I was lucky enough to meet today’s featured writer, Christina Lee, at the Romantic Time (RT) Convention in May of this year. What struck me most about Christina was her kindness (especially when I peppered her with all sorts of writing questions) but also her honesty in sharing the ups and downs of publishing. I was already a huge fan of her books when I met her, but I think my adoration for her as grown even more with this interview!
Many thanks to Christina for sharing her writing journey today…
Amy: When did you begin seriously writing with the intent of wanting to be published?
Christina: I wrote my first novel in 2008 while I was a local newspaper columnist. It was adult paranormal and pretty horrible, but great practice. Then I tried my hand at YA and began querying after I revised the heck out of my next novel.
Amy: Was ALL of YOU your first New Adult manuscript?
Christina: Yes. I had written three YA novels before that and was on my fourth. I had always been an avid reader of romance and an idea came to me about writing a virgin college guy named Bennett.
Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?
Christina: Let’s be honest, querying is brutal. But it teaches you so much about rejection, which you experience on every single level in this business and in life. I was on sub to pub houses with two previous agents, one had who left the business. So you can still struggle even after you find an agent. And there’s no perfect rhyme or reason to it.
Amy: Publishing can be a very difficult business. What do you think has inspired you to keep writing through good times and bad?
Christina: Simple answer: My love of writing fiction. And that dream I had of being traditionally published someday. I was willing to tweak that dream quite honestly and would have, had I not found success with ALL OF YOU.
Amy: What was your call like with your agent, Sara Megibow? How did you know she was the right fit for you?
Christina: It went really fast with Sara, just days from her reading my manuscript to the call. I knew she was the right fit for me because it immediately felt different–in my gut. It’s true that you do need to listen to your gut. If there are doubts, verbalize them immediately.
Amy: If you were giving a keynote speech at a writers conference, what would be the most important piece of advice you would share?
Christina: Do not compare yourself against other writers—it’s a hard lesson to learn, one I still struggle with. It’s better to compete with yourself—grow stronger and wiser and perfect your craft.
A little info on Christina’s latest, WHISPER TO ME:
A hot and consuming New Adult romance about a wayward musician and the one girl who keeps him grounded…
At college, Rachel has a reputation for being a sarcastic flirt with a thing for star athletes. No one at school knows that she’d had her heart ripped to shreds by her high school sweetheart, who’d driven them both off the side of the road on a borrowed motorcycle, and then abandoned her. No one knows the real Rachel Mattson—except one person…
Ever since he helped nurse his sister’s feisty best friend back to health, pierced bass player Kai Nakos has been head over heels in love. But the supposed bad boy can’t risk letting Rachel know the truth—especially now that the two of them are back in their hometown for the summer, together for the first time since the months following that fateful night. Never mind that Rachel’s ex is back, groveling for her forgiveness.
Shaken by her ex’s return, Rachel finds herself turning to the one guy she knows she can trust. Kai is willing to hide his feelings for her, just to have Rachel touch him again. After all, this is only a temporary fling. Until it becomes something more. But maybe it had been more all along.
Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job. Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK and WHISPER TO ME available now, PROMISE ME THIS on October 7th, 2014.
She is represented by Sara Megibow of The Nelson Literary Agency. Also the creator of Tags-n-Stones (dot com) jewelry. For more on Christina, check out her website, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.