- What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
I write humorous romantic suspense and regular romantic suspense, under my real name, Christie Craig. Under the pen name C.C. Hunter, I write young adult paranormal and young adult contemporary. I think what makes any genre special are the story, the characters, and the author’s ability create a story that keeps readers turning the page.
- When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
I’m dyslexic. Didn’t learn to read until I was in the third grade. So growing up I didn’t even consider being a writer. But amazingly, being southern, storytelling was in my blood, so I was writing books in my head since about third grade. I was a newly married twenty-three year old when my husband asked what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I admitted that I wanted to write down the crazy stories in my head and become a writer. His reply was, “So, do it.” It only took ten years to sell my first book. Another thirteen to sell book two. But since then, I’ve had at least two to six books out a year.
- What inspires you to write?
Life. The hopes, dreams, heartache, and the pain.
- How often do you write?
Every day except when traveling, or committed to some other event.
- Writers are often associated with loner tendencies;is there any truth to that?
I’m not an introvert, nor am I an extrovert. I tell myself that I’m bi. After about a week of not being around people I start getting antsy. I feed off the energy of being with others. But after about four days of being surrounded by crowds, I start needing some alone time. Like Now!
- Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I’m a complete pantster! I write by the seat of my pants. It’s the thrill of discovering the story as I write that I’m addicted to.
- Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block. You see, writing is my job, it’s how I pay my bills. Just because I love what I do doesn’t make it any less of a job. And I have to show up for work every morning whether I feel like working or not. My dad was a plumber, and he always went to work. I never heard him stay he was staying home because he had plumber’s block. No, I work even when I don’t feel like it, because I know that eventually, an idea will strike and I’ll be inspired again.
- Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?
My August release under my Christie Craig name, Don’t Close your Eyes, is a story about a young woman with a repressed memory that exposes a family’s deep dark secrets and leads the Anniston, Texas Cold Case cop to not just one body, but two. It was originally written for a screen writing contest back in 1998. I even won first place, but then didn’t pursue it. Seven years later, I pulled it out and started it as a book. But then I sold my humorous romantic suspense and put it on the back burner to write more humorous books. In 2017, I decided to return to it. There was something about that story that wouldn’t let me forget it even after twenty years. Because I enjoyed writing the slightly darker story, my agent sold it as a series titled, Texas Justice. There are three Cold Case Cops and each one will get their story.
- Do you attend literary lunches or events?
Yes, I love teaching workshops, speaking at lunches and attending book signings. Feb. 3, I’ll be at BrazCon 2018 in Pearland, TX, Feb. 17, I’ll be in Corpus Christi, TX at the Teen Book Fest by the Bay, Feb. 26, I’ll be at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, TX and April 21, I’ll be teaching at the Georgia RWA, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. For more information on my events, go to my websites: http://www.christie-craig.com/appearances.html and http://cchunterbooks.com/events.html.
- Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?
I think I was in fourth grade when I completed my first “chapter book.” Charlotte’s Web. I still love the book. I love the theme of different types of individuals coming together and creating a family.
- Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?
I don’t know if it’s completely different than anyone else, but I add humor and heart. My books can have laugh-out-loud moments, but still bring you to tears.
- Do your novels carry a message?
I think I have an underlying theme in most all of my books. We create our own Fate. Our destinies are our own. Who we are is defined by our own choices, not by DNA, or circumstances.
- How much of yourself do you put into your books?
I think you will find some of me in every character I write. Even the villains are created from something I hate, or something that I know might have convinced me to be villainous. When I was asked to write young adult fiction, I plagiarized from my own teen years to create my character.
- Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
On February 28th, This Heart of Mine will release. This story is about seventeen-year-old girl who needs a heart transplant. It’s about facing death, learning to accept life again, and learning to live with someone else’s heart. My husband recently went through a transplant and his pain, my pain, his fear, my fear, and the learning to live again all came from personal experience. Even the paranormal thread of feeling you have a little of the donor inside you all came from this real life experience.
- How realistic are your books?
They are fiction, but I try to never write something that would make a reader throw the book against the wall because they can’t suspend their belief in my world.
- Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Right now, I’m working on the second book in the Texas Justice series. A cold case cop who has a woman and a child move in next door that spurs him into investigating them because he senses they’re hiding something. Once that’s done, I’m on to the second book in The Mortician’s Daughter series, that is best described as a cross between The Ghost Whisperer and Veronica Maars. Riley Smith never thought she’d be tasked with helping the spirit of a convicted criminal who died in prison. He may lead her on the scariest mission yet, but helping him could mean saving a child’s life.
- It is often believed that almost all writers have had their hearts broken at some point in time, does that remain true for you as well?
I think what makes fiction so great is a deep understanding of the human spirit, and I think this understanding often comes from personal tragedy. I have certainly had my share of difficult times.
- Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?
Okay, I have a problem with this belief. You see, this is a career. Just like I can’t believe in writer’s block, I can’t believe in some mystical being or even a real someone that can rob me of the talent I’ve worked so hard to hone.
- From all that we have been hearing and seeing in the movies, most writers are alcoholics. Your views on that?
Let me open another bottle of wine and then I’ll answer this. LOL. Actually, I disagree. I love a glass or two of wine, but I never drink during the day or even at dinner if I plan to write. It muddles with my mind and puts a roadblock on my creativity.
- Do you have a daily habit of writing?
I get up, hubby makes my coffee, I drink coffee while checking emails. Then I start writing, or work on a blog. I usually walk for about forty-five minutes every morning, and have lunch with hubby, but I average about eight to ten hours of work a day. Sometimes more if I’m on a tight deadline.
- How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion?
It’s not a hobby. It’s career, but it’s also a passion. I love what I do and consider myself the luckiest person in the world to get paid for doing something I love. Yes, deadlines sometimes bite me in the butt, but I still love it.
- People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?
I remember years ago when I first sold my first book. I was dropping my son off at Mother’s Day Out and I heard the woman behind me say, “That can’t be her.” You see I was wearing old sweats and ratty t-shirt. I did not fit the image these women had of a writer. My life isn’t any more glamorous that anyone else’s. I have a dog that gets gas and causes messes in the house. And a husband that does almost the same thing. I don’t dress up to walk into my study.
- Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors?
I love traveling, but after about five days I’m ready to come home.
- Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?
Seriously? Being dyslexic, I have mistakes on every page. I will admit that I don’t do a lot of story or character revisions. But my editors always find things to tweak.
- Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
Oh, yes. I have thousands of rejection letters. Not all of them are for books, most are from articles when I was working freelance.
- What do you do in your free time?
I love to walk. I enjoy cooking. Teaching writing. Drinking wine with my friends. And traveling.
- Given the chance to live your life again, what would you change about yourself?
I’d be tall and have smaller boobs. Yeah, I know one of those is hard to believe, but it’s the honest to goodness truth.
- What is the secret to becoming a bestselling author?
Never giving up. Never stop learning.
- What does the word ‘retirement’ mean to you? Do Writers every retire?
Some may. I will never retire. I have my passing figured out. I will be at the computer and take my last breath and my head will drop and somehow, the way it lands will spell out “The End.” I probably should try practicing that.
- How did you celebrate hitting the New York Times list?
I was leaving to go out of town the next day to give a workshop, and I hadn’t written my notes or packed. When I got the call, I had hubby pour me a glass of wine and make me a Lean Cuisine dinner for supper. It didn’t feel real.
- Which of your novels best describes you as a person?
I think they all have a part of who I am in them. I will say the first five books in my New York Times Young Adult bestselling series, Shadow Falls, really reflects me as a teen. Like Kylie Galen, the protagonist, I was quiet, insecure, and a thinker. My parents got a divorce, a family member died, a boyfriend had broken up with me because I didn’t want to go all the way. I borrow a lot from my teen self to write my YAs.
- When can the readers expect your next book in print?
This Heart of Mine will release February 27th. In July, the second book in The Mortician’s Daughter, Two Feet Under will release. Then August 28th, Don’t Close Your Eyes, the first in the Texas Justice series will release. I haven’t got dates on the following books yet.
- Are you working on something new at the moment?
I just turned in another young adult contemporary proposal about seventeen-year-old Chloe who discovers she’s an identical match to an age progression photo of girl who was kidnapped when she was three.
- Have any of your past loves inspired characters in your books?
I have killed my ex-husband in a lot of books. Does that count? LOL.
- How often do you go on book tours?
I do a lot of workshops and lectures and I always have signings on those trips. I would say I do about ten out-of-state trips a year to either teach or for book signings.
- Is there a particular kind of attire you like to write in?
Hmm, more important than what I’m wearing, is what I’m not wearing. A bra. LOL.
- Does fan mail still excite you as much as it did the first time you received it?
I love getting fan mail. It always seems a great letter will come in when I’m feeling a little low. It always perks me up and gives me inspiration.
- Do you blog?
Absolutely! I post new blogs on my Christie Craig and C.C. Hunter websites every Tuesday. I also have cool giveaways on my blogs, so be sure to check them out at http://christie-craig.com/blog/ and http://cchunterbooks.com/blog/.
- How active are you on social media?
I have my weekly blogs, but you can also find me on Facebook at C.C. Hunter Books, Christie Craig Books and Shadow Falls Series. I’m also on Twitter at @CCHunterBooks and @Christie_Craig.
- Do you enjoy theatre? Would you ever like one of your stories to be turned into a play?
Yes. I go to a show almost every time I go to New York City. I also go to the theater in Houston sometimes. The last show I saw in New York was Waitress.
Thank you for interview. Here’s to happy reading.