C.J. Redwine is a rather amazing writer. She’s a rather amazing woman, actually. As a huge force on the Nashville YA-writer scene, she juggles some hefty deadlines with her multitude of kids, biological and adopted from foreign countries. Her writing is fierce, fantasy-laden, and tough (I mean, really, how can you not a love a trilogy named Defiance?). C.J. conducted an interview with me several years ago, which was possible the most fun I’ve ever had answering questions – from Captain Jack Sparrow, of course. She’s proof you can have it all – and I predict more great things to come. Here’s C.J.!
Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?
“I Dare You” by Shinedown
Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?
I’m working on the next book in the Ravenspire series. It’s due this coming Monday so it’s basically all I’m doing with my life right now.
What’s your latest book about?
THE SHADOW QUEEN is a dark epic fantasy inspired by the Snow White fairy tale. It’s the story of a fugitive princess who has become a fierce warrior, a wicked queen who is the most powerful sorcerer the kingdom has ever seen, and a desperate dragon shape-shifter prince from a neighboring kingdom who makes a deal to become the queen’s huntsman to save his people from destruction.
Where do you write, and what tools do you use?
I write either at my desk in my office or at the little back corner table at the coffee shop in my local bookstore. I use a notebook and Pilot gel pens for plotting, world building, character development, and fix-it notes. I use my laptop for everything else. And I always use a playlist developed specifically for that one story so that as soon as I hear those songs in that order, I’m instantly transported to the story’s world.
What was your favorite book as a child?
My boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia. I still have that set. It’s in my daughter’s room now. And it’s decorated with puffy rainbow stickers because apparently 9-year-old C.J. thought that was EPIC.
What’s your secret talent?
I can snort just about anything up my nose on accident. Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of recent offenders: Chicken nuggets (this is what death feels like), Diet Coke (sinus douche!), a tiny shard of a tortilla chip that defied gravity and leaped from my lips straight up my nose (moment of silence for his courage), bread pudding (I was really worried the raisins were going to be permanently lodged …), and wasabi (spontaneous combustion starts in the sinus cavity, I always say).
What book are you reading now?
I don’t read while I’m heavily drafting, but my reward for finishing this book is Renee Ahdieh’s THE WRATH AND THE DAWN.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in second grade and was given an assignment to write a 3-paragraph story. I turned in 4 pages (with illustrations!) and never looked back. Story-telling is how I translate my experiences.
Who is your writing idol? Have you met him/her? If so, did you completely nerd out or keep your cool?
J.K. Rowling! I haven’t met her, and I love that you actually think I have a cool to keep. Awkward fangirling all the way, baby!
What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?
What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?
Stop and do something mostly mindless so I can let the story play around in my head until the solution shows up. By mostly mindless, I mean take a walk or a drive or … I was going to say do housework, but let’s not get crazy.
Are you creatively satisfied?
Yes, while at the same time always striving for more. At least once a week, I wish I could be one of those people you hear about sometimes that can sleep maybe 3 hours a night and they’re fine. Martha Stewart is like that. Of course that led her to believe she should do things like make her own mirrors out of little sheets of silver that you can only find from like … three vendors in the entire country, so … maybe that’s not such a great idea.
What would you like to be remembered for?
For loving people well.
Alright, now for the really important questions:
Beach or mountains? Beach! (But with mountains and cliffs)
Coffee or tea? Peach tea
Skydive or bungee jump? Oh dear Lord, my stomach just plummeted. Nope. ALL THE NOPE.
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. If you’re going to ingest the calories, you might as well go for broke.
Winter or summer? Autumn!
Cake or pie? PIE. YES. PIE. EVERY DAY. PIIIIIIIIIIIIE.
Cats or dogs? Cats, though I love dogs too.
Pens or pencils? Pens! Pilot gel pens in a rainbow of color options, to be specific.
Truth or dare? Truth
Print or ebook? Print, though ebooks for trips are the best thing since pie.
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.
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