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Today I’m thrilled to help Christina Lee, one of my blogger friends and follower, here to celebrate the release of her new adult contemporary romance, ALL OF YOU, which released yesterday. As you know, I don’t really feature new adult, but it is a new, exciting genre that I want to support, especially if it’s being written by our followers.

This is one of my first new adult books and I don’t read many romances. I really enjoyed reading about Avery and Bennett, who are in their 20’s and dealing with more adult contemporary issues than you might find in YA. Both are great characters with a lot of depth and issues that they bring to their developing relationship. And Christina did a really good job with the romance and intimate scenes. One of the things I really liked was how the characters were all so compelling and had deep back stories that they brought to the story.

Here’s a description from Goodreads:

Avery has just met her hot upstairs neighbor. He's irresistible. Tattooed. And a virgin.

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she's perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother's bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.

When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won't accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.

Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.

So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in.

Hi Christina. Happy Debut!

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Thanks for having me Natalie, and for reading my book! Well, I’ve always written poems and kept journals. But it wasn’t until I became a local newspaper columnist about five years ago that something clicked. I realized that while writing non-fiction for the newspaper was a wonderful experience, what I truly wanted to do was write fiction. To create imaginary worlds and compelling characters. So in 2008, I wrote my first full length novel that I now realize would have been considered upper YA or possibly NA.

2. That’s awesome that you’d already been writing for newspapers. What drew you to write new adult and where did you get the idea for your story?

My first foray into New Adult was last year with the book EASY, by Tammara Webber. That book straddled YA and NA, as did SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller. Something clicked inside my head and I began devouring every New Adult and Adult contemporary romance I could get my hands on. There are different tropes in novels and I had just gotten finished reading several romances that featured virgin females and alpha type males. I batted around the idea of what a story might look like if that trope were reversed and the details of the book hit me so hard that I wrote the whole thing in record time. I could not stop writing. I love it when that happens.

3. I’ve heard great thinks about EASY. And it’s awesome how you turned the romance story roles around in ALL OF YOU. You did a fantastic post about the new adult genre for WriteOnCon (You can read the post HERE- http://writeoncon.com/08/13/4352/) where you talk about how getting the voice right is critical for a new adult story. Share a bit about what you mean by this and how you nailed the voice so well for Avery and Bennett.

Freshman year in college is not that far of a leap from senior year in high school. But there is definitely
a separate set of conflicts when you become an independent adult for the first time in your life. I had written young adult novels for the better part of five years and had that voice nailed pretty well. Writing contemporary New Adult was similar but freeing in many ways because the characters are liberated from family, social, and age constrictions. Generally speaking, they are free to live life however they choose to, as long as they figure out a way to pay the bills, if that makes sense. I remember those years of my life very well. So the voice just came natural to me.

4. You’re right that the ages are that different, but the worlds are very different for kids from senior year high school and college. (Please don’t remind of this as my daughter will be going away to college in two years.)

I want to talk about the romance in ALL OF YOU. There are some pretty explicit sexual scenes but they weren’t all about the sex. It was also about the emotions Avery and Bennett were experiencing. What challenges did you face in writing these scenes and what tips do you have for the rest of us?

It is first and foremost about the emotions and what physical responses the characters have to those powerful feelings. I thought back to my favorite sexually charged scenes in novels and also remembered what falling in love felt like in my younger years. And then I honed in on those visceral emotions to write my scenes.

5. I really liked how you focused on the emotions in those scenes so much. Share a bit about Avery and her character development. Did you draw on your own or anyone else’s experiences in creating her? 

I’ve worked in the mental health field for a large portion of my adult life, have come in contact with many broken people and saw how differently each person coped with what life threw at them. Without going into great detail, Avery is a mishmash of a couple of people I’ve known in the past. She’s goal oriented and very driven, even in her sex life. She wants to remain in control at all times and she’s determined to keep it that way, despite feeling unfulfilled at times. It took Bennett to come along and show her a different side of life.

6. That must be helpful to draw on people you’ve known. Your agent is Sara Megibow. She’d be my dream agent. Share how she became your agent and your road to publication.

I had parted ways amicably with my last agent beginning of this year, had several YA’s written and one brand new NA. At that time, there were only a handful of agents accepting NA queries and I decided to give that story a good shot.

It all happened very fast. Sara read my partial, requested my full and then made the offer within a week’s time. It was the same with my road to publication. I went on submission with my NA novel and had several offers later that week. It felt very surreal.

7. Wow! That’s such an awesome road to agent and publication story. How are you planning to market you book and reaching out to new adult readers?

I’ve met many wonderful New Adult and Romance authors on-line as well as very generous books bloggers who are eager and avid readers. Essentially, I’m a contemporary romance author who happens to write in the New Adult category. I have a great blog tour happening this month, some future signings lined up, and can only hope that readers will buy and enjoy my book. That’s all you can do, really. Reach out to readers and form relationships (as opposed to constantly spamming about your book). Throw in a little luck and hope for the best.

8. Looking forward to seeing how your blog tour goes and the blogs hosting you. What are you working on now?

I’m awaiting edits from my Penguin editor for book two, which is a companion novel to ALL OF YOU. It’s called BEFORE YOU BREAK, releases in February, and tells the story of one the secondary characters from book one.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Christina. You can find Christina at:

Facebook author page

Christina generously offered an e-book of ALL OF YOU for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on September 28th. I’ll announce the winner on September 30th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Friday I’m doing the Stuck In A Good Book Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great choices-many new books--for you to pick from.

Next Monday I’m interviewing debut author Peggy Eddleman and giving away an ARC of SKY JUMPERS, her fantastic upper grade middle grade post- apocalyptic story. I haven’t seen any post-apocalyptic middle grade stories and I really enjoyed reading about Hope, a girl who thinks she has no talents because she’s not good at inventing like everyone else in her small town.

Next Wednesday I’m interviewing Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson and giving away a copy of STARBOUNDERS, a MG sci-fi adventure story that sounds like it’ll really appeal to boys as well as girls.

The following Monday I’m interviewing a sixth grader in a writing club for my ASK THE EXPERT series and giving away a copy of THE DREAM THIEVES and ORLEANS.

Thursday that week I’m interviewing Meagan Spooner as part of her SKYLARK blog tour. This is the second book in her Skylark dystopian series. I can’t wait to read this and have Meagan share with us all. And there will be a giveaway too.

The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Mindy McGinnis and giving away an ARC of her YA post-apocalyptic story NOT A DROP TO DRINK about a world with little water. I loved that this was a really character driven story that had a contemporary feel to it.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Friday!


Beth said...

Congratulations to Christina! This sounds like a great twist in the usual character tropes - no wonder it was picked up so quickly! (P.S. No need to include me in the contest, as I'm still reading my books in hard copy.)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Congratulations, Christina! I'm so happy for you, especially since you has many bumps in the road to endure before getting to this point. You don't focus on that here, but I know that persistence and character in the face of disappointment is part of why you're celebrating this release now!

Creepy Query Girl said...

this sounds like such a great story! Congrats Christina and loved the interview Natalie!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I've been hearing so much about NA that it was good to read in detail how it differs for Christina from YA, especially since she has written so many YAs. Congratulations on your book. Like Beth, though, I'm a hard-copy reader, so I won't try to win in the contest, but best of luck for great success with the public.

Kristin Lenz said...

Congrats to Christina on her new book. I have an unfinished manuscript from many years ago with a college-age protagonist - I abandoned it because there was no NA category at that time. I've been wanting to read more NA, but so many seem to be e-books only - I'm going to have to break down and get an e-reader one of these days.

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats to Christina! I love how you turned the virgin and alpha male trope on its head.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Congratulations Christina. I have been quite keen to read a NA book.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Love your premise. I've enjoyed writing NA and I'm excited publishers are finally recognizing the genre.

Margay Leah Justice said...

This book is on my tbr list - for good reason!

nutschell said...

What a great interview! Loved learning more about Christina and her book. I'm definitely putting this on my TBR list.

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome. Drawing characters after working in mental health field... That just sounds interesting.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Congrats!!! Sara M. is an awesome agent. NA intrigues me.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Ah - the college countdown. 2 years? Plenty of time ;) Congrats to Christina! I love how quickly Sara and then a publisher snatched her up - must be a result of having a really great book!! ;)

Stephanie Garber said...

I'm so glad you did this interview, Natalie! Mostly I stick to YA, but I loved EASY and ALL OF YOU sounds great! I'm totally going to buy it. Congrats Christina!

Rosi said...

Very interesting interview. Thanks. Please let someone else win. My TBR list never seems to get any smaller!

Laura Pauling said...

Very cool. I'm more than halfway through the book and I'd say the explicit scenes are definitely more about the emotions - which is refreshing! :) Great story so far, love the trope-flip.

Dana Carey said...

Good luck with the new release. I haven't read many books categorized as NA so I'd like to read more. ALL OF YOU sounds intriguing with Christina's insights into voice, characterization, emotions... Thanks for an interesting interview.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Congrats on your book release, Christina. I see that the male stereotype is reversed. That is good. Some men want committed relationships, too.

Stephen Tremp said...

Good luck to Christina! Its exciting to get that debut novel out there. And I'm also into a committed relationship. I'd better be. I'm married.

Nicole said...

Congrats to Christina! Saw some great tweets from Sara and others about this already.

Jess said...

Congrats to Christina! Loved hearing about her journey to publication :)

Jocelyn Rish said...

I was trying to remember where I had read about Christina and her book recently, but I couldn't figure it out and it was nagging at me, so I'm glad you mentioned the WriteOnCon post to give me that ah-ha moment. :-)

I haven't read any new adult books yet, so maybe I'll try wading into the waters with this one. Congrats to Christina!

Mary Preston said...

I'm fairly new to NA as well. This does sound like a story I will enjoy.


Danielle H. said...

I will definitely put this book on my to read list! I appreciate romance authors who have characters with depth. I hope to win a copy. I will post on facebook!

Tia ShadowRealm said...

I've been waiting for this to come out and still haven't been able to get it as amazon will not show it :( I hope I win so I can finally read it. It sounds brilliant. Thanks for the giveaway
I follow on GFC and Bloglovin'
Shared on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tiashadowrealm/status/381916532910997505

Natasha said...

Sounds like a great read!!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Stina said...

I was one of the first people to read the story, and am reading it again and still love it.

Great interview, ladies. Christina does a great job nailing those intimate scenes.

Blia Hoopes said...

Congrats Christina! ALL OF YOU sounds like a good read. I remember Christina and Lauren (BB Authors) tweeting about it. I can't wait to read it.