Awe-Struck Publishing author Christine London as my guest today. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense with a British Commonwealth twist. Christine was born in Chicago, Illinois, but left the long winters of the Midwest as a child to find her roots in the sun and charm of California, both North and South. Her adopted home became Great Britain when she spent a year of college in the east end of London with three male flat mates; one from each country on the main island. Her fascination and love affair with all things British has grown over the years, facilitated by summers spent trading houses.
Graduating from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Chris continued with family, teaching, singing in a jazz sextet and running foot races (and winning) before discovering her true passion….the romance and adventure of writing.
It took one Scot to awaken her poetic appreciation of Scotland's natural beauty, and another Scot to ignite her passion for writing. Thank you, gentlemen.
Here's a blurb from Christine's Awe-Struck novel Leap of Faith:
Film student Faith Holmes is on an Italian holiday bought and paid for -- a familial inducement to finding an Italian husband. She wants none of it. Boredom and curiosity make for a volatile mix and Faith is lured into the heart of the island of Forio's exclusive international film festival not as guest, but crasher. Hollywood's premiere publicist Hunter Jameson has more than enough on his plate when his client, English film sensation Alex Winslow decides he's departing from the straight and narrow. One American party crasher should be the least of his worries. He has no idea that Alex's growing feelings for Faith rival his own. The only thing for certain is his life will never be the same.
Jana: What do you do to market your book? What is your favorite method of promotion. What is your least favorite?
Christine: Evidently not the right thing as I have yet to connect in a meaningful way with the masses of people who do NOT consider themselves avid readers. It is these that comprise the largest numbers. It is this (potential) reader that will, through word of mouth, tell his family and friends that he read the most extraordinary book. "You must read it!" are the musical words to an author's ears.
It is through this vehicle--the everyday person who loves good entertainment AND is willing to invest 6-12 hours of her precious time to read YOUR book, that we create a tsunami of "you must read this".
What is the magic to connect to this person? Now if I knew that I would not only be a gazillionaire through my writing, but also the greatest book promoter of all time. lol.
My favorite method is writing my travel and Hollywood event blogs. ( My "London Blog" at: http://christinelondon.blogspot.com/ ) Through my travels--description and photos--I can share some of the world's most beautiful and alluring locations. People enjoy, if only vicariously, travel through Europe, Australia and the good ole U.S. of A. as well as the ability to 'see' into Hollywood red carpet and awards events--an outsider looking in. In this way I provide desirable, entertaining content to folks who might then turn around and think-- Hey..I wonder what her books are like? That is the theory at least. As I said, to date, I have hundreds/thousands who love my blogging, but have not found the same cross over--YET--to my very visceral novels.
What is my least favorite promotions? Anything that requires me to crow about myself/my work. It speaks for itself, as do my blogs and therefore should stand alone. I dislike anything that requires a huge learning curve--such as creating book trailers/blog radio/website work. These technically based things not only bore most creative people and are best left to those who love to do them, but we are not good at them! We authors are good at writing books, not HTML, graphics and techno-babble!
Jana: I so hear you about your least favorite promotions. I feel very uncomfortable blowing my own horn, and I'm lousy with technology. Where did the idea for your latest Awestruck release come from?
Christine: Leap Of Faith is my Awe Struck offering. The heroine is a compilation of my son and daughter. As a mom I spent years defending my son and being his advocate.
He is an epileptic. He also has ADD.
The heroine, Faith Holmes, is a vibrant outgoing young woman terrified by her recent diagnosis. She feels flawed and unworthy of the attentions and love developing between her and the hero. Sound like any young person you know?
Jana: How do you research? Internet, interviews, books, etc.? Do you like to research?
Christine: I research online as I am writing as questions arise. It is the most wonderful tool ever invented to find answers to almost any query. I have interviewed people in the past, but tend to find that a bit stilted. My Coast Guard Helicopter rescue mission gone wrong book-- Against The Current-- ( Phaze Books, an imprint of Mundania Press -ISBN: 978-1-59426-809-0) called for the most up to date pilot info. So I contacted an L.A. air station pilot and we sent emails to and fro.
Usually I do any outside 'research' during my summer travels abroad. I take thousands of photos and blog about my travels, often to places I already want to use as setting for a future work. Sometimes I find a place or person that inspires an idea I did not have before. Travel is the great eye opener and educator. So I use it to enrich my life, the lives of my blog readers and, eventually the lives of my novel readers.
Jana: What is the most unusual thing you have ever done in the name of research?
Christine: Hard to choose one--so I won't..lol. I crashed an international film festival on the Italian island of Ischia (Faith does the same in Leap Of faith), talked my way into an exclusive restaurant in London (As Erik of Soul In His Eyes does for his lady Christine), attended the Visual Effect Awards at the Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards are held, in order to write believable awards ceremony scene(s) and basically act the part in any given situation so that I may gain entrance to see, feel, hear the things I need my characters to experience.
Hutspa? Gumption?.....You bet!
Jana: Why do you write?
Christine: To uplift, inspire, entertain and educate. It is both great gift and great responsibility. What grander calling? What better way to leave legacy?
Thanks for this opportunity, Jana.
Here's an excerpt from Christine's Awestruck Publishing novel Leap of Faith:
The commanding voice stopped her in her tracks.
"I thought you'd never get here."
Turning slowly, Faith was surprised to find the gruff voice belonged to a fair-complexioned Brit, the first she'd seen, or heard since landing on the little Italian island of Forio.
"Beg your pardon?" she asked, her eyes dipping briefly to her scant attire.
"Here." He shoved a silver tray carrying four flutes of champagne into her hands. "Mostriani is waiting." With that, he strode around her and disappeared into the great room.
Faith hesitated, trying to process what had just happened. She turned toward the ornate grand living area; eyes again dropping to the towel barely clinging to her hips took a deep breath and marched in to meet the notables.
The spread of Italian baroque furniture complimented the plush olive area rugs, more ornate than it had appeared as she'd peeked through the windows. Against the far wall was an Italian vanity made from walnut highlighted by an intricately carved gilt frieze supporting a triple arched mirror. Upon it were multi layered trays decked in canapés.
"Senora." Her thoughts were yanked from the amazing spread to the man sitting in the largest of the sculpted cabriole chairs. "Vino."
He summoned her with a strong backward pointing gesture, index finger repeatedly touching his yellow chintzed shoulder. The nerve, she thought and did they really make men's suits with such a gaudy shine?
Balancing the tray on her palm, she glided it to within his reach.
"Ah, no, no, no. Not the champagne. I asked for a ninety seven Umbrian Barolo." Bushy black eyebrows knitting in disapproval, he craned his neck to search the hall.
< em>"Where is Marcello?"
"I…I don't know sir." She retracted the tray and dipped her head in apology.
"Why do-a they send the pool staff into the hotel?" He pushed to stand, nearly knocking her to the floor as he swept by. "Marcello will have the answer."
Faith watched as he vanished into the same hall she had used to enter. Sheltered by lush vegetation and shaded by pines, Hotel Annuzio nestled at the end of a small bay, a cobbled traffic circle isolating it from the fashionable shopping strip. It was a location cut off from the local community, unknown to all except the elite. This week it was the international film festival and all the elite were out in force.
Quickly disposing of the four flutes, Faith put the tray down on a barman's bussing cart and slid through a partly open door into the adjacent room. Royal blue carpeting, whitewashed walls and rows of cushioned chairs faced a linen-draped table at the front. Six microphones placed at equal intervals, three pitchers of water and tri-fold nameplates indicating the last of the day's expert panelists gave silent testament to the fact she'd stumbled upon the very heart of the event. Professional camera equipment lined the back wall, uplifted on a small portable stage. Yes. This must be the room where the actors and directors were interviewed by the press.
Cool and vacant, it reminded her of any other conference setting. Wall to ceiling banners provided backdrop behind the panel table and to its right, the area where photographers took pictures of the celebs before they sat for interview.
Dropping to one of the audience chairs, she drew in a large lungful of air. Fortified against the odds, she nevertheless felt a bit shaken by her brazen crashing of such a restricted affair.
Relieved to see the barmaids around the pool wore bikini tops and towels wrapped about hips, Faith had quickly used her beach towel to mimic them, tucking it in low-slung fashion. Now she sat in the deserted convention room wondering how she'd manage to get past the staff. No doubt Mr. amazing hair Brit would have all them all out looking for the imposter. Any other occasion would have encouraged Faith to pursue such a gorgeous broad-chested specimen, but she was definitely the outsider at this event.
It wasn't everyday a girl from San Fernando found herself amongst the beautiful people, much less in such close proximity to fame. The poster in the lobby touted some of the names expected to attend. Her favorite English actor was one of them.
Squaring her shoulder, she stood to face the music.
"Why didn't Gabriella show?" Hunter leaned over the sink. Staring at his reflection in the mirror, he pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Something about her mum having the flu." Joey handed a towel to his boss. "Hiding here in the loo isn't going to solve the shortage."
"I'm nursing one hell of a headache, so go a bit easy?"
"Okay, but don't say I didn't try to warn you about that one."
"The local girls are supposed to be reliable."
"Not when their boyfriends call to whisk them to the beach on a scooter."
Hunter splashed more water on his face. Wiping it from his week's growth, he looked at Joey's reflection in the mirror. "Are you telling me--"
"No sir. I don't know about Gabriella, but if I'd been cooped up in a small flat all week without a ray of sun, I'd be likely to have flu first day of decent weather."
"They would truly perish in London," Hunter quipped.
Joey chuckled. "That they would."
"How did you find the gorgeous brunette?"
Joey's brows furrowed. "The what?"
"That replacement girl out in the lobby."
"There are no `replacements'," Joey stated emphatically.
Hunter cocked his head, gave one more swipe of his jaw line and tossed the towel to the collection basket.
"Mister Jameson, I--"
Door swishing closed behind him, Hunter hadn't time for Joey's speculations. He'd find out who'd taken the tray from him in the lobby hallway or know why.
Leap of Faith can be purchased from Awe-Struck Books