Author Bio: C.J. Redwine loves stilettos, lemon bars, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She is the author of Defiance, the first in a post-apocalyptic fantasy trilogy from Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband, four kids, two cats, and one long-suffering dog. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at: http://cjredwine.blogspot.com/
Blurb: Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan–the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.
At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.
To start out, could you tell us a little bit about your journey toward publication?
“I’ve been writing stories since I was in second grade, but I didn’t seriously begin pursuing publication until I was 30. I’d kept waiting for life to slow down (Four kids! Part time job! Life!), but after fighting cancer at the age of 30, I realized it was foolish to wait around for life to be perfect before I followed my dreams. I finished my first novel and started querying. After receiving a slew of rejections, I realized my first book wasn’t going to get published. It was a training ground for honing my craft.
“My next book garnered me my fabulous agent, but it took two more years, and two more books, before I landed a publishing contract. I’d started to feel like the girl who couldn’t sell a book to save my life, but I figured I could either quit or take on the project that felt almost too big for me and keep trying. When my agent called to tell me an editor was going to make an offer on Defiance, I just sat there and cried. I could hardly believe it!”
I doubt anyone could argue you didn’t already have a full plate before you dedicated yourself to writing. Clearly, it’s been a hard-fought victory.
Looking back at all you’ve undergone up to this point in your career as an author, what would you have done differently?
“I’d have figured out faster that I function best when I shut out other voices–reviews, opinions, chat etc–and focus on just my writing and what my trusted team of critique partners and my editor have to say about it. Learning that has been so freeing for me.”
Noise-canceling headphones, eyes off the reviews, clicker off the social media, and faith in your hand-picked cohorts–gotchya!
What does your writing process look like?
“My books live in my head for a long time before I start writing. At any moment, I have 6-8 books in my head, slowly taking shape. Once I do start writing, I usually have a first draft in about 3 months. Then, I rip it apart and revise, revise, revise! The magic happens during revision.” 🙂
Ah, so you marinate in your ruminations. I bet you’re plotting even now…
What made you choose Young Adult as your preferred writing genre?
“It’s the genre I love to read, so that felt like a natural fit for me, plus I just love the immediacy in the YA genre. It’s the first love, first heartbreak, first step away from home, first real risk … and it all feels life or death. YA is such an amazing age range because it’s just on the cusp of figuring out who we’ll be as adults. Nothing is yet set in stone so anything can happen. I also adore that the YA genre has so few restrictions. If you can execute the story well, you can write it. There really aren’t many boundaries, and that’s perfect for a speculative fiction writer like me.”
Well, thank you–you’ve just put into words what I’ve always had trouble articulating. There’s really something to be said for getting to experience newthings along with a character you’re rooting for.
Would you tell us a little about your current Work In Progress, and what you have in mind for your next project?
“I’m currently co-writing a middle grade book that is kind of like Grimm meets Howl’s Moving Castle. I’m super excited about it! Once I finish that, I’ll be writing the third and final book of the Defiance trilogy.”
Ooo…Grimm AND Howl’s Moving Castle? You have my attention, Madame.
Irrelevant, nonsensical questions:
If you could have any Disney sidekick creature as a manifestation of
your muse, which one would you pick and why?
“Pascal, from Tangled. He just GETS me.”
A loyal, comedic chameleon. Sounds all shades of fitting. 😉
Paper, plastic, or BYOB (bring your own bag)?
“Paper. I love paper bags. I know that’s weird. I accept it.”
I hear acceptance is the first step on the road to recovery…
If you were left stranded on an island infested by zombies, what two items would you want to have with you?
“A machete and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, complete with his sword.”
There you have it, folks. She’s hands-on in the Zombie eradication department, AND she has impeccable taste in male protagonists.