Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Christina: I started writing poems and short stories when I was four years old. It wasn’t until I was much older, however, that I started to have specific influences. I remember discovering Joyce Carol Oates in middle school and she became a huge influence for me. In college, I read the work of Carson McCullers and Flannery O’Connor, both of which led me to explore my interest in the Southern Gothic, and in graduate school, I found Angela Carter, whose collection The Bloody Chamber continues to be my biggest influence.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Christina: As mentioned above, Angela Carter’s work with re-imagined fairy tales is a huge influence for me. It’s really what set me on the path of studying, unpacking, and rewriting fairy tales and mythology from a feminist perspective. Another big influence for me these days is Shirley Jackson, who, to me, is the Queen of Horror.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Christina: I’ve been telling everyone who would listen since I was about five years old that I was going to be a writer. There was never another dream career for me. However, I don’t think I realized what exactly being a professional writer meant until I was in graduate school and began to submit my work for publication. Then I learned how persistent I would have to be in order to meet my goals as a writer.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Christina: The support of friends and peers have helped the most with my writing. A lot of my friends are artists and often read early versions of stories and projects. This is a huge help and I always appreciate my beta readers.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & have any travels away from home influence your work?
Christina: Places often inspire my writing. I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and have lived in the city for seven years now. A lot of my stories are set in the spookier settings in my hometown, like Laurel Hill Cemetery and Eastern State Penitentiary. New Orleans, Savannah, Cape Cod, and Hallstatt, Austria are a few places I’ve traveled to that have inspired me as well (all of which have their own spooky sites). In fact, my forthcoming full length short story collection Creole Conjure (Maudlin House, October 2021) is set in New Orleans, and blends mythology and fairy tales with Louisiana folklore. I first visited the city in 2015, and started writing the first story in the collection as soon as I returned home to Philadelphia. The energy and the magic of New Orleans was undeniable to me.
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Christina: It’s difficult to say what is my most meaningful work to date because everytime I’m engrossed in a project I think it’s significant and each project offers fresh challenges. I recently submitted the final edits for Creole Conjure, so that feels like a huge feat since it is my first full length book. However, if I have to choose one project, I would say She is a Beast, my debut chapbook that was published by APEP Publications in May 2020. It was my first book and it was released toward the beginning of the pandemic. It was a very emotional experience and ultimately has been really rewarding getting to see people holding my book in their hands, whether in person or virtually. So many folks supported this book and A Novel Idea on Passyunk, the independent bookstore my husband and I own, this past year and a half, and I have so much gratitude for that.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Christina: I’m truly terrible at relaxing. But I love reading, spending time with my husband and our dog, Atticus Finch, doing yoga, hiking, binge watching TV, and baking.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/song/writing of yours or others?
Christina: In The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, one of the protagonists, Mick while listening to music, thinks, “The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen.”
Q9: Any forthcoming or recent projects that you’d like to promote?
Christina: As I’ve mentioned, my first full length collection Creole Conjure is set to be released on October 31, 2021 by Maudlin House. A Novel Idea on Passyunk will host the book launch on Saturday, October 30th (the verdict is still out whether it will be in person or virtual). Pre-orders should be starting soon! You can stay up to date by following me on social media or signing up for my newsletter at http://Christina-rosso.com
Bookstore website: www.anovelideaphilly.com