Enjoy another author interview from 2013!
WELCOME CJ ROBERTS to Wednesday’s Writer Interview! What an honor to have you here with us! Please sit back, enjoy some French wine as I hold you as my “captive” for just a little while. I promise, you will be free to leave when we are finished! 🙂
I’ll sit anywhere you like if the booze is flowing. 🙂
Ahh, see, now that’s what I like to hear!
With every interview, my goal is to give our readers a little glimpse of our favorite authors which explains my first question: Who is CJ? The person and the author? By the way….I know you hate referring to yourself in the third person so be at ease, it is not a necessity 😉
There is a line from Captive in the Dark I have tattooed on my arm: “It had always seemed to me as though I were split into two people, but not equally.” This is me in a nutshell.
For whatever reason, I have always felt odd. Over the years I have learned to make it work for me. I became funny. I became bold. I became a fighter. If you cross me, I will take no prisoners. These things have allowed me to thrive. This is CJ, the author.
CJ, the person, is more vulnerable than one would expect. It’s a side of me I don’t like to talk about. I’m a writer for a reason.
I discovered your work thanks to Aleatha Romig who invited you here to be with us. Of course, I knew I would enjoy your stories seeing who recommended you. However, what I was not expecting was the way the story completely “captivated” me from the beginning to the end. Now, for those readers who are wondering why I keep make allusions to the word “Captive”, here is the explanation… We are featuring the extraordinary work called: Captive in the Dark, Seduced in the Dark and with any luck, a little wink at Dark Duets!
So, Ms. Roberts, where did this extremely complicated and devastatingly dark idea come from?
I used to be pretty naïve before the world got a hold of me. I suppose it also planted a seed of complete and utter fascination with all things horrible. It scared me. The world scares me. I face my fear through my work. I turn the world into something I can tolerate. I give it shape and meaning so that the whole of human existence doesn’t seem fraught with random acts of treachery that only culminate in our eventual devastation. Also…I’m pretty f**kin’ dark.
Let’s begin with Book 1: Captive in the Dark. We are thrown into a world of desperation and I cannot tell you the different emotions that swept over me as I read it. As authors, we are often told to write what we know so my question is, where did you get all the details of this underground world?
This question is always difficult. I never know how to answer it. I have had experiences in my life good and bad. They have shaped me as a person. I have thoughts other people might not have and they drive me to the brink of insanity unless I write them down. That people read my work and identify with it is all blessing because I’d have written it anyway.
Were there any times, as you wrote the more difficult scenes, like Livvie’s training sessions, where you thought…”maybe this is too much” ?
No, that comes later. I write whatever is in me to write and then I wait to hear from my beta readers. When the majority comes back and says, “Please, CJ, have mercy!” then I consider taking it out and in the case of Captive in the Dark, there were two scenes I can remember cutting without hesitation.
And you do realize that with that singular comment, my mind will forever wonder…
The emotional setting here is hard core. The reasoning behind her abduction, the thought process Caleb goes through in choosing her specifically is sometimes disturbing, when we really think about it. Did you any point have a love/hate relationship with your dark character?
I love and hate them all at different times. People usually love Livvie and hate Caleb. Just to change things up, let me tell you why I sometimes hated Livvie and loved Caleb.
I wrote Livvie in first person and that brought me face to face with her weakness. I abhor weakness in myself, so I sometimes hated Livvie for giving over to it because I knew I would do the same.
I love Caleb because he is a strong motherf**ker. He knows what he wants and he doesn’t let anything get in his way – not even his conscience. I admire that about him because he is something I could never be.
Of course, the ending to Captive in the Dark is…what is the word? GRRRRR…yes, I had to settle for an onomatopoeia. How did you feel when finishing book one and thinking of your poor readers’ reactions as they reached the ominous ending?
Book one is all set up. I wanted you to have time alone with these two characters, get to know them, see beyond what they do and into who they are. I also considered it my vetting process. If you couldn’t get through book one, you weren’t going to survive book two. I have no regrets.
How about a little snippet for our readers? I’m incapable of choosing one specific scene, because, honestly, all of them are important. I did, however LOVE the first time Livvie is allowed in the kitchen…
That was a really great scene. I enjoyed writing them having an actual conversation and dropping the veil a bit. However, my favorite thing about Caleb and Livvie is what they DON’T say:
There was a hard knot in my throat. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t swallow it down. It was just stuck there, choking me. Caleb’s fingers slid across the bedspread toward my leg, then faltered and returned to his own personal space.
I don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to reach out toward someone and pulled back. I know what’s said in those moments. The longing between the both of them is almost tangible, but neither of them will reach out and take what they need.
Luckily for me, Seduced in the Dark was already available when I began book 1 so my shocked moment only lasted the time it took me to download book 2. So, here we are, anticipating Rafiq’s arrival and BAM! We are immediately submerged in a dark, horrible world of slavery. So, Felipe… I was fascinated by this character: his evolution, his different shades of…black (because gray annoys me.). Was it clear from the start that he would play such an important role in the outcome of the story?
I always liked Felipe as a character and he did always have an important role though originally, he was Caleb’s business partner. Caleb was much more sinister in my earlier drafts and Felipe provided a bit of levity and counsel. However, as the story evolved, his scenes became few, but I still wanted to give him a purpose.
Of course, Livvie morphs completely from the beginning of Captive to the end of Seduced. How does your author mind picture her today…after all is said and done?
Livvie has gone from being someone who is sad, lonely, naïve, and weak to someone angry, strong, manipulative, and brave. She survived. I think in the aftermath, she is a much more balanced individual. She’s been put through hell and stands on her own two feet. She also appreciates the simple things and I think that helps.
Would you mind giving us a little taste of Seduced? I don’t want to say what my favorite part is because it would kill the intrigue, so…I’ll let you choose!
This is one of my favorite scenes. We get to see the bulldog Livvie has become after her time with Caleb. She’s still vulnerable, but she’s learned to fight back. In this scene the FBI is trying to get her to talk about her time in Mexico with Caleb:
[Agent Reed] pushes me back gently. This man is all business. “Entry into Witness Protection isn’t guaranteed,” he says. He grabs the chair I threw and motions for me to sit. “This crosses international lines, not just federal. The DOJ is currently reviewing this case, and it depends on other complicated factors.” He sets it down where he wants and looks at me. “Sit down.”
I look at the chair and raise my arms from behind my back, wiggling my fingers.
“I’m going to leave [the handcuffs] on. Forgive me if I don’t trust you.”
I force a smile just to piss him off. “I won’t sign anything until you come through. I’ll say I lied about everything.”
He steps closer. “Have you been lying, Miss Ruiz?” His gaze is hot and smoldering – intimidating as hell. If it weren’t for the fact I’ve been with Caleb for so long, I’d probably piss like a puppy – but after Caleb, Reed’s threats feel like a caress. “Sit. Down,” he orders less nicely.
I sit slowly, giving him the sultriest look I can muster. He holds my eyes the entire time, trying to maintain his authority, his control. I slowly lean over and spit on his shoe. I look up at him, lips wet, and smile.
His hand wraps around my bicep with enough force to make me wince and he hauls me to my feet. “We’re done for today. You can go back to your room.” He shoves me toward the door and I go without a fight.
I want to go back to my room. I’m too close to falling apart and I don’t want Reed to see it. I don’t want anyone to see me falling apart.
So, imagine my excitement when I leaned that you were working on a little novella in Caleb’s POV. Without giving away the juicy details, can you tell us if it will be revolving around his past or their future?
Kind of neither. First, it’s a full-length novel. Yay! It was supposed to be a novella, but when I let Caleb back in my head he dug his claws in and wouldn’t let go. Second, the book isn’t really about Caleb’s past or future. It simply fills in the gap between Epilogue and The End. I basically made the epilogue 62,000 words instead of the original 1400.
Oh, that is fantastic! I know you have just made your fans, myself included, very happy campers!
I know inquiring minds NEED to know…May we, please…pretty please…get a little teaser of Dark Duet to hold us over?
I would, but I’ve already put so many teasers out there. But you can totally read chapter one: https://www.facebook.com/notes/cj-roberts/epilogue-the-dark-duet/367286930035589
In conclusion, yes, I loved this series and cannot wait to read more of your work. What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, Epilogue: The Dark Duet is out June 15th, 2013 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.
I’ll be going to San Francisco, Pomona, Orlando, and Las Vegas this summer. You can check my website for details: www.aboutcjroberts.com
After the summer, I’ll be starting my next book featuring Agent Reed from Seduced in the Dark. Should be my epic return to the dark side.
And this makes me very happy! I loved Agent Reed and the little teaser we got in Seduced. I’m thrilled that we will be getting a full story about him!
Here is my favorite part of the Interview! Please choose one answer and you may explain if you want 😉
- Caleb or James? James. He’s like Caleb, without all the death.
- Kitten or Pet? Kitten.
- Flogger or Whip? Flogger.
- Livvie: Before or After? After!
- Yacht or Private Jet? Jet. You won’t catch my brown ass navigating the seven seas.
- Captive or Slave? (mwahahahaha) Depends on the gate keeper.
- Truth or Dare? Dare. I might be drunk enough.
- Vanilla or Spice? Spice.
Please name One author off the top of your head that you’d like for me to interview next 😉
Tarryn Fisher. She asks the hard questions, so it’s only fair to turn the tables.
Again, CJ, it was an honor to have you here with us today! Good luck in your future endeavors and please…please….HURRY!! 🙂
Wishing you all a great Wednesday!
Writers go write, readers go read!
Thank you, Eva. I had a great time. I have to get back to work now.