- a YA/Middle Grade fantasy author who has a deep affection for mythology and fairy tales, masquerading as a school librarian
Readers, thanks for checking out another Author Spotlight Interview. Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Once Upon a Time, Christine thought she wanted to be an archeologist. She loved ancient cultures and their mythology. But, unfortunately, she realized how much she hated hot climates, sand, and bugs. She also loved fairy tales, but that wasn’t going to get her anywhere. Except… to a library. So, she became a librarian. And used her love of mythology and fairy tales to write stories. Christine grew up (or at least got older, growing up…debatable.) and got married and had a son. And some pets. And three degrees And learned to crochet, which is a hobby that seems to have a life of its own.
She still lives in New Jersey on the street she grew up on, and her son is proudly serving in the USAF. She may or may not have a secret library in the basement and of course, reads fairy tales whenever she can.
Christine, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most author spotlight interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
What a great question! Unicorns have always been a favorite, so of course that’s at the top of the list. I have a TON of crochet patterns for fantasy creatures, so I make a lot of “pets” that would be amazing to have — Phoenix, Dragons, Gryffin, Hippogriff. Some live at work, I sell quite a bit, and some live at home. I’d love them all to be real!
What a lovely menagerie!
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write mainly YA and Middle Grade Fantasy.
I started just about 20 – ish? years ago. I fell into reading some amazing YA and MG fantasy and was hooked, then realized some of the authors were just regular people — no special MFA or anything. So I gave it a go. My first book was published in 2005, Talisman of Zandria.
I wrote that first book in a notebook, with a pen. I would do a few pages at a time, then type it up on my computer. I think I only had a desktop then. I was reminiscing with someone about the “old” days of publishing — you had to print out the manuscript and mail it to each publisher and send queries through snail mail ONLY. Email queries and submissions were NOT a thing yet. It was expensive and if you wanted the manuscript back you had to send another pre-paid mailer. So much work!
Publishing has changed so much since I started.
What a great time to start, though!
What do you like to read?
Pretty much what I write — fantasy. I rarely read books written for adults, mostly just stick with YA, but I have a few grown-up books in the TBR pile. I’ve been trending toward Historical Fantasy, like Steampunk and Victorian-era magical realism recently. CJ Archer is a particular favorite lately.
I might read more adult books, but I definitely have a foot firmly in the fantasy realm.
Do you snack when you write/edit? What are your favorites?
Sometimes, but it’s hard to keep the keyboard clean! I have a few favorite snacks, usually salty and crunchy, like Pirate’s Booty and Cool Ranch Doritos. So good.
Oooh! I might need to go grocery shopping.
What do you drink when you write/edit?
Diet Coke, usually. Sometimes iced tea. Anything else and it may get weird.
Hydration is key, and a touch of caffeine at times.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you
Write every day.
Sure, if you have a deadline, you need to meet that, but forcing yourself to write when you’re not in the proper headspace usually just leads to frustration. That doesn’t mean don’t work — not everything when writing a book is writing. Research, take notes, jot down ideas. And LIVE your life, being chained to writing is a super fast way to make sure you end up hating it.
So true! Life happens, and while making progress with your writing means making it a priority, it’s not the only thing.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice they can pry out of your cold, dead hands
Use adverbs wisely.
I’ve been writing for so long, I don’t remember all the advice? But if I had to choose, I’d say use adverbs wisely. I may draft with a bunch of adverbs but almost always take them out later because there’s usually a better way to say whatever it is. Like instead of saying “he said miserably”, I could say “his voice conveyed the misery he felt deep in his bones”. Not always, sometimes you need something short and the adverb will do, but most of the time they aren’t as useful as they seem.
Indeed! Show, don’t tell serves us well and makes for a more vibrant world.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
The Kingsbridge Chronicles (A Sorcerer Acadamies Book)
Welcome to Kingsbridge Academy, a school for young wizards and wizardesses, just one of a network of Magick schools around the world. Here, the students face the same challenges as any young person:
Who will win the Pêlgwyddon match?
When will that cute boy ask me out?
Will a hideous monster jump out of my textbook and eat me?
How many times can one get detention cleaning out the Gryphon cage?
Penny Miller, a Second Year, has her hands full. Her classes are harder this year, and she can barely keep up with her homework. Then she has to keep bullies like Ursula DeWinter, who has it in for Penny’s best friend, at bay. She doesn’t have time to figure out why spells are suddenly going completely bonkers, or what’s up with the new student, or why Jack is being so weird whenever he sees her.
And why is she being blamed for doing something she couldn’t possibly have done? Unless she can be in two places at once. Can she? Suddenly she’s losing friends faster than a Phoenix loses feathers.
It’s going to be a long year.
Gaslight & Grimm: Steampunk Faerie Tales
Once Upon a Time, ageless tales were told from one generation to the next, filled with both wonders and warnings. Tales of handsome princes and wicked queens, of good-hearted folk and evil stepmothers. Tales of danger and caution and magic…classics that still echo in our hearts and memories even to this day, told from old, cherished books or from memory at Grandma’s knee.
Oh yes, tales have been told…but never quite like these. Journey with us through the pages of Gaslight and Grimm to discover timeless truths through lenses polished in the age of steam.
The Crown of Zeus (The Library of Athena #1 of 4)
Not the best way to win friends…
The sleepover is intended to cement Megan’s new friendship with Rachel, Claire, and Harriet. They would do the usual stuff—talking till the wee hours, painting each other’s nails, gossiping. The Parthenon, the huge manor she and her father live in, is even supposed to be haunted so…seance! But Megan stumbles on a loose hearthstone, revealing an old diary and a mysterious key.
Before the night is out, the girls are on a dangerous journey into the myths of ancient Greece, and Megan’s job is to make sure everyone gets back alive despite gorgons, sea monsters, and sphinxes. No pressure.
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