Interview with Callie Kingston Author of Undertow

Posted by on Feb 23, 2012 in Books | 42 comments


Please welcome author Callie Kingston!


Callie’s home is in the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with an assortment of furry creatures (husband included). She has a master’s degree in Psychology. When not writing or working, she likes to explore the outdoors, especially the forests and beaches along the Oregon coast. Callie also enjoys a great cup of cappuccino, which happily is easily found in her part of the world.

Plus Callie has a beautiful new YA book:



Marissa is nearly eighteen and can’t wait to leave behind her traumatic past. With long time boyfriend Drake, she thinks she has her future all figured out–until she discovers his betrayal. She flees to a desolate beach on the wild Oregon coast hoping to escape her pain, where, overcome with emotional and physical exhaustion, she dozes off beside a log. When the first icy waves strike her, it is too late: a rogue wave drags her out to sea.
Somehow she survives, and now each night she dreams of a creature who rescues her. Determined to discover the truth, her obsession deepens until she once again risks her life in the frigid ocean. Will the creature Marissa seeks save her? Will she be lost forever in the eddies of her mind, or will Jim, her new boyfriend, keep her from drowning in the abyss?

Time passed in slow-mo, as if some twisted deity wanted to prolong Marissa’s torment as long as possible. She was numb, like a soldier in the war, right after rolling his Humvee over a roadside bomb. Shell shock, her history teacher had called it. Unlike the soldier’s, her limbs were intact, but they seem gripped by some other girl, one whose brain still functioned. She walked to the car and put her suitcase in the back. Her possessed arms calmly shut the Honda’s hatch.

Marissa’s body was passively transported to the driver’s side. Her mind acquired a peculiar clarity as her hands clutched the steering wheel. With new resolve, she turned the key in the ignition. Slowly backed out of the carport. Kept her eyes glued to the rear view mirror. Don’t look to the side, a stern voice in her mind ordered. He’ll be standing there, and you won’t have the strength to leave. Just get out of here. Go!”


Callie, I am always interested in where authors write—do you have a designated spot for writing?

When I first started writing, I wanted to keep my new aspirations a secret. That meant I had notebooks and loose leaf paper stashed everywhere—the glove box (which becomes a scene in Undertow), my bedside cabinet, even the bathroom! Now that I’ve come out of the closet and started drafting on computer, my favorite spot is propped in my bed. Huge Douglas fir trees fill my window view and reflect off the dresser mirror, and I feel like I’m in the forest. But I still keep a notebook in the car for when I have a few minutes at lunch. Then I’ll go park near the library grounds or stop in a quiet restaurant. The one place I never write—my work office. I’m way too busy anyway.


I love the beautiful, west coast setting of Undertow (and the cover is perfect!)—did you listen to music while you wrote, and if so, what songs do you feel represents Marissa’s story or the setting?

Like many Oregonians, I’m a transplant who fell in love with the incredible beauty of the coastline and forests. Much of what I left on the cutting floor were scenes describing lush landscapes and environmental issues affecting the state. Most of Undertow was written without music, because the family was asleep, or I was in a hotel room, in the car, etc. But I can see the movie in my head and hear the soundtrack:


All the Go Between – Silversun Pickups

Map of the Problematic – Muse

Brick by Boring Brick – Paramore

Help I’m Alive – Metric

Jezebel – Iron & Wine

New Soul – Yael Naim

Reasons to Love You – Meiko

**Listen to Callie’s playlist here!



What do you do when you feel stalled in your writing process?

There were a few weeks I stalled while writing Undertow, mostly because my life is overloaded with obligations. But when I’m not writing, I feel bereft. Humans have an innate drive to create, and for me, writing is the ultimate form of expression. Usually if I stall, it’s because everything else is crowding out the space. A walk (especially in the woods) allows my brain to de-clutter and opens the conduit for ideas to flow. Much of Undertow was written in my mind before I sat down and recorded the scenes. Finally, if truly stuck, it’s often anxiety. Will this be good enough? Nah, it might suck. But it’s a start: just pick up a pen and start writing.


Thank you Callie!

Undertow is available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.

Check out the entire Undertow blog tour here:


One Kindle copy of Undertow will be given away at each stop. Everyone who comments throughout the tour will be entered into Callie’s grand prize giveaway to take place on her blog at the end of the tour.  So click on the Blog tour image above and check out the tour & prizes!

As always I love to hear from you!  Feel free to say HI to Callie in the comments.

Also, Callie’s Undertow playlist is very cool and since I often write while listening to music, I am curious–as writers or readers, What are your thoughts on music and playlists for books?





  1. Hi Callie, your book sounds wonderful. I’m always interested in where other writers do their writing. I try to hide when I write, wherever I can get some peace:) Thanks for this interview Coleen. I love being introduced to new authors and their books!

    • Hi Kara,

      Glad to hear I’m not the only closet writer :-) Thanks for stopping by, and thank you Coleen, for hosting me on your beautiful blog.


  2. What a great playlist! Very dreamy music. :-) Looking forward to reading the book!

    • Thanks Emily. I hope you enjoy the book as much as the playlist,


  3. The book sounds very interesting, and I love the cover! I don’t know many of those songs, but now I’m curious and will have to listen to them. I don’t really have playlists…okay, I plain don’t. LOL. I’m not sure why. So many authors seem to do that. I loved it when Jodi Picoult included the CD with her book .That was awesome, and it was really neat to listen to the music while I read the book. But…it’s not something I do.

    • Hi April,

      This is the first time I’ve thought about a playlist. Now that I’ve created one, though, it’s amazing how listening to those songs will call up a certain scene. I’ll probably still write in silence, however.


  4. Callie that’s a fun playlist. I’ve never done that with my writing. I love the idea of writing in the trees. Gotta love the mirror for helping with that. Thanks Coleen for the interview and introducing me to a new writer.

    • Thanks Stacy. I do think that’s one of the things I enjoy the most, the feel of writing in a tree house.


  5. If my husband’s around watching TV, headphones are a must! While I don’t usually have a specific playlist for writing, I do usuaaly have an album or two that lend themselves to a given book. Undertow sounds like a cool story – thanks for a fun interview!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: Fight Club – in Dayton!My Profile

    • Yes, Jennette, husbands can be quite noisy. So are my beagles. Headphones sound like a great idea,


  6. Thanks Callie and Coleen. It’s so much fun hearing more about writers and Callie’s book sounds wonderful. I used to live close to a white water beach with black sand which sounds like a similar setting to the story. Can’t wait to read it!

    • Oooh, that beach sounds lovely. I do enjoy the sounds of the ocean, especially near the rocky coastline. Hope you enjoy the book,


  7. Great interview and advice. I think I will take a walk this morning….Congrats on your book!

  8. I highly recommend walks. Half my writing is done with a beagle on the other end of the leash I’m holding.


  9. Looks like a very interesting read! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Susanna,

      Thank you for stopping by for my interview. I hope you enjoy Undertow.


  10. I’m intrigued! Thanks for the interview Coleen and Callie =)
    inluvwithwords recently posted..Getting Well, Joining the Campaign, and Sharing the LoveMy Profile

  11. The book sounds very intriguing. Lovely to meet you Callie! Thank you for hosting and interviewing her Coleen. What a treat. :) Sounds like the kind of thing I could really sink my teeth into. Good luck with the book launch!
    Debra Kristi recently posted..Movies, Me and Row80 Check-insMy Profile

    • Thanks Debra, it’s great to meet you also. I appreciate your well-wishes. And Coleen was just awesome to spend time with me talking about my writing process.


  12. So cool! I have seen this book around the blogosphere. It sounds awesome! And I love the cover! Also love that Callie has a masters in psychology! I am working on a minor in psy and I love it! So much fun! Can’t wait to read her book!

  13. Coleen, thanks for introducing me to a new author. Callie, I’m intrigued with your book! The cover also draws you in immediately. Will have to check i out. Good luck with your blog tours and promotion!

    • Thanks Patricia. It’s nice to meet a new reader, too :-)


  14. The books sounds amazing! Congratulations! Thanks for sharing a bit of your story with us.

  15. I love the sound of the story Callie. I also like music to help tell me the story or setting. It sets a mood for a scene. I’ve driven up the coast of Oregon and it is just beautiful. What an interesting setting for your character. Thanks for sharing this and thank you Coleen for the interview! :)
    Karen McFarland recently posted..Fire Fall—A Marvel of Nature!My Profile

  16. Hey Callie and Coleen, great interview! The tidbits definitely made me want to grab the book for my Kindle!

  17. Great interview! I love your question about where she writes…and Kingston’s answer. :) She’s so right—creativity is innate and too many people ignore or squelch it.

    • Hi August,

      I do feel like I’m scratching down snippets of ideas everywhere I can. Glad I’m not the only one ;-)


  18. i love the cover of this book. it’s enough to make me pick up the book and look at it. and the excerpt is great.

    • Thank you, Louise. The cover did turn out just exactly as I’d envisioned Marissa’s struggle. I’m glad you enjoy it, and that you stopped by for the interview,


  19. Oooooh, sounds like a great book! I love your interview questions and especially the playlist. I like to listen to music when I write and those are some great songs.

    Thanks for introducing me to Callie!

    • Hi Tameri, nice to meet you here! Coleen did come up with some fabulous questions, and it was such fun to spend time here at her blog.


  20. This sounds like a wonderful book. The cover is awesome. I’ll have to put this on my list.

    • Hi Kathi,

      Thank you for the compliments on the cover, and I do hope you enjoy Undertow.


  21. I have a manuscript entitled Undertow, but yours sounds better, Callie. Love the cover!

    Thanks for ths interview, Coleen.

    • Hi Pat,

      Well, it’s a great title, don’t you think? And apparently there are many, many other authors who thought of it as well. There are some eighty or so books on Amazon titled Undertow, a fact I did not notice until my book was published. But I wouldn’t have changed the title regardless.


  22. I don’t know if Callie already does, but if you do not I totally think your next story should have a forest setting. You write in your bedroom and you get entranced into a forest-y vibe because of your trees and you love to clear your head by walking in the woods. It would be quite fitting! :)

    I can’t wait to start this book! It might actually be the first book I review on my still non-existent but soon to be existent blog!

    (Entering for the grand prize, not an e-book as I have one already)

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