Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Author Uncovered: Kristina McBride (Author Interview)

Hi guys! Today, I have the pleasure to introduce you to Kristina McBride, the ingenious author of The Tension of Opposites! Read my review here to check it out!

Who is your favorite character from The Tension of Opposites?
SO not fair! I feel like you’re asking me to pick my favorite child. I love them all for different reasons. Tessa is like me, shy, reserved, and a little unsure of herself. Noelle/Elle is the kind of carefree girl I always wanted to be (minus the kidnapping and self-destructive behavior, of course). Max is a model of the guy I always wanted to date. And Cooper is this perfectly annoying little brother that I always wished I had. While I was working on my edits, everyone wanted more of Coop, so if I had to guess, he’d probably be a fave for some of my early readers.

What motivated you to write The Tension of Opposites?
One day while my daughter was napping, I watched an episode of Oprah. She was interviewing a young man who had just been returned to his family after a four-year abduction. I was so struck by the young man’s story, and impressed by his strength and fortitude. I couldn’t get him out of my mind. Soon after, the voice of Tessa started speaking to me.

The premise of The Tension of Opposites seems really unique and interesting. What gave you the idea of these two best friends?
I don’t know. Honest. After watching the episode of Oprah, Tessa just started talking to me. I think the interview with the young man, who was actually seen out in public often, prompted me to think about what his friends and family might think about his reluctance to break free of his captor. It seemed like he’d had many chances, yet he remained silent. It was eerie to think of what the kidnapper had done to this boy to keep him quiet, and I hoped with everything in me that people would understand that even though he may have seemed free, he was not. I was pulled by a tension of opposites, I suppose, thinking that I ought to tell the story from the kidnapped girl’s perspective, but not being able to because every time I started to write her story, her best friend got in the way. Tessa spoke louder, and was more persistent. Ultimately, I realized that the story I had to tell wasn’t Noelle’s, but Tessa’s.

What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as an author?
My strength is easy. I’m persistent. If something isn’t working, I try it another way. I spent years searching for an agent, and only landed one after writing three manuscripts. Then I spent almost a year on revisions. I don’t give up. Period. My weaknesses are more difficult, simply because there are so many it’ll be hard to narrow down. I have issues with plotting; I tend to try to cram several books worth of material into one book. And then I have to tear a manuscript to pieces to get to the real story. I want to have these twists and turns that seem so cool, and then don’t work out. I’ve realized that just about everything I write will be totally revamped, which actually gives me a sense of freedom. It’s okay if my first attempt isn’t so great. I can work it and work it and work it until I figure it out. Luckily, I have an amazing agent who is patient and tends to ask all the right questions as she leads me through the process. Love her!

What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
Seeing as how my book has yet to launch, I haven’t had many readers. When my husband read my ARC, he told me he was proud. That felt pretty good. A blogger who got her hands on an ARC early on gave me a great review, and I’m still glowing from the praise. It’s been pretty cool to share this accomplishment with my parents too (they are obviously pretty excited). Maybe the funniest thing that I can recall is when my four-year-old daughter saw my cover for the first time. “Where’s the rest of her face?” she asked.

How do you feel about being a 10'er?
Like I’m dreaming. Seriously. Throughout this crazy journey to publication (querying agents, revising, waiting after my book was pitched to editors – and then juggling multiple offers) I have watched others post all kinds of incredible news about their publication success. I dreamed I would one day join the ranks. And now that I have, it almost doesn’t feel real. Being a part of the Tenners (and the Class of 2K10) makes me feel like a real live author.

Book you've faked reading:
I have never faked reading a book. As a rule, I used to read everything I started all the way through, even if it felt like it might kill me. Now I don’t have the time to waste, so if a book doesn’t catch my attention in the first chapter, I give up.

Book you've bought for the cover:
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.

Book you're an evangelist for:
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher almost made me run back to the classroom. I wish so very much that I’d had an opportunity to teach that novel during my eight years as a high school English teacher. Unfortunately, timing didn’t work out right. I did, however, pass the title along to a good teacher friend, who now teaches it to her students. I live vicariously through her in that respect.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks so much for this opportunity to talk about my book. I enjoyed your questions and hope that anyone who decides to pick up The Tension of Opposites enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Okay, scratch that, because I had some VERY tough days that were anything but enjoyable. I just hope people like it!
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Unknown June 16, 2010 at 8:56 PM  

I have heard many great things about The Tension of Opposites that I can't wait for it to come out. Great interview! I agree Hush Hush does have one of those covers that just grabs you!

Sarah June 16, 2010 at 11:03 PM  

Nice questions! This book sounds really good. That was a creative start she took to begin the book. Oprah's show has such a sphere of influence. And 13 Reasons Why was such a brilliant book. I only wish the teachers at my school would consider it. Thanks for the interview!

Mary not so Contrary June 16, 2010 at 11:56 PM  

Great interview Reggie!! I really enjoyed that. I love that her book came to her from watching Oprah. And shes so right about the whole Stockholme (sp?) Syndrom and how those who have been kiddnapped have a hard time leaving because of what they have been through. Elizabeth Smart had a really hard time the first few months of being home. I can't wait to read The Tension of Opposites!

Precious July 12, 2010 at 9:05 PM  

Great interview Reggie! Brilliant questions - clever and curious.

Anonymous,  July 12, 2010 at 9:06 PM  

Fantastic interview! I think it is pretty cool how she got the idea for the book after watching a piece on Oprah - very original!

I have heard of The Tension of Opposites, and I definitely am adding it to my TBR pile now! :)

Erika July 13, 2010 at 6:40 PM  

great interview! she sounds like such a neat person, and her book sounds wonderful as well. i can't wait to read it!

i'm guilty of buying hush, hush for the cover as well, hee hee ;))

Mrs. DeRaps July 14, 2010 at 5:59 AM  

Great interview! I do teach 13 Reasons Why. It's a powerful experience and kids love it for its depth and seriousness of topic. Thanks for this interview! I can't wait to read your book.

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