Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you—Christina Walker!
Christina Walker has been scribbling stories since she first learned about the alphabet (although the first stories she wrote didn’t put the letters in the right order). Her love affair with books led to a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, so her stories make a lot more sense now. She is also a librarian and a freelance editor for indie authors, helping them plan and write better stories. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and one crazy cat.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Absolutely. I’ve always loved reading and had a way with words. I knew in fourth grade I was going to be an English major in college.
Why did you choose to write your genre?
I read widely, but I always come back to urban fantasy, and my favorite series ever is urban fantasy. All the authors I look up to and try to emulate write in this genre, so it comes very naturally to me.
Currently, what are you working on?
My current project is called Djinn Rising, the first of a planned trilogy about a djinn slave whose human master is murdered, and she’s blamed for it. She has to go on the run and find the real killer to clear her name, avoid being executed, and try to earn her freedom. Djinn Rising will come out in March 2018 as part of the Heroines & Hellions Urban Fantasy Collection.
Let’s talk about your latest book for a moment. What motivated the plot?
About this time last year, I was noticing that a lot of urban fantasy involves well-known mythology, like Greek or Norse, not to mention the always-popular werewolves and vampires. And I had this thought that Persian mythology, especially djinn, was very underused and could be really interesting. After a little more snooping on the Amazon Urban Fantasy bestseller list, I realized slavery was a popular theme and New Adult is a hot audience to write for. The rest built from there. [Good for you! I love exploring underused mythology.]
What is the strangest subject or topic you’ve ever written?
In one chapter in my current WIP, my female main character goes to a strip club to visit one of the dancers. I’m not a party person at all, so that was weird for me.
What was the hardest story for you to write?
Last spring I wrote a short story for a dystopian anthology. I enjoy reading dystopian, but for whatever reason, I struggled to finish that story.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality?
I would say most of my characters have personality traits I wish I had, or that I’d like to think I’d have in a tough situation. As Joss Whedon says: “I write to give myself strength. I write to be all the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I am afraid of.”
Who has been your favorite character? Why?
Drake from my short story “Escape of the Shadow Nebula” in the Shiver Me Timbers pirate anthology. He’s hurting from his father’s recent death, very angry and sarcastic, but he’s also expected to fill his father’s shoes as the new captain of the space pirate vessel Shadow Nebula. So he’s also secretly nervous, trying to make his father and the crew proud. By the end, projected confidence becomes genuine, and newfound love replaces grief.
What process do you use to plan your novels?
I am a plotter through and through. I don’t know how other writers sit down at a computer and just start typing. I’m paralyzed if I don’t have a plan. So I come up with a general concept first, then I figure out my main plot points. I also try to get a feel for my characters, especially why my main character is perfect for this story, and vice versa. To fill in the gaps between plot points, I use the Scene-Sequel method, where one scene/chapter is a Scene, comprised of a goal, obstacles, and a disaster; followed by a scene/chapter that is a Sequel, which includes the reaction to the disaster, a dilemma, and a decision, which leads to the new goal in the next Scene. It seems like a lot of work, but it works for me! And readers consistently say my pacing is perfect. [Yes, plotting is a lot of work but worth it. I’m a recovering pantser myself.]
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?
I don’t think I have blocks. I either have a bad case of procrastination, or I’m paralyzed because I don’t know what to write next. So I research, brainstorm ideas, go back to my plotting spreadsheet. Usually this gets me excited to return to the project, giving me motivation and confidence. [I so agree. Usually when I get stuck there’s something not working right in the plot. I need to go back and look at it and see where I’ve veered off.]
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be?
I actually have plans to write in several genres, including YA fantasy, paranormal romance, and dystopian. I enjoy reading these genres, and they’re all kind of related, so why not write them too?
Which authors inspire you?
Jim Butcher, Shannon Mayer, Patricia Briggs, Jasmine Walt
What novel would you read multiple times?
Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Working on my third read-through of that series while waiting for the next book to come out.
What is your favorite quote?
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary?
I’m a huge fan of werewolves.
What is your favorite color?
Depends on the day, honestly. Right now it’s purple.
When you’re not writing…
Part-time for now. I’m also a part-time librarian, a freelance editor, and I’ve recently started selling Color Street nail polish strips. I’m hoping to become a full-time writer next year though!
You can find Christina online at…
Thank you for hanging out with me today. It was a pleasure getting to know you.
Next week’s author, K. Margaret, will be an up close and personal segment on Nadirah Foxx’s blog.