Kristina McBride, after only one novel, is one of my favorite authors. Her debut, THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES, is fantastic and, even with months left to go in 2010, has landed on my Best of 2010 shortlist! After months of waiting, TENSION hits bookstore shelves today! Check out my interview with Kristina and then run out to your local bookstore and pick up your own copy of TENSION… you don’t want to miss this one!
A Brief Bio
Kristina McBride has dreamed of being a published author since she was a child and lived across the street from a library. After graduating with a bachelor’s in English Education, Kristina taught high school English for eight years. After having her first child and completing her Master’s in Education, Kristina decided to quit teaching and take a crack at her dream. Kristina lives in Ohio with her husband and two young children, stealing as many moments as she can to write, write, write.
Give a short statement describing THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES.
THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES is the story of Tessa McMullen, whose best friend, Noelle, was kidnapped two years ago. At the beginning of the book, Tessa learns that Noelle has been found alive, and is coming home. The book centers around Tessa’s struggle to reconnect with Noelle, who has returned a very distant and self-destructive version of her old self, and to reconnect with her life, as Tessa spent the two years her friend was missing avoiding everything (friends, boys, fun) due to the guilt over Noelle’s abduction.
I think that many readers are familiar with novels in which the narrator is the subject of kidnapping or rape, but your novel offers an interesting twist. Why did you decide to write the novel from the point-of-view of the victim’s best friend?
This might make me sound like an inexperienced or out of control writer, but I have to be honest, right? I tried to write this from the perspective of the kidnapped girl. I brainstormed chapters and spent some time trying to get to know her through journaling, because I felt that this should be Noelle’s story. But she was silent. Like, totally. I didn’t even get one chapter in. The character who kept speaking up was Tessa, the best friend. She had SO much to say, so I finally gave her a chance. In the end I learned I don’t have as much control over things as I’d like to think, and if I just go with the flow, it’ll be easier for me.
From the description of the novel, I assumed that it would be an extremely dark and emotional read and was surprised to find that you found a way to balance the dark with lighter, fun elements. Did you find it difficult to do this… to find the light in such a dark tale?
It was really difficult! I revised several drafts of this story, and six months into revisions with my agent, scrapped all but five chapters and started over (which is painful to even think about!). I wanted to balance the scenes with the kidnapped girl and the love interest, because the struggle for Tessa to reconnect (with her life and her friend) was two-fold. The hardest part was finding the right balance between these two very different relationships in Tessa’s life. I’m so glad to hear you think it works!
The romantic plot line between Tessa and Max is one of my all-time favorites! How did Max form as a character? His relationship with Tessa?
Thank you! Max was easy. He just kind of popped into my head fully formed and started speaking to me. I loved him right away, and knew that he would be the perfect person to help pull Tessa out of the hiding spot she had created for herself in her friend’s absence.
Is there a particular reason why you chose photography as Tessa’s passion?
I am a former high school English teacher and yearbook advisor. I love photography myself, and thought it would be a good way to show how Tessa has isolated herself, watching the world from behind the lens of her camera. I also figured the visual images would be really cool to write into the story, as the setting of the novel is such a beautiful place. (Little secret: Originally, the photography thread centered around a yearbook plotline. Long story, but it had to go.)
Can you tell us anything about your next YA novel?
I signed a two book deal with Egmont USA, so I’m working on the next book right now. The fun thing is that I’m really excited to write these chapters, which are basically outlined on notecards that I shuffle through and carry around on a daily basis, writing lines of dialogue when I’m hit with inspiration. That’s about all I can say for now.
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
I have an answer for all three, if that’s okay. Who: My husband. He is wonderful – my home. What: Books and TV – I love to be transported through my imagination. Where: The Three Sisters (three 550-year-old oak trees) at Sugarcreek Nature Reserve is my all time favorite hiding spot. It’s a major setting in my novel, and actually exsists near my home. Hiking through the woods is one of my favorite things to do. We filmed the trailer on location at the Three Sisters, and if you’ve seen the footage, you might wonder where the third sister is. Unfortunately, the middle sister fell a few months after I completed the first draft of this novel. She was damaged by a fire years ago, and came down after a very long life.
For more information about Kristina and her novel, check out her website!