Interview with C.C. Hunter

Jen: We continue our highlighting of YA authors by welcome C.C. Hunter to Romancing the Book. C.C. will you please share a short bio with us?

CC: Thanks so much for having me. Here’s the short bio I have at my website, www.CCHunterBooks.com:

C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she’s still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central. www.christie-craig.com

Jen: Tell us about Born at Midnight and where is can be purchased.

CC: Thanks for asking! I never get tired of talking about my baby. LOL.

Born at Midnight is my debut YA paranormal and the first book in the Shadow Falls series published by St. Martin’s Griffin. BAM is really a coming of age story about a young girl trying to discover who she is and how she’ll fit into the world around her. Of course, she also just learns that there’s more to this world than she thought. Below is a short summary of the book.

The book is about sixteen-year-old Kylie Galen who’s had a lot of crap tossed in her lap lately. Her parents are getting a divorce for who the heck knows why. Her boyfriend broke up with her because she wouldn’t put out. And her grandmother died because . . . well, older people do that. But now, Kylie’s acquired a stalker and she hasn’t a clue what he wants or how to get rid of him . . . and she really wants to get rid of him because apparently she’s the only one who sees him. Thinking she may be losing it, her parents send her off to see a psychologist who gets Kylie sent to Shadow Falls Camp. Kylie and her parents think it’s a camp for troubled teens.

They thought wrong.

Kylie’s surrounded by vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches and shapeshifters. And if she believes what they tell her, she’s one of them. They’re just not sure exactly how she fits in. And her stalker? Well, he’s really a ghost, and he needs her help. As Kylie struggles to cope with the realization that these creatures even exist, and the fact that she might not be human, she’s got two hot guys, a werewolf and a half-fairy, vying for her attention. And they can just keep vying. Kylie’s determined that before she lets her heart loose on love, she needs to unearth the truth. What does the ghost want? Who can and can’t she trust? And most of all . . . What is she?

You can find Born at Midnight at all major bookstores and at online retailers.

An excerpt can be read at http://us.macmillan.com/bornatmidnight.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.

CC: Unlike a lot of other writers, I didn’t figure out that I wanted to be a writer until I was in my twenties. It’s my hubby’s fault, actually. You see, he’d sat me down and asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. He was thinking I could go back to school and become a teacher. That’s when I really thought about it and realized that I wanted to be a writer.

Now, it took me a long time to achieve my goal, too. I sold my first novel, a sweet romance, to Silhouette back in 1993. It then took me another 12 years to sell the next novel. Good thing I was writing freelance non-fiction in between, huh? LOL. But when I did sell that second novel, I actually sold four, all in the same day, too. Those were my adult humorous romantic suspense novels.

As for the Shadow Falls series and my new career as a YA author, it’s kind of a funny story how all that happened. My now editor at St. Martin’s had read a proposal for a humorous paranormal romance that I’d written before I sold those romantic suspense novels. She loved my voice but had to pass on the book. Then, a few years later, she contacted my agent and asked her if I would be interested in writing YA. When I said I might, she then planted the seed of the idea in my mind. She did it with two words, too: “Paranormal Camp.”

Those two words got my imagination revving, so I asked her, “What kind of paranormals would they be?” She said, “That’s up to you.” I then asked, “Who is the main character for the series?” She goes, “That’s up to you, too.” So, I go, “Is the main character a paranormal or is she a human?” Now, I bet you know what she said, right? LOL. If you guessed she said, “That’s up to you,” you’d be right. Anyway, we went on like that for a while but in the end, I took those two words, “paranormal camp,” and went to work on creating the world that is now Shadow Falls.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

CC: Hmm. Just three words, huh? You realize I’m from the south, don’t you? Even my grocery lists are long. LOL. But I’ll give it a go. My writing the Shadow Falls series in three words . . . self-discovery, friendship, romance.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

CC: Oh, that’s a really great question. I guess I’m more of a pantser than a plotter. I have a general idea of what the story will be about and then, once the characters take over, things just happen the way they want them to happen. LOL. I know that sounds a little crazy but don’t you know that writers are a little crazy? I mean, we talk to imaginary people all the time.

Jen: What are your biggest motivations to write? What keeps you going?

CC: Hmm. That’s another good question. I guess my biggest motivators are my family. Honestly, I feel so blessed to have my hubby’s support for my writing career. He reads every book I write when the copyedits arrive, too. (Sometimes, I’ve even caught him cheating on me. Yep. He’ll sit in bed and read romance and YA novels written by other authors! lol.) My son, my daughter and my son-in-law are also very supportive and keep me motivated. And now that I have my first granddaughter . . . well, I gotta tell you, she is just so beautiful, so brilliant and so special that she’s my biggest motivation for continuing to write. She attends local readings with her mom and I just love hearing her say, “MawMaw’s gonna tell me a story.” Sure, it’s for all of the YA readers but she thinks it’s just for her, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, to tell the truth.

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?

CC: Well, a lot, actually. First, because the genre was new to me, I went on a reading frenzy of YAs. I had read a few YAs, but I hadn’t studied them. I must have bought dozens of books, and I devoured every one. Not all of the ones I read were paranormal but many of them were. I wanted to understand the genre and reading books is the best way I know how to do that.

Next, I did some research on the various mythologies I would be using in the series. I’m talking about vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, witches and faes. And it was fascinating reading, too. Doing that research helped me understand their mythology, which I needed to do before starting my book. Of course, once I started plotting the Shadow Falls series, I tweaked the mythology a little (okay, a lot) so my supernatural creatures would fit with my vision of Shadow Falls.

Finally, I drew upon my own experiences. No, I don’t mean that I’m a supernatural or anything like that, but I have had experiences where I could swear I’d been visited by ghosts. I guess that’s why I’m really a fan of ghost stories. And it’s the reason I couldn’t pass up working in a ghosts into this series.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?

CC: Hmm. Well, I don’t know if anything about writing is easy, except for how easy it is for me to get swept up in creating a story. LOL. When I’m “in the zone,” you can forget about my doing laundry, cooking dinner, or going to the store. Just ask my hubby. LOL.

As for the most challenging aspect . . . personally, I’d probably say getting the words right. I’m dyslexic and my brain sometimes goes a little haywire and I leave out words when I write, or I put in the wrong word. I’m lucky in that I have some great critique partners who proof my stuff for me. The most rewarding part about writing has got to be the fan mail I receive from readers. I love it! I’m like a kid at Christmas when those emails start rolling in. I love hearing how my stories resonated with readers, love hearing how they are rooting for my characters.

Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?

CC: Oh, yes. My characters stay with me while I’m writing a book. I mentioned earlier about getting into the zone – that’s when the words start to flow so fast I can barely get them all done. I do dream about my characters and often will wake up in the middle of the night with an idea or a new scene. Yep, writers can sound a little crazy when you think about it. LOL.

Jen: If Born at Midnight was made into a movie, which actors would you cast as the main characters?

CC: Oh, that’s another good question. Honestly, I have no idea. I’d like to throw this one out to my readers. Who do you guys see playing Kylie and the gang?

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

CC: You know, I read a lot of books, in all kinds of genres, and I enjoy so many of them, it’s hard for me to point to favorites. How about if I tell you about my last book buying run?

In YA, I bought Unearthly by Cynthia Hand and Falling Under by Gwen Hayes and a nonfiction that looks like it’ll be a lot of fun called Myths and Legends by John Pemberton. I also picked up The Secret of Cypriere by Jana Deleon, which is an adult romantic mystery. I’ve been making my way through them and having a blast.

Jen: What’s next for you?

CC: In October, Awake at Dawn, book 2 in the Shadow Falls series, will release. If you loved Born at Midnight, I think you’ll love AAD even more. Right now, I’m working on Taken at Dusk, book 3 in the series. I can’t confirm the rumors that someone is going to die in this book, but I can tell you that writing it was a very emotional experience for me. (Just make sure you have a box of tissues handy!)

As Christie Craig, I’ll have Don’t Mess with Texas, book one in my Hotter in Texas trilogy of humorous romantic suspense novels for Grand Central/Forever. Once I finish Taken at Dusk, I’ll be working on book 2 of my Hotter in Texas series.

So…short answer is, I’ll be busy. LOL.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

CC: You can find me at my website, www.CCHunterBooks.com. I blog every Tuesday. I also have a Facebook account – www.Facebook.com/cchunterbooks – and I’m @CCHunterBooks on Twitter. Thanks for asking.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

CC: Yes, thanks. First, though, I’d like to thank you, Jen, for having me visit your blog. I’ve had a blast. For readers, I’d like to ask the following question . . . Kylie is on a search of self-discovery in the Shadow Falls series. I didn’t figure out that I was meant to be a writer until my twenties. So, what about you guys? Do you know what you are destined to be? If, so, please share. And tell me when it was you figured it all out.

Jen: I understand you have a contest for us.
CC: Yes. I’m giving away a copy of Born at Midnight. The winner should be over 13, and there is no location restriction.

Jen:  Readers, to enter the contest, you must first leave a question or comment for C.C.  Then to finish your entry you need to either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  A winner will be chosen on Sunday, June 5.

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