We’re happy to have rising star Christina Lee on the blog today. She writes sexy New Adult Contemporary Romance stories with college-aged protagonists for Penguin/InterMix. We really heart her post about the new adult genre, where she defines its theme as that of “new found INDEPENDENCE.” So if you write NA, swing by her site and check the post out!
The second installment of Christina’s Between Breaths series, BEFORE YOU BREAK, comes out in February, and here she is talking to us about the new book and her excitement to share it with her readers.
NG: BEFORE YOU BREAK tells the story of gorgeous psych student Ella and star catcher of the baseball team, Quinn. Quinn is the type of brooding, sexy guy that girls go gaga over! Tell us, what’s your recipe for writing an irresistible NA male hero?
CL: Great question! Many romance readers love their dominant and bossy alpha males and I tend to write nice and respectable good guys. Having said that, I’ve been told by my readers that my virgin hero from ALL OF YOU was one of the sexiest guys they’ve ever read. So the recipe I aspire to is off-the-charts sexual tension balanced by meaningful actions. Because let’s face it, good guys can be sexy, too. So I aim for plenty of angst and build-up, along with good pacing and an engaging plot. The kisses, sexy language, sensual touches or looks—I love writing all of that. And that’s the kind of confidence I like my male leads to exude.
NG: The chapters alternate between Ella’s and Quinn’s perspectives, and so we get to inhabit both of their worlds–and know their secrets… This is different from the first Between Breaths book, ALL OF YOU, which is told from the female protagonist’s perspective. Why the change in format?
CL: I have no real explanation except to say that I didn’t hear Bennett’s voice while writing ALL OF YOU. I only heard Avery’s, so it was her story to tell. Since then I’ve had many requests from readers to rewrite certain favorite scenes from Bennett’s POV and I’ve done that on different blogs. I’ve got his voice in my head now and those scenes have been a lot of fun to write.
When I sat down to write BEFORE YOU BREAK, I heard Quinn’s voice loud and clear. So I thought the dual POV would make for a great balance, given the emotional tone of the story. The same is true for book three, WHISPER TO ME—it tells the story of Rachel and Kai in dual POVs.
NG: Your fans flock to Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest—you name it! and share their thoughts and excitement about your books. Can you talk about your relationship with your readers and what you do to stay in touch with them?
CH: My readers are amazing! They’re so passionate about authors, always reach out to them, and I love that. They make collages and gifs and Pinterest pages with such intensity and enthusiasm. So I make sure to respond in some way to everyone who contacts me. I want them to know how much I appreciate them.
NG: Your books are published “digital first”: they come out in eBook form first, which allows for quick release dates. There are three months between the pubdates of BEFORE YOU BREAK and WHISPER TO ME! What’s your strategy for keeping up with this hectic publishing schedule?
CH: When I figure it out, I’ll let you know. LOL! I feel very lucky to have three books released in under a year with this format. I have to keep to a rigid schedule to get it all done. For ALL OF YOU, a combination of blog tours, guest posts, Facebook and Twitter chats seemed to work well. I’ll also be attending five conferences or book signing this year, such as the Romantic Times and Romance Writers of America conventions, and I can meet readers in person. So here’s to a productive and amazing 2014!
About Christina Lee:
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.
She pens NA Contemporary Romance ALL OF YOU, out now (Penguin/InterMix). BEFORE YOU BREAK in February and WHISPER TO ME in May, 2014. She’s also the creator of Tags-n-Stones (dot com) jewelry. Get in touch with her on Twitter, Facebook, or her website.
You might also like: The New Adult Genre Demystified.