Inside Unspoken

Thanksgiving-960x640Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope you will all take a little time this holiday to be thankful for what you have. Shadow Falls Camp is planning a very special celebration with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and numerous pints of blood. Hey, vampires have to eat, too! Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by your family and loved ones.

Many of you seemed to like the interview I posted last week, so I thought I’d post one more this week. This interview originally posted along with a review of Unspoken on October 26, 2015 on Fiktshun.

1. In 25 words or less, what can readers expect from Unspoken?

A wild ride of action, suspense, and love that’ll tug at your heart strings. A story of forgiveness, and unlikely friendships that’ll make you laugh.

2. What has been your favorite part about writing the Shadow Falls: After Dark series/Della Tsang’s stories?

It’s Della.  Her sassiness, her spunk, her spark.  Okay, you know we all have a little smarta$$ inside of us.  And when I write her, I get to bring my inner Della out and let it party.  My husband calls it “Dellatude.”  She’s loyal, she’ll always have your back, but she’s not the girlfriend, you ask, “Do these jeans make my butt look big?”  Because that girl tells the truth, even when a white lie would have been much more appreciated. Writing her has been . .. as my grandmother would say, “a hoot and half.”  Writing this little spitfire has taught me that sometimes it’s okay to speak your mind.

3. Across both Shadow Falls series, who has been your favorite character to write (and why are they a favorite)? And who has been your most challenging character (and what were the challenges)?

Okay, I admit it.  I love Burnett.  He’s a grumpy, macho, sexy vampire.  He drives Della crazy by being so over protective.  But let me tell you, if he wasn’t in love with Holiday, I’d steal him.  His character has slowly evolved in all the books.  As a matter of fact, in Fierce, a novella included in  Almost Midnight,  out Feb. 2nd, you’ll discover a little more about his past and the reason he is the way he is.  Now Fierce isn’t Burnett’s story, but rather a story of another character that was a challenge to write.  But Fredericka Lakota demanded her own story.  I mean she  bugged me until I finally just cratered.  She wasn’t even a likely candidate, or even a likable character.  She was Kylie’s nemesis —someone everyone wanted to root against.  Yet, even archenemies have stories.  Some of them, like Fredericka, even deserve to be redeemed.  I never thought I’d find myself rooting for her, but boy howdy, when I learned her story, she got under my skin and into my heart.

4. If you had to pick one scene, or one moment, from Unspoken that was your favorite, what would it be?

That would be when Della and her father finally have their “talk.”  There have been times when writing this series, I seriously considered killing Della’s dad.  He was so hurtful to Della and it broke her heart and mine.  But she loved that man wouldn’t let me whack him.

5. Della and Chase have a rather… shall we say… complicated relationship. What do you think the biggest obstacles are for them to have a happily ever after? And, as the author, are you rooting for them or are you maybe rooting for the other boy in Della’s life?

Chase came into Della’s life under false pretenses—for good reason, but no one likes to be lied to. And Della, well, I don’t know if my readers have noticed, but she’s not exactly quick to forgive.  If Chase is gonna win her back, he’s gotta put up with some crap.  And Della knows how to dish that out in big scoopfuls.  Now as for who I’m rooting for…Whoever Della chooses.  But I can tell you this,in the Shadow Falls series, Della loves two guys—both are wonderful, caring and deserving of her love.  One of them is a better choice.  It’s not an easy choice.  But in good fiction and in life, choosing the right path, and the right person, is never easy.

6. Throughout both series, Della has had some great lines. What are your top three favorites? And has there been anything she said that made you shake your head and say, “Oh no!”?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be writing dialogue and think… Della, you can’t say that!  But she’d say it, so I was required to write it.

* From Reborn—Della defending that women can do anything guys can do to Burnett: “I will respect the authority, when the authority respects me!  And that includes my breasts!”  However, in Unspoken, she’s really tired of having to defend this issue and she puts it in another more direct way.  “Oh, please,” Della said.“Excuse me while I go and grow a penis so the sausage-and-meatball-toting gender will stop thinking I need a man to protect me.”

*  From Unspoken –Della telling a crouching man holding his boys.  “Sorry,” Della said.  “I think I’m allergic to perverts.  I get involuntary knee jerks.”

*  From Unspoken—Della’s dialogue to Miranda and Kylie when they walk in on a heated conversation between Della and Chase.  “I’m going to bed.  I don’t want to commiserate.  I don’t want a diet soda.  I don’t want to explain why it feels like the awkward fairy just came down here and pissed all over the room.”

7. I understand that UNSPOKEN is the final full-length book in this series. Are there any plans for another spin-off series about one of the other Shadow Falls characters? Or are there plans for any new novellas?

Well, I told you about Fierce and Fredericka’s story.  Right now, I’m working on Miranda’s book. The readers have already gotten into Miranda’s head in Spellbinder.  Throughout the series they have watched Miranda come into her own powers and overcome a lot of issues.  In this last book, Miranda’s newfound powers will be tested.  And she’ll have to make a decision between Perry and Shawn.   And because this is the last book about Shadow Falls, all my characters will graduate.

8. When ending a series what is the thing you miss most about it, what is the hardest thing for you to say goodbye to?

Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.  I’ve been with these characters for over five years.   They have made me cry, laugh and inspired me.  Yes, inspired me to change to grow.  I know that sounds crazy, because I wrote them.  But when you write a character, you give them the best of you and then you can learn from how they handle the crisis that you also toss their way.

*****

If you could have me write another Shadow Falls book after I finish Miranda’s book, which character would you like it to be about?

 

Inside Scoop on CC Hunter

November 5, 2015, Fresh Fiction posted this interview with me. In case you missed it there, I thought you might like to read it here. Lots of good Della information!

1.) I love Della Tsang and her determination and loyalty, despite her parents (particularly her father) turning their backs on her. Which scene was the most difficult one for you to write? And conversely, which one was the most fun?

The hardest scene to write was the scene where Della finally confronts her father.  I’m not gonna lie to you, there have been times I seriously plotted to kill that man.  He hurt Della and that hurt me.  But Della wouldn’t let me whack him.  She loved him.  She was loyal to him, even when he never offered her an ounce of love in return.  But people make mistakes, and when we love them, those mistakes, even the bad ones, can be forgiven.  The fun scenes were always those where I got to let Della’s sassy side come out and party.  Those round table diet coke discussions that Kylie and Miranda and her held we’re so much fun.  Those scenes were all inspired by some of my lunches with good friends.  When you are around good friends, you can say what you think, what you feel, and you can laugh about life’s hardest hurdles. As my grandmother used to say, “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”

2.) Unspoken dives headfirst into family and boyfriend drama as Della is caught in the middle of a lot of intense situations. Did you know where the Shadow Falls: After Dark series was headed when you first started writing the series, or did Della, Steve, Chase and the other characters surprise you?

Did I know what was going to happen?  Heck no!  That would be too easy.  I always choose to write the hard way.  And while it might be harder, it’s the only way I can write.  If I know what’s going to happen in a story, it’s boring for me.  Writing, my way, is like telling myself a story.  I want to discover what happens as I put words on the paper.  It’s what keeps me writing, and keeps me intrigued.  I’ll be honest, when I sold Shadow Falls: After Dark, I sold it on the synopsis of, “I’ll write three Della books.”  I didn’t have clue where it was headed or what was going move this series forward. I knew it was going to be about her accepting change.  About her learning to trust again.  About her proving to the world and herself that she wasn’t really a monster.

3.) Shadow Falls has now been featured in two loosely connected series and I’ve grown to love the safe haven it represents for teenagers with paranormal abilities. Have we seen the last of Shadow Falls, the F. R. U., and the Vampire Council?

Don’t say that, you’ll make me cry!  Right now, I’m working Miranda’s book.  I think it will be a standalone, but it will be a doozy. I will never say never, but for right now, it’s the last book on the schedule for Shadow Falls.  However, on February 2nd, Almost Midnight will be released.  This is an anthology of all my previously published E-novellas.  However, it has one new novella in it, Fierce.  I think most of my fans will be surprised to learn the protagonist is Fredericka Lakota.  She had been knocking on my mind for a while demanding her story be told.  She’s wasn’t a likely candidate, frankly she wasn’t all that likeable in most of the books.  But she turned out to be a character that pulled at my heartstrings and I think my fans will root for her.

4.) You write in two very different genres, as your Christie Craig books are very different from your C.C. Hunter books. How difficult is it transitioning between the two and do you have any tricks to get yourself into the right mindset for the stories?

It would be easier to tell you that I wear red slippers when I write paranormal and yellow slippers when I write humorous romantic suspense. But that’s not the truth.  I’ve always considered myself a character driven writer.  So it’s the characters, their world, their perspective and their paradigm that drives a story. If there’s a trick, it’s all about getting under a characters skin and knowing what’s important to them.  And that changes with every character.  So I don’t see it as much as a transition in writing, or even in my writing voice. You’ll find humor and suspense in all my books. You’ll find love, friendship, and sexual tension in all my books.  The level of sexual tension and maybe the humor may be higher in my Christie Craig books, but it’s still there in my young adult books.  And because the Shadow Falls series is paranormal, they always have magic.  But it’s all just me just getting into my characters, leaving my world behind, finding entertainment in another place, and hoping to entertain others.

5.) I always love knowing what authors, books, or even musical artists have influenced a writer. Who are some of the authors or other artists that have influenced you?

I love all kinds of music.  But I can’t listen to it when I write.  Song lyrics throw me out of my zone and story. But when I am listening to music,  I want it to have a story.  And sometimes I run across a song that feels as if someone wrote it for my series.  Natasha Bedingfield’s video Unwritten is one song that really seems to relate to my characters, especially Kylie and Della. I swear she has read my series.

6.) I love your success story as you have overcome obstacles, such as dyslexia, to become a very prolific and well-loved author. Any tips you have for young adults who are struggling with their own challenges?

Never give up.  Never!  Keep learning.  Always.  Read.  A lot.  Writing isn’t for wimps.  You have to be able to take rejection and while we must love what we do, we can’t love what we do so much that we won’t change it.  Don’t fall in love with your words, fall in love with your story and your writing.  It’s a process that may take time.  Lots of time.  I wrote for ten years before I published my first book.  I wrote for thirteen more years before I sold my second book.  I’m not here because I was naturally talented, I’m here because I didn’t give up.  Work with other writers to help each other get your story as perfect as you can. Take classes.  Read how-to books. Never lose your passion for the art.  If you lose it, it shows.

7.) While I’m thrilled to see all the various story threads of the Shadow Falls: After Dark trilogy coming to fruition, I must admit I’m also more than a little sad that we’ve reached the end of the series. Any hints as to what you have in store for us in the future?

Let me go and look into my magic ball. LOL.  I had another paranormal series planned, but because the paranormal genre isn’t kicking butt right now, I might be moving over to young adult contemporary.  Maybe one with a little mystery like my Christie Craig books.  Or if by the time I’m finished with Miranda’s book, the trend swings back toward paranormal, I might still write that series.  I’m open.  I will continue to write my adult humorous romances.

 

Be My Guest

This week I have a special treat for you. My friend Teri Thackston, who writes YA as T. Lynn Odom agreed to answer a few questions about her The Jaguar Princess Rules series. All three of her books, Never Pick on a Jaguar Princess, Never Ambush a Jaguar Princess and Never Break the Heart of a Jaguar Princess are all available at Amazon.

OdomFifteen year-old Juli Perry is new at Onca Lake High School. That’s tough enough without being unexpectedly orphaned, moving to the old family farm…and growing new freckles that aren’t really freckles. Juli has to adjust to more than she expected. You see, Juli is a shapeshifter—and not just any old shape-shifter. She’s a jaguar princess.

 

 

 

 

41NBzjU2l8L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_High school freshman Juli Perry is proud to have made the track team in spite of the bullying tactics of the Track Pack. She’s happy to have best friends, at last, as well as a real boyfriend for the first time in her life. Best of all, she’s learning to manage all the gifts that come with her newfound identity. But someone in the Onca Lake shapeshifter community doesn’t appreciate Juli’s abilities. Someone wants to bring her down.

 

 

 

 

41tho-EJwPL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Juli hasn’t been this happy in a long time. She’s dating the guy of her dreams and he’s teaching her to embrace her jaguar side. She’s making more friends than she’s ever had before. But not everything is perfect, and she can’t blame her latest problems on the Track Pack. Actually, those bullies are suffering too—and it might be Juli’s fault. And when her heart is broken…well, things are going to get a lot rougher for everyone involved.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Teri.

First of all, where are you from?

I was born and raised in Southeast Texas. My family goes back to before the Texas Revolution, including one of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred”, a travelling preacher who sermonized in outlaw camps and a WWI hero among others. I guess that’s where I get my love of history, adventure and heroism.

How long have you been writing?

Short stories for long as I can remember, but I wrote my first “novel” when I was 11. My dad borrowed a typewriter from his office for me to type my creation—a spy novel that curiously resembled an episode of the TV series “Get Smart”.
Where did your love of books come from?

Definitely from my mother. She’s always been an avid reader and she has quite a collection of romance and suspense novels. Gothic romances were all the rage when I was a pre-teen, so I got a heavy dose of those elements early on. And, thank God, she also bought every Alistair MacLean book, so I got a taste of adventure stories, too.

Where is your favorite place to write and why?

I have two spots where I do most of my writing – my very messy office for focused-leave-me-alone writing (no music allowed unless I really need inspiration) and parked on the living room sofa for spell-checks or looking for repetative words and phrases (mycharacters tend to nod their heads and smile a lot—gotta watch that)  with Swing or Rock-n-Roll playing.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I love to write a spooky ghost story, an action-packed suspense or an adventurous western historical—all with a healthy dose of romance mixed in. Whether for young adult, tweens or “grown-up” readers, I focus on one book at a time for first drafts then I make a schedule that allows me to juggle books. That helps the stories hold my interest and lets me look at my work with fresh eyes every couple of months.
What are some day jobs that you have held?

I’ve worked outside the home for most of my life. I’ve been a chicken-fryer, sales clerk, computer operator and application programmer. Currently, I’m the policy and procedure writer for a deathcare firm—it’s a fascinating business and it’s sparking all sorts of story ideas.

What is your most recent release?

I have a 3-book YA paranormal series about a shapeshifting teenager who just found out what she is. Attending a new school is tough enough, but discovering she’s part of shapeshifter royalty threatens to really mess up her life. The series starts with “Never Pick on a Jaguar Princess”, followed by “Never Ambush a Jaguar Princess” and “Never Break the Heart of a Jaguar Princess”. I published them under my pen name of T. Lynn Odom and they’re available only on Amazon right now, but I’d be interested in hearing if anyone would like to see them for sale elsewhere.

What is the hardest part of writing?

That silly sagging middle. I usually have a beginning and ending in mind when I start a story, but the in-between often challenges me. I really have to work on getting from A to Z in ways that keep things interesting as well as move the story forward.

What are your current projects?

I have 3 projects in various stages right now. A three-book young adult science fiction series that features the element of hard light (think Green Lantern if he was a teenager), a humorous sci-fi screenplay a la “Sharktopus” and a paranormal romance featuring on of my favorite elements—a haunted house. I hope to publish the YA sci-fi trilogy in early 2016.

What other artistic pusuits do you indulge in?

Does pulling weeds count as an artistic pursuit? I do a lot of it! But I do enjoy working in a little “park” area we created in our front yard. A four-foot hedge surrounds it, looking clean and manicured from the outside but deliciously woodland-like on the inside. We have a bench, a stepping-stone path, some concrete animals peeking from under the shrubs and a sundial, all of which creates a lovely setting for daydreaming.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself. Try different genres…you might discover you really enjoy a type of writing that you never considered doing. I found that to be true with Young Adult, and I’m so glad I tried it!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I deeply appreciate all the support you’ve given me—the kind words of encouragement keep me going in this difficult but wonderful, unbearable but rewarding career.

You can find out more about Teri Thackston/T. Lynn Odom at http://www.terithackston.com/home.

Winners!

Last week’s winners of Born to Read t-shirts are Vanessa Schmidgall and Faith Russell. Please send your mailing address and your t-shirt size to cc@cchunterbooks.com. Congratulations!

 

 

 

Giveaway!

Unspoken_revised (1)It’s hard to believe Unspoken has been out a week. I had a wonderful turnout by fans at a signing at Katy Budget Books. Romantic Times Book Reviews made Unspoken a Top Pick, giving it a 4 1/2 star review. Other great reviews have been rolling in, too. By now many of you have read Unspoken, so you’ll recognize these quotes. But these are some of my favorites from Unspoken.

“Oh, please,” Della said. “Excuse me while I go and grow a penis so the sausage-and-meatball-toting gender will stop thinking I need a man to protect me.”  (You know, she embarrasses me saying things like this!)

Considering his age, Della might have suspected he’d died of natural causes. But there was nothing natural about the knife sticking out of his back.  (Don’t you love the way her mind works?)

“Sometimes when the heart breaks, it doesn’t know what it wants and it doesn’t recognize the difference between the truth and a lie.”  (Kylie always did have a way with words.)

“Here.” Burnett handed Chase a cup. “It’s for you. My personal breakfast blend. O negative with some B positive.”  (Puts a whole new meaning to breakfast blend, doesn’t it?)

Giveaway!

374 (1)This week, I’m giving away two Born to Read t-shirts to two people who leave their favorite quote in the comment section. It doesn’t have to be from Unspoken, it can be from any of my Shadow Falls books.