Hopkinson, Christina 1969-

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Hopkinson, Christina 1969-

PERSONAL:

Born August, 1969; married; children: two. Education: Graduate of Oxford University.

ADDRESSES:

Home—London, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, novelist, journalist, book designer, and editor. Worked as a designer of Spanish educational books, as Web site editor for the Evening Standard, and as a staff member at Carlton Television. Guest on radio programs, including Woman's Hour, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio 4.

WRITINGS:

The Usborne History of the Twentieth Century, Usborne (London, England), 1993.

Izobel Brannigan.com, Piatkus (London, England), 2004, published as Cyber Cinderella, 5 Spot (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to newspapers and periodicals, including Telegraph (London), Guardian (London), Grazia, Red Magazine, Hello!, and Junior Pregnancy & Baby.

SIDELIGHTS:

"Like my heroine, Izobel Brannigan, I'm an ordinary woman with delusions of glamour," remarked novelist Christina Hopkinson on the Hachette Book Group USA Web site. An author and journalist, Hopkinson has worked in magazine publishing as well as in online publishing during its initial boom times. The idea for her first novel came to her during a boring Friday afternoon, she stated, while engaging in an activity common to many office dwellers with an online connection and a bit of free time. While using the search engine Google to look up friends and family members, she wondered what it would be like to discover an anonymous Web site devoted to herself, created and maintained by a mysterious admirer. Cyber Cinderella, published in England as Izobel Brannigan.com, evolved from this speculation.

In Cyber Cinderella, Izobel is a thirty-year-old London woman whose life is less than inspiring. She dislikes her boring job at the public relations firm PR O'create, and her boyfriend, George, is bland and unexciting. During an online search session, however, she discovers a Web site dedicated to her. The site accurately details Izobel's work, her social habits, and other aspects of her life. Worse, the Izobel Brannigan described online seems to be having a better life than the real-life version. Surprised and curious, Izobel cannot decide if she should be flattered or frightened by the existence of izobelbrannigan.com. She begins scouring her friends, coworkers, old boyfriends, and acquaintances for possible culprits. To help find her cyber-stalker, Izobel gets aid from company tech master Ivan Jaffy. As Ivan helps Izobel learn the technical side of the Web, she discovers a charming, artistic side to the geeky tech. Soon, Izobel realizes that she must add Ivan to the list of possible stalkers, even as her newfound technical know-how leads her toward new love and a change for the better.

A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Hopkinson's novel is "charmingly British," with much British slang and references that will be more meaningful to English audiences. However, the same reviewer observed that the many "dilemmas Izobel faces in this techie romp are universal and will certainly resonate with U.S. readers." Booklist reviewer Aleksandra Kostovski concluded: "Part romance, part mystery, part modern comedy—this novel has a lot to recommend it" to readers of "chick lit" and contemporary women's fiction.

For Hopkinson, her writing career coincided with a happy marriage and starting a family. "Life feels unnervingly good—for me, being in my twenties sucked and I've got happier as I've got older," she stated on the Hachette Book Group USA Web site. "I've finally left behind that feeling of striving to become some impossible version of yourself. I think that was what I was trying to convey in Izobel's journey throughout Cyber Cinderella."

When asked what first got her interested in writing, Hopkinson told CA: "Reading and lots of it. I'm one of those people who'll avidly read the back of a shampoo bottle if there's nothing else to hand.

"As a journalist, I have to read the newspapers each day and I find my mind constantly strays into ‘what if’ territory while doing so. It's these ‘what ifs’ that form the kernel of ideas for longer stories."

When asked about her writing process, Hopkinson said: "When I'm into a book, I'm a zealous, thousand-words-a-day woman. If I waited for inspiration, I'd be waiting a long time. I'm inherently lazy and the Internet is a constant distraction. For my next book, I'm determined to take myself off to a library so as to stop my fingers from wandering over to the www section of my keyboard."

When asked the most surprising thing she has learned as a writer, Hopkinson said, "That it's both more and less easy than I thought to write a book. I talked and thought about it for years and when I just sat down and got stuck in, it almost wrote itself. That said, I'm struggling to follow it up … "

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August 1, 2006, Aleksandra Kostovski, review of Cyber Cinderella, p. 41.

Publishers Weekly, June 19, 2006, review of Cyber Cinderella, p. 42.

ONLINE

Armchair Interviews,http://www.armchairinterviews.com/ (June 14, 2007), Jamie Driggers, review of Cyber Cinderella.

Christina Hopkinson Home Page,http://www.christinahopkinson.com (June 14, 2007).

Hatchette Book Group USA Web site,http://www.hachettebookgroupusa.com/ (June 14, 2007), biography of Christina Hopkinson.

Reader Views,http://www.readerviews.com/ (June 14, 2007), Tammy Petty Conrad, review of Cyber Cinderella.

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