August's Featured Debut Author~Kristina McBride

The featured debut author for August is Kristina McBride! First a bit about Kristina's haunting book, The Tension of Opposites. Here is a bit about her:

Kristina McBride, a former high-school English teacher and yearbook advisor, wrote The Tension of Opposites in response to the safe return of a child who was kidnapped while riding his bike to a friend’s house. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two young children.

          And now for a bit about The Tension of Opposites:
Sometimes I saw Noelle sunning herself on a tropical beach, away on an endless vacation. But like my old therapist had told me, it isn’t healthy to ignore reality. Most of the time, I envisioned Noelle in a dark basement, chained to a moldy wall. But that went directly against the information I had found online the day the crisis-intervention speaker came to our middle school and tried to soften the blow of Noelle’s absence. In my worst moments, I pictured Noelle’s clean bones peeking up from a pile of damp leaves in the woods.

Now that she's given you a serious case of the shivers, please welcome Kristina McBride to Heather's Odyssey. The Tension of Opposites is being hailed as a psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind. That sounds like some very powerful material. Was this a difficult book to write, either on an emotional or craft level?

Kristina: I’ve always been into creepy stuff, so I thought I’d take this book on with no issues. But it was difficult to write, especially as I really got to know the characters. I wanted to keep them from the difficult situations they had to deal with, but had to make my way through the hard stuff along with them. I think, also, that being a mother made this a difficult write. As I researched kidnapping, the thought of any parent going through the loss of a child made the subject matter that much more difficult to tackle.

That kind of research had to be grueling in many ways. On a brighter note, what was your favorite part of writing this book?

Kristina: When I knew – like really-deep-down-knew – I had gotten a scene right. When I read a new chapter and everything flowed so well it seemed like the characters hopped off the page and came to life. Okay, that and summer of 2009 when I received 3 offers on the book and waited while a mini-auction ensued (squee!).

How exciting, 3 offers and an auction! Can you tell us a bit about The Tension of Opposites that we may not know from your website?

Kristina: This is the story of Tessa McMullen, a sixteen-year-old girl whose best friend was kidnapped two years ago. The book starts when Tessa learns that Noelle has been found alive and is coming home. Tessa struggles to reconnect with her friend, who is very distant and self-destructive, and also to reconnect with a life she has felt too guilty to live for the two years that her friend was missing. There’s also a romantic plot thread with a new boy in town named Max. Max attempts to help Tessa move through the different stages of her struggle, and we are left to wonder if she’ll ever really recover this lost friendship or be able to open up to Max and let him all the way into her life.

Love amidst turmoil, I love it! From your website I see that it took three novels and a lot of rejection before you landed a fantastic agent. All that hard work definitely shows in how finely crafted The Tension of Opposites is. With that experience under your belt, is there anything in the publishing process that surprised you?

Kristina: The waiting. Everything takes so long! And I was on the fast track, publishing with Egmont in their first year. They offered me a deal in July of 2009, and the book came out in May of 2010. I was in awe of the amount of times the manuscript was read by different people at Egmont (my editor, copy editors, etc.) to make sure that every detail was as true to life as possible. For example, in a scene that takes place on Halloween, I had the sun setting at the wrong time. Someone at Egmont looked up the details of an Ohio sunset in October, and I changed the details accordingly. I love how thorough everyone is!

Sounds like you have an excellent team in Egmont. I noticed on your website that you said you signed a two book deal with them. Does that mean we'll see a sequel or will there be something different?

Kristina: Book two will be a stand alone – totally separate from The Tension of Opposites. I’m working on it now, and can’t wait to share it with the world!

As amazing as The Tension Of Opposites was Kristina, we can hardly wait too! I'm excited to see what you will come up with next. Any closing thoughts to leave us with?

Kristina: I hope that anyone who picks up The Tension of Opposites enjoys the read. Any teachers, librarians, or book clubs can find a Reader Guide on my website. Thanks so much for having me and featuring my debut novel! This has been fun!

Thank you so much for joining us Kristina. I know my readers are going to love your book just as much as I did. I can't wait for your next one!

You can find Kristina on twitter here:
Be sure to check out her website to learn more about her and her books here:
And check out her blog here:


  1. This book has been on my list of possibilities. I'm going to order it now (it's not in my local bookstore). I've been looking for a YA psychological thriller to read. Thanks for the recommendation. :D

  2. Wow, this book sounds fantastic! Thanks for the great interview, Heather and Kristina!

  3. Wow, that was a gripping passage from a book that looks un-put-downable. What an awesome debut!

  4. You should definitely pick it up Stina! It does not dissapoint!

  5. It really is something special Kari and Portia. You're going to love it!

  6. Great interview, Heather. I'm inspired to check out that book, and by Kristina's obvious passion for her work. Thanks.


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