Hey all! Shannon here. Today we're chatting with author C.J. Redwine. Not only is C.J. an exceptional author, but she has a wealth of publishing knowledge valuable to writers at various stages of their journey. I'd love for some of that to rub off on all of us. Since some of you may be new to C.J. and her books, I'll throw out her bio and then we'll just get started, okay?
C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and Sherlock. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at www.cjredwine.com
WELCOME to Go Teen Writers, C.J. I am a huge, HUGE fan of your books. Will you tell our writers what inspired your Courier’s Daughter trilogy?
The world itself was inspired by the collision of two different ideas. For years, I’d had the idea of a Leviathon-like dragon creature who lived underground and tunneled up to the surface to lay waste. I just didn’t have a story to go with it. Then one day I saw a picture of a fortress on Pinterest (Because PINTEREST, AMIRIGHT?) and it reminded me of a city-state. I was instantly intrigued by the idea of writing a story where our society lived in city-states. I asked myself why we would do that, and the idea of the Leviathon-like creature met the picture of the city-state and Defiance was born.
The main character, Rachel, takes a very emotional journey from trauma, loss, anger, depression, and ultimately healing and peace. That part of the story was inspired by my own past and the hard lessons I’ve learned about dealing with pain.
As big a fan as I am of your writing, I’m equally impressed with your kind heart and your presence on social media. What advice would you give young writers about building their online platform?
Aww, thank you! I’d say be authentic and consistent. You don’t have to be followed by everyone or liked by everyone … that just isn’t realistic. But if you post about the things you love, the things you’re passionate about and interested in, you will gather a tribe of like-minded people around you. Also, the best way to use social media is to build relationships. Network with other writers (published and on-their-way-to-being published) and industry professionals by engaging them in polite conversation and by generating interesting content of your own.
Many of our teen writers are light-years ahead of me in the books-written category. Was Defiance the first book you completed and what would you say to writers who worry their hard work won’t ever be published?
Nope! Defiance was book number four. I’d had an agent for two years at that point and had written and submitted to publishers two different books before Defiance. Everyone and their uncle’s roommates sister-in-law’s hairdresser’s dog told me NO. But I kept writing. Kept pushing myself to get better and to try new things. And then one day, years after I’d started writing, I sold the Defiance trilogy. Every book you write is valuable. You are improving your craft and honing your voice and your creative instincts. And also, getting told “no” is good for you. It really is. There are a lot of “no’s” in publishing, including after you get published. Learning to hold on to your belief in yourself and learning that your value doesn’t come from other’s opinions of you is a lesson that will help you immensely as you pursue a career in publishing.
I saw a post the other day advertising your online workshops. Our writers would love to know more about them. Who would benefit and where can we learn more?
Writers of every level of experience benefit from my workshops because my content and my instructional goal is to be thorough enough for newbies to learn the ropes while still being challenging enough that every writer attending takes away valuable insights. I offer workshops on world building, writing dynamic characters, writing a synopsis, querying, and my ever-popular kick butt Writer’s Workshop which takes writers through every piece of novel writing in an intensive two week course. To learn more (I have a few openings left in my spring online workshop and will post fall workshops this summer) go here: http://queryworkshop.blogspot.com
How fun! Tell us, what’s next for you?
Next up for me is a series that I am super excited about! I’m writing a series of epic fantasies inspired by fairy tales. I grew up reading Grimm constantly and am a HUGE fan of fairy tale interpretations. The first book is called THE SHADOW QUEEN (publishing 2/23/16) and is the story of a wicked queen, a desperate dragon shape-shifter prince, and a fugitive princess with hair as black as ebony, lips as red as blood, and skin as white as snow. :)
Ooooo! So excited to read that! Now before you go . . . can we please just . . . the lightning round!!!
Favorite movie: Harry Potter 1, 3, 5, Pirates of the Caribbean 1, Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight, and The Princess Bride
Favorite TV show: Sherlock, Grimm, Supernatural, and The Flash
Favorite ice cream: Peanut butter moose tracks or chocolate chip cookie dough
Desired superpower: I’d like to have mind control and also be able to shoot laser beams from my eyes when the situation called for it
Pancakes or waffles? Belgian waffles
Captain America or Iron Man? BOTH
Coffee or tea? Herbal tea
Beach or mountains? Beach with an easy drive to the mountains
Plotter or pantser? Both! I write out the synopsis with major plot points fleshed out and then I pants my way from one major point to the next.
Awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you for stopping by C.J. You've given us all so much to be excited about. I can't wait for THE SHADOW QUEEN.
C.J. also has a book available for writers called QUERY: Everything You Need to Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get Signed. Be sure to check it out.
TODAY, Go Teen Writers is giving away a copy of DEFIANCE. It's the first novel in C.J.'s Courier's Daughter trilogy and it is stellar. Use the Rafflecopter to enter. The winner will be notified via email next Friday.
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