Christina Farley: GILDED

We’ve got a great group of debut authors here at OneFour KidLit. Today we’re introducing Christina Farley, author of GILDED, coming to you from Skyscape/Amazon Children’s. One author, four questions. Here we go!

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

korea mountains

Picture of Korean mountains taken by Jon Hill

Six years ago, I decided to work on my bucket list and writing a book was on it. I started writing for fun and got some articles published in Highlights and the Carus magazines. One day my hubby read one of my middle grades and said, “This is really rough, but you might be onto something with this writing thing of yours.” (Yeah, hubby is a tough critic.)

It never occurred to me to actually publish my book and I certainly had no clue what I was doing. I decided to get serious and enrolled in Jill Santopolo’s YA class through MediaBistro. That class changed the way I wrote. And it was Jill, the Writing Goddess, who helped me find my ‘voice’.

The book I wrote in her class was my first YA. I pitched it to agents and got lots of: “I love your writing, but it’s paranormal and that’s just not selling right now.”

So smart me went and wrote another paranormal. *Grin*

The thing is, I didn’t want to write for the market. I just wanted to write because I loved writing. Turns out, that paranormal, GILDED landed me my awesome agent, Jeff Ourvan of the Jennifer Lyons Literary. He sold it a few months later to Skyscape (Amazon Children’s) and it’s slated to release March 2014.

I’m still pinching myself.

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

GILDED is about a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself.

It’s based on a Korean myth and since I was living in Korea at the time I was completely inspired to write this book. I knew my main character had to be a tough girl and martial arts was a component in the story.

I took taekwondo and archery classes so I could write the fight scenes in the book.
You can add it to your Goodreads list here or check out the longer version of it on my website here.

Here’s a mini-trailer for you:

What inspires you to write?

Traveling. Nearly everything I write is inspired by places I’ve visited or lived and people I’ve met. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a wild imagination. I still have the notebooks of all the worlds I created when I was in elementary school. I’d make up languages, maps of my imaginary lands, and my own characters.

When I’m drafting a book and I’m stuck with my plot, often I’ll go for a long run and just the movement starts spinning my stories into action.

Oh and chocolate. Dark and rich and creamy.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

Indonesia hut

Picture of me in Indonesia

  • I’m a sucker for traveling. If it’s a cool place, I’m on the first plane out. After my two boys were born, my husband and I just started carting them along with us. I’ll never forget hiking the Great Wall of China pregnant with my husband carrying our one-year old in the backpack. We were loaded down, but those were awesome memories.
  • I’ve lived in Asia for 10 years.
  • Coolest places I’ve visited: fjords of New Zealand, terracotta warriors of China, castles of Germany, the Bali cliffs, Borobudur, Minoan ruins in Crete, the volcanoes in Sumatra, the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, and the burial mounds in Kyongju.

2012-07-05 10.32.45

Picture of me at Neuschweinstein Castle, Germany

  • I’m completely obsessed with Tolkien. I have to admit that’s why I even went to New Zealand in the first place. My husband and I rented a car and tried to sneak onto the set of Lord of the Rings. Crazy, right? We got lost on this dirt road in the middle of nowhere, and never made it. Still, we had a blast nearly getting stuck in the river and sleeping under the stars.
  • I danced on the castle stage of Disney. Can you guess which character I played?
  • I used to enter rock climbing competitions on the weekends during my first year of teaching. I’d come in all scraped up on Monday and the other teachers thought I was crazy. I guess they weren’t too far off.
After teaching and traveling internationally, Christina Farley started writing about her adventures, tossing in a little fiction for fun. This inspired her to write GILDED, a YA about a Korean-American girl with a black belt and deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows to be published by Amazon Children’s spring 2014. Besides writing, Christina loves traveling, running, hanging out with her two Jedi warriors, and eating dark chocolate.
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