2.18.16 - 7 Minutes With... C.J. Redwine

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?
Take risks!

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!
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

Think you'd like THE SHADOW QUEEN? Learn more here!

Of Pirates and Baked Goods

I was interviewed this week by the Dread Pirate Roberts - no, that's not right. It's my OTHER favorite pirate -  Captain Jack Sparrow!!! I must say, it's one of the most unique transcripts I shall ever show you. Plus, at the end, you'll see the most glorious vision - SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH rendered in cupcake form. Really, when your book is made into baked goods, you've got much to cheer about. Oh, and Sparrow? All those pesky "questions" about him? True. All true. He really is a cool chick novelist who lives in Nashvlle called CJ Redwine. Take that, Disney.

Ready? Steady... Go!


Would you classify yourself as a pirate or a member of Her Majesty’s Royal navy? Why?

Pirate at heart, definitely, though many would assume otherwise. It’s the showering, don’t’cha know. Dreadlocks just don’t look good on me. And when no one’s looking, I like to admire myself in my cutlass. But on the outside, prim and proper, full to the brim with proper etiquette and gentle smiles.

  *admires self in cutlass* My apologies. Were you saying something? I got distracted by the shiny. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

See, there was this one time, in Tortuga, where we drank all the rum punch we could hold and might have made off with some guy’s yacht. Wait, that wasn’t Tortuga. That was freshman year of college. Crap. No wonder I did so poorly.

  As much as I admire the drinking of the rum punch and the absconding with someone's yacht, I find myself wanting to tie you to the yard arm so as to guard the fate of my own lovely vessel. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

The Greek Iles, the Dalmatian Coast, Monaco, Venice, the Riviera, the Amalfi Coast, around Cape Horn, the Panama Canal, the Hebrides… think you’ve got enough ship for me, sir?

  Darling, I have more than enough ship for you and every other willing wench this side of the Caribbean. Who is the hero of your story most like: me (savvy, debonair, and unquestionably smooth with the ladies), the insufferably honorable Will Turner, or that deceptive little minx Elizabeth?

John Baldwin ... Jack Sparrow. Let’s see. Absolutely like you, but taller, with better teeth, fresher breath, cleaner hair and a bigger... whoops, what was that? A parrot? He doesn’t have a parrot… now I’m yours!

  If you were trying to distract me from the fact that you nearly cast aspersions upon the size of my telescope, you'll have to do better than ... a yacht? With rum punch? Ooh. Shiny. Rum? Or more rum?

What? No grog? I prefer shards of glass in my rum, thank you very much.

  Who doesn't? Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

It’s the rum mice. They sneak in and sip at it whilst you’re busy looking after your parrot. Naughty mice. Naughty parrot! Naughty, naughty pirate.

  Stop. I'm blushing. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Outside of vomiting rum overboard? Let’s see… once, in a fight for truth, justice and the American way, I… wait, that wasn’t piratish, that was Royal Navyish. I’ve got it. Rescued a kitten from the pound right before it was about to be put down. (What, you don’t think pirates love kittens? We do, we really, really do!)

  If they can vanquish undead monkeys, I adore them. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

The only rules are those you create and impose upon yourself. The rest are merely suggestions, like stoplights in Italy.

  My dear, you had me at kitten. Oh, wait. That was a different question. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

Come to think of it, no. I must remedy that immediately.

  Oh, bugger it. Only if you find a way to kill him off. Permanently. Any curses in your story? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

Curses, absolutely! My previous book, THE IMMORTALS is predicated on a curse, a calling from the netherworld, a summons to the dark angel Azræl, death himself. Once Azræl is a participant, bad things happen to good little boys and girls. And of course, Taylor Jackson seeks to thwart their evil plan.

  If I've learned anything in life, it's that a wise man ignores all calls from the netherworld. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, love. Really, did you have to ask?

  I'm stunned into near silence by your use of such a bombastic travesty of the English language. I don't believe that even IS a word. Maybe it looks like a word through the wrong end of a mug of grog? I've seen plenty of THOSE words myself. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

It’s depends. How badly have you insulted me? A stain upon my honor, or a presumption against my honor. You pick.

  *stares at your cutlass* Darling, I fear you've  misunderstood me. I adore your choice of supercalifragi listi--whatever it was. Adore it. No need to avenge your honor on my account. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

Close the book, silly.

  That only works in my world if said beasties have their heads between the covers of said book. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Adventure, without a doubt. The best nights are ones where romance is found, not created.

  Here's hoping you find stealing a vessel from Her Majesty's Royal Navy romantic, then. It's at the top of my To Do list tonight. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

“When you are content not to compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” Lao Tzu, who was something of a pirate himself, if you stop to think about it. Arrrrrgh!

A poetic cupcake rendition of SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH featuring Belle Meade Mansion. Brilliantly rendered to scale by Mr. CJ Redwine. We are impressed.