Author Spotlight on Christine Reed
Tell our readers briefly about yourself.
I’ve always been a storyteller. I didn’t know that would bring me to writing a book, but it makes perfect sense. In my 20s I would say yes to just about anything if I thought it would make a good, shocking, funny, or emotional story that I could tell later. At a certain point, I started translating that into outdoor adventure and travel—so now my stories revolve around hiking and running and rock climbing and living in my van.
What books do you have available?
My first memoir, Alone in Wonderland is available in print and digital. I can’t wait to let you know about the others I’m currently working on.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Alone in Wonderland is an outdoor adventure memoir about my thru-hike of the Wonderland Trail in Mt Rainier National Park in Washington. I solo-hiked the trail in 2018 and the book follows that experience so you get the nature, the wildlife, the human encounters. But it’s also a story about the independence that we seek when we go into nature alone and the power of that experience. Along with the profound loneliness that we can find when we hold independence above all other values.
Do you stay in one genre when you write or do you find yourself veering toward others?
My first book is a memoir, and I’m working on another. But I’m also moving into the fiction world and having a great time with it. I’d like to see myself writing in multiple genres and following the creative spark wherever it leads.
Are you a panster, planner, or someone in between?
I’ve tried pantsing my way a bit through the fiction, but seem to always go back to the outlining board when I get jammed up—so somewhere in between.
What is your writing routine like?
Chaotic is probably the best word to use. When I’m feeling hot about something I can write several chapters in a week. Sometimes I go several weeks with no movement. My writing group has helped me to find a bit more consistency.
Tell me about your favorite character that you’ve created?
Right now, I’m writing a romance about a couple of rock climbers. I’m basing the male lead on a first date that went nowhere—sort of writing him as the man I had hoped he would be, and that has been a really fun exercise.
Where do you get your ideas for world building?
So far, my stories are all taking place in the real world—and seriously, hats off to writers creating alternate worlds, it’s a challenge I’m not quite ready for.
Do you add romance to your writing?
My memoirs include some relationship stories, but definitely not in a romance sense. My romance novels, of course, center romance so it’s more than just an addition!
What was your favorite scene to create?
The story I’m working on now includes a few scenes where the characters are at a rodeo. I’d never been to a rodeo before, so I went to one in Washington while I was traveling “as research”. It was such a fun experience, and something I would never have gone out of my way to do otherwise. And then I got to relive it again and again as I wrote those chapters.
Where do you get character inspiration?
Life! Somebody asked me one time “is this considered research for your book?” about a trip that I was taking, and I said “everything is research for a book.” To be a writer is to be an observer of life, what makes us human, how people interact. I sat on a plane next to a girl a few weeks ago who was reading Environmental Law for Non-Lawyers and she was highlighting almost every line in the book. I worked backward from the moment to develop an entire life for her, a story, and ideas about who she was. I’m still thinking about her now. She’s a character for sure.
What genre do you prefer to read?
I’m currently in a romance kick, but I do love memoir, and I used to read tons of fantasy.
Do you have any specific authors you follow and try to craft your work after?
Not consciously, I believe that everything we read adds to our toolbox, so there are little bits of different things in my writing. But I like to let the subconscious take care of that, if I find an author I like, I will read more of their work—so maybe they get a little bit bigger slice of my brain pie.
Do you have any recurring themes in your book?
The main themes in Alone in Wonderland are independence and loneliness. The whole story is really an exploration of how those two things are connected.
What does your editing process look like?
I went through several rounds of self-editing, two rounds of best friend edits, two rounds of beta readers, and I used two professional editors—one for a manuscript assessment and one for copyediting. It took over a year to take my manuscript from first draft to last.
Do you have a preferred drink or snack that you eat/drink while writing?
I generally do not eat and write at the same time—if I’m working at a coffee shop, I will usually try to avoid caffeine, so I might drink a hot chocolate or chamomile tea.
When is your favorite time of day to write and why?
I’m definitely more productive in the mornings, but when I’m having a brain wave, I can stay up into the night getting things down.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
As a nearly full-time traveler, this question is IMPOSSIBLE! I love to explore new places, so perhaps my favorite is anywhere I haven’t been yet.
Marvel or DC? Do you have a favorite character?
Honestly, I don’t know the difference. Superheroes have never been my thing.
What hobbies do you have?
I’m a hiker, rock climber and book reader. I also love to cook.
What is something your readers don’t know about you or something unique about yourself?
Such a hard question, since my life is quite literally an open book! I have found one thing that other writers find surprising about my process is that I don’t keep a journal. I’ve made a few efforts to write “morning pages” a la Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg, but even that I find impossible to do consistently. And after I write them, I generally just throw them in the trash.
What defines success for you as an author?
Every single reader that takes the time to reach out and tell me how they felt reading my book is a HUGE gold star for me.