Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Please welcome author, journalist...

... and much, much more, Christina Hoag, to my blog today...

AW  Welcome Christina, and I can see that you are a very busy lady, so tell me, what is your current release?
CH   It’s called “Skin of Tattoos,” a noir thriller set in the gangland underbelly of Los Angeles.  It’s a crime novel that takes the reader inside the criminal world, in the manner of “The Queen of the South” by Arturo Perez Reverte or “The Cartel” by Don Winslow, or even Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather.”  Here’s the official blurb:

Los Angeles homeboy Magdaleno is paroled from prison after serving time on a gun possession frameup by a rival, Rico, who takes over as gang shot-caller in Mags’s absence.  Mags promises himself and his Salvadoran immigrant family a fresh start, but he can’t find either the decent job or the respect he craves from his parents and his firefighter brother, who look at him as a disappointment.  Moreover, Rico, under pressure to earn money to free the Cyco Lokos’ jailed top leader and eager to exert his authority over his rival-turned-underling, isn’t about to let Mags get out of his reach.  Ultimately, Mags’s desire for revenge and respect pushes him to make a decision that ensnares him in a world seeded with deceit and betrayal, where the only escape from rules that carry a heavy price for transgression is sacrifice of everything – and everyone - he loves.

AW   What first got you into writing and why?
CH   I won a prize for “writing interesting stories” when I was six years old so I guess writing was always there.  It came out as soon as I literally learned how to put pen to paper.  I discovered journalism in high school so I knew that’s what I wanted to do as a career.  I’ve always been a voracious reader so that made me want to write books when I grew up.

AW  That's my kind of research, Christina!
AW  You write thriller novels.  Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
CH   I think there is some level of research in any genre of novel that mixes in with the imaginative stuff.  Often, research material is the fodder for the imagination, the seed, if you will.  Research is actually one of my favourite parts of the process and having the internet makes it so easy to look things up as you go along.  Reportage was the inspiration, for example, for "Skin of Tattoos."  I covered a lot of gang issues as a journalist, interviewing gang members and people who worked in that milieu, and ended up writing a nonfiction book about gang intervention, "Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence," as well as the novel.

AW  And what about other types of writing?  Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other genres?
CH   I’ve written a bit of everything: numerous short stories, some poetry, creative nonfiction, two screenplays.  My career has been in journalism so I’ve written plenty of newspaper and magazine articles over the years.  I currently do a lot of corporate communications writing: speeches, press releases, blog posts, executive bios and such, which is a nice change of pace from fiction.  But I love writing novels, above all, presumably because that’s what I love to read. 

AW  Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing.  Do you have a writing ‘shed’ of your own?
CH   Alas, my garret is currently just a desk in my bedroom, located at the rear of my condo.  I write there because it’s quieter.  My goal is to one day have an official garret!

AW  Finally, if you had a whole afternoon to yourself and could choose to spend it with any one individual, living or dead or a character from a book, who would it be, and what would you want to discuss?
CH   I think it would be William Shakespeare.  I’m a Shakespeare nut.  Last summer I saw eight of his plays!  I find it astounding how many of our expressions in English come from his works.  I’d love to ask him about his creative process, his philosophy of life and human nature, and try to figure out the source of his marvelous, timeless wisdom, plus if he’s surprised how his works have endured for 400 years.
AW   And, as one Shakespeare nut to another, I would so like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!  Please do let me know when you have that afternoon arranged, and thank you for being here today.

About the author... Christina Hoag is a journalist who’s been threatened by a death-row murderer, had her laptop searched by Colombian guerrillas and phone tapped in Venezuela, suspected of drug trafficking in Guyana, hidden under a car to evade Guatemalan soldiers, posed as a nun to get inside a Caracas jail, interviewed gang members, bank robbers, gunmen, thieves and thugs in prisons, shantytowns and slums, not to forget billionaires and presidents, some of whom fall into the previous categories.
Fluent in Spanish and French, Christina grew up as an expat around the world and has had four different accents in English. When she’s not travelling the globe, she can generally be found in Los Angeles.
About her books... Kirkus Reviews praised Christina as a “talented writer” in her debut novel Skin of Tattoos (Martin Brown Publishing, 2016), a gangland thriller.  Her YA thriller Girl on the Brink (Fire and Ice, 2016) was named Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2016 YA.  She also writes nonfiction, co-authoring Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence (Turner Publishing, 2014), a groundbreaking book on violence intervention used in several universities.

You can follow Christina on her website http://www.christinahoag.com/
Buy link for her book  Skin of Tattoos


  1. Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Angela! Looks terrific

  2. It was a pleasure. Best of luck with the book.

  3. I'll join you for that afternoon with Shakespeare!