What’s Up, Kylie? Round Three

Well, it’s another Tuesday and I’ve got another batch of questions from the comments section of my What’s Up, Kylie? blog from April 17th for Kylie to answer.  I know I had a blast reading Kylie’s responses to the questions—I hope you do, too!

  1. Kylie, which type of supernatural in your opinion would enjoy a hot dog the most?  [Question from Jenny H.]

C.C.:   Hmm.  Kylie, what do you think?  I know hot dogs probably aren’t the favorite food of all supernaturals but they are a definite favorite in my house, along with hamburgers, especially for grilling during the summer.  *My stomach starts to growl.* Sorry.  I didn’t have breakfast this morning and my stomach is about to start gnawing on my backbone if I don’t eat something.  And a grilled hot dog sounds pretty good right now . . . especially with some chopped onion and a little yellow mustard drizzled on top.  *I stand up and head across the office to the French doors that lead onto the patio.*  Kylie, why don’t you answer Jenny H.’s question while I fire up the grill?

Kylie:  Wait.  *Her eyes grow wide in disbelief* You’re leaving?  Like, now?  Right in the middle of the interview?  *Her voice rises an octave or two.*

C.C.:   *I glance back at her.*  Is there a problem?  I thought this would be an easy question for you to answer.

Kylie:  *She blushes.*  It is, but . . . *She mutters something under her breath and stares down at her lap.*

C.C.:  I’m sorry, but I didn’t catch that.

*She doesn’t look at me, but I get the message she’s sending loud and clear:  Kylie Galen may communicate with spirits, face down centuries-old rogue vampires and square off against pissed-off werewolves who threaten her pet without so much as batting an eyelash, but the thought of doing an interview alone terrifies her to her core.* 

*Ignoring the growl of my stomach, I sigh and walk back over to join her.*

C.C.:  Okay, so we’re talking hot dogs and supernaturals. *I settle back in my seat.*  Which group at Shadow Falls Academy do you think would enjoy a hot dog the most, Kylie?

Kylie:   Well . . .  *She sits up straighter.*  First, I should probably tell you who wouldn’t enjoy a hotdog, and that’s vampires.  What tastes good to them—and what tastes bad—changed after they were turned.  Food they used to love, like hot dogs, just aren’t appetizing any more.  Weres are the same, to a lesser degree.  Now, having said that, I think that witches probably would enjoy a hot dog the most.  *She grins.*  I know Miranda does, anyway.

  1. If you really had a choice would you change your powers that you have to another power or would you keep everything the way it is? I know that in the books so far you have mentioned that you want to be normal, but being what you are is unique. Why would you want to be normal when you can be unique and different from everyone else? I know it’s hard to be different from everyone and it’s hard to understand your powers, but what you are is what will make you in the future. 🙂  [Question from Jennaya from Australia]

C.C.:  Great question, Jennaya!  Kylie, what are your thoughts?

Kylie:  Okay, about my saying that I want to be normal, I really meant that when I said it.  It’s about fitting in, you know?  We all want to fit in.  Because, trust me, nobody wants to be the person that everybody is staring at in the dining hall.   

As for whether I’d want to change my powers for another one, that is kind of hard to answer.  Sometimes, I wish I could do the things the other supernaturals can do, like changing form the way Perry does or being able to calm someone’s fears like Derek and Holiday.  But my own powers are constantly changing, and I have to admit that they’re pretty cool.  Or they would be if I could ever figure out how to control them.

  1.  Kylie, what was going through your mind when you realized 2 hot guys Derek and Lucas liked you? You said you were an outcast at your old school so how did it make you feel?  [Question from Amara]

C.C.:  Oh, great question, Amara.  *I look over at Kylie.*  What do you think?

Kylie:   I know a lot of other girls think I’m lucky to have two guys as hot as Derek and Lucas interested in me.  But when I think about them, I don’t just think of them as being “hot,” ya know?  Well, not all the time, anyway.  I mean, Derek can be so sweet and you can forget all of your troubles when he’s holding you.

C.C.:  I thought you weren’t interested in Derek anymore?  *I flash my evil author smile at her.*

Kylie:  I’m not.  *She blushes a deep shade of crimson.*   Lucas is my boyfriend, and he’s great.  He always makes me feel cherished and protected.

C.C.:  So . . .

Kylie:  So, nothing.  They’re both great in their own ways, but I’m with Lucas now.  And as for feeling like an outcast when I was at my old school, it could be pretty horrible at times.  I never felt like I fitted in there, and I guess I really didn’t.  *She shakes her head and smiles.*  It’s kinda funny, though, because I still don’t fit in at Shadow Falls.  I mean, I still don’t even understand what I am.  I guess I’m just always going to be the outsider.  That said, I do feel as if Shadow Falls in my home.  It’s where I belong.

Okay, guys.  There you have it—a new round of Q&A with Kylie.  I’ll be bringing you the rest in the next few weeks.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

C.C.

 

Shadow Falls Camp

The Shadow Falls Camp is set in the Hill Country of Texas. I chose that as the setting because it is a very pretty part of Texas, and I live close enough that I go there as much as I can. I imagined the camp tucked into a hilly, heavily treed area with quaint cabins, and the Hill Country fit that image perfectly. It’s a place where Kylie and her friends can run through the trees, swim in the river and laze in the sun. And apparently, I’m not the only one who thought it was perfect for a summer camp. The Hill Country is peppered with summer camps for Texas children. But I grew up in Alabama, so I never got to go to camp in Texas, but I wish I had. So, as an author, I can revisit my youth and get another chance to go to that Texas camp. And if I need some inspiration for Kylie and her friends, all I have to do is zip up past Austin, and suddenly I’m there, in Shadow Falls.

But how important is the setting for a book? Are there certain settings that appeal to you more than others? Are you more likely to buy a book if you read it is set in a city? Small town? Maybe it is set someplace you have been, so you can identify with it a bit more, visualize it better. Or perhaps it is set someplace you know you’ll never go, like in an imaginary world. Does that make a difference? Tell me what your favorite setting for books are and why? Or if it doesn’t matter, I want to know that, too.

What’s Up, Kylie? Round Two

Happy Tuesday! Today, I’m pulling out three questions for Kylie from the comments section of my What’s Up, Kylie blog of April 17th. Hope you enjoy!

1. If Red would not have died, what would you have done? You were sort of sad when he died, and found out that he wasn’t all that evil. If he wouldn’t have died, would you have become his friend and welcomed him into your life, or would you have told him to leave you alone again, and stay away? [Winning question from Lilly G.]

C.C. Man, is this is good question. And it’s going to be a hard one for Kylie to answer, too. But let me see if I can channel Kylie and get the answer.

Kylie: You think this is a “good question?” Seriously?

C.C.: I do. Any question that makes you think, makes you dig deep for the answer is a good question.

Kylie: You sound just like Holiday. But, fine. I’ll try to answer the question. (She’s quiet for a long moment.) Okay, I think the answer would depend on Red/Roberto’s actions. For example, would he be willing to own up to his mistakes and accept the consequences of his actions? He saved my life, but he also killed two girls, and that’s not a small mistake, no matter how you look at it. But . . . (She falls silent for another long moment.) But my opinion of him changed a lot once I got to know him. Honestly? I feel sorry for him because I think his actions were caused by his grandfather and the upbringing Red was given. If he had lived, I don’t know that he and I could have ever become friends, per se, but I don’t think we would have been enemies, either.

2. Kylie, if you could go back in time to a mistake or a memory and change it, would you? And what would you make different? [Question from Missy]

C.C. Another good question! (I turn to Kylie.) Kylie, what do you think?

Kylie: (A glimmer of pain crosses Kylie’s face.) I wish I could have saved Ellie. (Her voice nearly cracks. Tears glisten at the corners of her eyes and she swipes her right hand at them and looks down at her lap.) I wish that more than anything, although . . . (She takes a deep breath.) I know that I couldn’t have changed things. I know that logically, I mean. (She raises her head.) There are some things that simply have to happen, and that was one of them. Still, in my heart, I wish I could have saved Ellie.

3. Since you’ve found out that you may be able to change your brain pattern, do you intend to attend all of the species groups to learn about each culture and their unique gifts? [Question from J.B.]

C.C. I know the answer to this one. (I smile at Kylie.)

Kylie: You know, I really hate it when you turn all writer-knows-all on me. It’s not fair. Plus, it’s kinda’ annoying.

C.C.: Sorry.

Kylie: Whatever. (She shrugs.) But back to J.B.’s question—which she directed to me, I might add . . .

C.C.: (My smile turns into a full-fledged grin. Doesn’t Kylie know that she’s a figment of my imagination? Probably not. Sometimes, I have hard time realizing it.)

Kylie: I plan to attend meetings for all of the species groups, to learn about their culture and their gifts . . . assuming they will all let me, that is. I would want to do that even if my brain pattern wasn’t changing all the time. It’s about respect and honoring their culture. But since I’m still trying to figure out where I fit, it’s even more important that I learn about the other species.

Okay, so there you go, three questions answered by a channeled Kylie, and some tense moments between an author and her character. LOL. Make sure you leave a comment. And if you have other questions, perhaps for me, C.C. or Kylie, just leave them in the comment section, and I’ll try to post them and the answers in a future blogs.

Winner

As promised, I randomly selected a winner from the correct answers from my May Day Contest. You had a lot of great guesses, but only a few of you came up with the correct answer, which was Monte Carlo, Monaco. That was the Monte Carlo Casino in the background, a casino featured in several James Bond movies.  So, the winner is Abigail. Abigail, please email me at cc(at)cchunterbooks(dot)com and let me know if you prefer and Amazon gift card or a copy of Taken at Dusk.

Instinct

Ellie James is my very special guest blogger today.  Ellie writes the Midnight Dragonfly books that follow the life of a 16-year-old psychic. Her latest book Broken Illusions is being released today, and it is fantastic.

Sometimes it’s a whisper, that quiet voice inside you when you see someone for the first time. Eyes meet—or they don’t—and something inside you shifts. You’re either immediately drawn, or immediately repelled. Maybe you’re not even consciously aware of the sensation. Maybe you write it off to something that happened earlier that day, to being tired or sad or a thousand other things.

Other times it’s more of a shout, a fierce, urgent voice from somewhere unseen, screaming for you to shove your way across the room before someone walks away—or insisting that whatever you do, you stay exactly where you are. That you don’t cross the room. You don’t walk through the door. You don’t step into the darkness.

And yet, whether the knowing comes through a whisper or a shout (or somewhere in between) the source is the same: instinct. It’s hard-wired in us. Our senses are constantly working in concert, like the most amazingly well-rehearsed symphony, often behind the scenes, to guide us in the right direction, to make the right decisions. It’s the mother who knows when her baby is sick or hungry, and the teen who knows which stranger is going to lead to big trouble. The key is listening. Hearing. Trusting. Often this means ignoring conventional wisdom or logic, advice or what appears to be fact. This is how our ancestors survived, how they knew when to seek shelter or stand their ground, when to go for the kill or run for their lives.

In many ways, instinct is the soundtrack of our lives. In movies or television, music provides the prompt. You can close your eyes and simply listen, and the music tells you when to be afraid, when to run, when to melt.

Unfortunately, in real life we don’t get the pounding percussions (at least not usually!) when we meet someone who is trouble, or the rich, swelling melodies when we meet someone of a whole different kind of trouble! But we know all the same. We know. Maybe the warning comes through a quick chill or a warm rush, a sharp twist of the stomach or a tightening of the throat. Those are all cues—instinct—every bit as much as music in movies. And yet, sometimes we ignore or suppress, pretend it’s not happening, because we don’t like what it’s telling us. We want to trust that incredibly charismatic stranger, or to be part of the “in” crowd. We want to walk into that room or take that chance.

We don’t want our instinct to be true.

The same is true with writing. You have the perfect plot. You’ve slaved over every action and reaction, sweated every twist and hammered out every detail. You know exactly what needs to happen, and why. And yet, once the words hit the page, something…happens. Maybe it’s the whisper. Maybe the shout. Regardless of the form, your inner knowledge it trying to communicate: something is wrong.

Over the years my muse has become increasingly vicious with me. Typically as I’m tired and racing toward a deadline, I try to ignore the whispers. However, rather on the tenacious side, she gets more aggressive, spewing cold through me with little messages that claw at my gut. Foolishly I lean on Tums, dark chocolate, and wine to silence what I don’t want to hear. But with time (and great pain) here is what I’ve come to realize. We know. All of us. Even when we don’t want to, even when we don’t understand why, we know when things are right, and when they’re wrong. We know when to rush forward or regroup, when to retreat or recreate.

With the book I just turned in, the third in my Midnight Dragonfly series, I had a new character painted one way, but he totally needed to be someone else. I tried to convince myself he was fine the way he was, but my muse did her cruel, evil, vicious thing, and ultimately it became in my better interest to change the character, versus ignore what instinct was trying to tell me. And now that he’s fixed, wow, not only do I love him, but he won’t stop whispering his story into my ear!

The key, I’ve learned, is remembering that whether instinct whispers or shouts, the message is the same: Listen up, or you’ll be sorry!

About Ellie James

Ellie James is the author of the Midnight Dragonfly books, a new series about a teenage psychic, dreams that terrify, and secrets with the power to heal, and destroy. Most people who know Ellie think she’s your nice, ordinary average wife and mom of two kids. They see someone who does all that normal stuff, like grocery shopping, walking the dogs, going to baseball games, and somehow always forgetting to get the house cleaned and laundry done.

What they don’t know is that more often than, Ellie is somewhere far, far away, in an extraordinary world, deeply embroiled in solving a riddle or puzzle or crime, testing the limits of possibility, exploring the unexplained, and holding her breath while two people fall in love.

Regardless of which world Ellie is in, her story worlds or the real world, she loves rain and wind and thunder and lightning, the first warm kiss of spring and the first cool whisper of fall, family, friends and animals, dreams, happy endings, and…chocolate chip cookies.

You can follow Ellie on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Midnight-Dragonfly-Books-by-Ellie-James/154988421236309.

Her next book, Broken Illusions, is available from Griffin Teen as of today.

May Day Contest!

Happy May 1st, a day known in many parts of the world as May Day. On this day in Great Britain there are festivals with dancing around a May pole. In Ireland May Day goes back to pagan times when it was known as Beltane. In Sweden it is celebrated as International Workers Day. In France it is customary to give your loved one a sprig of lily of the valley in return for a kiss. So, you see, it is celebrated internationally. Which brings me to my next point. I have a photo of Taken at Dusk snapped by one of my readers someplace in the world. You have to guess the CITY in which it was taken. But the world is a big place, so of course I am going to give you some clues to help. This city is located in a country that still has a real live prince, who recently married his princess. (How’s that for romantic?) It is also home of a famous car race and a casino featured in several James Bond movies.

Email your answers to me at cc(at)cchunterbooks(dot)com. I will randomly select a winner from the entries with the correct answer. The winner will receive either a $10 gift card to Amazon, or a copy of Taken at Dusk, and be announced on my blog in two weeks. In addition, I want to see your photos of Taken at Dusk snapped in different or creative locations. So come on, use your brain and figure out where my photo was taken and share your own photo of Taken at Dusk. I’ll post some of them on my blog.

And because we’re talking international, I’m opening this contest internationally.

Unanswered Questions

FYI: Since so many of you had some really great questions for Kylie, I have decided to let Kylie answer a few of them on upcoming blogs. So watch for them!