Monday, May 8, 2017

Christina June Author Interview

Photo Credit: Hannah Bjorndal

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters.

Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, will be published by Blink/HarperCollins on May 9, 2017.


Series: Blink
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Blink (May 9, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310758661
ISBN-13: 978-0310758662


"You won't be able to put this book down. This heartfelt read totally sucked me in. A (Prince) Charming read." Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan

"Tatum's complex and realistic relationships with her friends, family and the potential love interest will have you savoring every chapter while heavily anticipating the next. It Started With Goodbye is an adorable and clever contemporary that will enthrall you with its fairytale-esque charm." Ami Allen-Vath, author of Liars and Losers Like Us

"I loved this fun, contemporary take on the Cinderella tale that explores what it takes to be yourself while finding your place in life, love,and your family. June's characters are vividly drawn, complex people that you'll want to root for, and Tatum's story will strike a chord for anyone who's felt like they were misunderstood." Lisa Maxwell, author of Unhooked, Sweet Unrest and Gathering Deep

"A sweet and satisfying portrait of family, friendship, and discovering your own path. Tatum's journey from fear and disappointment to honesty and freedom to be herself is one that will resonate with many readers." Ashley Herring Blake, author of Suffer Love

"A fresh, charming debut, brimming with friendship, family, and love." Marci Lyn Curtis, author of The One Thing

“Honest, fun, and entirely compelling, this is a story about how being in the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to a whole lot of right. Tatum is a character you’ll relate to, cheer for, and want to befriend.” Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts

What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
My first introduction, I think, was the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty. I’m sure there were others, but the “young adult” section in the book store was either nonexistent back then or it was teeny tiny. The first Jessica Darling book was published when I was in college, and it remains one of my favorite series. When I was pregnant with my daughter, someone told me about “an exciting new series” called The Hunger Games, which was a good re-introduction to YA and showed me how much the category had exploded. I think YA chose me, though, as a writer. I’ve never really left high school, so it was a natural fit.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I’m a big fan of scavenging for character traits and plot lines, so I think just being an observer of life has been the most useful influence. In terms of authors I look up to, I very much admire the work and careers of Judy Blume, Corey Ann Haydu, Stephanie Perkins, Miranda Kenneally, Jessica Spotswood and Susan Dennard.

In your debut novel; IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
It was inspired by Cinderella and is a contemporary retelling. They should read it if they like sweet romance, complicated family dynamics, music, art and dance.

What part of Tatum did you enjoy writing the most?
Tatum was easy to write because she is very much like I was at sixteen. I really enjoy her snarky humor!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think Tatum and Taylor from Miranda Kenneally’s DEFENDING TAYLOR would probably have a lot to talk about, given they both had some legal hiccups.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know while writing IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE?
Seeing BelĂ©n reveal herself little by little has been satisfying. There’s more to the “evil stepmother” than she originally presents.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Definitely Corey Ann Haydu. It was reading LIFE BY COMMITTEE that lit a fire under me to make IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE better. She really understands the teen voice.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Do the thing that makes you happy, not the thing someone told you that you should. Life is too short for shoulds.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
I write thank you notes when sending swag to readers!

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
I think I was a baby and went to Florida to visit my grandparents.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I actually really enjoy being a child of the 90’s, but other than that I would probably choose the 1920’s.

What is your greatest adventure?
Flying through the rainforest on a zipline in Costa Rica, ghost touring in Scotland, parenting my daughter and publishing a book.

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.


Intent on listening to some quiet music to relax me as I drifted off to sleep again, I put my laptop on the bed next to me, slid in between the cool sheets, and pressed play on “Chaconne” as my head hit the pillow.

The first strains of the cello were hesitant and timid, like it was afraid to show itself due to a small case of stage fright. I waited patiently for it to become louder, like a parent waits for a scared child to gain confidence, coaxing him out of his shell. As the volume picked up, so did the emotion, and suddenly I was awash in a sea of sounds. If those first few notes were trickles, there was now a raging ocean of crashing waves, washing over my head one after another. I’d been half expecting something that was just a deeper violin, but this cello had a mind of its own. The sound was rich and saturated with molasses and electricity. It was like a human voice, a melancholy song of longing, pleading with the listener to ease his frustration. People say there’s a fine line between pleasure and pain, and that was exactly the message this cello was sending out. Even though the sadness was undeniable, there was also an underlying sensuality, a slow-burning passion reaching out, begging for the listener to hear the want, the need.

As I lay there listening, I knew there was no hope of me relaxing. The tears that had magically disappeared at the words on the screen came back with a vengeance as the notes filled the air and invaded my head. Scalding my skin, they dripped down my cheeks silently. I cried for the girl whose voice remained unheard, who did her best to be good but didn’t always get it right. I cried for the girl constantly trying to forge a connection, to find someone who took her at face value and didn’t ask her to be something she wasn’t. I cried for the doors that had closed and cried for the ones that might never open. I cried out of want, out of thirst for something nameless, my heart beating itself into a frenzy, my body completely boneless beneath the sheets, now heated and damp.

When the song ended, I couldn’t move. My face was slick, tears clinging to my eyelashes as I stared at the ceiling, seeing nothing. I willed my breathing to slow until I was calm and sated. It felt like I’d just run a marathon, the exhaustion was so overwhelming. I closed my eyes and marveled at how magical it was that I could feel all of that, an eruption of emotion, from a song. And if the song could communicate all of that sadness and yearning, what did it say about the musician breathing life into that song? What had SK been thinking that allowed him to play with such fervor?

The sorrow fled as quickly as it had arrived, moving over for a meddling curiosity. I sat up and opened my email once more.

That completely wrecked me. Bravo.
Copyright 2017 by Christina June

You can purchase It Started With Goodbye at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CHRISTINA JUNE for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE by Christina June.
MAY 9th TUESDAY We Live and Breathe Books REVIEW & EXCERPT
MAY 10th WEDNESDAY Book Lady's Reviews REVIEW 
MAY 10th WEDNESDAY Reading for the Stars and Moon MUSIC PLAYLIST 
MAY 11th THURSDAY Margie's Must Read DREAM CAST 
MAY 12th FRIDAY Wishful Endings REVIEW & TENS LIST 
MAY 12th FRIDAY TTC Books and More GUEST POST 

MAY 13th SATURDAY Feed Your Fiction Addiction REVIEW
MAY 14th SUNDAY Ms. J Mentions... REVIEW
MAY 15th MONDAY Here's to Happy Endings REVIEW 
MAY 15th MONDAY Literary Meanderings INTERVIEW 
MAY 17th WEDNESDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW & EXCERPT


  1. Looks like a fun book! Thank you for the contest!

  2. LOVE the blurb & such a pretty cover :) Thanks for the chance to win :)

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