Zaidi Features: Interview With Christina Mandara

1.    When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Was it a lifelong or long-term dream, or did you start later in life?

I’ve always loved writing but it wasn’t until I’d hit thirty that I thought I might actually be able to give it a go. Up until that point, I’d ghost written a lot of articles for people, but it took ages to gather up enough courage to actually write a book and look for a publisher. I’m so glad I did, though! It’s been an amazing journey.

2.    Was there a particular impetus that prompted you to write professionally? If so, what was it?

Boredom on a thirteen-hour long haul flight, believe it or not. I’d watched the movies, the battery on my laptop had died… so I thought I’d get out a pen and paper and give it a whirl. (Thankfully the guy next to me was asleep – else he might have got more than he bargained for when looking over my shoulder ;) )

3.    LOL. What were some of your first steps toward making your writing career a reality?

Actually finishing the book was a good start. I have half-finished odds and ends everywhere, but finishing something is not a talent I am good at. After that I sent just two query letters off and was exceptionally lucky to find a publisher. The rest, as they say, is history.

4.    How would you say most of your stories are conceived? Dreams? Research? Experience?

NOT experience LOL. For those that have read my books, they’ll know that they should come with a DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME warning!! Let’s just say I have a vivid imagination. Thank goodness for fantasy land.

5.    What role does your family play in your writing, if any? Any pets? If so, how many and what kind?

My husband provides hugs when ratings dive and celebratory G&T’s when I get a nice review. What more could a girl want?

6.    What are you doing when you’re not writing? Day job? Health concerns or caring for family?

Running, ferrying kids around, baking, cleaning, travelling, playing, swimming, gardening… there’s never a dull moment J

7.    How would you describe your writing style, process, and space? I’d love to see a snapshot of your space if you have one, but if not, don’t let that stop you from answering the question ;-)

I write all over the place. In the lounge watching TV, in the kitchen, snuggled up with a duvet in the bedroom lol! Depends where the mood takes me. Thankfully I have a laptop, so it’s portable. If I get a desktop one day, things will have to change!

8.    Tell us about your books. Genre, titles, any favorite characters? What can we look forward to from you in the near future? WIP’s, upcoming releases? 

I write dark, BDSM erotica and my book boyfriend is Mark Matthews. He’s a tiny bit evil, a little bit know-it-all and a lot damn sexy dreamy. I love alpha males who know what they’re doing in the bedroom department – and my lead character is no exception. At the moment I have just finished the last book in the ‘Pony Tales’ series and ‘The Ties That Bind’ will be up for release shortly. It’s my longest book to date and features intense underwater bondage, violet wand play, lots of steamy, exceptionally naughty sex, and, well, you get the picture! 

9.    Is there a common thread in your books? How do your values show up in your writing? Jungian philosophy? What do you want readers to take from your writing?

A common thread? It’s pretty much naughty BDSM all the way through. I want my readers to squirm when reading my books and to hate Kyle Levison (Sadist Extraordinaire!) with a passion.

10.What are some of your favorite writing tools and resources?

My writing tools are Word and my fingers. I have a notebook and pen, but pretty much rely on that, which isn’t always a good idea as I’m writing a series and continuity errors are not fun! As for resources – other authors, because there’s usually someone out there who can steer you in the right direction, if you ask the right question.

11.What are some things you know now about writing and being an author that you wish someone had told you at the very beginning?

Finding readers is nowhere near as easy as you think it is. Social media is a crazy maze that you will never be able to stay on top of. You will get very good with technology quite quickly and before you know it you’ll be a whizz with Google Docs, Blog Hops and Photoshop.

12.What lifts your spirits when you’re discouraged?

Usually a kind reader leaving a review, or a family hug. If I’m feeling a bit down I usually head for the car and get myself out of the house. I love driving.

13.Other than writing, what’s your passion?

Baking cakes. Seriously. All sorts of cakes, but especially ones with oodles of frosting. This is probably why keeping fit is my second favourite hobby LOL!

14.You and my Sweetheart would get along well. He's a chef who enjoys baking and I spend a lot of time avoiding temptation ;-) Not limited to writing, what do you believe are some of your greatest accomplishments so far?

A Rough Ride was nominated for best BDSM book of 2014, so that was a big milestone for me. In my personal life, I’m all about keeping fit and I’m about to enter my first running race. Wish me luck because I’m not in the least bit competitive!!

15.Congratulations on your award!! I'm wishing you luck already. Keeping fit is always an asset. What tips can you offer towards building and maintaining a strong support system as a writer?

Make friends. Help people whenever you can – it’s these relationships that help get your book out there. Don’t be frightened to ask questions. Socialize on all the social media sites you can and most importantly, have fun!

16. I agree wholeheartedly, Christina :-) One last thing: For the adventurous, write a descriptive 4-line poem. Guidelines are for inspirational purposes only. You’re welcome to freestyle:

Thinking, Dreaming, Inspiring
Baking Up A Storm

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Thank you so much for hosting me today <3