This past summer, my first novel, THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES, was required reading for Beavercreek High School. The entire high school. That’s grades 9-12. I don’t think I need to explain how amazing this was, but just in case, it was very amazing. In addition, I booked a full-day author visit. Which was also amazing. I love working with students, teens especially, and to have a full day to hang with an entire high school full of students who have read my book? Well, it was a dream-come-true moment.
I spent the day in the BHS auditorium, a large and beautiful space that was the perfect setting for my four grade-level assemblies, each of which consisted of an audience in the 650+ range. My main presentation – “How Kristina Learned to Cha-Cha” – outlined my journey to publication as well as some of the nitty-gritty details of the publishing world. I also worked with three smaller groups of young writers, leading a workshop-style analysis of the essential building blocks for any story and plot.
The day was an exhausting whirlwind of people and questions and pictures, but I left feeling energized and motivated, ready to dive in to my next round of edits for THE BAKERSVILLE DOZEN, my fourth novel, a campy suspense/thriller that will release in July of 2017.
Unfortunately, I did not have time to sign 2,500+ books during my one-day BHS visit. But I wanted to offer students the chance to have copies personalized, so I scheduled a nearby event. I’ll be at the Beavercreek Barnes & Noble on Saturday, August 27th, from 2-4 pm. Students may bring in copies of the books they have already purchased. The event is free. No purchase is required, however, my latest title, A MILLION TIMES GOODNIGHT, will also be available.
I want to offer the students, staff, and administration of BHS a huge thank you for making this such a special event.
Little Secret: I can’t start a new book until I have several things in place. First, I need a main character with a name that’s the perfect fit, then I focus on an inciting incident that will spin the character’s life in a new direction, which brings me to an ensuing want/need/desire to help drive the plot forward. Through all of the action, I need a killer setting where all of this will take place.
My first novel, THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES, was inspired by an interview I caught on Oprah, the story of Shawn Hornbeck, who was kidnapped at the age of eleven and returned to his family when he was fifteen. My second novel, ONE MOMENT, was inspired by a heartbreak I suffered when I was in my early twenties, facing the loss of my soon-to-be-stepbrother after a tragic accident took his young life. My third novel, A MILLION TIMES GOODNIGHT, was inspired by several things, but the first, most important driving factor was the setting.
The Witches’ Tower is a pivotal setting throughout the entire book, creating atmosphere and tone, providing an out-of-the-way place for some major action to go down. The coolest thing about The Witches’ Tower? It actually exists. In spite of its many nicknames, The Witches’ Tower is formally known as Patterson Tower, and is located in Kettering, Ohio. The stone tower overlooks Dayton’s Community Golf Course and is the inspiration for many local legends and ghost stories.
One of the coolest moments I had while researching the location took place when I was visiting a novel writing class at Wright State University. An older gentleman in the class raised his hand and confirmed the tragic story of a teenaged girl who had taken shelter in the tower during a powerful storm back in the 1960’s. She leaned against the metal railing that spiraled up to the top of the tower, only to be electrocuted when a streak of lightning hit. I’d found mention of this death on several sites, but didn’t count the event as confirmed until this man shared the story of his childhood–he vividly remembered the story on the front page of the papers he delivered the week of her death. This knowledge only deepened my affection for the character of Penny, a girl I created in my mind who also lost her life at the tower. It’s an eerie place with quite a history, which made The Witches’ Tower the perfect setting to include in A MILLION TIMES GOODNIGHT.
The launch party for my latest title, A MILLION TIMES GOODNIGHT, was hosted by Books & Co at The Greene in Beavercreek, Ohio on August 4, 2016. The store itself is gorgeous, a place that I envisioned myself signing years before I’d ever completed my first novel. I’m so fortunate to work with Sharon Kelly Roth, the events coordinator at Books & Co, who is super kind and supportive and always makes sure things run smoothly. I’m also fortunate to have so many supporters. The crowd that gathered was full of familiar faces, some people I’ve known most of my life, others I’ve just recently met, and yet more who I met for the first time as I signed copies of the book.
As I sit here typing, going over the events of last night, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I am thankful for so many things – that this book is finally out, that I have such a strong network of friends and family to cheer me on, that the Dayton area is brimming with so much talent and that the authors in the area are so supportive of one another. I’m thankful for everything–the good, the bad, and the ugly–that brought me to this place in my life, because I really am living my lifelong dream.
This year’s Antioch Writers’ Workshop marks the 20-year anniversary of my attendance as a participant. 20 years! This fact make me feel old. But it also makes me feel accomplished. It was a true honor to join the workshop as a seminar leader this year, taking on an afternoon session of fiction instruction. It’s amazing how close these small groups become over the course of the week – everyone putting everything out there, sticking with that uncomfortable feeling of vulnerability that only a writer can understand.
My group was amazing, ranging from the ages of 18 to 70-something, each participant supportive and inspiring, even while offering a critique. And boy were they brave, sharing their pieces without the anonymity of a screen name or the ability to hide in the murky waters that the internet provides. No, these people met live, face-to-face, for really really real. I had more than one student approach me in a complete, shaky-handed, My-piece-is-being-workshopped-tomorrow! panic. But they all worked through the fear and came out on the other side feeling like they had made some lifelong friends in the process.
I’d forgotten that part – the magical feeling of connection and unity that a workshop provides, with everyone there for one collective reason, to geek out on writing. And now, two weeks later, I’m missing my new friends who feel quite a bit like family, wishing them the best of the best in all endeavors, but especially when it comes to writing.
It’s Official! Contracts have been signed. And I can finally announce the good news!
My second title, ONE MOMENT, will be reissued in January of 2017 with Sky Pony Press.
I’m to-die-for in love with the new cover design, which I’ll share as soon as possible, and beyond excited that this title will be available again soon!
THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES has been chosen as a school-wide summer reading requirement for Beavercreek High School. Such an honor! That means every single student from grades 9-12 will read my very first novel. I’ll then visit the students at the end of August, leading large group assemblies where I’ll share my journey to publication, plus smaller writing workshops with creative writing students. I am beyond excited.
All of this, however, has opened up the tiny little issue of getting over 2,000 books to the Dayton area in a record amount of time. Now there are rumors that the book is out of print. Some people are feeling frustrated and confused (which I totally understand, trust me), so I thought it might be worth clarifying some of these issues.
First of all, THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES is NOT out of print. This title did, however, have a change of publisher when Egmont USA closed in January of 2015 (a very difficult time for many authors). Lerner Publishing took over the sales and distribution. Sadly, my second title, ONE MOMENT, is out of print, which I think fueled some of these rumors. Thankfully, this title will be reissued in January of 2017. With a new cover! Which I am to-die-for excited about.
Back to the issue at hand. How to find a copy of THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES? Like, now.
I have had contact with several area bookstores and have been assured that copies of THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES will be available by week’s end. The local library also has a large amount of copies on order. While the book is not available on Amazon (something I’m looking into), it is available to order online through Lerner Publishing. The cost is $8.99.
Click on the book cover below to follow the link to Lerner’s page for THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES.
Please accept my apologies for any confusion. I am beyond excited that this title has been chosen as a school-wide read and cannot wait to visit the students of Beavercreek High in a few short months!
Because this book is happening, in spite of a very tricky road to publication.
Because this book found new life after the closing of Egmont USA.
Because Alison Weiss and the folks at Sky Pony Press believed in this story.
Because this book will finally be available in July of 2016.
One night. Two paths. Infinite danger.
On the night of the big spring break party, seventeen-year-old Hadley “borrows” her boyfriend Ben’s car without telling him. As payback, he posts a naked picture of her online for the entire senior class to see.
Now Hadley has a choice: go back to the party and force Ben to delete the picture or raise the stakes and take his beloved car on a road trip as far away from their hometown of Oak Grove, Ohio, as she can get.
Chapters alternate to reveal each possible future as Hadley, her ex-boyfriend, Josh, and her best friends embark on a night of reckless adventure where old feelings are rekindled, friendships are tested, and secrets are uncovered that are so much worse than a scandalous photo.
Like a teen Sliding Doors, A Million Times Goodnight is a fast-paced romantic contemporary thriller for fans of Just Like Fate and Pivot Point.