Authors Helping Authors

​Interview with Christina McDonald

If you know much about my reading preferences, you KNOW Christina McDonald’s work has held a special place in my heart since The Night Olivia Fell. This writer is not only an amazing wordsmith, but she’s humble, thoughtful, and appreciative of all her fans. Read below to find out a little more about one of my VERY favorite authors in all the world- Ms. Christina McDonald! (BTW- Her newest book will be released mid-February…don’t miss it).

You live in London currently, but I know from other interviews that you’ve spanned the world. What draws you to make your life and raise your family in London, as opposed to other places you’ve resided?

It was really by accident that I ended up here, to be honest. I went traveling shortly after 9/11, as there weren’t any jobs in journalism at the time, which was what I wanted to do. I landed at Heathrow Airport in London completely exhausted and spotted an Aer Lingus desk, and decided in that moment to go to Ireland. I loved it so much I applied to get my master’s degree in Journalism at the National University of Ireland, where I met my future husband. He’s originally from England, so after we’d both graduated, we moved to England.

I’d always planned on going back to America, but London is actually a great place to raise children. It has tons of green space, great schools, an amazing healthcare system. These things become really important once you have kids. And the longer we stayed the more settled we became.

I think all the time about moving back to America to be near my family, but now my boys are 7 and 12 they really resist the idea of moving. They have their own friends here, so it would be a little tricky at this stage. Maybe when I retire! lol

Have you found it more or less challenging to write under quarantine? In what ways?

It’s definitely harder! I’m homeschooling both my kids, and my 7-year-old in particular needs a structured day and a lot of focused attention. He’s just too young to teach himself. So that means to write I have to get up at 5 or 6am to write for a few hours before they wake up and I have to start homeschooling. Then after they’ve gone to bed, I get back to it for an hour or two. It’s pretty exhausting!

You’ve written three novels- The Night Olivia Fell, Behind Every Lie, and your upcoming book, Do No Harm. Do you have a favorite? If so, which is it and why?

Do No Harm comes out on February 16th in both the US and the UK. While I love all of my books, my favorite book is always the one I’m currently working on. I think it’s important to have that enthusiasm and to always think ‘this book is the best book I’ve ever written’, otherwise it would be difficult to get invested in writing nearly 100,000 words. lol

As a fellow dog lover, I’d be remiss to not mention Tango the dog in our time together. Can you give us an update on how she’s doing these days? Has a pet ever acted as an inspiration to your writing?

Tango is the best and she is such a huge part of our lives! She’s my only kid who doesn’t argue or cause any problems ever. Lol We take her for a walk every day, and she gets a lot more time to play with the boys than before, so she’s loving having them at home.

One of the great things about Tango is that she shares her love so equally. She’ll sleep by my side of the bed one night, my husband’s the next, then by one boy the next night and the other the night after that. She rotates so fairly! I wonder what makes her know to do it, because that equality really means so much to my kids. We also have a kitten, Luna, who sleeps wherever Tango sleeps, so that’s an extra animal bonus. J

Do you have an interesting or unusual quirk or habit you enact while you’re in the throes of penning a novel?

Not really. I’m actually very structured when I’m writing. In normal times I start writing first thing in the morning while my husband takes the boys to school. Of course, right now, I get up early before they do to write for a few hours. I make sure I don’t check social media or look at the news, that way my brain stays fresh, like a blank canvas. I’m not a plotter, so I don’t plan what I write ahead of time. I just show up and write whatever I’m imagining that day!

Which of your main characters from any of your novels could you see yourself being best friends with in real life?

I’m not sure who I would be best friends with, but I think I see the most of myself in Olivia, from The Night Olivia Fell. I remember so well what it was like falling in love for the first time as a teenager, and all that teenage angst of being in high school. A lot of that went into writing Olivia’s character.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken with your writing that has paid off?

Writing anything is a risk, because you never know for sure if you’re going to get published or if people will love it or if it will be successful. That being said, after I sold the rights to The Night Olivia Fell, I decided to quit my full-time job and focus on writing as my day job, and I think that’s paid off because of all the rewards I get from writing. It’s my dream job!

As a USA Today bestselling author, what are your words of advice to new writers striving for publication or other individuals attempting to reach a particular goal?

Writing comes with a lot of rejections, but the only way you’ll definitely fail is if you stop. Keep at it, keep writing, keep taking all of your life experiences and distilling them into your work. Persist. Don’t give up. You don’t succeed just by being motivated; you have to be dedicated.

But also, and I think this part is important too, try not to view writing as the only thing that defines your identity. Speaking from experience, when your writing is intertwined with the notion of your value of a person, you’re going to have a tough time. It’s important as writers that we put our value into what we create, not by the attention it gets.

**Thank you, Christina, for your willingness to speak with me! Learn more about her and her work at .