Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Before You Break: Q and A with author Christina Lee

by Kim Van Sickler
Christina Lee is a fellow Clevelander who found her groove writing New Adult romance. Her second e-book in The Between Breaths series was released yesterday (2/18/14).  Read the Goodreads' blurb here:

I had the pleasure of reading this sexy, steamy, sensitive e-book last week and touched base with Christina to ask her a few questions.

Kim: You've written three books that stand alone, but all reference characters that star in the other books in The Between Breaths series. How difficult was it to link these characters and their stories together and then keep everything consistent through all the edits that writers always have to do?

Christina: It was definitely a challenge, but not a painstaking one. The important thing is to go back and read exactly what you wrote about the characters in the other books. Sometimes what you think you wrote is different from the reality.

 Kim: You've written some steamy sex scenes, but I think that some of the steamiest were the initial ones that oozed with sexual tension but not with actual sex. Take us through writing one of these scenes. (How about the car wash scene where Ella and Quinn run into each other in the basement of the frat house.) Tell us what you're thinking as you're writing it and what you're trying to accomplish with the scene. Do you think it might be harder to write a sexy limited physical contact scene than a sex scene?

Christina: Thanks Kim! I actually like writing the tension filled “almost” scenes even more than the actual sex scenes. In the car wash scene, I needed to show the reader that there was plenty of build-up, confusing emotions, and undeniable chemistry between these characters.

They are feeling things, but they don’t quite understand them yet and now realize contact is off limits. Ahhh, can you feel the tension? Love that. And hopefully the reader does too, and wants to keep flipping pages to find out what happens. J

 Kim: Speaking of sex, there is a lot of it, but it seemed appropriate to the story and the college-age of the characters. What are some of the considerations you factor in when writing to a new adult audience and how does that differ from writing for a YA audience?

Christina: Hmmm…well the first main difference is that in the NA age category, the characters are adults and (can) have active sex lives. In the YA age category, the characters are teens and sex is normally more covert, depending on how many adults are around.

 But there is definitely sex in YA novels. The difference might be that in those novels the scenes “fade to black”. In NA, the scene can be more explicit---depending on the genre you’re writing in. I write contemporary romance, so my scenes tend to be what’s considered sexy or steamy as opposed to erotic, which is another genre in itself.

Kim: Quinn, star catcher for his college baseball team, begins the story living his life for other people, and he's not happy about it. Ella is a survivor of family tragedy who's already coming to terms with her past. This story shows us Ella and Quinn's journeys individually and as a prospective couple. Tell us how your background as a clinical social worker influenced the story arc.

Christina: I worked in the mental health field for over ten years as a clinical social worker and knew the ins and outs of crisis intervention and therapy. In book one, ALL OF YOU, Ella was studying psychology. When I decided to have her work on a hotline in BEFORE YOU BREAK, that’s when I understood the kind of story I wanted to write. These two characters were on different journeys of tragedy and healing. I knew I wanted them to hurt and mend and grow—alone and together.

Thanks for having me, Kim!
Check out Christina's Pinterest board for pictures of Quinn and Ella!

Check out her blog for updates on her books.


  1. Great interview. So excited for Christina and her new book. Looking forward to reading it.

  2. Very interesting interview Kim and Christina. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  3. Love this conversation...I need to check these books out!

  4. Congratulations on your releases, Christina! Your books sound fascinating!

  5. I love that Christina has a psychology background. It's so important for an author to write characters with well developed personalities and motivations, ones that are really believable in the overall arc of the book. I enjoyed Christina's interview and I'm wishing her much success!

  6. I'm all for some classy sex in books... <3

  7. Great interview Kim and Christina! It's after 2am, and I have an overwhelming desire to get my car buffed, covered in hot wax, and polished! Congrats on your new book, Christina! It sounds like a fantastic read.


    1. Julie, yeah, after 2 am it's hard to stay productive. The mind needs its wandering time...

  8. I love Christina's book (I love all of her books). She's brilliant with sexual tension in her non sex scenes.

  9. sensitivity and build up before sex are the best parts, i agree! and i love the name of the series 'between breaths' - hot stuff! congrats to Christina!

  10. I agree with what a lot of folks have said, the tension and the almost-but-not-quite-yet, sex scenes are the best parts. Thanks for introducing Christina and her books today, I'm off the check them out! :)

  11. hurt, mend, and grow... recipe for a good character arc! Thanks for sharing this interview.

  12. "Between Breathes" is a catchy name for a series.
    Congrats to Christina!
    Great interview ladies!