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Advice from IR Approved Author Christina Berry: “Connect with other writers.”

Up for Air (Lost in Austin, Book 1) received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Christina Berry.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Up for Air (Lost in Austin, Book 1) published on 2/11/2021

What’s the book’s first line? 

Am I happy? How would I know? What is the measure of happiness?

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

At a funeral on her 29th birthday, Ari takes stock of her life and comes to a startling conclusion: she’s not happy. Mired in a relationship that’s gone stale, she approaches her husband Greg about opening their marriage. To her shock, he agrees.

Ari throws herself headlong into an adventure through the bars and bedrooms of Austin. For the first time in her life she’s living in the moment – sex and kink, karaoke and drink – new friends, new lovers, new boundaries to cross. It’s all just innocent, no-strings fun…until she meets Alex.

Alex changes everything. While Ari and Greg grapple with their changing relationship, Ari struggles to control her heart. During hedonistic self-discovery, has she stumbled across love?

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

Up for Air is inspired by the entertainment community in Austin. It can be the most wholesome, supportive family of friends you’ll ever know. Or it can be absolute balls to the wall hedonism on any given day of the week. The characters in Up for Air are raunchy and kinky and sweet and good, and they’re inspired by real people who are all those things.

That said, the storyline is somewhat personal. I met my husband at a bar on Sixth Street. I found lasting love in the midst of all that sex, drugs, and rock and roll. So the book, and the entire Lost in Austin series, is an homage to the subculture which made it all possible.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

I like to say that Up for Air is a great read for feminist romantics. It’s a romance novel that wanders outside the familiar tropes of the genre. The book explores nuanced emotions and relationships which push romantic and sexual boundaries. You get the sexy book boyfriend without the often-toxic personality traits of an alpha male. You get the erotic kink without dubious consent, promiscuity without slut-shaming. If that sounds like the book for you, then you’re going to love it.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

Ari is extremely curious, but also terrified of the world around her. She’s full of anxiety, but pushes past that to explore and challenge herself in her social and sexual adventure. As the narrator, she reveals this vulnerability to the reader while she takes us along for the ride. I think that the openness of her vulnerability makes her very likeable. Even when she makes decision that the reader doesn’t like, we’re still rooting for her and want to see her achieve her goals.

In the book, I draw a comparison between Ari and Angela Chase, the main character from the 1990s TV show My So-Called Life. And there are a lot of parallels between them in their shared desire to figure out who they are and what they want. However, Angela Chase was in high school, while Ari is 29. This is why I consider the book a new-adult story, because even though Ari is nearly 30, she’s having a pretty major coming-of-age identity crisis.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Oh, I love dream casting. I’m taking this question extremely seriously and doing tons of research. Here goes:

Ari is struggling with Depression and anxiety, and at the same time has an endearing spirit, an incredible smile, and an effusive laugh. That’s a lot to fold into one character, but I think Olivia Cooke could pull it off. She’s fantastic.

For Alex, when I was writing the brawny redheaded workingman character, I happened to be watching Outlander. So, basically, he’s Sam Heughan. To cast a 30-year-old Alex, I think Liam Hemsworth would be great in the role.

Greg has the classic-Hollywood handsomeness of Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun, so I looked for contemporary actors who have that same strong-jaw look. And Robbie Amell is absolutely the guy for the role.

Jake’s casting was easiest. Martin Sensmeier, a fantastic indigenous actor from Alaska,  has the perfect smile, scowl, and the rockstar presence for the role.

I describe Sheryl as “Rayanne Graff” of My So-Called Life and that’s how I imagine her. She’s petite with a personality ten-feet tall. I see Dominique Provost-Chalkley of Wynonna Earp as the spunky little roller derby dynamo.

Alex’s ex-girlfriend Nicole has a small part in Up for Air, but a leading role in Jake’s book The Road Home, so I’ll dream cast her too. She’s a roller derby diva, seems like a bitch, and intimidates the hell out of Ari, but she’s actually very sweet. I’d like to see Annie Murphy of Schitt’s Creek in the role. I think she could work magic with a complex part like Arson Nic.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

Yes. I’ve been writing since grade school. But it was only a way to get the images from my head down on paper. Since I can’t draw, I would write descriptions of what I’d see in my imagination. They were never stories though, just scenes.

It wasn’t until Up for Air that I wrote with a story in mind. And once I’d popped the cork off the bottle, I couldn’t seem to stop. While editing Up for Air, I found I wanted more time with Jake. So I wrote a second book, this one from Jake’s perspective. It’s called The Road Home and it comes out on August 5, 2021. I’m currently working on Greg’s book After the Storm, and that will complete the Lost in Austin trilogy. I also have a separate stand-alone sci-fi romance called The Legacy of Man, which is in second draft.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Connect with other writers. While writing is a (mostly) solitary endeavor, getting published and getting noticed are not. Join the various writers’ groups on Facebook and follow the hashtags #WritingCommunity and #WritersLift on Twitter. You can meet a lot of great people who are in the same place as you.

One of the reasons I haven’t gone completely bonkers with this book launch is because I’m part of a wonderfully supportive writers’ group on Facebook. It keeps me sane and smiling when someone else posts about their crippling Imposter Syndrome and we all reply with, “Oh my God, me too!”