Christina Farley knew since the fourth grade she wanted to be a storyteller. But before she committed to writing, she spent ten years teaching and traveling internationally. Her travels took her to 25 countries where she got lost on a volcano in Sumatra, lived in Seoul, South Korea, for eight years, survived living in a haunted house in Indonesia, and climbed the Great Wall of China while pregnant.
She revisited her childhood aspiration when she realized writing a book was on her bucket list. After penning one that she claimed to be awful, she continued writing, landed an agent, and published a best-selling series. Christina is the author of the Gilded Series (young-adult contemporary fantasy), The Princess and the Page (middle-grade), and the Kindle Vella serial novel The Dream Heist (young-adult thriller).
I chatted with Christina to ask eleven questions that will give you an inside look at the author behind the books.
1. If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be?
Actually, I am writing two different books with some author friends. I’m writing a MG contemporary fantasy with Amy Christine Parker and Vivi Barnes and a MG contemporary mystery with Racquel Henry. Both projects are already written and now we are revising them!
2. If you had a magical pen like the one that brings stories to life in your book, The Princess and the Page, what story would you write?
I’d write a story where I could travel through time, back and forth, and see the world from a larger perspective.
3. Which did you like better…living in a log cabin or haunted house?
Hands down the log cabin. The log cabin still brings back memories of pancake breakfasts, fishing in the pond with my dad, learning to ice skate on that same pond in the winter, and picking blueberries for dessert. The haunted house in Indonesia was definitely terrifying. So much so that my husband, housemaid, our cat, and I couldn’t sleep at night. Creepy sounds, lights going out, things going missing, but mainly feeling terribly unsettled while living there. I don’t read or watch horror in the same way after living in my own nightmare. So yeah, I don’t recommend living in a haunted house.
4. What’s the hardest part about being a writer?
The hardest part is the number of rejections a writer gets either from agents, editors, or even harsh reviews from readers. In order to be good, you must put a part of yourself on the page. And that’s super scary! Everyone who reads your work then is judging a part of you in a very real way. You need to have tough skin to last in this business and I don’t think it’s for everyone.
5. What’s the best part about being a writer?
Hands down it’s the connection with readers. One girl told me that she reads GILDED every night before she goes to bed because reading about Jae Hwa gave her confidence to do the tough things in her life. Another girl came to one of my book signings racing across the room and gave me a hug, thanking me for writing GILDED because it changed her life. I get a lot of fan mail from kids, and it’s a constant reminder to me why I write: to empower and inspire kids (and adults!) all over the world.
6. What is a favorite line from one of your books?
“We are given moments and we must choose what to do with them” ~ GILDED
7. What’s the best thing about Kindle Vella?
I love how interactive it is. Since writing the serial, I’ve felt closer to my readers and more connected to what they like to read in the story. It has features that give readers a greater say in the story creation like the poll feature, which is super fun.
8. What was the best thing about living in Seoul, Korea?
There is so much about Korea that I love, but it’s the people who really captured my heart. They were so welcoming to my husband and me and really made us feel like Korea was home. In fact, I had both of my children while living there! I am also obsessed with the food—as can be seen, if you read my novels. My editor had to tell me to take out some of the food scenes because my character was always eating! Trust me, the food is that good. And I really enjoyed traveling around the country, visiting the beautiful palaces (I’m biased but I think Korea has the best palaces in the world) and hiking along the stunning mountain paths.
9. Can you reveal what your top-secret job was at Disney?
LOL! I suppose I can if you all promise to keep it a secret. I was a Disney princess specifically Belle, Ariel, Princess Aurora, Mary Poppins, and the Blue Fairy. But of course, it’s a secret so, shhhh.
10. Why do you hide peppermint patties?
Ha! It’s because my boys love them, too. If they found them, they would eat them all up before I had the chance.
11. What’s next for you when The Dream Heist is finished?
I’m working on a BUNCH of projects and it’s a little overwhelming right now. But for Kindle Vella, I’m going to be releasing (hopefully this summer!), another contemporary fantasy called The Immortal Secret. I’m having soooooo much fun writing this story already. I’m gearing up to have 10 episodes ready to publish and then I’ll launch weekly episodes after that.
To connect with Christina:
Join Christina’s Newsletter: Exclusive access to videos, writing tips, and book updates: https://tinyurl.com/ypb9pm9a
Join Christina's VIP Crown Club: Weekly update with insider news, exclusive content, and giveaways! https://tinyurl.com/mryncvmf
Journey to Zentobia
When ten-year-old Maggie and her older brother Peter discover a portal inside a rainbow, they stumble through it and end up in another world. But Zentobia is not what it seems. A sinister plot is brewing, and the amateur detectives are the only ones who can stop it. With danger on their trail and mysteries emerging, can they keep Zentobia safe before time runs out?
Perfect for fans of The Land of Stories series.
All magic is banished in Zentobia, but when an evil leader wants to bring back dark magic, Maggie and Peter risk it all to stop him. They join forces with the villain’s sneaky daughter who possesses a powerful secret. When Maggie’s instincts prompt her to investigate a hidden underground tunnel, she discovers a mysterious book carving that holds the answer to the future of magic. Before long, the siblings unravel more clues about Zentobia, including why it’s connected to their hometown by a rainbow. Can they stop the biggest threat Zentobia has ever faced and make it back to Hailsville, or will dark magic destroy the world forever?
With exciting twists and turns around every corner of this children's book, the journey for Maggie and Peter is just beginning.
Return to Zentobia
The action-packed sequel available now on Amazon!
Ten-year-old Maggie Miller discovers the Book of Magic is the key to defeating a villain and embarks on a quest to stop a sinister plot in this sequel that’s perfect for fans of The Land of Stories series.
After foiling a villain’s attempt to bring back dark magic in the mysterious world of Zentobia, Maggie and Peter learn a new threat exists. When the villain’s daughter sends Maggie a plea for help to locate the Book of Magic and save her mom, the siblings travel through the rainbow portal to rescue their friends in this action-packed sequel to Journey to Zentobia.
Securing the Book of Magic is no easy task, even for a seasoned amateur detective like Maggie. The book contains a powerful spell that will prevent dark magic from destroying Zentobia and spreading to Maggie and Peter’s home, but it’s buried deep in a maze of enchanted tunnels.
During their quest, dangerous beasts hunt them, vines transform to monstrous creatures, and rising flood water blocks their path. A wrong turn dumps the group into a secret world that’s evaporating by the minute. Casting a spell with an ingredient that’s hidden in an enchanted boneyard offers their only hope to return to Zentobia.
And when the villain’s daughter discovers she is the heir to the Book of Magic, will she deliver the spell to defeat her father? Or will someone unleash a bigger scheme with Maggie and Peter’s hometown as the target?
The Jessa Becker Files on Kindle Vella
Read the first three episodes for free!
New episodes each week.
When mysterious hit-and-runs rattle neighboring towns, investigative reporter Jessa Becker fights for a front-page story. After the bodies vanish, Homicide Detective Chase Donovan recruits Jessa to help solve the case and restore his disastrous love life. But danger emerges when they infiltrate the secret auction of a devious scientist who claims to raise the dead. Worse yet, Jessa is exposed as a target. With the biggest story of her career on the line, will she land it, or die trying?
Journey to Zentobia Five Star Reviews!
"What an enchanting, magical adventure! I had so much fun!
I absolutely loved this. I loved the sibling relationship b/n Maggie & Peter, & it made me miss my own brother. Lol I also loved the idea of the portal being in the end of a rainbow! So creative. The world building was amazing, & I felt like I was flying around w/them in Zentobia in my own flying shoes! Very atmospheric! I LOVE Zentobia-the rainbow, the waterfalls, the shoes, the talking animals, & so much more all sound so amazing! The story flowed so nicely, & there was always something happening, & high stakes as well-which make for a fast-paced read. Themes of friendship, family, never giving up, & doing what’s right. Highly recommend! Such a fun, exciting read. That ending has me needing a book 2 now! Loved it & want more. Can’t wait to see what happens-I’m assuming there will be a book 2🤞🏻Absolutely beautiful cover by Kim Dingwall as well!💜"
- Reviewed by Belle's Middle Grade
"Journey to Zentobia by Stacy D'Alessandro is an exciting, colorful sci-fi fantasy adventure that children will fall in love with. This author sifts together all the elements kids love, and some adults will find this engaging and entertaining as well. The writing is full of energy and emotion, with unexpected plot points and encounters. The pacing is just right, and young readers will instantly be locked into the story, thanks to the author's imagination and good instincts for what kids look for in a sci-fi fantasy adventure. For a pulse-pounding read, young audiences will love Journey to Zentobia by Stacy D'Alessandro.
It is a must-read."
- Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers’ Favorite
"This is such a brilliant middle grade read! I dove straight into it, after reading the blurb and think it is a brilliant story for young readers. It has a great level of detail, with fun and exciting characters. The story flowed so well and stayed exciting and fun throughout. I read portions of it to my daughter, and she loved it, thinking it was loads of fun. It is definitely one that I want her to read, as her reading level rises. Overall a great read and definitely one I recommend!"
-Natural Bri's Reviews
"Aimed at middle readers, the book has plenty of action and a lively style. Young readers will find this a reader-friendly selection, with the occasional vocabulary-building challenge to keep them on their toes."
- The BookLIfe Prize
"I bought this for my 10 year old son as he loves fantasy and adventure stories and I thought he'd like to read this. This book has got him completely absorbed it's amazing. He's not a particularly quick reader, gets bored very easily and drops things very quickly but NOT with this book! It's been days now and he is completely absorbed it so great to see he is getting so much enjoyment out of it. I've got my daughter asking if she can read it next... absolutely!! All I can say to you is, do buy it they'll love!" - Amazon review
"If your child loves fantasy fiction this is a great book to choose. My 9 year old loves the colorful characters and storyline. She's a big fan of The Land of Stories series (Chris Colfer) so Journey to Zentobia was a great find to compliment her taste."
- Amazon review
"My daughter really enjoyed reading Journey to Zentobia so much, and she didn't want to stop reading it!!! It was such a fun, intriguing, and captivating story with so much excitement and adventure! While reading this magical fantasy book, you feel like you are joining the main characters as they embark on such an enthralling and enchanting journey! Author Stacy D'Alessandro incorporates so much creativity, vivid imagination, and thrilling adventure into this lively and animated story. It is a wonderful and fantastic book for both kids and adults, and we really hope that there will be a sequel in the future!"
- Amazon review
Journey to Zentobia Book Trailer
Return to Zentobia Book Trailer
Stacy is a freelance writer who specializes in writing feature and business stories, press releases, author bios, newsletter and web site copy. To chat about a project you need help with or ask about pricing information, contact her direct at email@example.com.
Browse examples of her stories below.
Routine trips to Disneyland with her daughter played a role in Stacy's passion for storytelling.
Her daughter inspired the idea for Journey to Zentobia on a road trip home from one of their visits to the happiest place on Earth. They would pass a piece of paper back and forth in the car and each write part of a story. Her daughter's idea for a brother and sister to transport back in time through a rainbow portal stuck with Stacy for almost two years before she sat in front of the computer and began to write Journey to Zentobia.
Though she changed her daughter's original idea of the main characters going back in time to ending up in another world, the credit still goes to her innovative, young mind.
When she wasn’t working on this children's book, she wrote freelance stories for
newspapers and magazines. Prior to that, she worked in the public relations
industry in Las Vegas for more than 25 years.
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