I’m Glad You Asked

A few weeks ago I asked you to leave some questions you’d like me to answer in the comment section. Well, you came up with some doozies.  So, periodically, I will answer some of them here on my blog. Here are the first ones.

Bn100 asked: What’s your favorite part of a signing?

AL6I love meeting my fans. Everyone has a story about my books, how it made them feel, who their favorite character is, even how my books helped them in some way. It’s a very humbling feeling to know that something I wrote had an impact on people.  Now, my least favorite thing about signing is . . . signing.  I’m always so nervous about misspelling people’s names or even my name.  Being dyslexic, I’m famous for misspelling and just down right goofing up when a pen’s in my hand.

 

 

 

 

Taryn asked: Do you know the release date for Miranda’s novella and Unbreakable? (Jennifer also wanted to know the release date for Miranda’s novel.)

UnbreakableUnbreakable came out Sept. 30, 2014, so you could have read it already.  Miranda’s novel should be out toward the end of 2016. I’m thinking late October, but I don’t have an exact release date yet. As soon as I do, I’ll let you know on my blog.

Also from Taryn: When did you get the idea for Shadow Falls, did it just come to you randomly?

I’ve told this story a time or two. Guess it’s one of those things everyone wants to know. I was actually writing romantic suspense novels under my real name Christie Craig (still do!), when an editor from St. Martins contacted me. She liked my voice and thought my smart a$$ sense of humor would translate well to Young Adult novels. So, she asked me if I would like to try my hand at writing a YA series. The thought of switching genres scared me to death! And it was actually because I was afraid that I became determined to try it.  She even had an idea for one: a paranormal camp. That was all she said. So I went home and my imagination took off. Suddenly, Shadow Falls Camp and all those characters were born.

Emma asked: My question as an author is how do you come up with the bad guys? It’s so easy for me to make characters to love and I even tend to turn mean characters into lovable ones. I struggle to make an evil character because I want to redeem them, however I know there needs to be a villain so any advice with that?

Hmm…bad guys, huh? Well, as you said you have to have antagonists in your novel, the ones who thwart the hero/heroine at every turn, or it would be a pretty boring read. I know we’ve all encountered bad people in our lives, I know I have. So, when I create an antagonist, I draw on those people I’ve met, but I may have to borrow a bit from several, then ramp it up a bit.  I do try to create antagonists who are multi-dimensional. Even Darth Vader wasn’t all bad, we glimpsed that little bit of good in him before he died. So, when I create a bad guy, I usually have a whole history for them in my head, and I may only show my readers a small part of him or her in my book. And like you, I sometimes have a hard time not “redeeming” them.  Take Fredericka, for example, she was the bane of Kylie’s existence, a real bully. But there’s more to her than meets the eye, and her backstory kept nagging at me. That’s why I chose to write a novella about her to include in Almost Midnight (out Feb. 2, 2016).  Oh, and you remember Red, right?  He was all bad, but then I couldn’t help it, at the end I redeemed him, too.  Oh, he still died, but he was still redeemed.

I guess my advice is that not everyone is all bad, and I think it’s okay to show this.  And no, we probably shouldn’t redeem them all, because there is a price for our mistakes and we need to show that, too.  Good luck!!

Thank you all for your questions.

I’ll try to answer all of your questions in time–including all of them on a Shadow Falls TV/movie. But if you can think of any more questions you’d like me (or maybe one of my characters) to answer write it in the comments below.

Merry Christmas!

MerryI just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! I hope you spend the holidays surrounded by those you love.

 

 

 

Recently, I asked you to give my characters middle names, and you did a wonderful job. I loved all of your choices. So, I thought you’d find an interview I did for Aanchal interesting.  I talk about naming my characters among other things.

1. How do you come up with the names for the characters in your books?

I’m terrible at picking names.  My editor even send me a book on naming your baby. I’ll look at on my book shelf and see an author’s name and bam, I’ve got my new name.

At one time, I was considering naming Della, Ashley. Kylie was Caroline. Miranda was Elizabeth. Lucas was Hunter.  Then, I realized that was my last name. I named Steve, and I shouldn’t have, because my own husband’s name is Steve.  Now when fans claim to be Steve fans, my hubby gets a big smile on his face.

See, I really am bad with names.

2. Who do you think is the most complex character in Eternal?

Hmm, very difficult question.  I think it’s a toss-up between three characters: Della, Burnett and Chase. Della because she’s a mix of sass and heart.  Burnett because he’s so firm, yet cares so deeply. And Chase because he’s still a mystery to me.

3. If you could co-author a book with any author who would it be?

Hmm, Jennifer Armentrout or Kelly Armstrong.

4. What is the one quote that inspires you above all others?

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”  Henry Ford

5. What song would be the perfect theme song for Eternal?

I looked for Della’s song, and I think the one that best tells Della’s story is Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger.

Do you think this song fits Della? Do you have any other suggestions for Della’s song?

 

Overcoming Obstacles

I wrote the following piece for Parade magazine a while ago. Not everyone knows I’m dyslexic. I’ve never made a secret of it, but I don’t want it to define me either. Everyone has something they need to overcome. Some people lack self-confidence, others are afraid to speak in public or perhaps they have a physical disability. The list goes on. But if you want something badly enough, you can keep on trying to overcome whatever it is that is holding you back. You may or may not ever overcome it, but sometimes it’s not just about overcoming something, it’s about how you face it.  I will always be dyslexic, there is no cure, but not only have I learned to compensate for it, I’ve improved.  Oh, I still make plenty of mistakes, but I don’t let that stop me.  A lot of people thought I was crazy when I decided to become a writer. That’s like someone with acrophobia deciding to become a paratrooper. Amazingly, struggling with dyslexia also taught me perseverance.  It took years, lots of writing classes, and learning new ways to cope every day, but I finally fulfilled my dream of making a living by writing.  It was not even a dream I had growing up, but I think that is when the small seed was planted all those years ago.

Letters. Words. Books. Everyone understood them, I didn’t. They called me learning impaired.  Later, I would be labeled dyslexic.  Books intimated me, but being southern, stories intrigued me. So, after school, I would head to the woods by our house, make a bed of pine straw and tell myself stories.  But in fourth grade a teacher put a book a in my hands and was determined I would read it.  So I took that book to the woods with me.

Charlotte's WebThe stories I told myself were real life, about real people.  This book was about a pig and a big gray spider.  But after a few pages, that pig and that spider were as real to me as any human.  It took me forever, but I read every page.  Charlotte’s Web was the first “big” book I’d ever completed.  Wilbur’s struggle to survive and the friendship that bonded these different characters inspired me.  Charlotte’s perseverance to save Wilbur from an untimely death had me longing for a friend so loyal.  And when she died, I sobbed and grieved.  E. B. White taught me an important lesson of how far one could take the imagination and how emotion can bring life to any character.

It was because of Charlotte’s Web that I picked up another.  That book helped me become the writer I am today. Looking back, I see similarities in my Shadow Fall series to the lessons E.B White portrayed in Charlotte’s Web: friends can come in all different shapes, sizes and even supernatural species, and loyalty between friends can heal any wound.

Now, I’d like to hear about an obstacle or problem you have had to overcome or learn to live with. Let me know in the comments below.

Winner!

Last week, I asked you to give my characters middle names, and you all did a great job. I loved the names. So, it was hard to pick a winner, so it was a totally random pick. The winner is Amanda. Congratulations! Please send your mailing address to cc@cchunterbooks.com, and I’ll get your prize out to you.

 

Della On Della

Della originally agreed (and by agree I mean I had to twist her arm) to do this interview for Swoony Boys Podcast. But I thought if you missed it there, you might like reading it here. She’s developed such an attitude!

Let’s start with a hard question. There aren’t a lot of people who have experienced a situation similar to yours. But if there were someone who was dealing with what you’ve been through, what advice would you give them?

You do know I’m only doing this because C.C. insists, right?  She also informed me that I have to be polite.  The thing is, I’m sort of polite-impaired. Kylie and Miranda, they do polite.  But I’ll give it a shot.  By situation, I’m assuming you mean everything.  How one day my life was a certain way, all my ducks in a row, and then bam, someone came in and yanked all their heads and feet off and left duck parts floating around everywhere.  Yup, everything changed.  I didn’t like change.  To be honest, I’m still not best friends with it.  But the thing is, sometimes good stuff comes out of change, even really sucky change. Oh, it can still knock you on your a$$, but as Kylie says, “It’s not about how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you get up.”  So I’ll steal that from Kylie and say it would be my advice.  No matter what happens, or how hard something hits you, just always get back up.

What are your biggest fears?

Me, afraid?  Haven’t you heard?  I’m vampire.  I’m not afraid of anything.  Unless it’s about people I care about.  Then well, yeah, maybe I’m tad bit afraid.  Caring about people is not only scary but it makes you vulnerable.  But the other option, being a b with an itch and pushing everyone away, it’s lonely and can make you one miserable piece of work. So I guess my biggest fear is losing someone I love, or having something bad happen to them.

What’s your spirit animal?

That sounds like a question Miranda would ask? I don’t care too much for spirits.  I mean, after my dead neighbor and my dead aunt hung around, if I don’t see another spirit, I’d be happy.  But you’re talking about animals and which one I relate to, right?  I’ll bet you think I’m gonna say bat because I’m vampire.  But please . . . the whole vampire/bat connection is blown out of proportion.  But I kind of like cats. They are independent and sly.  They can purr all sweet like, but when the need arises, they can bring out their claws.

Describe yourself in three words.

Well, someone asked C.C. this question recently and she said, “smart, sassy, and stubborn.”  I mean, two of them fit me, but one . . .  Personally, sometimes that woman worries me.  I think she just likes words that start with s.  Because I’m not that smart!

Let’s shift to Chase. What’s your favorite thing about him?

Have you seen him with his shirt off?  But that’s not my favorite thing.  He can make me laugh. He gets me. Even when I’m mad at him, he’s so darn charming.  But if you tell him I said that, I’ll just say you lied.

We know some about the bad situations you’ve been through with Chase, but we want to hear some of the good. What’s your best memory of him?

Remember when he was teaching me to drive his car and I got pulled over by that cop?  Chase didn’t blink.  He changed seats with me and took the blame and got the ticket.  I would have gotten in so much trouble with my dad if I’d gotten that ticket.  It’s really nice to know that someone has your back.  Not that I really need anyone to have my back, but it’s still nice to know.

That leads us to the next question. Let’s talk trust. You run with a tight circle. What does it take for you trust someone? And once someone has earned your trust, what does that mean to you?

It’s kind of hard to trust people when you can tell when they are lying.  Ka-thump, ka-thump.  There’s a sound a lying heart makes and I loathe hearing it.  It’s also hard to trust people when others have let you down.  But now, I’ve overcome a lot of my issues.  Okay, I’ll admit it, it probably still takes me a little longer to trust people than others.  But is that really a bad thing?  I mean the opposite of being distrustful is being gullible.  Who wants to be that?

But what does it mean when I do trust someone?  I guess it means I like him/her.  And if I like you, then I guess it means you are one of us.  I hate to use the word ‘pack’ because it’s so werewolf related, but it’s a good word.  And hey…not everything were related is bad.

Okay, last question. Since we’re all about the swoon here at Swoony Boys Podcast, we have to ask.  What is it about Chase that makes him swoony?

Have you not read the books?  Everything about Chase is swoon worthy.  His green eyes, his sexy grin, his abs, how he fits in his jeans.  When he kisses me, it’s like everything disappears.  It’s like I’m the only thing in the world he cares about.  And he knows exactly how to move his lips against mine.  He knows when a girl wants to be kissed a little harder, or when a soft brushing of a guy’s lips is just enough.

Oh, and he’s this tough guy on the outside, but there’s still this softer side to him. There’s the side of Chase who still misses his family. The side who loves Baxter, his dog. I sometimes think he might love that dog more than me.  But I don’t care, I kinda like Baxter, too.

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Do you have a question you’d like to ask Della? If so, what would you ask?

Contest

I’ve been asked about my characters’ middle names several times. Actually, I’ve only given Della a middle name and it’s Rose. So, I thought it would be fun to have a contest to give Kylie, Miranda, Lucas, Derek, Burnett and Holiday middle names. What do you think their middle names should be? I’ll give a prize to the winner and announce their name in next week’s blog.

Let’s Get Personal

Amanda Van Zandt asked me a few questions for her blog, and they are actually questions I’m frequently asked in emails and in person. So, I thought I’d share them with you.

What keeps you motivated?

Sometimes it’s the deadlines.  Knowing I have to get it in.  Sometimes it’s the art of storytelling.  When I write something that surprises me, I get excited.  Also reading emailing from my fans gives me a good kick in the pants.

What is your source for inspiration?

I find inspiration in a love of things.  People I know who have encouraged me.  My grandmother was always encouraging me.  I also love inspirational sayings. I have them all over my desk.  i.e. Every long journey begins with single step.

What inspired you to write?

Growing up, I never felt as if I was really good at anything.  I had friends who were good at sports, others who were great at music and were in the band.  I didn’t have a thing.  Being dyslexic, reading wasn’t even my thing.  My favorite pastime was to go off somewhere and make up stories.  I never realized that creating stories was my thing.  When I was twenty-three and realized that I was actually good at doing it, it felt so good to realize I had a thing, too. I became almost obsessed at writing stories and creating characters.  I love what I do.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I’ve written published 30 books.  And they all have come from different places.  Sometimes I open the door to my closet of a mind and just reach in for something.  It might be a newspaper article I once read, or it could be a story someone told me.  Or it might be the day I watched the garbage man look into my neighbor’s trash can and appear shocked.  And I think I’ll bet there’s a body in that can. My Shadow Falls series actually came from my editor.  She had an idea she wanted a writer to write about. She told me, paranormal camp.  That was all she said.  So I got busy trying to figure out who my lead character was and what kind of supernatural she was.

Did you know the ending before you were finished?

No, I’m what you call a pantser.  Meaning, I write by the seat of my pants.  I might kind of know what’s going to happen, but not all the details.To me the fun of writing is discovering what happens.

Did you get some of the characters from personal experience?

Yes.  Miranda in my Shadow Falls series, is dyslexic.  Kylie is shy and insecure like I was.

Is anything that happened in one of your books based on something in your life?

I really think that when I write, I’m plagiarizing from my own life.  Kylie’s parents got a divorce when she was sixteen and so did my parents.  Kylie’s friend thought she was pregnant and I had a friend that it happened, too.  Sometimes I borrow bits and pieces of my experiences to help me write scenes.  For example, I’ve never seen a bloody, rogue vampire, like Kylie has, but once when I was working at a Pizza restaurant, I was held up by a guy with a knife. So when I wrote the scene that Kylie was so afraid of the vampire I just remembered how afraid I was that time I had a knife held at me.

How do you deal with rejection (from publishers, readers, reviews)?

I have thousands of rejections.  Sometimes I think that dyslexia helped me deal with rejection. Being dyslexic I learned that it was okay to fail and I just had to try again.  So, if someone didn’t like my book, or my short story, I would just go write another one.  One way I recommend other writers deal with rejection is to hang out with positive people.

Did you have any problems when you were writing your book?

Every writer has problems.  It takes a long time to learn to craft a story. I wrote ten years before I published my first book. Sometimes I would think my story wasn’t good, but I would just give myself a day to rest and then I would go back to writing.

Were you interested in writing as a teenager?

No, like I said earlier, I didn’t think I could be a writer, because I had so much trouble spelling and other problems with the dyslexia.  But I still told myself stories in my head.

H. Abrams observes how a novel can reflect on the world, the author, and the audience. How do you think your novel is impacted by the world, yourself (the author), and the intended audience?

When I sit down to write, my only goal is to entertain.  That’s what a book is supposed to do.  However, in every book a character has issues that they must overcome.  And I get emails all the time from readers, who tell me how reading about my characters, who have to deal with issues like being shy, and insecure, and having family issues, has helped the see that they are not alone.  Books can inspire us, give us hope, give us courage, and teach us how to face troubles.

Your Questions?

Okay, I’ve posted several interviews I’ve had in my last few blogs. Hopefully, you now know a bit more about my books and about me. But do you want to know anything about my characters? If you could ask any question of any of my characters, what would you ask?  I’ll try to answer some of your questions in future blogs.