While we're waiting...
And a throwback interview with
THE INDIE BOOKSHELF
THE INDIE BOOKSHELF
The Dark Duet is a very intense series, possibly the most intense many of us at TIB have read.....were you, yourself, ever emotional while writing this story? MB
CJ: I was very emotional at times. You have to understand, I write these stories all alone in a room. There are times I laugh out loud and others that I cry. I’m very much in the moment when things are unfolding. And yes, sometimes I’m even bored to death as I’m writing, but I think all of it adds something to the storytelling.
How did you come up with the concept of Captive in the Dark? ST
CJ: It started one lonely night in Germany. I was sitting in my hotel room with nothing to do and no one to call and my mind began to wander. I’m a very anxious, slightly paranoid individual, so kidnapping and rape were first to come to mind. When that passed, I got bored and horny. So what’s a nerd to do on a Friday night if not dig out her laptop and start writing? LOL!
What kind of research did you have to do for these books, with this being such a sensitive topic? DS
CJ: I’m a people watcher, so a lot of the psychology comes from my voyeurism. Additionally, I spent time overseas where I witnessed some strange things. Nothing as horrible as what is in the book, but sad nonetheless. I also researched a lot of geography, cultural customs, military and government procedures, organizational charts, customs procedures, weaponry, small engine planes…you name it – at some point I researched it.
Was there any controversy over this book? If so, how did you handle it? ST
CJ: Yes and no. Some people have accused me of romanticizing rape or human trafficking, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a story about human nature. It’s a story about our definitions of good and evil and what they truly mean. It’s about the birth of evil and the struggle each of us has with our own dark side. It’s about redemption and our quest for forgiveness.
Is it sick? Yes.
Is it funny? Yes.
Is it dirty? Yes.
Does it make you think? I hope so!
The truth is, a significant number of women (between 40-60%) have rape fantasies. Additionally, 20% have them frequently. I chose to explore this through my world of FICTION, while also providing a thought-provoking subtext AND a storyline worthy of my readers attention. I did not approach this lightly and I think ultimately, my readers understood what I tried to do.
To those who didn’t understand it or found it disgusting: That’s okay. Read something else. This is not a story for everyone.
I want to know what her extracurricular activities are, LOL! But seriously, when you aren't writing, what do you do for fun? JH
CJ: I’m a karaoke fanatic! I’m not internationally known – but I’ve been known to rock a microphone! (LOL!). Aside from that, I’m usually reading m/m romance, riding my Harley, catching up on TV Series, or spending time with my family. I don’t have much time for anything else. Though, whenever possible – I LOVE to travel.
Livvie is such a strong character, which I think is part of what makes these books so intriguing. If she were a "wet blanket", the spell you cast over your readers may have broken. How important do YOU feel Livvie's strength in character is for the book and where did your inspiration for her come from? LS
CJ: Honestly, Caleb and Livvie are both pieces of me. One of my favorite lines from ‘Captive in the Dark’ is: “It had always seemed to me as though I were split into two people, but not equally.”
This line represents me the most and I had it tattooed on my arm. Livvie is strong – even when she doesn’t want to be and it’s a huge part of who I am.
There have been times in my life that I have wanted to lie down and give up, but DAMN IT, I can’t do it. I am incapable of surrender. It’s just not in me to give up and so I will always fight – even when I don’t want to.
After finishing CITD, what were your thoughts and feelings on continuing the story? CS
I knew I had a lot more story to tell. However, given the fact that CitD and SitD are two very different books, I knew splitting the story was the right thing to do. Some people were pissed and thought I was dragging things out – but I think the real fans understand that wasn’t the case.
CitD is about CAPTIVITY! SitD is about SEDUCTION. They are two very different things and the characters in each are very different indeed.
How did you feel about the ending to Seduced in the Dark? ST
The ending took me WEEKS to write. I struggled so much with how to end things and to be honest, I wasn’t sure how it was going to end until my fingers kept typing and I let them go where they wanted.
I cried when it was over. I mourned them. I mourned the end of this journey. Still, I was happy it was over too. I was happy they arrived at the place they wanted to be and I felt blessed I could take them there.
Seduced in the Dark was so eloquently wrapped up with a very hopeful ending of redemption and forgiveness. As a writer, how difficult is it to tie in a sequence of dark events and plot lines that you know must eventually lead to a (somewhat) happy ending? NG
I never wanted to subscribe to the forgone conclusion of a ‘happy ending’. To be honest, I originally ended the book very differently. What changed my mind was the yearning I could hear in my heart. This may sound strange, but sometimes I think my characters are REAL. They talk to me. And Caleb just wouldn’t let me sleep until I gave him what he wanted.
You are writing a spin off series based on at least one of the characters from the series, will we see any other familiar faces, specifically one with red hair? LS
Ah yes! Agent Reed and Sloan will certainly be making an appearance again. I really loved these characters when they burst into my consciousness. I think Matthew will be my guide into a more mainstream audience. He’s every bit as tortured as my Caleb, but unlike my anti-hero, Matthew has used his pain to fuel his hero complex. It’s going to make for a very interesting character indeed.
Additionally, I love Agent Janice Sloan. A lot of others didn’t care for her in SitD, but to be honest – the sick puppy in me LOVES changing their minds. LOL! When she’s good, she great, but when she’s bad – she’s better. ;)
Do you read books in the genre that you write? ST
I actually don’t. Additionally, I’m not sure I fit into a genre, but if I were to guess, I would assume most put me in BDSM erotica which I don’t read too much of. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s that so much of the genre doesn’t include a meaty enough plot and it’s so wrapped up in ‘Safe, Sane, Consensual’ that it reads more like a how-to instead of fiction.
I want to be taken to THE EDGE! If I wanted to play it safe, I’d read a romance (and sometimes I do).
Most typically I read paranormal (romance or otherwise), sci-fi, or thrillers. My favorites are M/M books of any genre. There’s just something about the way two men are written together as equals that appeals to me. You don’t find a lot of ‘equality’ in straight romances.
Are you working on anything at the moment? If so, will you share with us? ST
Reed and Sloan! I hope to have it out next year (if I ever get to start it! L)
North Hollywood, California. Yes and no – I am a product of my experiences.
Where is your favorite place to write? Do you work on your books during the day or wake frantic in the night having to put your thoughts into words immediately? AM
Whenever inspiration strikes! I try to write during the day at my computer downstairs, or at the library when my house is hectic, but if I wake up in the middle of the night with one hell of an idea – I run (not walk) to my laptop to write it down. Never wait!
Most of my friends in the area are bikers, my hubby included so it was a natural progression of my interests. I LOVE my new Harley. I can’t wait to ride it to Sturgis next year. J
Release day: $9.99
Release day: $9.99
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