Cristin Terrill is a young adult author and aspiring grown-up. She grew up semi-nomadic and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in drama. After getting her masters in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, she lived in London, Austin, Boston, and Washington, DC while working as a theatrical stage manager. Now she writes and leads creative writing workshops for DC-area kids and teens. All Our Yesterdays is her first novel.
Cristin Terrill’s highly anticipated debut novel, All Our Yesterdays, was released in September, and I’m probably the only blogger on the planet that could forget to post my interview with her. So, this interview and giveaway are for those scant few who have yet to read her book.
Unbeknownst to Cristin, I was given the chance to pick her brain for a psyche test. Because of the nature of a writer’s work, I find it is imperative to do a psychological analysis of each author I come across. I’m sharing this classified information with you for learning purposes only!
What inspired the unusual spelling of your first name?
My parents, bless them, didn’t realize at the time that they were condemning me to a life of spelling my name out and being called “Christine” anyway. I was named for my uncle Crisler (who, let’s face it, got a rawer deal than I did), so that’s where the spelling comes from.
Did you like the television show Sliders starring Jerry O’Connell when you were younger?
I actually never watched Sliders as a kid; I think it was a little TK before my time. But I did watch MANY reruns of Quantum Leap thanks to my sister’s mad crush on Scott Bakula.
All Our Yesterdays is one of the best, if not THE best book I have read all year. Is it a story that you have been writing in your head for a while, or did it just come to you on the fly and get written and published very quickly?
It was a little bit of both. I wrote a short story with the bones that would become All Our Yesterdays many years ago, but the story kept rolling around in the back of my head, becoming bigger and more complex. When I finally sat down to make it a novel, all the years of preparation I’d done in my brain meant I was able to write it quite quickly. I started the first draft in April of 2011 and we sold it in February of 2012.
Is there more in store for Finn and Marina? If so, when will the next book come out?
There is another book in the All Our Yesterdays universe, but that’s all I’m going to say about it! Barring any major hiccups, it should come out about a year after the first does, so probably Fall 2014.
Is reading AOY like reading your diary? Is there a lot of you in it, or are you completely separate from the characters?
There are definitely pieces of the characters, thoughts they have, experiences they go through, that are very personal to me, though I don’t know if anyone else would be able to pick them out. Occasionally a friend or family member will point out a line of dialogue that just jumped out at them as something I would say and made them remember it was me writing the book (usually it’s Finn). None of the characters are like me, although there are bits of me in each of them, which I think is probably unavoidable for any writer.
What’s your favorite Terminator movie?
Tough one. It’s hard not to love the first, because it was just such a new and unique premise for a plot (to me, at least, it’s pretty apparent now that James Cameron totally ripped off TK). And I also find Kyle Reese to be a really fascinating character, and we don’t see him again until number four. But how can you beat Terminator 2 really?
I saw you lived in Austin, Texas for a while. What brought you to Texas and how did you like it?
I grew up mostly in Texas, although not the Austin area. I moved to Austin after leaving the UK because I was a bit lost in life and wasn’t ready to move to a strange new city on my own to try to restart my career. So I moved into the apartment above my dad’s garage and got a job with the US Census, which was one of the more bizarre jobs of my life, while I regrouped. Austin is a great city that I’ve always loved visiting, but I couldn’t stand the heat permanently!
Did you know you wanted to be a writer when you were studying Drama and Shakespeare, or did it just happen?
Being a professional writer was never an ambition of mine. I wrote short stories and fan fiction for fun but never expected to do anything more than that. My dream was to be a theatrical stage manager, which I was up until recently. I did my masters in Shakespeare on a bit of a whim. I’ve always loved Shakespeare, I was desperate to get back to the UK, and a part of me wondered if what I actually wanted to be was an academic. But doing my masters convinced me I didn’t! I spent a year studying something I loved and seeing plays a few times a week at the Royal Shakespeare Company down the street, and I got an extra three years in England out of it!
When developing a story, do you approach your book characters much like you do your acting?
Luckily for us all, I was never an actor, but I do think my drama training has helped me as a writer. The combination of studying drama in an academic setting and actually producing it in a theatre has given me a good eye for structure, motivation, subtext, blocking, and other things that are important in writing as well.
Do you like Opera? If so, what’s your favorite one?
I love opera! I stage-managed quite a few operas, and they were some of my favorite things to work on. I especially love the German expressionists, particularly Wagner and Strauss. But my absolute favorite is an under-appreciated modern opera by Jonathon Dove called Flight.
Tough one. My longtime favorite from childhood was Les Miserables, but my new favorite is probably Spring Awakening.
When you first knew you were going to be published, did the idea of all the touring and publicity that comes with being a famous author now-a-days scare you, or were you looking forward to it?
Well, I’m extremely not famous, so I’m not doing the whirlwind book tour or anything like that (although I am traveling more than I anticipated I would be, including a trip back to the homeland-of-my-heart,London, for the launch of the British edition, which is both tiring and really fun!). I was definitely a bit intimidated by the idea of marketing a book because of all the pressure and expectations, but luckily I have a great team around me who’s really helping me shoulder that burden. I think it’s both harder and more fun that I was expecting when I sold the book.
Okay, time for the speed round! This part is meant to be sorta like the Family Feud speed round. I will say a word/phrase/question, and you answer with the first thing that pops into your head. Ready? Set. Go!
Christian Bale or Chris Hemsworth? Bale
London or Texas? London
Favorite book The Giver
Baby giraffes Cute
Italian or Chinese? Italian
Ding, ding, ding! Time’s up! Thank you so much for participating in
this psyche analysisinterview!
I twiddled my thumbs for a while over this diagnosis. Cristin’s brain seems to be a complicated maze of conundrums. After thorough analysis, it is apparent that Cristin has a fetish with cyborgs that has driven her to bury her true feelings for Arnold Schwarzenegger. She clearly has unresolved issues with Puck from a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and her love of London, Strauss and Wagner suggest repressed feelings of sovereignty. After assessing her speed-round answers, I have come to the conclusion that Cristin has a dependence on rum and coke, and could quite possibly be a threat to society if she chooses to run for Congress. (NOTE: This analysis was conducted in June, and Cristin’s issues may have rapidly evolved, thus voiding this diagnosis as non-threatening.)
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