Thursday, January 21, 2010
Interview With Author C J Darlington
Today it's my privilege to interview author CJ Darlington. CJ's debut novel, Thicker Than Blood, releases soon. She's had an interesting journey into publication, and I think you'll enjoy meeting this young lady.
RM: CJ, tell us a little about yourself.
CJ: I’ve always loved to write, and being homeschooled for all my schooling years nurtured that love. I began writing the story that would become my first novel Thicker than Blood when I was fifteen, and I didn’t look back. By day I’m a used book dealer, and it was great fun to be able to incorporate some of the interesting book collecting tidbits I’ve learned through the years into Thicker than Blood.
RM: Even before publication, you were known for your website, TitleTrakk.com. For those who’ve never checked out that site, tell my readers a bit about it.
CJ: TitleTrakk.com is a Christian entertainment website my sister Tracy and I started for anyone interested in learning more about all the amazing Christian books, music and movies out there. It’s our goal to shine the spotlight on the newest and brightest in the industry, and we’re excited at the opportunity to every week bring our readers new interviews, reviews, contests and more. It’s been amazing how the site has grown in the past few years.
RM: Thicker Than Blood was developed over a decade of writing. At what point did it go from a teen’s dream to the effort of a serious writer?
CJ: I remember distinctly the moment when I was eighteen and decided I wanted to get serious. I had been working on “my story” off and on for a couple years, but I wanted to complete it and hopefully get it published. I gave myself five years to do that. I thought that would be plenty of time! The story gelled in my early twenties. I completed Thicker than Blood when I was twenty-four. Of course, it ended up being revised greatly even after that, but that gives you an idea of the timeline.
RM: Share with us the role of the Christian Writers Guild in your progress as a writer.
CJ: If it weren’t for the Christian Writers Guild I wouldn’t be doing this interview with you right now. They are the reason I am published with Tyndale House. Every year they run a contest called Operation First Novel. Writers submit their completed novels, and the staff reads all the submissions and sends the top four manuscripts to the Tyndale House acquisitions team who picks the winner. Part of the prize is publication by Tyndale.
I entered an early version of my novel Thicker than Blood in the 2004 Operation First Novel contest. It placed as a semi-finalist. Then I entered a much-revised version of the novel in their 2008 contest, and it won!
RM: Would you introduce my readers to Thicker Than Blood?
CJ: Thicker than Blood is the story of two estranged sister, May & Christy Williams. Both have chosen different paths for their lives. They meet again after fifteen years, one needing God’s love, the other God’s help.
Here’s what the back cover says: Christy Williams never imagined that a stolen Hemingway's first edition would lead her back to the sister she left fifteen years ago. But when things begin to unravel, she finds herself on May’s doorstep, fearing for her life. After a bittersweet reunion, will the two discover some hurts can’t be healed, or is there a tie that’s thicker than blood?
RM: What’s next for CJ Darlington?
CJ: I have completed the sequel to Thicker than Blood and have begun a third book now. The working title for the sequel is Innocent Blood. Some of the minor characters from Thicker become minor characters in Innocent. But there are many new characters as well. Rare books also feature prominently, especially a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The story revolves around a teenage girl named Roxi who finds herself homeless and in serious trouble. Another main character is bookstore manager Hunter Dawson’s older sister, Abby Dawson.
RM: And (although it sounds like something the warden would say before the lights outside the prison dim), do you have any last words for us?
CJ: Christian fiction has grown in quality and variety in the past ten years alone. If you tried it ten years ago and didn’t find something to your liking, could I encourage you to try again? There’s something for everyone to enjoy these days.
Thanks so much for having me here, Richard!
CJ, thanks for being here with us. Good luck with your writing. I have a strong feeling that we'll be hearing a lot more from you in the future.