Kling, Christine

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KLING, Christine

PERSONAL: Born in Missoula, MT; children: one son. Education: Florida International University, M.F.A.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Random House, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

CAREER: Seawoman, writer, and teacher. Worked variously as a bookstore clerk, deckhand, boat cook, windsurfing instructor, and charter boat operator. Broward County school system, Fort Lauderdale, FL, coordinator of magnet programs.


Surface Tension, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Cross Current, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to periodicals, including Cruising World, Motor Boating and Sailing, and Tiller and the Pen.

SIDELIGHTS: Christine Kling is a writer whose experiences and life on the water well qualify her to write for boating magazines and to plot her books around the marine industry. Kling was born in Montana but grew up in Southern California, where she learned to pilot. She spent a year in France as a foreign exchange student and was enrolled in many California colleges before completing her degree. She had always loved writing and published stories of her adventures, including those about her thousand-mile bicycle trip down the Baja California highway and crewing on a sailboat that traveled the South Pacific and to New Zealand.

Kling and her former husband spent three years building a fifty-five-foot sailing yacht that they then took through the Panama Canal to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. There they began a charter service, taking guests about the islands for two years before returning to the States and settling in Florida. They lived with their son on the waterways and canals around Fort Lauderdale from his birth in 1984 until 1993, when they again traveled to the Caribbean. They remained for two years, and while there Kling began to write her first novel. Soon after their return to Florida, the couple divorced, and Kling took a position as a teacher with the school system and completed Surface Tensions.

The novel features Seychelle Sullivan, the skipper of the salvage boat Gorda, operating on the New River in Fort Lauderdale. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that Kling "is surefooted whenever she's on deck or navigating Route A1A." Seychelle runs a towing and salvage operation she inherited from her father with her two brothers, both of whom, like her, were named after islands. One, however, wants her to sell the business so that he can pay his gambling debts. Years earlier, as a teen, Seychelle had a chance to save a life and did not respond, a decision that haunts her each time she answers a call from a distressed ship. When she receives a Mayday from Top Ten, the yacht skippered by her former boyfriend Neal Garret, she boards the drifting vessel, but finds only the body of a dead woman.

Saychelle becomes a suspect, and her cottage is ransacked and her savings stolen. The yacht's owners are not who they seem to be, and as she tries to unravel the death and Neal's disappearance, she stumbles into a world of murder, vice, and the criminal underbelly of South Florida.

Booklist's Carrie Bissey noted the book's "nautical detail, interesting characters … [and] well-tangled plot." A Publishers Weekly reviewer who called the novel a "strong suspense debut," wrote that Seychelle "is one of the genre's more unusual amateur sleuths, and Kling makes her one of its more endearing ones as well."



Booklist, September 1, 2002, Carrie Bissey, review of Surface Tension, p. 63.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2002, review of Surface Tension, p. 1268.

Publishers Weekly, September 9, 2002, review of Surface Tension, p. 39.


Christine Kling Home Page,http://www.christinekling.com (June 8, 2003).*