Thursday, October 20, 2016

Indie Author Spotlight: Christina McMullen

By day, Lisa “FrostByte” Raskin is a mundane, albeit vastly over-qualified IT employee working for one of Maxima City’s biggest companies. By night she’s second-in-command to the city’s only female supervillain. Overall, it’s a pretty decent life, despite having an ultra-lame fashionista wannabe nemesis always popping up when she’s least wanted. But Lisa wants a little something more out of life. She wants revenge. She wants to make Magnificent Man pay for the tragedy that turned her life upside down. When she gets an offer to become the next member of the Coalition of Evil, FrostByte just might get what she’s after. She just has to wade through the murky waters of branding meetings, skimpy costume designs, and financial responsibility first.

It’s no secret to anyone who might be paying attention that I love Christina McMullen’s entire library of work. It might just be because of that or my lifelong love of superheroes, but I can easily say that A Shot at the Big Time is her best work to date. It’s chalk full of all the things Christina is best at (sarcastic, witty humor, an engaging storyline, and loveable characters) but she’s taken it to a new level here. I did a literal LOL so, so many times during this book. Christina lampoons some of the more ridiculous aspects of the superhero genre with such a razor’s edge that it made me wonder how these things became so conventional in the first place. Experiencing the story through Lisa/FrostByte’s perspective gave the whole thing a very genuine and sarcastically hilarious feel. My single, solitary complaint with A Shot at the Big Time is that it’s too short, but that’s not a bad thing. I just wanted like a thousand more chapters because I annihilated this book. If you’ve read and enjoyed any of my books and none of Christina McMullen’s, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice.

Now let’s meet Christina!!!

Christina McMullen is a sci-fi and urban fantasy author who dreams of jetpacks and electric sheep.

Christina enjoys travel, vegan cooking, modern and classic art, and championing the progressive nature of ebooks and independent authors. She is obsessed with robots and the internet, and revels in the fact that she was fortunate enough to have been born in an era where she was able to witness the 'future' finally come into being. And for the record, the year 2000 will forever be the future no matter how far it falls into the past. Call it a perk of growing up at the end of a millennium.

In 2014, she took a vow to read and review only independently published authors. It is unlikely that this will ever change as she has since dedicated the time when she is not writing to further push independent publishing into the mainstream.

Check out her blog, buy her books on Amazon, or follow her on Twitter!

First of all, give us a Twitter synopsis of the book (140 characters or less):

Heroes are overrated, but being a villain ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

What was your favorite part of A Shot at the Big Time to write?

Tough question. Nearly every scene has some sort of nod, reference, homage, or Easter egg, so most of it was fun to write, but… I have to go with the brand consultants, Harold and Ronny, and their argument over whether ultra or ultimate was better. I tend to pepper my books with scenes inspired by real life and this was no different. My husband was looking at some software packages and commenting that one was called ultra and the other ultimate, but he couldn’t figure out what that actually meant or which was better.

Bonus: There’s also the scene where Frostbyte is talking to Nocturno and he’s using every name he can come up with besides hers. I had a lot of fun coming up with absurd ice-themed names.

Which character do you identify with the most?

Well, despite the fact that Lisa’s boss is named Mary Sue and described as looking like me, I’m not actually a billionaire with every superpower, so it’s not her. Obviously, there’s a little of me in the main character of Lisa, AKA Frostbyte. I definitely tend to identify with villains and anti-heroes more often than might truly be healthy, but like Lisa, that doesn’t mean I’m a total psychopath. And the whole thing about wanting pockets on her costume, that’s all me.

Who is your favorite side character and why?

Are these all going to be tough questions? There are many, but I gotta go with the unapologetically cheesy boyfriend character, Dennis DeMarco, AKA: Wildcard. Wildcard is the embodiment of every character Mel Gibson played in the eighties, every hair metal song ever written, and every character who ever walked calmly toward the camera as something exploded in the background. He’s the kind of bad ass with zero self-awareness that we all secretly wish we could be, but would be mortally embarrassed if anyone was to find out.

If you could have any super power, what would you choose and why?

Finally, a softball! Teleportation. I’m a travel junkie and I love the convenience of living in a big city, but it gets expensive. If I could teleport, I’d buy a cheap house in some sleepy little town and teleport to whatever big city or travel destination catches my interest.

Describe A Shot at the Big Time using only 90’s movie references:

This is much harder than I thought…

“Show me the money!” (villainy is more expensie than you think)

“Let’s kick some ice!” (apologies, but look on the bright side: I didn’t answer in only Mr. Freeze quotes)

“There’s no crying in baseball!” (or supervillain-ing)

“This job would be great if it wasn’t for the f**king customers.” (did I mention there are brand managers in this?)

Which of your books would you recommend a reader start with if they wanted to get acquainted with your work?

Depends on what kind of a mood the reader is in. Kind of Like Life is my personal favorite and a good way to introduce readers to my inability to stick to one genre at a time, but to get a feel for my sense of humor, A Shot at the Big Time probably sums it up nicely.

Who is your favorite character from any of your many books?

Easily Nai from the Rise of the Discordant series. She’s literally pure evil, but well-rounded pure evil and despite the rather short timeline of that series, shows a decent amount of growth. In fact, I’ve got a follow-up series planned in which she’ll be the star.

If A Shot at the Big Time was made into a movie or tv show, what side character would you cast me as?

Do you even have to ask? You’re such an obvious Lane. Seriously though, as someone who is partially to blame for my brain coming up with this idea, I’ll make sure that when I sell the rights, it’s stipulated that you get to pick the character you want to play.

What’s next for Christina McMullen? Perhaps a book following FrostByte’s hulk of a brother, Lane?

Lane is definitely next on the list to get his own story. After all, he’s acting a little sketchy in this one and I think we all need to know what’s up. But first, I’ve got a couple of other projects that need some work as we get into the dark days of winter. At the moment, I have a space opera problem child that I’ve twice now set aside. Here’s hoping third time’s a charm.