Interview with Kristina McBride – Author of The Tension of Opposites

Kristina McBride is the author of The Tension of Opposites, which hits bookstores next week. She was able to sneak out for a visit to my virtual office to discuss her debut novel.  Read below to learn more about Kristina and her book.

Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

I’m a former high school English teacher turned stay-at-home-mom who now writes YA novels. I don’t drink coffee. And I <3 chocolate!

Can you tell us a little about your novel, The Tension of Opposites?

It’s the story of 16-year-old Tessa McMullen whose best friend has just returned from a 2-year abduction. The plot centers around Tessa’s struggle to reconnect with her friend, who has become a very distant and self-destructive version of her old self, and also Tessa’s struggle to reconnect with a life she felt too guilty to live after her friend disappeared.

What made you want to write this story?

I saw an interview with Shawn Hornbeck and his parents on Oprah one day while my daughter was napping. Shawn had recently returned home after spending just over four years with his kidnapper. I found Shawn’s strength inspiring, and I couldn’t get him out of my mind. Shortly thereafter, Tessa began speaking to me. (This might make me sound a little crazy, but it’s how I operate.)

How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

When Tessa first started speaking to me, I ignored her. I figured this story should be told from the kidnapped-and-returned girl’s perspective. But Noelle was silent, no matter what I did to brainstorm her to life. Thankfully, Tessa was persistent and I took the time to write things from her perspective. It wasn’t until I gave Tessa a chance that Noelle decided to come around.

What message do you want your readers to come away with after they have read the book?

While The Tension of Opposites is a work of fiction, there are real children out in the world who need to be returned to their families. Kidnappers are talented manipulators, and often, children will do what they say even when a chance to escape arises. It is our responsibility as a society to pay attention to what is going on around us. If we simply ask a few questions, we might even save a life. Shawn Hornbeck, Elizabeth Smart, and Jaycee Dugard are only a few examples of this.

What have you learned about yourself through your characters?

I like to be in control. Often, I am not.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book? Was there a scene that you just couldn’t get right?

Revision was a tough process for me. I revised at least four different versions of this manuscript, and finally, after six months, scrapped everything but five chapters. Only when I completely started over did everything start to really come together.

How did you feel the first time you saw the cover for the book?  Do you think it captures the overall tone of the book, and did you have any input into the final cover design?

The first time I saw my cover, I was in shock. That really cool, I’m-totally-in-love kind of shock. It was one of many surreal moments on my journey to publication. I think the cover captures the opposition and tension found in the book, and I was lucky that my publisher welcomed my input.

What’s the most gratifying aspect of having your book published?

That floaty feeling of a dream realized. Those quiet moments when I can reflect on the struggle that I went through to get here, and smile because I actually made it.

Who was your biggest supporter while you were working on the book?

I have no choice but to name two people. First, my husband, who okayed my crazy decision to quit teaching so I could stay home with our first child and, of course, write a book. He was there behind me every step of the way, lifting me up when I faced rejection, and cheering me on when I met with success. My agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin, was also an inspiration throughout my journey, pushing me, inspiring me, and helping me when I felt lost.

If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, what would it be?

Anything by Christopher Pike.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Hang out with my family and friends, spend time outdoors – I love the woods, eat chocolate, read. Sometimes, I can double or triple up on those favorite things, and that makes for a very good day!

Thanks, Kristina!  Have a wonderful release week!

Wow! The Tension of Opposites sounds really intense!  You can learn more about Kristina by visiting her blog and by heading over to her website.  You can order the book from your favorite book seller, or click here for the Amazon link.

The Tension of Opposites

May 25, 2010

Egmont USA

Short Author Bio: Kristina McBride, a former high-school English teacher and yearbook advisor, wrote The Tension of Opposites in response to the safe return of a child who was kidnapped while riding his bike to a friend’s house. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two young children. This is her first novel. Visit her online at www.kristinamcbride.com.

Book Summary: Two years ago Noelle disappeared. Two long years of no leads, no word, no body. Since the abduction, Tessa, her best friend, has lived in a state of suspended animation. She has some friends, but keeps them distant. Some interests, but she won’t allow herself to become passionate about them. And guys? She can’t get close—she knows what it is like to really lose someone she cared for.

And then, one day, the telephone rings. Noelle is alive. And maybe, just maybe, Tess can start to live again, too.

A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath a kidnapping can have on the victim, and on the people she left behind.