Today I'm excited to have Janette Rallison, AKA CJ Hill visiting as her newest book, FRIENDS and TRAITORS, releases. We are practically besties because we both have twins and we know where Chandler AZ is. I have to put a plug in for Jeanette's books too. I have enjoyed every book of hers I've read. So far my favorites are IT'S A MALL WORLD AFTER ALL and MY FAIR GODMOTHER.
What is the elevator pitch of your newest book? Slayers is about a group of teens who have superpowers to fight dragons, which is a good thing because dragons are coming back and they don't want to be our friends.
Do you eat or listen to music while writing? I don't listen to music. I want to be so wrapped up in my writing that I don't hear anything that's going on around me. When my story isn't going well, I find that I'm frequently wandering into the kitchen for a snack. When things are going really well, I forget to eat.
What is your favorite food? My favorite food is chocolate. Bacon is a close second. Despite that fact, I do try to eat healthy (and then I go have chocolate. Or bacon.)
What was the first book that turned you into a reader? The Phantom Tollbooth. I loved that book as a child and have read it many times since. I've written a book that is basically a tribute to the Phantom Tollbooth (full of wordplay) called The Wrong Side of Magic. It will most likely be out sometime in 2014 or 2015.
Are you a night owl or early bird? Definitely a night owl. When the children aren't in school, I routinely stay up until 2:00 am. (Hey, that's some of the best writing time. You never get interrupted at 2:00 am.)
What do you never leave home without? I never leave home without a notebook and pen tucked in my purse. You never know when you'll get a really good plot idea.
What piece of advice would you give aspiring writers? Get a degree in anything else. You never know how long it will take you to make a living as a writer (if ever). Most successful authors start out by writing in addition to doing another job. If you can quit your day job eventually, great. If not, you won't starve.
What are your writing goals for 2014? I need to finish the third Fairy Godmother book. (It's long overdue, fans. Sorry!) Then I need to write the last book of the Slayers trilogy. (And in case you're wondering, I still haven't decided who Tori ends up with.) If you have an opinion, email me about that. I'm keeping tally. So far, it's split down the middle.
CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.) Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.) Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother. CJ Hill was her mother’s pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published. Her mother wrote a few children’s books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.
(Most writers’ first novels aren’t publishable. CJ Junior’s first novel wasn’t, but somehow was published anyway. Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness. This was another good reason to use a pen name.)
CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble. She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes.