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Friday, October 18, 2013

Slayers 2 Blog Tour

I love the books of this woman!! She is funny and energetic in her writing and in person. She is a fantastic author and her newest book is coming out now. It's worth a look, go check it out!

CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.) Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.) Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother. CJ Hill was her mother's pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published. Her mother wrote a few children's books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.
(Most writers' first novels aren't publishable. CJ Junior's first novel wasn't, but somehow was published anyway. Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness. This was another good reason to use a pen name.)
CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble. She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes.

She was kind enough to conduct an interview with me and these are her answers:

What inspired you to write your first book? 
I think housework is boring, so when there is a choice between mopping the floor or writing, I usually choose writing. My avoidance of housework led me to writing 23 books. (Slayers: Friends and Traitors is my 20th published book. Echo in Time comes out Dec 23, the others will follow.)
I agree! Housework is boring! I think that's a good enough reason :)
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
No one has ever asked me this question about Slayers before. I do have an underlying message that I don't actually expect anyone to pick up on--but it was one of the things that inspired me to write the book. The world needs help in a lot of ways. It's easy to ignore that fact and concentrate on our own lives. Ignoring the problems doesn't stop the dragons from coming, though. They'll come. We can either fight them or we can leave the problems to someone else and hope they don't affect us and our families.
I like that. It's so very true!
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Ellen Conford. I loved her books when I was a teen.  She wasn't heavy on description or lyrical writing, but she put you in the character's mind and she was funny. Since those were my favorite books, I emulated her style when I first started writing.  My early books are very Ellen Conford-ish.
Oh my gosh! I love her too! I remember first reading A Royal Pain by stealing it from my sisters room when she was gone!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 
My mother wanted to be a writer.  Some of my earliest (and only--she died when I was six years old) memories were of her sitting in front of  a typewriter typing.  I grew up thinking writing was a normal job as opposed to a really time consuming way to torment yourself.  (Very often it is the latter.)

Hahahaha no arguments there!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
For me, marketing is the hardest part of being a writer. I often joke that I wasted my time taking all of those English classes in college. I should have gotten a marketing degree.
Have you ever hated something you wrote? 
There comes a point in every manuscript where you hate the whole thing. And really, if you read any book enough times looking for flaws and mistakes, you will quickly end up hating it.  That's when I have to remind myself that readers will only read the finished copy--not all the drafts that got me there.
How do you think you've evolved creatively?
I'm always learning more about the craft of writing. I think that's essential for any author. I've got a ton of writing books and I love going to other author's presentations at conferences. Reading is also vital. If you want to be a good writer, you need to read a lot. When writers get complaisant and think they know everything, their writing will suffer.
Wise words! I think it is always best to keep learning and developing any talent.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The action scenes. I come from a background of romantic comedies, where there is very little gunplay or hurling people out of windows. I rewrote and rewrote and rewrote the action scenes trying to strike the right balance between suspense, description, and pacing.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I guess that depends on whether you consider all of the marketing, answering emails, preparing talks for classes, etc, writing or not. Some days I work all day and don't touch a manuscript. It definitely feels full time.
I would call that full time! It all goes into the process.
Give us an insight into how your writing day/time is structured?
I get up, get the kids off to school and tell myself I'll answer email for a half an hour. Two or three hours later when I actually finish, I work on my manuscript until the kids get home from school. A lot of times I'll put in more writing time when everyone goes to sleep.
Tell us an amusing story about marketing books (such as a book signing, interview, etc) that happened to you?
You never know what you're going to get when you do a book signing--especially when you do them out of your home area. (Which is why I always beg my friends, acquaintances, and random strangers to come to my book signings.) Once I did a book signing where only one person came into the store the entire time I did my signing. It was the Saturday before Mother's Day,  so you would think the store would have been crawling with last minute shoppers, but no. A big football game was going on, and apparently people love football more than their mothers.
The one guy who came into the store bought my book. I'm still not sure whether to count that as my worst book-signing (one sale) or my best signing (100% of the people in the store bought my book.)
Anyway, if you ever are someplace where I'm doing a signing--please come. The author table can be a lonely place.
I call it a success for having 100% buy your book! ;) Well done!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write because you love writing. Read a lot. And remember that your family and friends are much more important than anything you will ever write.
That is excellent advice! Thank you CJ Hill for answering my interview questions and sharing some insight with all of use!
For everyone who enjoyed this, go check out CJ Hill's books here is the Book Summary:
In C.J. Hill's action-packed sequel to Slayers, the group of teens known as Slayers have been betrayed—but they won’t give up without a fight.

Tori’s got a problem. She thought she’d have one more summer to train as a dragon Slayer, but time has run out. When Tori hears the horrifying sound of dragon eggs hatching, she knows the Slayers are in trouble. In less than a year, the dragons will be fully grown and completely lethal. The Slayers are well-prepared, but their group is still not complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker—the mysterious missing Slayer.

What Tori doesn't bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers. She isn't just a Slayer, she’s part Dragon Lord, too. How can Tori fight to save her friends when half of her is programmed to protect dragons? And with a possible traitor in their midst, the Slayers will be divided in more ways than they ever imagined.

Learn more and get to know more about this author and her books by visiting the book tour site

1 comment:

  1. Excellent interview. Some funny stuff in there which rings true with me: answering em-ails for half an hour/2-3 hours, and poorly attended book signings. I once did a book signing with no books (the shipment failed to arrive on time). I was very interested in the idea of switching to a pseudonym to write a different genre.


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