Q&A with author CJ Roberts
I would like to welcome CJ Roberts to the wonderful world of self-published authors! Her debut book, Captive in the Dark, was released September 1st, 2011. Congratulations CJ on a major life accomplishment. I am sure your friends and family must be proud!
CJ was born and raised in Southern California. Following high school she served ten years in the United States Air Force. She is married and has one daughter.
Before I begin with the questions, I want to thank you for your time spent in our military. It is a huge sacrifice, not just for you personally, but also for your family and friends. It takes a very special person to do what you do and I have nothing but admiration for those who serve in our military.
CJ, can you tell me a little bit about your debut book, Captive in the Dark?
First, thank you Kim for the kind words and also for the opportunity to tell your readers a little bit about me and my work. I really feel like Indie writers have to help each other out. The writing is so much better when you’re not held back by a publisher.
Captive in the Dark took me several years to write. Granted, I spent more years fantasizing about writing it than actually committing hands to keyboard, but I did spend three years doing exactly that: writing and editing, editing, editing!
It’s the story of man seeking redemption under the guise of revenge. Without giving it away, he’s lived a tortured life and the best way he has found to give meaning to his suffering is to inflict upon others. Enter the leading lady.
The premise isn’t new. It’s a boy kidnaps girl, girl resists boy, boy seduces girl by pulling her ponytail, girl starts having feelings for boy type story. Still, what makes it different is that neither of my characters is all good, or all evil. My readers WILL feel conflicted about each of them, but ultimately, you can’t help but laugh, cry, and love them both.
I love almost anything taboo. Ever since I became aware of my sexuality I almost immediately became aware of how I diverged from the mainstream. Still, maybe that isn’t exactly true because over the years I’ve found lots of people like me. There are others who often wonder about The Villain of a story and what their motivation is for committing ‘evil’ deeds. I love romance and erotica, but it never has sat well with me how black or white characters are portrayed on the page. It’s unrealistic to say everyone is one or the other; we are all both at different times. I really like to explore that in my writing – the duality of the human condition.
Do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of your characters or do you create them to be completely different from you?
Grrr, that’s a tough question! But I feel the need to answer it honestly: there’s quite a bit of me in both my lead characters. It’s in the details I guess.
Ways my female lead resembles me: appearance, constantly quoting movies, easily hurt feelings, raised by single mom (my mom is awesome though), has a hard time expressing herself in spoken words, very vulnerable.
Ways my male lead resembles me: very outwardly strong and inwardly sad, brash, witty, demands justice, sometimes knows things are wrong and does them anyway.
Basically, I feel as though my female character is me on the inside, and the male lead is me on the outside.
Do writing violent or sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
No and no. Writing sex scenes is what I live for. I enjoy the idea of taking a reader on a journey. I don’t want the reader to be a voyeur, but a participant in the scene and I work hard to make that happen. I can only hope I succeed though.
As for the violence – that’s tougher. It’s not as fun as the sex scenes, but I’d be disingenuous if I said that one never has to do with the other. Violence, be it justified or malicious is passion. If I write a violent scene it’s because I find it very necessary to the story-telling. It’s not gratuitous and should make you feel something, even if that something is anger or disgust. So it doesn’t bother me.
What is the most challenging part of writing for you? And how do you overcome that challenge?
Hahah, um…the mundane stuff that happens to or around a character is always creatively frustrating for me. I would rather write a scene where the character is doing something important or sexy, but that would be a short book. Without people to review my work I feel like my characters would never eat or notice their surroundings.
I learned an excellent technique too. When I’m done writing a scene I like to go through and make sure I mention what each character saw, heard, touched, smelled, tasted and felt. You’d be surprised what it brings to the story when you’re done.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing and publishing your work?
I learned I was talented. I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. I never really thought my writing was worthy of being read by anyone but me. It took a lot to put myself out there and the love I’ve gotten from the writing and reader community has been more than I ever dared hope for.
What books have influenced your writing style? What author has been an inspiration to your writing?
Every book I have ever read has influenced me in some way; they’ve taught me what I love about tone, pace, and the power of pregnant pauses. They’ve also taught me what I hate and what to avoid. That being said, I am a huge fan of Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite. I’m also going to throw in Rachel Gibson, because the very first romance book I ever read was The Trouble with Valentine’s Day and I loved it. It was Valentine’s Day 2005 and my heart had been recently broken, her book was my medicine.
What book, if any, are you currently reading?
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
What are you working on now?
The sequel of course! God and my imagination willing, Seduced in the Dark will be out sometime next year. I have readers depending on me.
Where can readers find you and your work?
My website: www.aboutcjroberts.com
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
The Slow Grind: What I have in common with The Little Engine that Could.
Thank You CJ, for participating in my author Q&A. I wish you continued success with your writing and look forward to seeing more of your published works in the future.
Thank you so much! I’m humbled by all the support. Please let me know if there’s ever a time I can pay it forward.
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