Mystery Thriller Interview: Christine Hoag


How old you when you wrote your first story?

hoag-headshotWhen I was six years old, I won a prize for “writing interesting stories.” I still have the little certificate but I don’t have any of those stories! In high school, I was about 14-15, I wrote a story that made it into the school literary magazine.

What genre was that?

It was a contemporary literary piece about a comic book artist who gets tired of drawing superheroes. I have no idea where I got the inspiration for it!

Do you have a series in mind? Where would it be located?

I’m currently writing a book with series potential about an investigative journalist who travels the world unraveling mysteries. One of the things I love about it that each book would be set in different country tackling a different issue.

Do you enjoy any sports or crafts?

I’ve never been a sporty type person. I like to swim, and I walk as much as I can to take a break from the computer. I have a whole bunch of orchids that I love to coax into bloom.

Where do you write from? Place in your emotions?

I draw from experiences in my own life and things people tell me, as well. I find that works well and gives fiction a realistic grounding.

Place in your house?

My desk is located in my bedroom because it’s quieter. I do most of my writing there. I have written in coffee shops and sitting on the couch, too.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

I would be some type of designer, such as interior design. Many people have told me I have a good eye for that. Or I’d be a comedienne. I love comic acting. I find being zany and way out a huge release. It’s weird because I love reading, writing and watching drama.

How much support do you receive in relation to your writing and eventual publication? From where and whom?

Honestly, while friends and family have been generally supportive, it’s mostly just been me, delving deep inside myself to keep going despite rejection and disappointment.

If you could do only one form of writing, would you write stories or keep a blog? Why?

Definitely stories because I love making stuff up! Writing fiction is both challenging and stimulating.

How did you find your niche?

I think it found me! I like to read character-driven books with crime and drama, especially those with exotic settings, but written in a literary style. So that’s what I aim to write.

How much research do you do for your books?

Quite a bit. The internet is a writer’s best friend. I often look stuff up as I’m writing. I love doing research and find out stuff, so that’s one of my favorite bits of the process.

What surprised you most about the publishing process?

How important knowing your genre is. I thought writing a good story was enough, but it is not. You need to be able to neatly categorize it into a genre because that what publishers use to market your book. If they can’t categorize it, they shy away from it.

What do you want your obituary to say? What do you want engraved on your headstone?

Something simple: “A chronicler of life,” that’s it.



Christina Hoag is the author of Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld (Martin Brown Publishers, 2016) and Girl on the Brink, a romantic thriller for young adults (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, 2016), which was named Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2016 YA. She is a former reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald and worked as a correspondent in Latin America writing for major media outlets including Time, Business Week, Financial Times, the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. She is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014). She lives in Los Angeles.

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