CHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of the Gilded series and middle grade, THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE. Prior to that, she worked as an international teacher and at a top secret job for Disney where she was known to scatter pixie dust before the sun rose. When not traveling the world or creating imaginary ones, she spends time with her family in Clermont, Florida with her husband and two sons where they are busy preparing for the next World Cup, baking cheesecakes, and raising a pet dragon that’s in disguise as a cockatiel. You can visit her online at ChristinaFarley.com.
Voyage: What was the inspiration behind your novel, Gilded?
Christina Farley: I worked for eight years as a teacher at an international school in Seoul, Korea. It was such an amazing experience to teach students from all around the world while living in the vibrant and exciting city of Seoul. During our Greek mythology and writing unit, my students were not overly excited about having to write their own myths. I thought it would be fun and engaging to do a comparison unit with Korean mythology since, hello, we were living in Korea. I started researching Korean myths and came across the myth of Haemosu and Princess Yuhwa. I was hooked! I wrote up some short stories, putting my students into the stories to get them interested. The class loved them. Before I realized it, I found myself writing a book that turned into GILDED. It was a story filled with my students, the teachers at our school, and the adventures I’d taken my family on around Korea.
V: When you write your stories, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away?
CF: I hope my readers find hope, resilience, and a little bravery when they read the adventures my characters go on. I love traveling and learning about new cultures so it’s my hope as they read GILDED, they will also discover a new culture and learn about places and people in a whole new way.
V: What was the hardest scene of Gilded to write?
CF: The kissing scenes! I’m always worried these scenes will be too cliché or trite. To help me get into the right mindset, I will watch a romantic movie, and then when I go to write, I put on a love song playlist and light a candle. It works!
V: If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
CF: As a child, I had a lot of people telling me what I could or couldn’t do. Looking back, sometimes it feels like they wanted to put me in a box and slap on a label. For most of my childhood, I believed in those labels and constrictions. But then my husband and I sold off everything and took a suitcase each and our cat, and we moved to Indonesia. I was forced to step outside my box so many times while living there. It was scary and hard, and I’ve got a lot of wild stories from those times. But it made me see that I didn’t have to limit myself.
V: What are your writing must-haves?
CF: As a mom of two and a full-time job, I don’t really need much other than a computer and an alarm clock to wake me up before I want to get out of bed. Coffee is always a plus along with a nice playlist to block out sounds when I’m writing in the car during soccer practice. My writing wish is for more time, so when they find a way to bottle that up, I’ll be purchasing it by the crate!