Monday, March 28, 2011
From Sweet Romance to a Murdering Smartass: One Writer’s Journey
We are honored to have my friend and fellow author Christie Craig here today to talk about her new releases and tell us how she got to this stage in her career and signed a BIG deal with St. Martins Press with her new YA series. Not only is Christie laugh-out-loud funny, but she's got some great giveaways, including a Kindle! So with no further ado, here's Christie.
Years ago, in another life, I wrote and published a Silhouette Romance. It was a sweet story with wholesome characters, and I’m proud of that book. However, after having some difficulties selling another book, I put novel writing on the back burner and focused on my photojournalism career. I took pictures that appeared on the covers of national magazines, and I wrote nonfiction, wrote words to feed knowledge-hungry individuals. I wrote about China, about the homeless, about calligraphy, about horny felines, window fashions, skunks, tomato horn worms, ugly shoes, and bad moles.
Basically, if an editor would pay for it, I wrote it. And after about an eight-year sabbatical from writing novels, and too many years of writing about things other people thought were important—like tomato horn worms—I suddenly had an uncontrollable urge not to die a one-book wonder. I wanted to write my own thing, to write my own story as it played across the screen of my mind.
Now the thing you have to know about me is that when I really get a bee in my bonnet,I don’t play around. I announced my intentions to my husband, to my kids, my friends and to the innocent bystander behind me in the grocery store line. I even announced it to my gynecologist, during a pap smear. I, Christie Craig, was going to write, sell, and publish another book even if I had to kill somebody to accomplish it.
While I didn’t realize it at the time, that’s exactly what it would take to make my dream come true--killing someone. Well, it wasn’t just one person, there were several. And I admit when I whacked my first person, I suffered terribly. My heart ached and I cried, and guilt sat on my shoulders like a five-hundred-pound gorilla. But as soon as I knocked off the gorilla and washed the imaginary blood off my hands, and I reread my deadly scene, I had an epiphany: Nothing can liven up a party or a plot like a dead body. I really found my mystery-suspense voice and that’s when I sold my books.
Since then, suspense, mystery and murder are as prevalent in my work as flies are on a bad banana. Yes, there’s romance, and lots of humor, but to be honest, I’m not sure I can write a story without having one person kick the bucket. Or at least having someone try to kick someone else’s bucket. Let’s face it, death or someone facing death, just adds a zing to a manuscript. It can be more of a zinger than even a hot sex scene.
Now since then, I’ve sort of gotten creative on how I kill people, or how I keep my characters from being killed by other people. Of course, I’ve used the typical guns, knives, and an occasional vehicle—from a Cadillac to a Saturn. But I’ve also gotten creative and threatened people with toilet plungers, the tank top of the back of a toilet, a tampon, and an egg beater. Hey...it just keeps things interesting.
And when I was approached to write a young adult, my first question was: will I still be able to kill people, because I’m good at that?
The editor assured me that I could kill people, bring them back to life, and then kill them again if I wanted to—this was going to be a paranormal. Another thing she told me was I wasn’t going to have to stop being a smartass. As a matter of fact, she said the reason she wanted me to write a young adult was because I was a smartass. Dag-blast it, I didn’t even know I was a smartass. Yeah, I had a few zingers here and there but . . . Right then, I added being a smartass to my list of talents. Hey…you take what you can get.
Writing young adult has been a blast. If you are familiar with my Christie Craig books, you’ll still see some of my smartass humor in my Shadow Falls series for St. Martin’s Griffin. And someone is either gonna die, or come close to dying, and while these books might not have as much sex, you’ll find plenty of sexual tension.
In a nut shell, Born at Midnight, the first book in my new Shadow Falls series under my new pseudonym C.C. Hunter, is about young girl who has spent sixteen years trying to figure out who she is, only to discover she doesn’t know what she is. As the tagline of the book says: It’s not your average identity crisis. Kylie Galen is about to go on an adventure of self-discovery, love and friendship. There just happens to be some vampires, shape-shifters, werewolves, faes and a few witches around, too. And when she’s told she’s one of them, but they don’t have a friggin’ clue what she is, well her life pretty much goes to hell in a hand basket. Trying to figure out what she is is a real mindbender.
Personally, I think identity crises aren’t just something that happens to women in their teens. Heck, with each new stage of life, I find myself reevaluating--trying to reinvent myself with a new wardrobe, hair cut, or hair color. And when I look at the woman in the mirror, sometimes I just stare at her trying to figure out who the heck she really is. Life is a journey of self discovery. It’s so difficult at times it can drive a person to being a smartass and a murderer on paper. Not that I’m complaining, those are my talents.
So there you have it, how I went from sweet romance to being a murdering smartass who also writes YA. Ahh, but it’s been a good journey. I hope some of you will give Born at Midnight a try. You can even snag my free short story, Turned at Dark. It’s Della’s story and it introduces the Shadow Falls series. You can also read the first three chapters of Born at Midnight, too. All you have to do is visit my Born at Midnight page at Macmillan on March 15th – Born at Midnight Page. Or you can download a free eBook copy of Turned at Dark at all major online retailers. The download also has the first three chapters of Born at Midnight on there as well.
To celebrate the release of Born at Midnight, I’m running a “Tweet my Book and Win a Kindle Contest” from March 22th through March 29th. The grand prize will be the Kindle but I’m also giving away copies of Born at Midnight, some Shadow Falls swag and ARCs of Awake at Dawn, which is scheduled to release in October. All the details will be at my blog beginning March 22nd – Blog. So, please drop by and help me tweet my book and you could win a Kindle!
Finally, for those of you waiting for my next Christie Craig book, it’s in the pipeline. Don’t Mess With Texas, the first book in my Hotter In Texas trilogy put out by Grand Central, will release August 23rd. And, yeah, my editor let me kill somebody in this one, too. In fact, the dead body shows up when . . .well, that would be telling too much. But trust me. It’s funny . . .in a smartass kind of way, I mean.
Thanks so much Liz for allowing me to visit with your readers. And I’d love to offer a free copy of Born at Midnight to one person who posts a comment and tells me a little about their own identity crisis. Or maybe about some of their talents in life. Come on, share a little.