Christine London writes Contemporary Romance
- born: Chicago, Illinois
- current residence: Los Angeles, California
- genre: contemporary romance
- hobbies: singing with A Choired Taste, a jazz/pop vocal group
- passions: travel, Hollywood events, her river of dogs
- ancestry: Scandinavian
- tag line: “Romance with a Brit twist”
Author 100 Romances Best Of the Year, When We Were Amazing
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THE OVERVIEW: (aka) – Bio anyone?
Christine London writes L.A. meets U.K. fun and fabulous!
Christine London is a multi-published L.A. girl who adores all things British. She considers herself the proverbial late bloomer, but hey–midlife is made for growing fabulous. You can find her most days tapping away at her computer—and smiling.
Christine London’s native snowbound Chicago shown in the rear view mirror early. She left the long winters of the Midwest as a girl to find her roots in the sun and charm of California. Her adopted home became Great Britain when she spent a year of college in the east end of London with three male flat mates; one from each country on the main island. Her fascination and love affair with all things British has grown over the years, facilitated by summers spent trading homes – think “The Holiday”.
A graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with teaching credential in hand, Chris focused on family, teaching, singing in a jazz sextet and running foot races before discovering her true passion….the romance and adventure of writing.
It took one Scot to awaken her poetic appreciation of Scotland’s natural beauty, and another to ignite her passion for writing.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Super Size Me
Christine London was born in Chicago Illinois, the second child, first daughter of Ralph and Mary Pearson. When her father took a job in sunny California, the family headed west. Landing in the idyllic town of Glendora, nestled on the brow of Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel mountains, she spent the next three years enjoying the innocence of the times; riding her bike all over town and not coming home until dusk.
The family moved once again to the affluent, isolated world of L.A.’s Palos Verdes Peninsula. A loft built high in the corner of the garage, a case of old books and a transistor radio accompanied her through her teen years. An introvert by nature, Christine struggled with the big social scene, but formed a handful of close relationships that survive to this day.
Christine attended Palos Verdes High School, occupying another idyllic setting atop the cliffs facing the ‘Queen’s Necklace’ –the picturesque stretch of shoreline encompassing the Los Angeles beach towns from Redondo to Malibu. As a senior, she traded her bike in for a shiny orange SuperBeetle named Jason. In her freshman year at nearby Loyola Marymount University, she wrote angsty poetry, several seen as having potential and published in the university literary journal. She spent her junior year in London on the year abroad program where she shared a block of flats with three men, one from Scotland, one from England and one from Wales. She graduated back in L.A./ LMU with a B.A. in liberal studies – the route to earning a multiple subject teaching credential which she completed the following year.
She and college sweetheart Lawrence were married in the Sacred Heart Chapel on campus. She met him on a Northern California LMU choral singing tour in the spring of frosh year where he sang baritone in the all men’s group and she alto in the mixed ensemble, ‘Consort Singers’.
Christine and Lawrence traveled to Pensacola Florida and Corpus Christi Texas for flight school training. Lawrence in the U.S. Coast Guard eventually rose to the rank of Lt Commander, settling on a career in military recruiting, later using his skills in the civilian sector as a technical recruiter, remaining a ‘weekend warrior’ as a reservist. They lived in the San Francisco East Bay bedroom community of Fremont, California to raised a son and daughter. Christine, a domestic engineer and new mom, spent the first dozen years managing a household, her kids and daily visits from all the neighborhood kids. She was ‘that’ mom whose house always had a bookcase full of artist supplies, an amazing wood fort clubhouse, swings and sandbox in the backyard and a pantry at the ready for a snack.
A couple years as at home daycare provider, a few more as pre-school teacher and seven teaching public school kindergarten totally consumed Christine’s childcare/teaching passion. She was ready for a change.
In 2004, she and Lawrence moved from their Northern California home, back to L.A. to be helpers to Christine’s elderly parents. They fostered a wonderful fifteen year old girl, she quickly becoming a second daughter. Their son developed epilepsy – We never know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice.
Christine’s creativity took a turn toward writing when she saw a film whose protagonist inspired a story she could not-NOT write. Always a non fiction, never a romance reader, she embarked on a journey unknown. Eighteen months after the first keystroke, she sold her first romantic novella, Sunninghill Snow, published in June of 2007. The joy and thrill of the newly published author turned to a rollercoaster of caregiving and grief. Over the next four years Christine lost her mother to Alzheimers, her only sibling- a brother, to lung cancer and her father to Parkinson’s disease. Throughout these years as caregiver and writer, she produced ten more published works.
She still loves to travel for pleasure, to find new settings and characters to colour her short stories and novels. She and Lawrence also sing in a small pop-jazz vocal ensemble, A Choired Taste. The biggest recession since the great depression, hospitalizations of husband and son and a personal brush with cancer have left her looking for the lessons such challenges present. More meaning, more love, more inspiration are yet to come. Christine is, after all, a survivor.
FIVE FUN FACTS
– Other than being bone chilling, snow was always thought of as “fun”–until Christine had to drive in it during a year’s home abroad experience in Seattle. Her only other interactions with the white stuff was pre-eight-year-old. Snowmen and snowball fights. You get the idea. Fun.
Spinning tyres, sliding car fuselage, no earthly means of control–all served to cement Christine’s present day love of snow–from the other side of double glazed windows, hot coffee in hand, sitting fireside.
– “White lace and promises” — throw in a corneal hemorrhage, red splotch in the white of her right eye uncover-able by makeup or prayer, Christine’s wedding pictures either had to be shot from her until-now unbeknown “good side” or touched up by hand. (We’re talking wayyyy pre-photoshop.)
-Coke bottle glasses a must since first grade, Christine finally went from near legal blindness (and years of contact lenses) having Lasix surgery in 2006
-As James Herriot, author of the ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ series, so lovingly described his veterinarian partner’s propensity to collect canines – “A river of dogs” — Christine is the proud mom of a trickle of pups –small (teacup Yorkshire terrier, Milo), medium (Papillion /cocker spaniel mix, Dakota) and large (Golden retriever beauty, Kiki).
-A recent convert to running for fitness, Christine won her first and only entered 5K–for her age category. Don’t be too impressed. She is ‘old’ after all and middle age (so named not for chronological age, but for the effect on one’s waistline) has since had its way with her.
- When We Were Amazing
- Reluctant Companions
- Hog Wild
- Shadows Steal the Light
- Leap of Faith
- Soul in His Eyes
- Before You Say Goodbye
- Metropolitan Passions vol 2
- Against the Current
- Sunninghill Snow
Sometimes the venue is more casual – outdoors perhaps. .
Dedicated to the art of writing, Christine routinely attends writer’s conferences, primarily Romance Writer’s of America and Romantic Times, picking up tricks of the trade meeting new and seasoned authors in the field.
Many occasions call for fancy dress, either black-tie-and-gown affairs or costume balls where participants experience the visceral side of character building.
To this end, she joins the fun in many different ways, sometimes spiffy, sometimes casual, but always elegant.
Need an interview on the fly?
Christine, what is your most currently released work?
An Australia/California/French -set tale titled When We Were Amazing through MuseItUp Publishing of Canada.
Tell us a little about When We Were Amazing.
When We Were Amazing deals with some matters close to my heart. Travel is one of my loves and as such wanderlust has led me to Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula wine region. May December romance has also been a fascination of mine as our society changes and becomes more accepting of age differences in relationship. Older man-younger woman has, of course, been done and done, but what might the dynamic be if a mature thirty something woman fell for a man just out of university? Now we’re talking.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
A 2004 film. Actually, the actor in the lead role. His passionate portrayal and mesmerizing eyes sent a fission of familiarity through me. Did I know him? Was this instant soul connection, past life stuff or kismet?
Never having been a fan girl or a Hollywood-ista, I was at sixes and sevens as to where to begin finding out about him. A turn to the internet led me to discover a world I knew little about–the fan based web of sites filling the ethers about each celeb. Then it hit me. What would an unlikely fan living half a world away from the object of her fascination do if the film star receiving her poignant letter of appreciation responded in kind—an instant connection formed? What if she were happily married, he suffering the lonely isolation of fame? Could these two disparate lives still mesh when tragedy stuck?
My first novel, Soul In His Eyes, was born.
From there I researched genre. Ah–a romance. Joining Romance Writer’s Of America’s local Los Angeles Chapter was my learning ground. Possibly the best mentoring writer’s association in existence, this wonderful group of seasoned and aspiring authors provided a rich atmosphere for networking, honing craft and learning the biz.
Fifteen months from first keystroke I was offered a contract.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Erik Bartholomew- the hero of that first novel, Soul In His Eyes. Don’t they always say you never forget your first? He represents all the good people in the entertainment field, caught in the glare of fame who crave the ability to have a normal life and love, in spite of the intense scrutiny.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right”?
Colin Dunlow from Shadows Steal the Light. As a recovering alcoholic and dedicated lead singer of the top rock band of the century, his struggle to make that final break from the bottle, his AA sponsor’s dictate to avoid all romantic entanglements through a year of sobriety AND the more than inconvenient fact someone wants him dead—all roil into a pressure cooker of emotion few men could handle. The fact that he meets the woman of his dreams who happens to hate rock and roll just might be the weight to tip the scales. But in what direction?
My late brother spent years in the rock music industry. There is a definite underbelly to this world, a truly strong man can navigate. How would I make such a character gritty yet lovable and loving? Determined, passionate, yet under the weight of mistress alcohol’s ever present allure?
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Truth be known, I think all writer’s use their experience to color their work. How could we not? A trait here, an affectation there—every character is a compilation of people met with a good dose of fantasy thrown in.
The heroine of Leap Of Faith is one such compilation. Part me, part my daughter, part my son, Faith is a young film student sent on Italian holiday as a graduation gift. She feels the pressure from her well-to-do uncle to find an Italian husband and carry on the familial culture, but fate and her fear of the affliction she suffers have other plans. My daughter’s tenacity and humor coupled with my son’s ongoing fight to live life in spite of the same neurological challenge coupled with my, at times, impulsive curiosity and pursuit of fun—all boil down into this character of Faith. She crashes the Italian International Film Festival on the Neapolitan holiday island, literally running into the man who will prove that love is worth fighting for. Can Faith take that leap?
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
All of my books heap extraordinary events onto ordinary people. We have within each of us a reserve of strength we don’t realize. My difficult job is to lead the reader to believe that each of these characters CAN overcome these circumstances and be all the stronger and happier for it. Thus, so can the reader.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I was a kindergarten teacher who read non-fiction in her spare time. I never read a romance before I wrote one.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
A small cup of bittersweet chocolate chips next to my computer. Oh, and the occasional sneak peek of The Bachelorette. (did I really admit that?)
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
To be well rested and focused. I can force myself to be the latter, but not enough sleep just leaves a vacant mind.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
If I find a song that rings true to one of my stories it is often after I have written it. Here Without You by Three Doors Down played during the entertainment section that ran before a film I was attending and is probably the closetest thing to a theme song for one of my novels. I heard the words and instantly ‘saw’ Soul In His Eyes main character, Erik, as he spends another endless night in the beautiful Icelandic tundra on film location, isolated and missing the woman with whom he is falling in love.
Iris by Goo Goo Dolls is precisely rock lead singer, Colin Dunlow’s feelings for the woman he can’t have in Shadows Steal the Light. Disallowed any romantic connection by his AA sponsor, he struggles to reconnect to the world as a strong individual before he can consider love. It is a torturous journey as he meets the woman of his dreams early on his road to recovery and there is the little complication of someone wanting him dead.
Barbara Streisand’s version of Send In The Clowns inspired a short piece about a man who waits too long to let the woman he loves know what she means to him. The folly of fools.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
I don’t vision actors for most of my work, with the exception of my first novel, Soul In His Eyes. As it is written about a Scottish actor suffering the lonely isolation of fame, the most appropriate actor would be Gerard Butler. The unlikely fan living half a world away, Juliana Moore. She posses the needed strength mixed with vulnerability of the California woman to whom Erik rescues when unthinkable tragedy strikes.
Where were you when you got your first contract?
I got ‘the call’ via email one chilly October morning. What I thought would be another day of writing and form rejections turned lemony bright. Fifteen months from first keystroke, Phaze Books offered my erotic romance set in a semi rural English cottage during an unlikely April blizzard, (Sunninghill Snow) contract.
Fully aware that most writers spend years writing and still never receive the validation of a publishing contract — I cried.
How old were you when you read your first favorite book? What was it and what drew you in?
Bambi by Felix Salten. Seven or eight, maybe. I was proud to read it all the way through by myself and adored the world of the forest it uncovered.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Diana Gabaldon. I adore the complexity and beauty of the prose in her time travel, adventure, historical romance series, Outlander. I’ve had the opportunity to meet her and attend a talk or two. She is intelligent, entertaining and gracious. More novels are promised in the sweeping saga of Jamie and Claire Fraser. Woo hoo!
How do you pick your characters names?
Most often they just come to me, though I have been known to Google Celtic names to fit my Brit characters, particularly the secondary ones. The hero and heroine usually embody their names from the get go. Funny how characters become real people in the playground of imagination.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
Hard to choose. Luckily I don’t have to. Both approaches have allure. The steady growth toward closeness makes for a delicious crescendo. Love at first sight can so easily sour with lots of rocky ‘in betweens’ attraction and happily ever after.
What was the hardest book for you to write and why?
My work in progress, One More Day. It has been simmering in my subconscious over the last few years through the loss of both my parents and my brother. Universal to us all is death, grief and its mysteries. So this book took on an increasingly important place in my psyche and life as I struggled to write about a young man’s return to his widow and the opportunities inherent of which others have only dreamed. I hope it might add a bit more to the discussion and heart of loss, grief and moving on.
Coffee, Tea or Soda Pop?
Coffee. It is rich and complex. Kind of a comfort beverage. I used to drink herbal tea by the pot full when I lived in Northern California, especially in the chill of winter. Something about Southern California lends itself to the bitter allure of java, decaf, thank you.
What is your favorite type of chocolate.
All types. If I have to choose, deep, dark, bittersweet, just the way I like my fiction. *wink*
What is the most recent romance story you have read that you would recommend?
I was blown away by the first offering of a new British author, Jane Richardson. Her Edinburgh Fog has all the things I adore about the Brit sense of humor as well as delectably visceral setting and the oh so human foible of allowing true love to slip away.
What is in the wings for your readers to look forward to?
One More Day
Cole Phillips is dead.
Four years on his wife Tara is still without answers.
Is a universe that so cruelly tore her husband from her actually capable of bestowing such a gift?
One More Day…
A tale of the return to life of a man so sorely missed by his widow, the power of her will alone brings him back to her and with him, an opportunity of which others have only dreamed.
Isles of the Sea
One determined woman travels half way round the world to the mystical Scot isle of Skye to save her daughter and herself from an abusive ex. Can a man of ancient clan rivalry denied honour by a murder committed two centuries ago be able to unite with the new resident American woman to change history before her past silences them for good?
Fifty Five Portabello Road
Through the seasons of a year the residents of one faceless block of London flats come to terms with the obstacles that have kept each of them from finding what makes life most precious— true love.
Flight attendants Megan and Cindy are on ‘stand by’ holiday escape. When bumped from their planned flight to Fiji, Megan has no idea her roommate Cindy has something a bit more adventurous in mind…a nudist resort San Diego style.
Matt thinks he knows all too well what he’s in for when he heads to Sundale Nudist Resort. His buddy Robert knows better, but decides to allow nature to take its course and let Matt find out for himself. Nudism is not a quick hook up. Well, maybe… until Matt meets the amazing, Megan and a turn of events sends them on a chase around the globe to save one little girl from becoming the latest statistic in the dark underworld of human trafficking.
Where can readers find you?
London Blog: http://christinelondon.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Christine-London/e/B003MX4AW6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Header image courtesy http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
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