Friday, September 27, 2013

Feature Friday: C.J. Redwine



C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, lemon bars, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband, four kids, two cats, and one long-suffering dog. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at http://cjredwine.blogspot.com/



Interview: 

A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

C.J.:
Write fearlessly. Your skills won't be up to par with your taste yet, but the only way to close that gap is to write without restraint. Don't worry about trends or the market or what you think you should be doing. Write to discover YOUR voice and to hone that into something good enough to be published.

Also, don't be in a hurry to be published. Pay your dues. Work hard until you've come to the point where your craft is good enough to make others in the field sit up and take notice.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

C.J.:
Just one??? Ack! I don't think I can pick just one. I have many favorites from various points in my life. For example, in elementary school my favorite books were the Chronicles of Narnia. They simply transported me to places that no other books could do. It was like C.S. Lewis reached down into my imagination and blew the doors clean off of it.

In middle school and high school, I loved anything by Terry Brooks or J.R.R. Tolkien. Again, it was their ability to completely lift me out of my world and set me down somewhere else. I really wanted to believe in magic and in the ability of flawed but good-intentioned characters to save the day against almost overwhelming odds.

As an adult, the series I keep going back to is Harry Potter. (though my favorites shelf also includes books by Rae Carson, Emily Murdoch, Myra McEntire, Jodi Meadows, Katie McGarry, and Barry Lyga) Not to beat a dead theme, or anything, but again HP just completely captivated my imagination. I could sink into Rowling's world and be fully encompassed. I still re-read the series ever few years, and I'm one of the fans who watches the movies every time ABC Family does an HP weekend even though I own 2 copies of each movie. (One regular, one extended cut with commentary. Yeah, baby.)

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Deception?

C.J.:
Deception is the next phase in the saga of Rachel and Logan. I realized about halfway through writing Defiance that there was no way I could fit all of the plot into one book. I kept discovering layers upon layers. I sat down to write a synopsis and realized that instead of writing a stand alone, I was writing a trilogy. Deception is a story of how the survivors of Baalboden's destruction survive against all that is levied against them, but it's also the story of how the seeds of treason, corruption, and greed planted years ago have given birth to something terrible.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Deception?  What were they and how did you fix them?

C.J.:
Yes. So many snags. It took me 5 1/2 drafts to get Deception right. The plot itself didn't change, but the arrangement did as did the pacing. It was exhausting and frustrating to keep rewriting only to miss the mark, but I just put my head down and did the work. I'm grateful I have an editor who knows how to push me to get the best work out of me.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Deception is your favorite and why?

C.J.:
I don't have one single favorite, and of course I love both Rachel and Logan, but the secondary characters of Quinn, Willow, Ian, and Sylph really grabbed my heart for various reasons. Mostly because this time around, I got to spend more time with my secondary characters, letting their voices into my head and learning their stories. I have to say that of all of them, Willow is my scene stealer. That girl outshines everyone when she enters a scene. Even a scene with twenty other characters. There's just something about her outspoken honesty and slightly aggressive attitude (okay, more than slightly aggressive!) that just swings the spotlight onto her.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

C.J.:
I've been writing for most of my life, but I didn't start seriously pursuing publication until I turned thirty. I signed with my agent in 2009 but it took me two more years (and two more completed manuscripts) to sell a book. Sometimes I felt like the poster child for the girl who couldn't sell a book to save her life, but I did what I always do: I put my head down and kept working.

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

C.J.:
I'm beginning work on two new series. One is high fantasy loosely based on fairy tales (and inspired by how incredibly disappointed I was with Snow White and the Huntsman. Don't even get me started.). The other is a contemporary urban fantasy that can best be described as Percy Jackson meets Supernatural. I'm not sure which one will sell, but as soon as one of them does, I'll put all of my attention on it.

A.L.:
What's your favorite of Johnny Depp's movies?

C.J.:
Ooh, good question! I love so many of them (Benny & Joon and The Secret Window being top faves) but I have to say the movie that I can watch over and over again without ever tiring of it is Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Johnny hadn't done much that was super commercial before then, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but Captain Jack Sparrow stole my heart.

A.L.:
Can we see your favorite pair of stilettos? 

C.J.:
Sure! Here's the pair I purchased as a present to myself when I sold Defiance: http://www.angryyoungandpoor.com/store/pc/catalog/products/shoes/ifl0767us.jpg

A.L.:
Why did you choose to write YA fantasy instead of another YA genre?

C.J.:
As soon as I learned how to read, I would visit the library and check out piles of Grimm's fairy tale books. I made occasional detours into Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Black Stallion, but most of my reading time was spent on fairy tales and then later on Narnia and Middle Earth. I don't watch chick flicks. I watch sci fi, fantasy, and comic book movies. I cosplayed Harry Potter premieres. I swear allegiance to shows like Supernatural and Fringe. My imagination isn't satisfied unless I'm creating new worlds or pushing hard at the boundaries of this one. I want magic and shiny new technology and wizards and for the love of Aslan, I want a wardrobe that will let me into another world. I actually tried to write non-fantasy once. I was miserable. Every single idea that comes into my head includes monsters and magic and worlds that look nothing like the one outside my window.

The Giveaway:
C.J. is willing to offer the entrant's choice of a paperback of Defiance or hardback of Deception anywhere in the US or Canada.

Defiance:  Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

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Buy on Amazon.
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Deception:  Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.



But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.


In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight.

Read Goodreads reviews.
Buy on Amazon.
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How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the arrow buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). I will contact the winner via email. This contest is open to US and Canadian entrants only.


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