RR: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
CJ: Well, as you know, I’m a writer. It is the best job ever and I’m so thankful I can do it full time. I write in many different genres, but I’m so in love with romance and new adult right now. I can’t get enough.
I live in the Twin Cities with my husband and young son and we’re a pretty active family – biking, hiking, camping, and traveling whenever we get the chance. We just went zip lining in Whistler, B.C. It was amazing.
I grew up dancing and it’s still a passion of mine today. I think lyrical is my favorite, but I enjoy it all – tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop. In my younger days, I was an NFL cheerleader (:
I also love decorating, fashion, running, and reading. When I’m in my groove, I read about three books a week!
RR: Can you tell us a little about your upcoming novels?
CJ: Why yes, it’s my favorite thing to talk about. MORE was just released and it is a companion story to BEFORE YOU GO. It’s also a stand-alone novel, so you can read all in the series or just one.
MORE is the story of two twenty-somethings, Jules and Foster. They are the most passionate, fun, quirky, sexy characters and they embark on quite an interesting summer together. They have been in love with each other since high school, but buried secrets keep them apart…until they’re thrown together for two wild weeks.
There is a third story in this series (more on that soon), but I have another NA I’m working on that I hope to release first. It is a contemporary NA with a twist. More on that soon, too!
RR: If you could have any of your characters as a best friend, which one would you pick and why?
CJ: I am more like Tabby, so I’d say Jules would be a great BFF for me. I think everyone could use a Jules in their life. She’s fun, supportive, protective, and loyal. Jules would be the shoulder you need to cry on, but also the kick in your butt if you needed it. I love her!
RR: What are 3 things that you loved about writing Before You Go and More?
CJ: The top 3 things I loved writing in BEFORE YOU GO:
*All the dance scenes
*The Sensate Focus scenes between Tabby and Noah
*The climax- when Noah finds out about Tabby’s past
My top 3 favorite scenes to write in MORE were:
*The Viking at the bar scene
*Both bathtub scenes
These scenes (in both books) are the perfect balance of drama, sweetness, and passion.
RR: Describe your writing process.
CJ: I am a character-driven writer, so that’s where I start. I get an image of a person and her/his life and I spend a lot of time daydreaming about them. Who are they? What’s going on in their life? What do they want? Once I know my protagonist, then I start writing.
Sometimes I write the scenes in order, sometimes not. However, I usually have to get a pretty solid beginning down before I can move on.
Then, I write the first draft. I write very sparse at first. In my second draft, I fill in a lot of the details and add additional scenes. Once that is done, I revise and tinker and play around with it until I feel ready to share it with a critique partner. Then there’s more tinkering
RR: Do you have any strange writing rituals?
CJ: I need my puppy at my feet, a diet coke, and a bunch of candy!
RR: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
CJ: Read, read, read and write, write, write. I also think writing craft books and classes are great. And find some great critiquing partners – real writers, not your mom or boyfriend
RR: What is your biggest pet peeve?
CJ: Rudeness. I can’t take it!
RR: If you could choose to live in a different time period, past or future, what would it be and why?
CJ: It would be the 60s. What a fascinating time in politics, music, literature, and culture. There was such change happening. I’m a huge advocate for human rights and I’d like to think I would’ve helped make a difference. I’m also a hippie at heart. Peace and love all the way!
RR: If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
CJ: A travel writer.
RR: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
CJ: An actress. I was a very dramatic child.
RR: Favorite drink?
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RR: Favorite Candy?
CJ: Mike & Ikes – I’m dying for some right now, but I’m trying to eat clean
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RR: Coke or Pepsi?
RR: Chocolate or Vanilla?
RR: eBooks or paperbacks?
RR: Text or Talk?
RR: Cats or Dogs?