’m a natural worrier and I wondered if it was possible for a terrorist attack to truly shatter the United States by causing millions of deaths. And then I wondered in what form that terrorist attack might take and what lengths the government would go to in order to retaliate and also preserve the safety of the country. Once I came up with the problem, I created the solution—The Sophisticates.
Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
I think every book I read influences my life and writing in some way, some good and some bad. I know this may sound cliché, but the Harry Potter series is very influential for me because I love the way that it is able to transport me into the wizarding world and make me believe it exists, or rather, makes me want it to exist. It’s so magical and the characters are incredible that I’m a Potterhead for life. As for authors who have influenced me, Tahereh Mafi inspires me because her writing is phenomenal. The way she puts words and thoughts together is unique and beautiful. She can take a mundane story and turn it into something spectacular just by the uncommon way she writes about it. Colleen Hoover is also an amazing author who not only writes books I love, but who interacts with her readers in a way that is really special. I think it’s important to be engaged with readers and I look up to her for the way she presents herself and her writing. Plus, she’s hilarious and that’s a big win in my book.
Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?
My characters for The Sophisticates Series are genetically modified teens who have unusual skills. I’ve always loved super heroes and characters with unusual powers, but I didn’t want to do the same powers for my characters that had been done in movies and comic books. I did some research on animals with unique defense mechanisms and skills. Once I discovered some of the amazing things that some animals could do, the Deviant Dozen were born. All of the code names and powers of my characters are based on real creatures and the incredible things they can do. My favorite creature that one of my characters is based on is the Indonesian Mimic Octopus. It is seriously cool.
Q. What motivates you to write?
I’m very self-motivated. I enjoy writing, it’s what I love, so it doesn’t take much for me to sit down and get to work. I usually start writing as soon as my kids are in bed and keep at it until I can’t stay awake any longer. I’m a night owl and get my best writing done between 11 pm and 2 am. The other thing that motivates me is when someone reads one of my books, loves it, and then asks when the next book is coming out. Knowing that readers enjoy my stories is very motivational.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing?
Since I’m a stay-at-home-mom, the hardest part of writing is just finding the time to do it. There never seems to be enough time to write. It’s important to get a schedule and stick to it, to sit down and write even when I’m not feeling inspired. The hardest part of being an author is promoting myself. I love writing, but I hate marketing. It’s time consuming to reach out to bloggers and to research ways to get my book noticed. Like a lot of writers, I’m an extreme introvert and would prefer to just write all day long.
Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
When I wrote Deviation, I had to do a lot of research on animals and their defense mechanisms so I learned a lot of things I didn’t know. I learned that the Indonesian Mimic Octopus can impersonate other sea creatures or make itself look like rock to blend in and hide. An octopus also have three hearts and the Indonesian Mimic Octopus can regenerate—grow back an arm if it loses one. I also learned that a hummingbird’s wings flap between 50-200 times per second and it is the only bird who can fly backwards. Some other things I learned is that an Archerfish can shoot a jet of water and hit an insect out of the air up to 6 feet away on the first try, the Pistol Shrimp can snap its claw with so much power that it can kill or stun larger fish with the bubbles that it emits, and the Malaysian Ant will cause itself to explode to protect its colony.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
I am inspired by everything that goes on around me. I might see something that looks amazing, hear a funny conversation, read an interesting news story, hear an unusual name, or meet someone interesting who has strange habits. I’m constantly sending myself emails and taking notes about things that would make good story ideas. Most of my email inbox is taken up by emails I’ve sent to myself for story inspirations from things I experience throughout the day.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
My family is very supportive of my writing. My husband doesn’t read, but he encourages me and likes to hear about what I’m working on. He also loves helping me brainstorm on ways to market my books. My kids think that having a mom who writes is cool. Our favorite thing to do as a family is go to Barnes and Noble, or any book store, and make sure we don’t leave the store empty handed. My kids also fancy themselves writers so there are tons of hand-stapled, hand-drawn books all over my house from my 4-year old, 7-year old, and 9-year old.
Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?
My biggest piece of advice would be to read, read, read. Reading is just as important, if not more so, as writing. It’s important to read books so you know what you do and don’t like, and so that you’re familiar with the genre you’re writing in. My second piece of advice is to just sit down and write. Even if it’s crap, write. You can always go back and edit and make it better, but if you don’t start, you’ll never finish. And lastly, I’d say to find a good group of beta readers who will give you honest criticism. The criticism is more important than the praise if you want to get better.
Q. What book are you reading now?
I just finished Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren and The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I have 45 books on my to-read shelf so I have a lot to choose from, but I think I’m going to read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins next.
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