Megan Montgomery, spending her second Christmas in England, was expecting peace and quiet over the holidays. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.
First, the headmistress of St. Agatha’s College for Girls, Megan’s school, her school has strong-armed her father into hosting a huge New Year’s ball at their home. Next, she winds up playing hostess to a Chinese ambassador, his family, and his staff. While the guests seem very pleasant, Megan is still uncomfortable. She’s been unlucky with houseguests in the past—like one of the guests died kind of unlucky. Of course, he also tried to steal one of the precious magical artifacts that are hidden in the Library of Athena, a cavernous room hidden beneath her home, so it wasn’t totally her fault. Now hundreds of people will be crawling all over the manor.
Megan tries to relax and enjoy the holidays despite her home being turned into Grand Central, but her worst fears are realized when Megan receives a mysterious Christmas gift, one that links her to the Library of Athena. Now she’s on her guard, hoping to identify the culprit and learn just how much he or she knows about the Library, before someone gets hurt, or worse, she winds up inside another enchanted book.
Thank you for joining us today, Christine. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Thanks for having me! I was born on a cold winter’s night…wait, no, that’s not right. Actually I was born in the middle of summer, but that’s not what you mean, is it? I just started a career as a School Media Specialist in a Pre-K and Kindergarten school, and I’m a mom to pretty terrific 8 year old boy. I’m still in Graduate School too, finishing that Master’s degree. All of which has come about during the almost ten years that I’ve been writing.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
I had a few false starts over the years, wrote some real rubbish that I never finished, got easily distracted by shiny things…oh, look at that! But I started really writing on a continuous basis about 10 years ago. That’s when I started my first book, Talisman of Zandria, and I was really motivated to finish it, which was a first too. I think it was just the right time.
Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?
I am asked this question a lot, and I always have the same answer…I did it on a dare. No, kidding! It wasn’t a conscious decision, only that I loved those stories best. I have never been a big reader of books for grownups, I always say; I sort of just naturally gravitated toward YA.
What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?
I love that I can just let loose and be funny, or sarcastic, or silly. I don’t have to worry about being serious all the time. I can release my inner teenager. The challenge is to not let my adult self get too much control and spoil it, and to remember that things are different than when I WAS a teenager; no one remembers cassette tapes or rotary phones anymore! LOL!
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
THE MIRROR OF YU-HUANG is the third book in the LIBRARY OF ATHENA series, and another adventure about Megan Montgomery and her friends. The headmistress of her school has wheedled her father into hosting a huge formal ball at their big English manor on New Year’s Eve. Which Megan is not happy about, because there’s a big secret at the Parthenon, (which is the name of the manor)—The Library of Athena. That’s a huge secret chamber under the house that holds some really rare and important books, including a collection of enchanted books that protect magical artifacts. The books will suck you inside and make you fight your way out once you find the artifact, of course using every possible opportunity to kill you along the way. So you can see why doesn’t really want a bunch of people traipsing all over. Then she has to play hostess to a Chinese ambassador and his family, and it seems that one of them knows about her secret. She suspects everyone, and eventually she winds up inside one of the enchanted books, chasing someone who wants to steal the Mirrror of Yu-Huang. It’s all very exciting and edge-of-your seat and twisty-turny.
What inspired you to write it?
As I said, this is the third book in the series, but I knew I wanted to do something different. So many books use Greek and Egyptian mythology, which were included in the first two books and I think a good introduction to the series. There aren’t a ton of books that include Chinese mythology, and there’s probably a good reason. It wasn’t the easiest to work with, making Mirror probably the most difficult book I’ve written so far. But I think the end result was worth the work—I am really happy with how it came out.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
All over the place! From the publisher, Zumaya Thresholds (www.zumayapublications.com ), and from Amazon in paperback and Kindle format, and from B&N.com in Nook format, and from Fictionwise. Any bookstore should also be able to get you a paperback copy.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
I’m all over the internet! My website is http://www.christine-norris.com , my blog is http://christinenorris.livejournal.com , I’m on Twitter @cnorrisauthor, and I have a Facebook “Fan” page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Norris/131776641000
What is up next for you?
I have several projects going right now. I just finished a Historical Fantasy/Fairy-Tale retelling story that I am shopping around, and I’m working on getting the next Library of Athena book finished, hopefully this summer. And I’ve got at least another two books in my head, waiting to be written.
Do you have anything else to add?
I just want to say that I appreciate you taking the time to interview me! I hope all your reader enjoyed it, because I sure did. And I hope I can inspire other people who are writers to just keep working at it, and readers to check out my books.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Christine. We wish you much success.
Christine Norris is the author of several works for children and adults, including the Library of Athena series and the Zandria duology. When she’s not out saving the world one story at a time, she is disguised as a mild mannered substitute teacher, mother, and wife. She cares for her family of one husband-creature, a son-animal, and two felines who function as Guardian of the Bathtub and Official Lap Warmer, respectively. She has also done several English adaptations of novels translated from other languages. She reached a new level of insanity by attending Southen Connecticut State University Graduate School’s Information and Library Science program, so that someday she, too, can be a real Librarian. She currently resides somewhere in southern New Jersey.
Her current book is a YA/Fantasy titled The Mirror of Yu-Huang.
Visit Christine on the web at www.christine-norris.com. Connect with her at Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ cnorrisauthor and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Norris/131776641000.
Win a Copy of The Mirror of Yu-Huang!
The author and Pump Up Your Book are offering a FREE copy to one of our readers. Follow the guidelines below for your chance to enter and win.
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Deadline to enter is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, May 29, 2011. Winner will be selected from entrants who followed the guidelines of this contest. The book will be shipped directly to the winner by the author or her representative. The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.