Hi dear friends,
If you follow me for some time now you may know that I love CC Hunter’s books.
It all began years ago with her “Shadow Falls” series that I even bought translated in French for my kids (they are hardcore fans of CC by the way) and she confirmed with her other books!
When I read “This Heart of Mine” I contacted her asking for an interview yet not daring to hope too much as traditionally published authors are protected better than Fort Knox by their publishing houses. To my utter surprise and great delight she agreed immediately and her answers revealed a really warm, kind, loveable, inspiring and upbeat person. Fun too!
If you want to read her first interview you can find it here https://bewareofthereader.com/heart-to-heart-with-c-c-hunter-author-extraordinaire-interview/
I then read “The Mortician’s Daughter” (first book in the series) and loved it so much that I wanted the sequel already! Now that I’ve read the second book “Two Feet Under” and am still enamored with her stories she agreed for the second time to answer all my questions!
She even sent me a pic of her with her daughter, mom and grand daughter.
When I told you she was really likeable!
So here you go and I hope you will love this chit chat with Christie as much as I did *by the way I share her taste in books and TV series 😉 *.
You already know me and have been kind enough to answer my many questions about you, your writing and tastes some month ago!
Now I would like to focus my questions on your new series The Mortician’s Daughter!
- First a general question about writing a series: you always leave us on a cliffy. Do you write the whole story (till the last book) at once and decide to cut it at strategical moments? And how do you choose the best places to cut the story? Or do you write the books one after the other without pre planned ending or future twists?
Well, I’m a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants. I’m not one of those writers that plan everything out, have a huge white board with chapters set out or even know what’s going to happen. So when I start a series, I write it one book at a time. I may have a general idea of the overall story arc, but basically, I create my characters then stand back and let them write the book for me. Oh, they get in trouble, and make it hard for me to figure out how to get them out of it, but that’s the fun part.
- If you write the books one by one, do you already know the ending?
As I said, I write book by book, and I may have sort of an idea how the book will end, but I’ve also surprised myself before. Not every book or series ends the way I thought it would. In Shadow Falls, I didn’t have a clue who Kylie was going to end up with, Lucas or Derek. You see emotions change depending on what happens. Since I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, I didn’t know who she’d choose. Funny thing was my husband was very upset by who Kylie ended up with. He was rooting for the other guy.
- In my review I compare The Mortician Daughter’s series with “PNR cozy mystery for teenagers”. Each book is obviously part of a general plot but revolves around its own “mission” for Riley like a mystery or riddle to solve. Did you or do you read many cozy mysteries? What is your favorite reading genre?
I wouldn’t say I read a lot of cozy mysteries, but I read some. I like to read across the board. I write thrillers and romantic suspense under my real name Christie Craig. So my YA books carry the same elements. And over half of my YA readers are adults.
- If you were Riley would you keep your huge secret *speaking and seeing ghosts* even when your best friend becomes suspicious and asks you to “dish” or would you confess and pray she or he believes you? Can you keep a secret? Easily?
Part of me want to say I’d spill the beans. But probably not if I was in Riley’s shoes. She is so afraid of how the world will look at her if they know. Seeing spirits makes her feel crazy and she knows it will make her look crazy to her friends. It’s been a long time since Riley has made friends, and the thought of losing them probably scares her more than the ghosts do. But it’s getting to where she knows she might lose Kelsey if she doesn’t tell her the truth. I suspect Riley will be spilling her guts soon.
- How would you react if you got to see ghosts all of a sudden? But maybe you already do and we are not aware? Fight? Flee? Talk? Scream? Take picture? Something else?
I actually have a few of my own ghost stories. I remember seeing my grandmother floating over my bed after she had died. It kinda freaked me out, but not the I’m-gonna-die freaked out, just the oh-crap-she’s-dead kind of freaked out. However, I knew she wouldn’t hurt me. Poor Riley can’t even say that. As a writer, I tend to take just about anything that has happened to me and add it into my books. Seeing ghosts is no exception. In fact, it was one of the first questions I ask my editor about Shadow Falls. “Can I have ghosts?”
- Riley and Kylie both see ghosts but they “feel” different and we can’t mistake one for another. How did you build their characters? You said in our previous interview that you imagine the worst that could happen to them did you use the same technique here? And do we know already the worst that happened to Riley (she lost her mom) or is there more to come (no spoiler LOL)?
Riley reminds me a little of Kylie, so I think my Shadow Falls fans will also like her. I think they are both relatable for my readers, and that’s really important to me. I like to relate to any character I’m reading about. I plagiarized from my teenage life for both characters. So there’s some of me in them, but also bits of my friends. And I love to throw my characters into hot water and see how they handle it. Riley has dealt with a lot, but have we seen the worst that can happen? Something pretty bad happens to her at the end of Two Feet Under, and I think there is more to come.
- You told me in the former interview that you shared many common traits with Kylie like divorced parents, not fitting in at school, the loss of someone related and you gave Miranda your dyslexia. What did you give of you to Riley?
Like Riley, I didn’t fit in at school. I was the outsider, not one of the cool kids. I got teased a lot for being different. I was called stupid because I had trouble reading and writing. It wasn’t till I was an adult that I discovered I am dyslexic. That explained a lot, and that’s why I made Miranda in my Shadow Falls series also dyslexic. But Riley is also a survivor and never gives up. She’s a lot like me in that sense, too. Another characteristic Riley has of mine is her sense of right and wrong. She’ll follow the rules, but those rules feel wrong, she’ll fight you until the bitter end. Remember how she stood up to her dad when he said she couldn’t go to the party with Jacob?
- Riley is feeling lost many times. She does not understand why she can see ghosts nor believe she is the right person for these special “missions”. There is a special moment showing her doubts: “See!” I look up as if addressing some higher power. “I suck at this.”Do you think this is like a prerequisite to help others? Or rather to make a good helper? To not feel like we deserve it? That there must be tons of persons better qualified for the job? Is it similar to power being given to people not asking for it because they won’t abuse their power like many power-hungry people would?
That’s an interesting idea. I like my characters not knowing why they can do what they can or are what they are. I remember feeling lost as a teenager. I didn’t know what I was doing or who I was. I think most teens don’t know who they are. So, my characters share the same struggles. Part of that struggle with Kylie and Riley is that they need to help ghosts. I’m not sure anyone would ever really feel qualified for that job. LOL But, no, I don’t think not feeling qualified is a prerequisite to helping others. I think her doubt mostly comes from concern that she will fail, and others will suffer for it.
- If you had to have a super power or be a fantasy creature, which would you choose and why?
I’ve always wanted to fly. I think it would be really cool to be able to soar above the clouds. And think how quickly you could get from one place to another—avoiding all that traffic.
- You describe going to Heaven with pictures of silver ribbons, copper swirls etc. What is your own idea of Heaven? Or what do you hope to find there? Massage and wine? 😉
Girl, you know me too well. I’d love heaven to be one big spa with a bottomless glass of red wine. Add great books and that would be, well, heaven! But I think heaven is different for everyone. I wrote something I thought a lot of readers would identify with—nothing too far out.
It is the last month of the year so let’s look into the mirror and share some of your top 5 for 2018!
- Top 5 books you’ve read this year?
I read some great books this year, but the ones that immediately come to mind are Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, Haven and Shattered Souls, both by Mary Lindsey, The Last Wish Of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young. I also reread The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
- Top 5 movies and or TV shows you’ve watched this year?
I loved I Feel Pretty and Collateral Beauty. In TV shows, I love The Good Doctor, A Million Little Things, S.W.A.T and Seal Team. We just binge watched Ozark from Netflix.
- Top 5 songs?
That’s tough. I listen to songs, but I don’t always know the names or artists. I like country music, but really I listen to a lot of different things. I like Whatever It Takes by Imagine Dragons, Mercy by Brett Young, Shape of You by Ed Sheeran, Tequila by Dan +Shay and Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt.
- Top 5 quotes?
These are not from this year, but I love them:
- We have to do the best we are capable of. This is our sacred human responsibility.– Albert Einstein.
- We become what we think about,– Earl Nightingale.
- The brain is wider than the sky.–Emily Dickinson.
- A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.–Joe Vitale.
- Great things never came from comfort zones.–Neil Strauss.
- And your best memory for this year?
A girl’s day out with my daughter, Mom, and granddaughter. Four generations. We stayed at a nice hotel, took in a movie, got into a photo booth and laughed our A$$es off. It was so much fun. (See attached photo.)
Thank you so much again for your time Christie!
I wish you already a Merry Christmas, a happy New Year and lots of luck with the new book!
Thank you for the review, Sophie. Here’s hoping you and all your readers have an amazing holiday.
Do you love Christies’s stories? I hope you liked this interview!
Thanks for reading