Friday, March 14, 2014

Christina Garner, Gateway

Author: Christina Garner
Title: Gateway
Age: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Formats Available: ebook (.mobi [Kindle], .epub [Nook])

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

These days, I split my time between writing full time, and working full time in the entertainment industry. However, I did write the first draft of Gateway while working on LOST, and am currently finishing Tether, Book 3 in The Gateway Trilogy, while working on the movie, Entourage.

When I’m on a show, I have to be very disciplined with how I spend my time and energy, because I’m often working 12 hour days, sometimes 6 days a week. I know that during prep and wrap of a TV/movie shoot, I will probably only have to work 10 hour days, so if I refrain from doing much socializing during the week, and only go out on Saturday nights, I can get some writing done on the weekends, and maybe some random plotting during slow periods at work. When we’re shooting, all bets are off; I have to just be patient and concentrate on the job at hand.

When I’m between jobs, writing takes even more discipline, because I’m the one who has to create the structure. I’m usually up by 8, and once I’ve taken the dog out and made a cup of coffee, I’m at the computer. My word goals are between 1500-2500 a day, and on days when I’m doing more brainstorming and problem solving, I tend to write in timed increments.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

Yes! I’ve noticed two different types. One, where no matter how much I write, I can’t seem to get anywhere, and the other, when I am so resistant to the project that it’s an effort just to get myself to sit down at the computer.

For the first, I find I just need to be patient, and write my way out of it. For the second, I look at what I’m resistant to. Recently, I was struggling with this type of block while writing Tether. It’s the final book in the trilogy and I realized I was afraid, because this book was the end--my last chance to make this set of novels what I wanted. Would it it be good enough? Successful? I needed to release some pressure and give myself a bit of a break, so I watched several episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for inspiration on what makes great YA, and read some books on the craft of writing. It did the trick. In fact, tucked in the pages of one of those books were three sheets of notebook paper that contained the answer to a plot problem I was having. The kicker? I’d written the pages almost three years ago during a brainstorming session!

What are your thoughts about promotion?

As much as I want my books to be successful, what I want even more is for my writing to have a positive impact, especially on young people, or anyone who doesn’t feel like they fit in. How that translates to promotion is that I’m trying to promote less, and just authentically show up--in my life and in social media. The more I do that, the more people find my work. And not just any people, but those who really embrace the story and its characters.

What are your current projects?

I’m finishing Tether, which will be out in April. I’m also working on a TV pitch for The Gateway Trilogy. After that, I’ll be adapting one of my screenplays, Coventry House, into  my next series of books.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

Lots of places, and I love hearing from people!

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.

Gateway tells the story of Ember, a troubled 16 year old, as she learns to face her demons— both the fantasy kind, and the kind we all deal with every day. Along the way she falls in love with Taren, who is duty-bound to protect her, no matter the cost.

What genre do you write in and why?

The Gateway Trilogy is Young Adult Urban Fantasy. I write about and young adults, because no  matter our current age, we all relate to the intense feelings and painful longing that goes along with that time of life. I also write YA, because at that age, I felt very isolated, and when a book or movie spoke to me, it made me feel less alone. Paranormal/Urban Fantasy is great because a) it’s fun! and b) I can explore everyday problems in a larger than life way.

What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?

Of course I hope they’ll be entertained and on the edge of their seats. And for those who are only looking for that, I hope it delivers. But I’d also like readers to see a piece of themselves in these characters, to feel understood, and know they aren’t alone. To see how Ember deals with her demons--both literal and figurative--and maybe take away something useful.

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children’s literature?

Treat your audience with respect--young people are so much smarter than they are given credit for. And speak to their hearts--the younger they are, the more open their hearts, and the more they respond to that kind of writing.

Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind?

I’ve always been fascinated by Greek mythology, and often base characters on the archetypes inspired by them. Gateway was no exception. In fact, Penn High School in Indiana used Gateway to teach a modern day application of mythology to its students. (I offer free copies of Gateway to any teacher who would like to use it in a similar fashion. I also provide video lessons and give lectures, either in person or via Skype.)

I also researched daemons, tweaking their mythology a bit to serve the story.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Think about writing, lol. Also, I enjoy reading about the craft of writing, watching anything done by Joss Whedon, (I’ve watched each episode of Buffy a dozen times) and hanging out with my dog, Griffin.

Describe your writing space.

I have a few. I have an armchair I tuck into with my laptop that has all of my reference materials on a bookshelf nearby. I also love sitting in my patio garden, especially in the morning, with a cup of coffee and a notebook for brainstorming. And then there’s my dining room table, above which, tacked to the wall, is a giant plot planner with each scene of my current novel written on sticky notes. On a long writing day, I rotate through all three!

About Gateway:

Everybody has their demons. Some are just a little more real than others...

Ember has always known she doesn't belong in this world, but when she tries to correct the mistake, she wakes to find herself in a mental institution. 

There she draws the attention of Taren, a mysterious boy who isn't what he seems.  

When chaos erupts, they are forced to flee the institution together, and the secret Taren has been keeping brings Ember closer to understanding her own.

And leads her to... the Gateway.

Pages: 237
Age: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Formats Available: ebook (.mobi [Kindle], .epub [Nook])


Christina Garner began writing stories at the age of six. Her first–about a young girl who busted up a nefarious ring of furniture thieves–was a huge hit with her mother. At eighteen, her aspirations as an actor had her loading up her Buick and setting off for Hollywood. Since then, she has written and directed 10 short films, including Rewind and Reminder, both of which received acclaim on the festival circuit. In 2006, she began writing screenplays. A year later, she even got paid for one. In May of 2011, her debut novel, Gateway, became an Amazon Bestseller. Chasm, Book 2 in The Gateway Trilogy, did the same.

When she’s not writing novels, Christina spends her time working in the movie business, traveling, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, and playing with her dog, Griffin.

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