Author of two-full length novels, Thicker than Blood and Bound by Guilt, C.J. Darlington has recently released a new work of three short stories and an ebook filled with wise counsel from experienced authors. C.J. is here to tell us more about herself and her new projects.
GW: Your newest work of fiction, Out of Time, consists of three short stories. What are these stories about and what prompted you to go the short story route rather than another full-length novel?
CJ: Well, I haven’t given up on novels. Not at all! I’m actually at various stages with two different novels right now. Putting out this short story trilogy was more a way to give something to my readers as they wait for my next full-length release. I actually wrote all three of the short stories in Out of Time before I’d completed my first novel, and one of them even inspired a scene in my book Thicker than Blood.
Each story follows a different character who has to make a choice that will change their life. I hope they encourage all of us to ponder how sometimes even inconsequential actions can have a big impact we might not see until later.
GW: I took advantage of the sneak peak offered at Amazon by the way, and was really moved by the theme of your first story. The portion I read really amounts to our whole purpose for being on this earth and how easy it is to forget what that purpose is. Great reminder!
CJ: The first story, “Out of Time”, is a reminder to me too. I wrote the first draft in an afternoon. I actually contemplated a few different endings for it until I hit on the one I used.
GW: You also have a newly released, non-fiction title aimed at authors: 112 Christian Authors and Publishing Professionals Share Their Best Advice for Novelists. I think the book is a great idea and I like your coffee shop concept. What sage advice would you impart to novelists?
CJ: A few things I’ve learned in the past couple years: One is to write the story of your heart. As novelists, we really can’t write to the market because that changes so quickly. I believe that if we write the stories that move us as the author then it will show on the page. We will then move our readers.
Focus on writing first, then on marketing and networking. The best marketing tool you have is your book. Word of mouth still is the ultimate publicity tool, and that’s something out of our control.
GW: I know that you were educated at home. I also taught my children. Great experience from my end, but from your experience as a home-educated student, do you feel that being in a non-traditional learning environment was beneficial to you as a writer and your pursuit of that desire?
CJ: Totally! I truly believe that if I hadn’t been homeschooled I wouldn’t be where I am today. It gave me a huge leg up, which I credit to my parents. They took the time to teach my sister and I, sacrificing much. I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but it was everything for me.
The homeschooling education I had, taught me how to teach myself, which I still use to this day. In fact, I’m about to embark on a new endeavor right now with my writing that will require lots of learning!
GW: You yourself had an early start in writing. What are your recommendations for the budding young writer?
CJ: Know that God can call you to be a writer. If you have the desire in your heart, then it’s there for a purpose. It took me a long time to realize this, and I still have to remind myself at times.
Reading is the number one way to learn how to write better. Craft books will help too, but nothing beats reading novels. You’ll pick up on structure, plotting, etc. by reading widely.
GW: As a Christian novelist how does your faith shape your writing?
CJ: Every story I write revolves around the theme of redemption. It’s the reason I write–to share hope and good news, or challenge other believers. Sometimes more blatant than others, but my faith shapes everything I write. I don’t think it’s possible to separate them, at least for me.
GW: The world is yours for the taking, what does your future look like?
CJ: I’m very excited about some new things on the horizon! I just announced on my Facebook page that my third novel is going to release this summer under my own publishing company, Mountainview Books, both as a paperback and an ebook. Can’t wait to share more. We’re still in the beginning stages but shooting for June 1st release.
Here’s the teaser for the novel: On a quest to find her father, a young woman discovers she has two sisters who have no idea she exists.
GW: Where can your latest releases be purchased?
CJ: The ebooks are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc. I have links up on my website, but you can also just search for my name on any of these sites and they’ll come up. As will my two full-length novels Thicker than Blood & Bound by Guilt.
Thank you C.J., for visiting with us!
Thanks for having me, Julie!
Visit C.J. at: cjdarlington.com
C. J. won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood, which released from Tyndale House in 2010. Her second novel, Bound by Guilt, released from Tyndale House in 2011. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over fifteen years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore.
In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction ever since. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a Paint horse named Sky.