How long have you been writing?
I have enjoyed writing since I was a little girl. When I was elementary age, a poem I wrote was published in a children’s magazine. My favorite subjects in school were English and creative writing and I was a reporter and editorial cartoonist for the school newspaper in high school and college.
What did you do before you became an author? If you are not writing full-time, what other work do you do?
I was a print and broadcast journalist, a public affairs officer in the U.S. Air Force in active duty and Reserve, a civilian marketing director for the Air Force Reserve, and the communications coordinator for a school district. Since 2013, I serve as director of a college readiness program that supports underrepresented middle school and high school students.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
My favorite thing about being a writer is talking to young readers about my stories. I enjoy answering their questions, listening to their thoughts, getting their honest feedback, and seeing the smiles on their faces or the twinkle of curiosity and wonder in their eyes. It’s magical and it’s an honor to be able to write for them.
What inspired you to write this book?
My latest book, Keep Dancing, tells the story of a boy named Lito who is afraid to perform a Filipino folkdance at his school because the boys might make fun of him. It is inspired by my experience watching a Filipino folkdance group practicing in my grandparents’ garage when I was growing up in the Philippines. Through this story, I hope to inspire young readers to follow their heart, pursue their interests, and be proud of who they are.
What type of book are you writing?
I write picture books, fiction and nonfiction chapter books, middle grade novels, and graphic novels. After writing Keep Dancing, which is an early chapter book, I’ve been working on a picture book, a middle grade novel, and a series.
What would you like potential readers to know about your book?
I want to let readers know they are not alone, that they and their stories, experiences, feelings, hopes, and fears matter. I hope Keep Dancing allows them to see themselves, feel acknowledged, and encouraged and empowered to be who they are.
What are your social media handles?
I’m on Twitter @Cristinawriteon and Instagram @kickbuttwriter.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself!
English is not my native language. I speak Tagalog, Spanish, and French and learned Russian in college. I’m learning Korean and I would like to learn Japanese.