Monday, November 26, 2018

Interview with debut YA fantasy author Christine Grabowski

Novelist Christine Grabowski is in the hot seat today. I’m chatting with her about her new YA contemporary fantasy, Dickensen Academy.

During her virtual book tour, Christine will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Dickensen Academy is Christine’s debut YA novel. After graduating from the University of Washington, she earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine can often be found running, skiing, or hiking. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.

Welcome, Christine. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Dickensen Academy is a young YA contemporary fantasy that bridges the gap between MG and YA. It is about a fourteen-year-old girl, Autumn, who is invited to a fine arts boarding school in the secluded mountains of the Pacific Northwest. However, she soon realizes the faculty is secretly teaching dream telepathy.

As Autumn uncovers more about the dark side of the high school and struggles with its curriculum, she questions whether Dickensen Academy is where she truly belongs. When tragedy strikes, Autumn must learn to believe in her own power and stand up to her greatest fear or risk having her memories destroyed to protect the school’s secrets.

Although the premise is considered a paranormal or a fantasy, the focus of the book is as much about Autumn’s relationships with her friends and family and her struggles in school and for independence—something many teens can relate to.

What inspired you to write this book?
While I was brainstorming ideas for a story, I began to go through my dreams each morning hoping I’d dream up a fantastic idea like Stephenie Meyer did with Twilight. Although I never dreamed an amazing dream, I did start to question why I remembered some dreams but forgot others. That idea led me to the premise for Dickensen Academy.

Excerpt from Dickensen Academy:
“I feel like there’s something big we don’t know about. Something those students were protecting. I mean, really, why are we here?”

I thought it was just me who was confused. “Well…the recruiters said we’re creative and focused.”

“Yeah, that’s what Principal Locke said too.”

“And we have the right personality.”

Ben looked up at the sky, sighed then turned toward the forest. “What did he say…something about how it will soon become clear why we’re here, and there’s some ultimate purpose for our creativity?”

“I know. That whole creativity part was a bit bizarre.”

He shrugged. “It seems everyone is going with the flow. But I have so many questions.” Then he touched my arm to stop me, so I turned toward him. “I’m thinking they’re isolating us for some special reason,” he admitted in an embarrassed tone.

I tried not to laugh—he was acting paranoid. But I didn’t know Ben well. Maybe he was joking, trying to freak me out. Or was he hitting on me? The flutter in my chest moved to my stomach. I was already anxious about being away from home and whether or not I could hack the academics. I didn’t need to obsess about anything else. But I still had to know about Ben’s dream.

“So…I also had a dream about Dickensen before I accepted the offer.”

Ben’s head snapped toward me. “You did?”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I set aside a Sleep Beauty fairy tale reimagining to write the sequel for Dickensen Academy. Although I wrote it as a standalone, the reviewers really want to see Autumn’s adventures continue as she moves through high school. For Book 2, her sophomore year, I plan to make the book a little darker with the antagonist on campus.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I found my book on Amazon and the title became ranked.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write full-time and probably spend close to 40 hours on writing related activities. However, because I am also a mother to a tween, a teen, and two puppies, I end up working in little chunks seven days a week. Some hours are while the kids are at school, but many are in untraditional places such as in my car during soccer practices or tutoring sessions. However, I believe working in small chunks works well for writing. Staring at a screen eight hours in a row, continually coming up with new ideas one after the other seems impossible. For me, I can work on a scene and then brainstorm ways to make it better while I am running errands, walking the puppies, going to the gym, or ubering my kids somewhere. Then when I come back to the computer, I am ready to start typing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to keep track of my increasing (and later decreasing) word counts. When I am drafting, I write the number of new words on a wall calendar at the end of each day. I even give myself stars. I tend to overwrite, so when I’m editing, I get the same satisfaction from cutting words as I work down to an appropriate word count.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The idea of being an author always excited me since I was a big reader. However, I hated to write for school so assumed I would never be good at it. Instead, I wanted to be a nurse like my mom had been before I was born.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I am a huge reader with close to 300 reviews on Goodreads in a variety of genres. I’d love for you to check them out.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Good Luck on your newest venture!

Unknown said...

Great cover and interesting sounding book

Christine Grabowski said...

Thank you so much for hosting me today. I'll be checking in all day to answer any questions. Thanks to Randy, James & Facemyresume for already stopping by.

Victoria Alexander said...

This sounds awesome, thanks for sharing!

Christine said...


Christine Grabowski said...

Great news! I just got notice that my request to lower the eBook price to $2.99 has been approved. I believe this is a better price point for a YA novel.

Marisela Zuniga said...

This sounds like such a great book, thank you for sharing! Very nice cover