Laurielu: When did you start writing and how did you get started?
Christine: I started writing romance in December of 2009. I wrote my first novella, Pray, in during that month, and subbed it to Harlequin’s Nocturne Bites line. Then, I just kept on writing while I waited. I’m the type of person that never does anything halfheartedly, so I wrote a LOT. I also got involved in a bunch of different forums about writing, and really tried to just immerse myself in learning, taking workshops, reading, connecting with other writers etc. In Feb. of 2010 I met some aspiring authors on the E-Harlequin forum Write Stuff, looking to form a crit group. Best. Move. Ever. I learned so much and we all really clicked. I quickly realized, with my CP’s help, that Pray (and all of my other works in progress) had a lot of new author mistakes. By July of 2010 I had completed six manuscripts and revamped Pray entirely. I got my first contract offer on July 4th, from Cobblestone Press for Pray. From then on it’s been kind of a whirlwind. I now have 12 books with four different publishers.
Laurielu: Is there a place you go for inspiration to write? If so, where and why?
Christine: Although I love to travel and it helps me get ideas about setting etc., I’m actually not the type of writer who waits for inspiration. Mainly because inspiration is both fleeting and fickle. I need to write a certain amount of words a day in order to feel like I’m doing my job. And as much as I love it, I do look at it as a job. If I didn’t, I really wouldn’t stand a chance of supporting myself entirely on my writing, which is the goal for me. I get my word count, whether I’m feeling inspired or not, and 90% of the time, even if I start out feeling lackluster, by the end things are flowing and I don’t want to stop. So I guess you could say that writing inspires me to write more, lol! That said, I can’t write when the TV is on, or music is playing or people are talking. I lose focus too easily, so I love to write in my bedroom. With four boys, a husband and two dogs, it’s the only place in the house that’s quiet!
Laurielu: Who was your favorite character to write and why did you like that character?
Christine: Stormy (the main character in The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale) is my favorite character to write. So much so that, even though I hadn’t planned on it originally, it will now be a series! Carina Press has just acquired the second book. I love her because she’s adventurous, really dry and funny, but she’s also flawed and feels very genuine to me. I’ve had people say that they wish she was real because they would love to be friends and hang out with her. That is the best compliment ever!
Laurielu: Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Which one and what is it about them that is most like you?
Christine: I think I write aspects of myself into every character. It’s almost inevitable that what you see through your own lens ends up on the page somewhere, in some small way. Stormy can’t choose her favorite color and tries to shield herself with humor. She values honesty and loyalty more than any other quality and is very protective of her loved ones. Mila from Tempting Trent tries to act really tough and cool but in truth is really a bleeding heart deep down. Holly from Naughty Godmother tries to act like she doesn’t care, but in reality, she desperately wants people to like her and approve of her. Those are all traits (and sometimes flaws or quirks) of mine. I write other people’s traits into my characters too. If I find something interesting or funny about someone I know, it will definitely find its way into my books. I also write traits that I covet. Fearlessness, confidence, steely self-discipline etc. Then I get to live vicariously through my characters, since I have none of those traits in real life!
Laurielu: Has writing changed the way you read?
Christine: Ugh, yes. I hate it, too. When you spend most of your day actively looking for mistakes, better word choices, awkward sentences, information dumps, too many adverbs, dialogue tags, plot holes etc. in your own work, it’s really difficult to turn that off when reading someone else’s. Before, I was a voracious reader and never left a book unfinished. Now, I leave them unfinished a lot. I still find books I love so much that my internal editor just shuts down, but it’s not nearly often enough for my liking. Definitely one of the biggest downsides of being an author.
Laurielu: Are you able to read while you are writing your books? If so, what books inspire you when you are working on a novel or novella?
Christine: Yep, I read all the time. It’s my break from reality. I am often inspired when I read something really awesome or love an aspect of a book and it drives me to work on that in my own writing. For example, Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels has the most sensual, tense scenes long before the characters consummate their relationship. It’s a regency romance and, in it, there is a scene where hero takes off the heroine’s glove in a public place. It’s done so well that, with just the removal of this glove, your heart is pounding. It makes me very conscious of tension in my own work, and I strive to be better. Cari Quinn writes the most visceral love scenes. Super super steamy, all the senses involved, and I envy that. When I read her, it makes me pay closer attention when writing my love scenes. Inez Kelley’s wit combined with emotion, Dee Tenorio’s dark, angst-y characters, Julia Knight’s world-building, Lisa Hendrix’s amazing historical sensibilities, all those things that inspire me.
Laurielu: What are some of your favorite books and authors?
Chrisitine: Lord of Scoundrels mentioned above, If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon, Sweet at Sin by Inez Kelley, Ten Ruby Trick by Julia Knight, Deceiving the Protector by Dee Tenorio. I also love Nora Roberts, JR Ward, J.K. Rowling, Shannon Stacey and many more.
Laurielu: What are you reading right now?
Christine: Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase.
Please don't forget to leave a comment to enter in the giveaway of one of Christine Bell's books. Thank you for taking the time to read the interview and to leave a comment. The winner can choose one of the books pictured above or anything on Christine's website www.christine-bell.com. Just click the Books tab one her site for a complete list of both Christine Bell books or her steamier Chloe Cole selections
~~~ Nissie from Riverina Romantics won this giveaway!!! Congrats, Nissie! ~~~
Happy Reading from Bona Fide Reflections!!