Today I welcome fellow debut author CJ Warrant to my blog.
CJ is an Award Winning Author for dark romantic suspense and thrillers that pulls at your heart, makes you shiver, and hope for a happy ending. A lover of coffee, baking and family, but not in that order–She’s a wife, a loving mother of three and a cosmetologist by trade. Drawing her experiences from her Korean Italian heritage and growing up as an Army brat, her stories stir in dark plots with addictive flawed characters you will fall in love with.
Visit CJ at www.cjwarrant.com
What do you think people would be the most surprised to learn about you?
My nationality. People look at me and assume I’m a certain heritage but in fact I’m far from what they think. I’m half Italian and half Korean, which are equal influences in my life. So when you first meet me, I’m generally quiet, but once you get to know me you can’t shut me up.
What do you enjoy most in your free time?
Being with my family. Especially nowadays, since my kids are growing up so fast and moving out the house. I treasure them and the time we have.
Other than a computer, what modern convenience could you never live without?
My cell phone. Not only does it link to social media but also my family. It’s the central hub of all incoming information for both personal and professional.
Every author has a process—what works for them when they write. What does your writing process look like from first scribbles to finished manuscript?
Wow, if you had asked me that a few years ago, I’d say I was all over the place with my writing process. I’m a total pantser, through and through. However, while writing Forgetting Jane, I realized I needed some plotting to keep my story in line.
So, when I get a spark of an idea—which can come from anything I see, hear, or even dream and that idea usually forms into movie playing in my head. Upon that, I start writing a chapter or two of a scene. In that scene, my main characters emerge. However, sometimes, it’s a character that comes forth before the storyline. After developing my characters, that is when I begin writing my first draft. Once done, I usually go three to four rounds of edits, with a full rewrite and my critique partners going through the manuscript twice.
What is your all time favorite book and why?
This is a tough question, because I have several. I’ve always been a sucker for a love story with grittier plots. I want a book with characters that have major flaws and then find redemption. But one story has always stood out of my mind since I was a kid. It was the first book I fell in love with. The book made me cry and care for the characters deeply. It was, The Pigman by Paul Zindel. It’s far from what I read now, but it’s a great story.
Project research, love it or hate it?
I love doing research. It helps me dig deeper into my characters, plot and/or the places where the dirty deeds had taken place. The more I know, the better my story is.
Is there a specific author who inspires you?
I could say numerous well known authors have inspired me, like for example Sherrilyn Kenyon. She is one of my favorites to read, but I feel that the ones who truly inspire me the most are the writers who aren’t published yet. They keep writing and pushing along to get their stories out there. Their perseverance and diligence are what I feel inspires me; not to quit and keep striving for what I want. Just like them.
You write in various genres, which is your favorite to write?
I tend to lean toward my darker side, so I would have to say romantic thrillers.
Which is your favorite to read?
It would have to depend on my mood at the time. But if I have to choose, then it would be Paranormal romance. It so outside the realm of reality, and that’s what draws me.
Is there a genre you haven’t written but are thinking about trying?
Erotica. Just to see if I can write it.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
My first book—which by the way will never see the light of day… it me over four years to finish it with the heavy push from my wonderful husband.
Your latest book?
It took me eight months.
Like my debut novel, yours is set in Wisconsin. Tell us a little about FORGETTING JANE
Forgetting Jane is set in a small rural town in Wisconsin in current times. Some of the scenes in the novel were derived from my experiences I had when I was kid, living on a farm(which was haunted by a female ghost—no joke) for a year, and the closest town was ten miles away.
The story is about a woman found in the outskirts of town near a lake. Jane was horrifically beaten and had lost her memory. Her memory holds the key to who tried to kill her, and links her to a ghost, who haunts her until the killer’s secrets are revealed. What secrets? That’s what Chief Elias McAvoy’s intends to find out.
Small towns have buried secrets, and those secrets are about to be unearthed. With each step closer to getting Jane’s memory back, so is the truth about the killer. During the chaos of this investigation, Elias and Jane’s attraction grows and it can’t be denied.
And I do have to give a shout out to my secondary character, Harold and his hunting dog Traitor, a black Labrador. They are the ones who helped sparked this story.
What other projects are you working on?
I have three projects right now. My first project I’m currently editing is an erotic thriller called Mirror Image, which starts in Las Vegas and ends in Denver.
In my second project, I’m finishing up book one in a romantic suspense series based out of Chicago, which my lead female character, Jazz knows how to kick some a**.
And my third project is outlining a second romantic suspense series based out of Tennessee. Characters, towns and events—good and bad. A road trip will be required for this series.
The small town of Beaver Creek, Wisconsin has never seen a horrific act of violence before. So when two hunters find a woman beaten and partially buried, but alive, recovering alcoholic Chief Elias McAvoy has to find who’s behind the attempted murder. After Jane Doe wakes up from a coma, Elias discovers she has amnesia, which makes the case nearly impossible to solve.
Jane wants to remember the horrid crime that put her near death’s door, but the only thing she can envision is the girl in the yellow dress that repeatedly visits her. Seeing ghosts is the least of her worries, however. Between the severe headaches and nightmares, the only person keeping her sane is Elias. His desperate touch gives her the strength to learn more about herself and him, as well the girl who haunts her. She unwittingly captures Elias’s heart while the killer is bent on reclaiming her for his deadly game.
Elias and Jane search for answers and find more than lost memories. When another body is discovered, Elias uncovers a killing spree that spans forty years that connect to the girl in the yellow dress. With evidence pointing to a local, the killer quickly closes in, recapturing Jane to finish what he started. As Jane’s life hangs in the balance, Elias’s sobriety is tested as he realizes he can’t live without her. It will take strength and perseverance to save the woman he loves before the killer does.
Please join CJ and several other authors on June 29th from 3 – 10pm for her FORGETTING JANE Launch Party on Facebook. CJ will start us out and I’ll be there at 3:30! It promises to be loads of fun with lots of giveaways!