Friday 31 August 2012


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is C.J. Redwine. I was born in California, but I now live in Nashville, Tennessee.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a writer, a teacher, a singer, a dragon tamer, and a princess who rode fire-breathing unicorns. I later decided being a singer was unrealistic. 

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
DEFIANCE was a rare bird. It took me two and half months to write, went out on submission for a week, and then sold at auction. BUT before DEFIANCE, there is a long road of trial and error, books that didn’t garner me an agent, and then after I had an agent, books that went out on submission and didn’t sell. I just kept writing and writing and writing.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I’m a mother to four kids. That’s a full time job in and of itself.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
DEFIANCE: Post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure with romance, swords, and a girl determined to get revenge.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
My UK publisher is Atom Books.

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
Nope. I just open a new document and start writing the next book.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
That depends on the book. My beginnings usually take me a while, but once I get locked into the world of the story and am sure of the voice, I usually write fairly fast.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Hmm.  Well, time-wise, DEFIANCE was the easiest, but I pushed myself to go really deep emotionally with the characters so the emotional cost of writing it was high. Worth it, but high.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
DEFIANCE is a trilogy, so you can expect books two and three in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

What genre would you place your books into?
I write Young Adult speculative fiction. That covers the range between dystopian, fantasy, and sci-fi.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I love how wide open the YA genre is. Any idea is possible as long as it’s well written. And I’m drawn to the intensity of exploring first love, first loss, and first step over the threshold into adulthood.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Music is a huge part of my writing process. I build playlists for each book I write, and I have to listen to that playlist whenever I write. I can write anywhere as long as I don’t have a steady stream of interruptions from my kids! 

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I have a team of critique partners whom I trust to call me out on any errors, any places where I haven’t made things clear, or to push me to do better. Then, it’s off to my editor who pushes me even harder to make the book the best it can be.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
No. That way lies insanity. Truly. I am so excited to have readers interact with my characters and make the story their own, but part of letting them make it their own is allowing a free discourse on opinions and reactions. Reviews are a way for other readers to decide if the book is something they want to try. There’s no reason for me to be a part of that process, and I don’t want my creative mojo to be influenced (or derailed) by the things I read about myself. I’m much better served ignoring reviews and focusing on writing the next book instead.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Never. I strongly believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion about a book. Any piece of art—music, books, movies—are a unique experience we filter through the lens of our own life experiences, preferences, and biases. To jump in and tell someone their experience with my book was wrong and I want them to change it damages the integrity of the entire process. But again, this is another reason why I don’t read reviews. 

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Titles! Oh, man. I am usually so bad at choosing titles. DEFIANCE was originally THE COURIER’S DAUGHTER. My publisher worked with me to change it. It took weeks of brainstorming and listing words that really captured the heart of the book.
As for the cover, I have to give credit to the amazing team at Balzer+Bray for absolutely breath-taking cover they designed for me. It’s stunning and far eclipses anything I could’ve done on my own.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The plot and characters come to me long before a title ever does.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Sometimes, a character just appears with a name already attached. Sometimes I get to know the character’s personality and agenda first, and then head to a baby names site and look until I find one that perfectly fits that character.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Actually, in my writing process, I don’t decide character traits at all. My characters appear in my head (usually long before their book/world/plot does) and slowly make themselves known in bits and pieces. As I get to know them, I start to understand how they approach life and why.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?  
I figure out the basic structure first—I know the event that propels my characters into conflict and the major events that are game changers in that conflict. The rest just happens organically as I write.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?
I think if you look at the books that have sold like gangbusters, you find books that captured both our hearts and our imaginations. Lush, sweeping worldbuilding, characters we care deeply about, and stakes that keep us flipping pages because we’re so afraid our characters won’t get their happily ever after.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
If I’m “blocked,” it’s either because I haven’t taken time to feed myself creatively, or it’s because I’ve done something wrong in the scene I just wrote and my brain won’t let me move on until I fix it. I take time to figure out which one is the problem and then address it.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
I love them all. Really. I have a Nook, and shelves full of both paperback and hardback. I read it ALL.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
The Harry Potter series. I do re-read them. I love seeing how Rowling builds a world that feels at once familiar and so magically different from ours. And I love the masterful plot arcs that span seven books without ever once losing momentum. Amazing.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I read all the time as a child, and I wrote stories from second grade on. I didn’t actually commit to finishing a manuscript and pursuing publication until I was thirty, though. I had three little boys at the time and a crazy hectic life and kept waiting for life to slow down and become more conducive to writing. But then I was diagnosed with cancer, and by the time I was declared to be in remission, I’d realized that life is short and there’s never a perfect time to chase your dreams. You either go after them, or you watch them turn to dust.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
I can’t pick just one. I adored Tolkien, Lewis, and Montgomery above the rest, though.  

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Keep writing. No matter what. It’s what will carry you through rejections, what will teach you craft, and what will finally help you reach your dreams. 2. Be kind to others. Support other writers. Lose any sense of entitlement you might have and sow seeds of kindness instead. 3. Grow a thick skin and work like a ditch digger.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Since I have many talented writer friends whom I could already have dinner with, I’m going to choose three. I will probably never have the honour of meeting: J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Stephen King.

Where can readers follow you?

Your web site? From there readers can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

No comments:

Post a Comment