Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Writer Life with C.C. Hunter

Five Things you Might Not Know about Writers, Or at Least this Writer

1. We’re mean SOBPs. (SOBP:  Sons (or daughters) of Bad People.) 

Seriously, we’re the baddest of the bad. You think you don’t want to deal with gun-toting thugs?  Well, guess what?  We writers make those gangsters look like little old ladies sipping tea and nibbling on cookies. 

Think about the last book you read, think about the problems that character went through.  Who do you think put those characters smack dab in the middle of chaos? Yup, it was the writer.

Kylie Galen, the heroine of my book Born at Midnight, my first Young Adult paranormal romance, has so much crap tossed in her lap, it’s ridiculous.  Her parents are getting a divorce, her grandma died, and her boyfriend broke up with her because she wouldn’t put out.  You might think that’d be enough, but oh no.  Her best friend is taking a walk on the wild side and wanting Kylie to tag along, and now Kylie’s acquired a stalker.  A very strange and spooky-looking dude wearing army garb whom nobody seems to be able to see except for Kylie, a little fact which lands her a series of appointments with a shrink. 

When Kylie thinks it can’t get any worse, it does.  Kylie attends a party with underage drinking that gets her shipped away to Shadow Falls, a camp for “troubled” teens.  And that’s only in the first pages of the book, wait until you get to the part where Kylie starts figuring out things like vampires and werewolves exist. Yup, Kylie is up to her eyebrows in crap.

And guess what?  I’m the bad person who tossed it at her.  Now, don’t go hating  me. You see, it’s all this bad stuff that makes a book interesting to read.  Or maybe I should say it’s watching the characters overcome the bad stuff that makes it interesting to read.  And Kylie does overcome.  Shoot, she triumphs.  Look for Born at Midnight on sale everywhere March 29th

2. Most writers write for therapy.

It’s not the fact that we’re mean SOBPs that make us require therapy.  Or that we hear voices and talk to ourselves. I think it’s just the fact that we spend so much time in our heads.  However, I’ll admit it, I’ve been known to hear voices, and have long chats with myself, or an unseen character.  Freaks out my husband every time, too. 

But the truth is, writing helps clear my mind.  I sometimes don’t know what I think about an issue until I think about it on paper. 

Writing helps me see all sides of a problem, and because I write humor, I can begin to see the lighter side of a dark situation.  And if I have something that needs to be worked through, putting those words on paper helps me move past things.  Seriously, I got over my negative feelings for my ex after penning about four murder mysteries and killing several bad guys.

For this writer, penning stories is a bit of self-discovery.  I learn a little more about myself with each character I create…and kill.  And as I watch my heroes and heroines triumph, as they deal with all the mean stuff I toss at them, I find a bit of my own inner courage. 

3. It’s not always a life of glamour.

As y’all know, I write romance under my real name, Christie Craig, and I’m now writing YA paranormal under my pseudonym, C.C. Hunter.  That means I’m now a YA author, I’m new to this genre, and I’m not completely sure what the image is of a YA author.  My mind says people see them as totally cool, wearing frayed jeans and a pair of wickedly expensive high heels.  However, I know the image that most people have of romance writers.  They see them as classy, smart-looking women wearing expensive suits made of silk, eating bonbons while reclined on a chaise lounge.  And almost always these romance writers are seen with a fluffy, prissy dog napping in her lap.  Yep.  I’m talking the glamorous life.  Now, I won’t lie to you.  I have a chaise lounge, I’ve been known to indulge in bonbons, I love frayed jeans, and I have a dog.  Oh heck, I’ve even owned a silk suit and a pair of wickedly expensive high heels.  I don’t wear the heels because I if I did, I’d fall on my backside, but I still own them.

And while I truly love the idea of people thinking of me as classy, smart, cool and living the glamorous life, the truth is a bit different.  You see, I wake up, barely comb my hair, slip on a pair of worn sweats--the bra is optional—and tennis shoes.  I stumble into my office still half-asleep, sit at a desk that I haven’t seen the top of in months, and start to work.  Oh yeah, the dog?  The ninety-pound mutt, he’s sleeping on the chaise lounge in my living room because he’s already eaten the other furniture.  I ran out of bonbons last week, and because I’m on a deadline, I won’t go to the store until I’m out of the one thing we can’t live without in my house—toilet paper.  And while I’m there, because my mind will still be contemplating what mean thing I’m going to do my characters next, I’ll probably forget the bonbons.  I’m lucky if I remember the toilet paper. Yeah.  It’s a glamorous life, all right.

4. Most of us writers are thieves by nature. 

We plagiarize from our own lives and from the lives of people we read about in the newspaper.  We steal bit and pieces of stories from our neighbors, from our spouses, and the garbage man who looks suspiciously like an undercover rogue vampire.  We snatch snippets of dialogue from the couple whispering at the table next to us at the restaurant when they think we’re not listening.  We boldly take speech patterns from people we meet at the doctor’s office.  If we like the mannerisms or the body posture of the grocery clerk loading our purchased items into plastic bags at the check-out, we take it home with us, too, and give it to one of our characters.

 5. There are two different kinds of writers. 

The first are writer writers.  They’re the kind who were born knowing what dangling participles are and couldn’t misspell a word if their life depended on it.  Heck, maybe they are the classy, smart-looking people on chaise lounges with poodles, too.  I wouldn’t know because I’m not one of them.  Their first drafts are polished, and the only thing they need before shipping off their book is the layering of characters and story.

Then there are the storytellers: the kind who can’t spell Jack, but can make that man a hero, a man that you’d love to get to know and hear about in their first drafts.  They are the writers whose manuscripts are riddled with misspelling and grammar errors, but the story and characters are almost ready to walk out the door after the author first types the end.  But the storyteller writers can’t let them walk out until they find those participles and whack off the dangling parts, and learn how to spell Jack’s name.  Yeah, I sometimes envy those writer writers.

So there you have it.  Five things about writers, or about this writer, that you might not have known.  I’m giving away a copy of Born at Midnight to one lucky poster who tells me one thing about them that I didn’t know.  Come on, I told you all my dirty little secrets.  It’s only fair that you tell me a few of yours.

Also 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 Midnight page at Macmillan on March 15th .  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. How cool is that?

Oh, and one final thing.  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.  So, please drop by and help me tweet my book and you could win a Kindle!



2nd Chance said...

Hi, Christie! Oh, I mean CC!

So, ya wants dirty little secrets...

*leans closer

I let the kraken clean the glassware here at the bar!


Oh, writer's secrets? I often forget the names of the characters in the books I write. And read. I've been known to forget what day it is. Sigh.

Quantum said...


Are your YA books suitable for older types who are still young at heart?
I tried to download 'Turned at Dark' to find out, but sadly I don't live in the USA!

I'm a scientist and don't have any dark secrets, other than my latest discovery.
Except, yes, there is one that I can reveal.

Sin, in yesterday's blog about dialog commented:
You’re the man across the room that all women lock eyes with as soon as they walk into the room. You can talk a woman out of her panties in less than 3 seconds. In my head, Q is good with his silver tongue.

Hmmm. She's partially right you know. I secretly write dialog for lascivious rakes! :lol:

CC said...

Howdy, Guys!

Waving at 2nd Chance and Quantum. Love those secrets. And...hey, I totally forget the names of my characters. But you have to understand I sometimes am working on four books. Two in copy editing stages, one completing, and one writing a proposal. So sometimes, I accidentally let one hero have a little fun with a different heroine. Yikes.

And Quantum, yes, my book is for any readers. For any foreign readers, you can pop over to the Macmillan site and read the story and the first chapters of Born at Midnight. I'm posting the link below. Just scrowl down and click on the words Turned at Dark.

Bosun said...

Good morning!

Welcome back, sort of, CC. LOL! I can't imagine working on four books at once. Heck, I can't imagine working on TWO!

Okay, my writer secret would have to be that I'm scared to death of deadlines. My own deadlines give me palpitations, and though I've met some, I've put off many. I know it's part of the deal, but the idea still has me shaking in my writer shoes!

Hellion said...

I love YA novels! CC, I'm excited to discover a "new author" in the genre. :)

My writer secret is that I have the problem of liking my characters too much. You know how you're a mean SOBP? I have problems with it because I want my characters to like me--and I like them. I wouldn't make a very good vengeful Old Testament God, I'm pretty sure. I'm usually far too willing to hear a sob story and empathize.

Now people I don't like. I have little fantasies about them being tortured by ants or tax audits--I have no problem giving them "conflicts". But then people I don't like--I don't think are heroic and I'm not interested in their stories anyway. Ugh.

CC said...

Hey Bo'sun and Hellion,

Ahh, deadlines. Evil little suckers, aren't they? But take a deep breath and spit them in the eyes and keep going. LOL. Seriously, they can be scary, but find a way to play head games with yourself so you can make them less scary. We all have to face them. And Hellion, I'm really having fun in the new genre. And man...ants and tax audits? And you say you're not mean enough? But seriously, we do have to be B with itches with our characters. That's what makes a good story.

Marnee said...

Hi CC!

This blog is awesome. I laughed at the picture of "writer writers" on their chaise lounges. I think that's how I picture Danielle Steele. All on a chaise lounge with diamonds at neck, ears, and fingers, stroking a soft (well-groomed) miniature poodle and sipping a martini.

She probably writes in sweats too, just like the rest of us.


Dirty little writer secrets.....


I'm Irish; I don't have a lot of secrets. Just ask, I'll tell you anything you wanna know. :) (Happy St. Patty's Day, everyone!)

Bosun said...

Nope, I cannot fathom Danielle Steele writing in sweats. LOL! And I don't even know what she looks like!

I have a similar problem to Hellie, not mean enough. But I'm working on it. For the new WIP, the heroine is deathly afraid of boats and water. In the first scene, she has to drive onto a ferry AND her hero is a charter boat captain. See, I'm making progress!

Donna said...

Welcome, CC, and congrats on the new series. It sounds very intriguing.

I "think on paper" too, and it really is helpful. It also keeps the fellow patrons at Starbucks reassured that I'm not staring (or glaring) at them once they see me scribbling on the notepad I brought with me. LOL

As for my secrets. . .those are easy to pry out of me, after five or ten years. :)

CC said...


I keep waiting for martini to show up.I must be Irish, too. Because I'll tell people anything. LOL.

Donna, only five or ten years? You must be werewolf personality. Over at a blogger posted my personality traits of the different kinds of supernatural. Weres are hard to get to know.

And Bo'sun, making those characters face their fears is a sure sign of meanness. Congrats. LOL.


Bosun said...

Now I want a (well-groomed) poodle named Martini.

Sadly, Donna is not exaggerating. LOL! Is one of the traits of the weres contrariness? Because that will cement this theory as truth.

Marnee said...

What an awesome name for a well-groomed poodle.

The less well-groomed poodles can take Fluffy and Yippy or whatever else they call those yappy little things.

(Sorry to those who may own a little poodle. I prefer larger doggies.)

Donna said...

Terri, my contrariness is just meant to distract you from the fact that I'm not spilling my secrets. LOL Or to make you wonder if I *am* spilling secrets but changing them later.

It's a fun way to do things. :)

Janga said...

Am I the only one who saw Dame Barbara Cartland with that description of writer writers? LOL

I'm a YA fan too. Congrats on the new identity, Christie. May C.C.'s books be bestsellers.

I'm pretty good with the dangling participles, but my first drafts surely aren't ready to march out the door. Like Hellie and Ter, I have a hard time being mean to my characters. Maybe I should switch subgenres. I can think of several people I wouldn't mind killing off--vicariously, of course.

Bosun said...

I'm with Janga, the idea of vicariously killing off people has its attraction.

Kiddo is 11 and I fully intend to buy her this book. Might be kind of fun for us to read it at the same time. (2 copies sold!) This book okay for that age? She's read a bit of the Twilight stuff, but mostly stuck with MG books so far.

Hellion said...

Janga, I saw Barbara Cartland too. I used to read her books a lot when I first started reading romances--and that's exactly the writer I thought of. *LOL*

And *LOL* yes, I have no problem thinking of people I wouldn't mind killing vicariously, but my main characters are like my best friends--like Janga or Bo'sun--and I wouldn't wish mean things on them.


Well, maybe on Bo'sun. I do think it would be funny if she were forced to eat mashed potatoes or something.

Christie Craig said...

Okay...My martini needs to be in a glass. LOL. I meant to say I'm waiting for a martini to show up. But it would make a perfect name for a prissy dog. And killing people is a blast. Hardly hurts a bit anymore. LOL.

And Bo'sun, I would recommend you read the book before you handed it to your eleven-year-old daughter, to make sure you think she's ready for it. My book has a wonderful underlined message of not letting peer pressure push you to do things you aren't comfortable doing. And sex is one of those things. The book isn't graphic, but I talk about sex, and have the heroine thinking about how she was tempted to give in with her boyfriend, and then sort of explain why she didn't do it.

I think a thirteen year old who knows what sex would enjoy it and it would be a valuble lesson about how she might deal with these kind of situations.

But I know a lot of young teens, like twelve, have read it and enjoyed it. So it may depend on your daughter's maturity.


Bosun said...

I just knew Hellie was going to wish mean things on me. I knew it! I'll eat them if you sit in front of my so when I spew, you can catch it. :)

That's actually perfect, Christie. She'll be 12 in July and one of her friends keeps changing boyfriends like most of us change socks. Sex, perse, is not on her radar yet, but it's an open topic in our house (as it was when I was a kid) so I think it could get some good converasations going. I'll just read faster than she does so I can have her skip scenes if necessary.

It's hard to find books that will hold her interest, but knowing you're the queen of writing a book that CANNOT be put down, I have faith she'll love this series.

Bosun said...

BTW - I guess I could have put up something green for St. Patty's day, but I didnt' think about it.

Every year on this day, I stand in front of my closet, realize I own nothing green, then promise I'll get something by next year. And I never do. LOL!

My green today is little green frog dangly earrings. They count so no pinching!

Christie Craig said...

I lucked out. I'm wearing a green shirt. Totally accidentally. But no pinching me.


Sin said...

Q, you've got charisma.

Hm, dirty secrets. I have lots. I'm a pirate. It's my prerogative. Dirty little writing secrets? Well, I wing everything. I may have a concept in mind or beginnings of what I want to write, but in the grand scheme of things, I have no clue what the heck I'm doing.

Welcome back aboard the ship (even if it's under a pen name, we love to have you around@!)

Christie Craig said...


I'm a champion winger. LOL. Eventually, things start meshing and come together, but never in the beginning.


2nd Chance said...

I can do a martini! and I'll even use the glasses I didn't let the kraken clean.


Now, are those the glasses on the left or on on the right...?

I'm wearing the green today! And it's good to know that I'm not alone wit' mixing up names. Though I don't know that I've ever taken one from one book and one from another...

I have thought about a scene so much I thought I wrote it and then opened the MS and gone, "DAMN!"

Well, all the YA stuff at RT is just made for you, CC!

Christie Craig said...

Hi 2nd Chance,

Not too long ago I wrote scene and got heroine's name mixed up with the hero's sister. It was a hot kiss scene and my critique partner wrote me and said, "I know you are from Alabama where these kind things happen, but I wouldn't let it happen in your books. LOL." She knew I'd just made an opps, but couldn't help herself from giving me a hard time.

Yes, I'm looking forward to RT this year. Are you going?


Quantum said...

With all the technical stuff that gets tossed around here, 'the cute meet', 'beats', 'romance chemistry', 'conflict' etc etc, I thought it about time I mugged up on this stuff to find out what everyone is talking about. *grin*

Its gotta be a doddle after Quantum Field Theory after all!

So Christie, I just downloaded your writing manual 'The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel' from Amazon UK. It actually seems to be the only one of your books downloadable to the UK.

When you visit again, be prepared for a technical grilling ..... if I can somehow get hold of one of your novels that is .... hint hint :wink:

Thanks for the link to the macmillan site .... perhaps that will suffice.

May I ask whether when starting out,you found any particular craft books helpful and have you absorbed the cream of that wisdom into your own writing guide?

Sin: Q, you’ve got charisma.
Sin, your comment yesterday had me blushing, and that never happens!
Lady, you have both wit and charm in abundance. Forget the grand scheme of things. Thats best left to the string theorists, though they seem to be tied in knots as well! :D

Bosun said...

The hero and his sister? Maybe this is why none of my heroes have sisters. (Something I never realized until this moment. Huh.)

Q - I have that book, it's great. But reading Christie's books will reveal that she's definitely absorbed the wisdom of which she speaks.

Christie Craig said...


I hope my book gives you a good kick in the seat of the pants with writing info. I have two how-to books that I reread. Stein On Writing by Sol Stein and Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Eglesias. Both are excellent.

And I'll look out for my grilling. LOL.


Bosun said...

I just ordered three craft type books last night and now you mention two more I haven't even heard of. LOL! Dang it, off to google.

2nd Chance said...

I've got the Iglesias book! One I actually got half way through!

Christie - Yup, I'll be at RT. Early in fact to help out Judi's Beginning Writer's group. I also am on my first panel as an author called "He's A Pirate" and signing at the E-Expo and the Saturday Book Faire. I'm a wreck...

Where's a glass? I find a little kraken slime ups the numbing factor...

Christie Craig said...

Agg, Just realized that I mispelled Iglesias, the author of Writing for Emotional Impact.

And 2nd Chance, I love the title of your workshop, girl. Sounds fun. We'll have to get together if we can at RT.


Irisheyes said...

Hi CC! Welcome aboard again.

You're YA books sound fun. I'll have to clue-in my 15 y/o daughter. Although, you've got some tough competition - she just finished To Kill A Mockingbird, and has declared it her favorite book of all time!!!

My writer secret is that 90% of my books are still in my head *hangs head in shame*. I'm one of those that has a hard time just sitting down and doing it. I think I need one of those Just Do It Nike t-shirts. LOL

C.C. Hunter said...

Hi Irisheyes,

Darn, don't know if I can meet up to those standards. LOL.

And pick your head up, hold it up high, and then ask all your writer buddies to pop you on the nose until you get those books down on paper. LOL.

I know it's hard. Ahh, but when they are in your head, it makes it hard to get fans.

Have a great day.


Scapegoat said...

Hi CC! Very awesome post. :)

As for a dirty writing secret...well I could go funny but instead I'll tell you the honest to goodness real down and dirty truth...

I can't finish the damn book because I'm scared it will prove I don't have the talent. If I never finish the 1st one I'm never letting myself down.

C.C. Hunter said...

I think I might have multiple personalities issues. Posting under Christie Craig and now under C.C. Hunter. LOL. It's hard being two different people. I forget to change who I am before posting.


2nd Chance said...

ARGH! SCAPE! Gods, woman! We neet to talk! I know this place so damned well it's scary. Stop channeling my past!

Staying safe is embracing stagnation! Safe is no fun! Safe is BORING! Take a chance, you're talented!

*pounding head on bar - HARD!

Bosun said...

I wondered why I had to approve a new comment. You've changed your name three times today. LOL! (And THIS is why I intend to write under my real name. I'll never be able to learn a new one.)

Scape - I think I can take this one, though Christie will have better wisdom I'm sure. Finishing my first one was THE best way to prove to myself I could do it. And though I know all the things I did wrong in that one, I'm excited about how much more I know going into the second one.

Keep going, woman! It's the best way to win that inner battle!

Bosun said...

*slides pillow under Chance's head*

Don't be putting a dent in that bar unless you play to pay for the repairs out of your tips.

She'll get it. This is a fear she just needed to get out. Now it's out and we can banish it for good.

2nd Chance said...

And I'm pounding my head, Scape. I'd never pound yours... ;-)

2nd Chance said...

Tips? I'm supposed to be getting tips? All I ever find in that jar is undead monkey hair...blasted thing!

Bosun said...

LOL! I KNEW you'd pick up on that.

C.C. Hunter said...


I know what you mean about being scared, but the thing I told myself during all my unpubbed years, was it's not over until I say it's over. As long as I writing, I can make it happen. It's when we don't produce that we are letting our dreams slowly die.

So start producing. Good luck. And remember one rejection means nothing. I've got my thousand of rejections on my shelve just so I'll remember that.

C.C. Hunter said...


I'll try to keep Christie Craig from taking over again. She's a sneaky little devil.


Bosun said...

Huh. I left a comment and it's not here. How weird.

It wasn't that good anyway...

C.C. Hunter said...


Maybe Christie Craig came in and took it.


2nd Chance said...

Or it slipped off the ship because of the kraken slime.

You know, there is a price to pay for having him eat all the inner critics!

Scapegoat said...

LOL - Thanks everyone. Sorry to be an Eyore today but unfortunately that's my mood lately. I'll snap out of it. :)

No beating your head against the bar Chance - you have to look smashing for your signing and not that kind of "smashed" look.

Sorry I disappeared - work meetings.

2nd Chance said...

Well, you do still have your job! Good news!

No probls, Scape. We all have those gloomy times and it's really important that you actually spoke the words and got them outside of your head. Now we can calmly beat them to death without hurting you!


Bosun said...

Thank you so much, CC, for being here today. I know this series is going to take off and we can get Christie back here when her new Don't Mess With Texas series kicks off.

Bosun said...

That's supposed to be "...and I hope..."


Marnee said...

Thanks for hanging out with us, CC! This book does sound like so much fun. :)