Friday, February 15, 2013

Feature Friday: Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson is the author of Claire de Lune, Nocturne, and The Gathering Dark. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her family and the world's best dog. You can find her online at www.christinejohnsonbooks.com

Interview:

A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Christine:
Read. And keep reading. And the write. And keep writing. And then read some more. Really, there’s no substitute for immersing yourself in and then practicing your craft.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Christine:

There’s no way I can answer this question. Really. I can tell you that my favorite book RIGHT THIS SECOND is probably EVERY DAY by David Levithan, because it’s a phenomenal concept and the writing is just amazing. Tomorrow, though, I’ll undoubtedly have a totally different answer to this question.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for The Gathering Dark?

Christine:
NPR. Seriously. I’d had an idea for a story about a girl who was involved in an alternate universe, but I couldn’t quite get the details pinned down. Then, one day while I was driving home, I heard a story on NPR about the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. The story gave a brief overview of dark matter, this stuff that is all around us, and yet is completely invisible, and I knew, right then, that I finally had the rest of my idea.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing The Gathering Dark?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Christine:
Finding the right beginning was a serious challenge. I rewrote it at least a dozen times, in a number of different settings. It was just a tough story to find my way into, but when I finally hit the right opening, I knew it.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in The Gathering Dark is your favorite and why?

Christine:
I refuse to say Keira or Walker, because truly, they’re cop-out answers. Of course they’re my favorites. I did develop a particular affinity for Smith. His character changed a lot over the course of my revisions, and I have a soft spot for him now - his life’s been a lot harder than I originally envisioned.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Christine:
I don’t have a degree in English or creative writing. I started this journey like a lot of other people - with a passion for books and the desire to tell a really good story. I wrote a slew of novels that went unpublished (because they were truly unpublishable) before I finally signed with my agent, Caryn Wiseman, and wrote CLAIRE DE LUNE. NOCTURNE and THE GATHERING DARK came along afterwards, and now . . . here I am.

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Christine:
I’m working on something new that I’m very excited about. And that’s all I can say. *gives you serious look of seriousness* *seriously*

A.L.:
You'll be editing an anthology of dark faerie-tale retellings written by some very distinguished authors over this coming year.  Can you tell us a little bit about how the project came together and your feelings about it?

Christine:
Yes! GRIM! I am very excited about this anthology. I’ve always loved fairy tales, but awhile back, I was rereading some of the original stories and I realized just how dark they are. People have spent a lot of time lately, accusing YA of being too dark, and yet The Brothers Grimm are dark as could be. I thought it would be so fun to put together a collection of those same tales, retold for a contemporary audience, but without any of the fluff that we often associate with the sort of sanitized fairy tales we’re used to reading.

A.L.:
You mention in your bio that you took way too many credits in college because you kept taking interesting sounding classes.  So, what were some of the interesting classes?  Which one did you love most?  Do you find that they influence your work as a writer?

Christine:
I loved so many classes - the existentialism course I took, the stage combat class, the one about gothic novels. I have a broad range of interests, and I find that that, more than anything, is what helps my work. I’m as likely to pick up a non-fiction book about genetic mutation as I am a regency romance, or a YA novel.

A.L.:
What was the worst job you had and which was the best?  (other than being a writer, of course)

Christine:
The worst job I ever had was a very brief stint I did in telemarketing, during a summer vacation in college. I was terrible at it, and I loathed every second. I will say, it did forever alter how I speak to unwanted callers. There’s never an excuse to be rude - they’re only calling you because they have to! My favorite non-writing job was probably teaching yoga. I loved it!

The Giveaway:
Christine is giving away a signed copy of THE GATHERING DARK and some bookmarks!

The Gathering Dark:  A mysterious teen boy knows the secrets of Keira’s dangerous hallucinations in this gripping romantic fantasy from the author of Claire de Lune.

Keira’s hallucinating. First it’s a door hovering above the road; then it’s a tree in her living room. But with her parents fighting and her best friend not speaking to her, Keira can’t tell anyone about her breakdown.

Until she meets Walker. They have an electric connection, and somehow he can see the same shadowy images plaguing Keira.

But trusting Walker may be more dangerous than Keira could have ever imagined. The more she confides in him, the more intense—and frightening—her visions become. Because Walker is not what he appears to be. And neither are her visions.



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How to Enter:
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