Friday, April 11, 2014

Blogoversary: Interview with C.J. Redwine

Book Addicts!

Today we have for our blogoversary event an amazing interview with another of my favorite authors. I love the Courier Daughter's series and since the last book's coming this summer I decided to re-read all the books to have "fresh" thoughts for the review that's coming about all the books really soon.

Since I was curious to know more about the series, I asked some questions to C. J. Hope you enjoy the interview and don't forget to enter all the blogoversary giveaways!

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: August 28th 2012
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Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her. 
At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared. 
As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: August 27th 2013
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Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.

But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive. 
In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: August 26th 2014
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Everything hangs in the balance, and nothing is certain: Rachel has been kidnapped by enemy forces and is being taken to Rowansmark while Logan, imprisoned and awaiting trial, is unable to leave Lankenshire. Separated from each other and their Baalboden comrades, each must find a way to achieve what they desperately want: to rid their world once and for all of the Commander and the tech that controls the deadly Cursed One.
Fighting through her pain and embracing the warrior she’s become, Rachel will do whatever it takes to escape her enemies’ clutches and join Logan in his fight. But when she learns a secret that changes everything, she realizes that escaping Ian and his tracker friends is no longer an option if she wants to save the people she loves. Instead, she’ll have to destroy Rowansmark from the inside out—if she can survive the journey through the Wasteland.
Logan needs allies if he wants to thwart Rowansmark’s power grab and rescue Rachel. But securing allies will mean betraying his beliefs and enlisting the help of the man he hates more than anyone: Commander Jason Chase. Driven by his fierce love for Rachel and his determination to make their world safe, Logan may be just the weapon the city-states need to defeat the Cursed One.
But as Rowansmark bears down and uneasy alliances are tested, will Rachel and Logan’s love for each other be enough to surmount the unbelievable odds against them?

Hi C. J.! We are really happy to have you in this particular event since we are celebrating our blogoversary. We are huge fans of the Defiance Trilogy and I bet a lot of our readers are, too. So we are beyond happy to have you today in our blog.

The world of Defiance is set in a post-apocalyptic future where our infrastructure has been destroyed by the accidental release of fire-breathing wingless Leviathon-like creatures who tunnel up from beneath the ground and lay waste to everything around them. What’s left of society has regrouped and formed nine city-states, all walled in to keep the inhabitants safe from the dangers in the Wasteland that covers the rest of the continent. The leader of each city-state has found a way to keep the monsters away from their cities (how they do it is one of the secrets revealed in the trilogy), and each city-state is independently run by its own leadership and therefore their cultures and laws vary widely. Rachel and Logan live in a brutal society—one that marginalizes women and controls the citizens through fear—because their leader is a cruel, vicious man who has an agenda of his own and has no qualms sacrificing others to get what he wants. 

The story starts when Rachel’s father doesn’t come home from a courier mission to another city-state and is declared dead. Rachel, as per her father’s will, is put into the care of her father’s 19-year-old apprentice (and the boy she declared her undying love for two years prior only to have him reject her) Logan. Logan, an inventor who is far more comfortable tinkering with gears and wires than with making conversation with a girl, has no idea how to rebuild his lost friendship with Rachel, even though she’s now under his roof. Rachel would rather eat live coals than show him how much his rejection hurt her, and besides, she has bigger things to worry about. She’s convinced her father isn’t dead, and she’s willing to commit treason against her leader to prove it. 

For years, I’d had the idea of a Leviathon-like creature who lived underground instead of in the sea lurking in the back of my head but I didn’t have a story for it. One day, I was looking at pictures for another story, and I saw a picture of a fortress that reminded me of a city-state. Immediately, my imagination latched onto it and said “Wouldn’t it be interesting if we were forced to live in city-states again? Why would we do that?” And the Leviathon creature collided with the picture of the fortress and Defiance was born.

When I first started writing Defiance, I thought I could tell the entire story in one book. *cue hysterical laughter* By the halfway point in Defiance, I realized there would have to be another book. At the end of Defiance, my agent asked me to write up a proposal for the remaining book(s) in the series so she could send it to editors, and when I sat down to write it all out, I realized I had a trilogy on my hands.

Since I read the synopsis, I knew there would be a lot of fight scenes. Was it difficult to write those scenes? Did you do something special in order to come up with them?

Actually, fight scenes are the easiest scenes for me to write. I love scenes where heart-in-your-throat action propels the narrative! I do a lot of physically acting out the role of my characters so that I know for sure which foot they would plant, which direction they’d pivot, and how it feels to throw a punch. One of my writer besties is basically a ninja. She is incredible at martial arts and weapons, and I always run my fight scenes past her to make sure I’ve got it right.

I’m glad to hear you say that! Rachel is loyal, ruthless, honest, and fiercely committed to whatever she decides to do. I think the best thing about her is her loyalty. She doesn’t let a lot of people into her heart, but once you’re there, she’ll die for you. 

Logan is smart, dedicated, kind, and loyal as well. I think his best quality is that he never gives up. Throw overwhelming odds in his face, injure him, take away all of his weapons, and tell him he’ll never win, and he’ll keep thinking through his options until he figures out the one weakness you’ve overlooked. Nothing stops him from keeping his word. 

Defiance: “Star-crossed Wasteland” by In This Moment. Seriously, it’s like this song was written by Rachel. It’s perfect for her emotional state as the world she knew shatters and leaves her broken in ways she doesn’t know how to fix.

Deception: “Can’t Live Without You” by Bebo Norman. This is both a song for Rachel’s and Logan’s relationship with each other, and a song that encapsulates the shift from only having each other in Defiance to the fact that by the end of Deception, they have a group of close friends who in many ways change their lives for the better. 

Deliverance: “Down” by Jason Walker. There is a point for both Rachel and Logan when they think everything they’ve been fighting for is absolutely lost. This song captures that moment perfectly. But then there’s also this song: “Bullet in my Hand” by Redlight King. And that’s for the moment when they each decide that even if it looks like everything is lost, they’re going to go down swinging.

I don’t know if any one of them has more of a soft spot in my heart than the others. I always love best the one I’m currently working on because I have to be fully committed to that story. I love Defiance because it brought me Rachel and Logan, and it sold so it gave me the chance to tell my stories to the world. I love Deception because one of the things I wanted to do in this trilogy is write a character who breaks emotionally, and then slowly rebuild that character. I was broken emotionally when I was young, and I never saw myself in the heroines in my books. I never saw a road map toward how to get from darkness to healing. I really wanted to write that, and in Deception, we see Rachel hit rock bottom and then start the long climb toward healing. In Deliverance, Rachel comes a long way from her inner darkness, and I get to destroy characters who need destroying and redeem a character I didn’t realized was going to be worth redeeming. And in Outcast (the novella), I get to tell Quinn’s story from his point of view. Quinn is a favorite character of mine and of many of my readers, so it was really fun to get inside his head for that.

Deception’s is my favorite, but I honestly love them all!

Rachel: Danielle Panabaker

Logan: Chris Pine

The Commander: John Noble or Bill Nighy

Melkin: Jeremy Irons

Ian: a younger Jude Law

Quinn: Kiowa Gordon

Willow: Vanessa Hudgens

By the way, I have a Pinterest board for those who want to see more images from the books:

The entire HP series plus The Dark Knight and Princess Bride

I have too many to choose just one! I am on Spotify, and all of my many playlists (playlists for dance breaks, specific works I’m writing, and more) are open to the public so feel free to look me up if you’re curious. I’m a huge music lover and listen to music from almost every genre, though I gravitate toward acoustic folk, hard rock, rock pop, and instrumental.

Omg, you want to kill me. I can’t … Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Grimm’s Fairytales, Chosen by Chaim Potok, and another 5 bookcases’ worth besides. Basically, I love a ton of books.

Hector from The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy.

SHERLOCK OMG. *ahem* I mean … Sherlock. Forever. And ever.

Going to the movies! I see about 5-6 a month.

What is this … sport … you are referencing? Is reading a sport? Because I am EPIC at that. Actually, now that I think about it, while I genuinely suck at most sports (I’m kind of good at badminton, or at least I used to be), I really love MMA fighting and boxing. 

Cook yummy meals and hang out with my family. 

Benedict Cumberbatch. I mean really.

I am currently writing a YA series of companion books (set in adjacent kingdoms but you can read one without having read the others) that are epic fantasies based loosely on fairy tales. I’m really excited about this series! It’s so much fun to write, and at heart, I am a fairy tale loving girl, so it’s perfect for me!

Thank you so much for your time, C. J., it was a pleasure to have you in our blog and even more to have you in our blogoversary event. We look forward to reading Deliverance!

C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, lemon bars, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband, four kids, two cats, and one long-suffering dog. To learn more about C.J., visit her website.