I’m pleased to welcome author C. C. Hunter here today to Dark Faerie Tales to talk about Born at Midnight, which is the first book in her Shadow Falls series. Born at Midnight will hit shelves on March 29, 2011. You can read the first chapter of the book here.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Born at Midnight and a really cool swag pack. As always, details are listed at the end of the post.
C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she’s still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.
C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central.
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book?
C.C.: Thanks, Angela. I’d love to tell your readers about Born at Midnight, my debut YA paranormal and the first book in the Shadow Falls series.
The book is about sixteen-year-old Kylie Galen who’s had a lot of crap tossed in her lap lately. Her parents are getting a divorce for who the heck knows why. Her boyfriend broke up with her because she wouldn’t put out. And her grandmother died because . . . well, older people do that. But now, Kylie’s acquired a stalker and she hasn’t a clue what he wants or how to get rid of him . . . and she really wants to get rid of him because apparently she’s the only one who sees him. Thinking she may be losing it, her parents send her off to see a psychologist who gets Kylie sent to Shadow Falls Camp. Kylie and her parents think it’s a camp for troubled teens.
They thought wrong.
Kylie’s surrounded by vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches and shapeshifters. And if she believes what they tell her, she’s one of them. They’re just not sure exactly how she fits in. And her stalker? Well, he’s really a ghost, and he needs her help. As Kylie struggles to cope with the realization that these creatures even exist, and the fact that she might not be human, she’s got two hot guys, a werewolf and a half-fairy vying for her attention. And they can just keep vying. Kylie’s determined that before she lets her heart loose on love, she needs to unearth the truth. What does the ghost want? Who can and can’t she trust? And most of all . . . What is she?
C.C.: Sure. The book is told from the point of view of Kylie, whom I’ve already told you about. Her two roommates become her two best friends during the book. Della is a vampire and, well, let’s just say she has some anger management issues. Miranda is a dyslexic witch, which means she often has trouble getting her spells right. Then there’s Holiday, the camp counselor, who’s a Fae with a firm rule of “no more vampire boyfriends” who, naturally enough, feels a strong attraction to Burnett, a vampire with the FRU who’s been assigned to watch over Shadow Falls. Kylie’s got these two guys who both are vying for her attention. There’s Derek, a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas, a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.
DFT: If you could describe your main characters with only 3 words, what would they be?
C.C.: Three words? Are you serious? Don’t you know I’m from the South and being long-winded is in my nature? LOL. But I’ll give it a try. Hmm. Well, if I had to describe the book in only three words, I’d go with “Paranormal Summer Camp.” For the main characters, I’d probably go with, “Normal But Paranormal” because all of my characters, from Kylie to her roommates, to the guys and everyone else at Shadow Falls Camp, they’re just like “normal” teenagers, meaning they have the same insecurities and they’re on the same quest to figure out who they are. The only difference is they’re also supernatural creatures, which means their quest for self-discovery has a whole different component to it.
DFT: Tell us something about your research process and the choices you make when creating the story.
C.C.: Good question. When I was first approached about possibly writing a YA paranormal series, the first thing I did was to read as many YA books as I could get my hands on. Not all of them were paranormal but many of them were. I wanted to understand the genre and reading books is the best way I know how to do that. I also did some research on vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and faes—I wanted to understand their mythology before starting my book. Of course, once I started plotting the Shadow Falls series, I tweaked the mythology a little (okay, a lot) so my supernatural creatures would fit with my vision of Shadow Falls.
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing Born at Midnight?
C.C.: One of the questions I get asked most is probably where I got the inspiration for writing Born at Midnight. And, well, like I always say, it’s a funny story. The idea about writing a YA wasn’t mine. I was actually approached by St. Martin’s Press who had the spark of an idea and wanted to see if I could run with it. Now, when I say “spark,” I mean just a spark. Two words, that’s all I was given. Paranormal camp.
As a romance novelist—I write under my real name, Christie Craig, and will have a new book out from Grand Central in August called Don’t Mess with Texas, but I digress. The thing is, as a romance novelist, I’ve always been known for writing a rather large ensemble of characters. And I knew right away that Born at Midnight would need several. I’m also known for creating life-like, believable characters. And considering that these characters are all supernaturals, I knew I’d really have to find a way to humanize my nonhuman characters. So I came up with a list of personality traits for my supernaturals that mirrored the personality traits of people I knew. (This is where the “tweaking the mythology” part I talked about comes in.)
To give you an idea of what I mean . . . people who are the quiet, standoffish types are often called lone wolves, which makes them ideal candidates to be a werewolf. Or the person who blends in so easily with their environment they often appear to shift their personalities depending on who they’re with at the time are naturals for shapeshifters. Basically, I took human traits to create sort of an outline for my different paranormals. I’ve actually posted my supernatural personality traits on my website. So I guess the inspiration for the series came from my editor’s two word suggestion and my inspiration for creating my characters came from all the lovable and sometimes crazy characters in my life.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
C.C.: Oh, wow. You mean I have to choose just one? I honestly don’t think I can. I love Kylie but I also love all the others. How about this instead – the one character I’d love to get to know better is Holiday, the camp counselor. That’s because I know she’s holding out on me. Holiday has had an interesting past, and I can’t wait to find out about her adventures before coming to Shadow Falls.
DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line from Born at Midnight?
C.C.: Oh, this is hard because there are several scenes I really love in Born at Midnight—such as Kylie’s heart-rending breakthrough with her mom, or her discovering the identity of her ghost stalker and especially the romantic scenes with Derek and then with Lucas. But I’d probably go with the scene where Kylie offers her vampire roommate Della her blood.
“Will it hurt much?” Kylie asked as she held out her arm and ran a finger down the blue vein showing through her pale skin.
For me, the scene shows the strength of friendship and Kylie’s willingness to accept others for who and what they are, even though the thought of a vampire drinking blood—especially her blood—makes Kylie squeamish. It’s a turning point in their relationship and a pivotal moment for Kylie, who has finally accepted the other campers as friends. Because as she starts to accept them, she really starts to accept the supernatural part of herself. I cried when I wrote that scene.
C.C.: Oh, thanks for asking! Right now, I’m working on Taken at Dusk, Book 3 of the Shadow Falls series. I can’t give away too many details but the book picks up where Book 2, Awake at Dawn, leaves off. (I try not to let a lot of time pass between books and so far, that’s been working for me.)
In Taken at Dusk, Kylie’s journey of self-discovery continues. She’s learning a lot about herself about Lucas and Derek, too. Everybody seems to be keeping secrets in this book, and that includes her roommates, Della and Miranda. A new spirit is haunting Kylie and it’s just as puzzling as the last two. However, Kylie will be blown away when she discovers who this ghost is. Kylie also finds out she’s not the only one who’s dying to uncover her secrets. The danger is ratcheted up, and Kylie may be forced to face the death of someone she has grown to care about.
That’s all I can share about Taken at Dusk for now but I know I’m going to be crying when I write the end of this one.
DFT: What do you want readers to take away from reading Born at Midnight?
C.C.: Good question. I think it would be the message that everyone is different and unique in their own way, and we should learn to accept them—and ourselves—just the way they (and we) are.
I also hope readers enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
DFT: Do you have a long-term plan or goal for this story universe? What happens next?
C.C.: Well, I have a general idea about where the story will head next in Book 3 Taken at Dusk, but I don’t have any of the specifics yet about what will happen to Kylie long-term . . . or even what she is.
As for how long I plan to write the Shadow Falls series, I can honestly say that I don’t know. I’m currently working on Book 3 and, right now, my publisher and I don’t have any plans to end the series. A lot really depends on how well Born At Midnight does when it releases. Let’s just say I see so many possibilities for expanding the Shadow Falls world, and I’d love to stay with these characters for as long as the readers want me to do so.
DFT: Why do you think there is the misconception that young adult books are not as deep or as complex as books for adults? What is your response to this misconception?
C.C.: Well, as I mentioned, I also write romance novels so, believe me, I’m used to the whole “When are you going to write a REAL book” snarky comments from people who are just flat-out clueless about popular fiction. All works of fiction, in order to be successful, have to be entertaining. People have to want to read them. But these books also need to resonate with the reader in some way. YA books, for the large part, are coming of age stories and they tackle the angst and the insecurities about being a teenager, about trying to figure out who you are and where you fit into this crazy world of ours. Those are some pretty important things, I think.
DFT: What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
C.C.: Oh, this is another hard question. The truth is, I read a lot of different authors so my reading list is varied. I do almost all of my reading these days in bed because it’s a great way to wind down from writing. Some of my current favorite YA books include:
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynne Childs
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
13 to Life by Shannon Delany
Evermore by Alyson Noel
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
The House of Night by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
DFT: If you could be any supernatural creature, which one would you be and why?
C.C.: Oh, boy. This is probably one of the questions I get asked most, but no matter how many times I’m asked it, it’s still hard for me to answer. As I said, I’ve made some changes to the mythology for many of my supernaturals in the Shadow Falls series. Some of them, like vampires, shapeshifters, and werewolves, can be scary but once you get to know them as characters, you’ll realize they all have some good qualities. I think that’s what makes it so hard for me to choose—I don’t want to be unfaithful to any of my characters. LOL. But if I had to choose, I’d probably go with either a witch or a fae. I think these characters offer the most options . . . although I think it would be totally cool to be able to fly like a vampire does. LOL.
C.C.: Yes! Angela, thank you again for having me here at Dark Faerie Tales. I’ve had a blast! I’d like to add two more things for your readers, if I could.
First, make sure you snag my free short story, Turned At Dark. It’s Della’s story and it introduces the Shadow Falls series. You can read the first three chapters of Born at Midnight, too. All you have to do is visit my Born at Midnightth – 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. t? page at Macmillan on March 15
And second, 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!
DFT: Thanks Christie for taking the time to stop by.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Born at Midnight and a really cool swag pack .
To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:
If you were sent to Shadow Falls Camp, which paranormal/otherworldly creature would you make an alliance with?
1. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
2. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
3. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada only.
4. Giveaway ends Wednesday, April 6th at 11:59 PM EST.
5. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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