Our interview today is with C. J. Peterson. Thanks for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview today CJ.
Question #1 What is the best thing about being an author?
There are so many great things about being an author, but the number one is the reaction I get from people who read my books. When my husband and I decided to start publishing the books, our prayer was that if they helped even one person, publishing them would be worth it. God has multiplied that prayer, and by reading the reviews or hearing from my readers, I know God has reached many through the words He gave me for the stories.
Question #2 What are some of the challenges of being an author?
Editing is my arch nemesis! Writing is fun, because I never know how the story will end, but then I have to read it no less than five times before kicking it to an editor. Then I read it after they’ve edited it twice. After I send it to the publisher, and they convert it, I need to edit it to make sure everything converted correctly. Then my husband and I read it aloud before it gets sent for publication. So, in other words, with my ADD, if I’m bored, I don’t publish it. 🙂
Question #3 Describe a Typical Day for You.
Get up, devotions, FB, Twitter, set up Hootsuite. Then after those are completed, it could be anything from small group, youth group activities (we’re youth group leaders in our church), visits from family or friends, or traveling…oh, and writing.
Question #4 What genre(s) do you write? And why or how did you chose them?
I write Christian/Fiction. In each book, there is clean romance, drama, action, adventure, and a little bit of suspense. How those play out in the books is a recipe for a book people often tell me they cannot put down.
Question #5 Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?
I read many genres. I am careful though, NOT to read when I am in the middle of writing a story. I don’t want to accidently pull something from someone else’s work. I read everything from sci-fi, to romance (clean), to paranormal, to mysteries. It’s in the variety, that you find the balance.
Question #6 What is something that readers would be surprised to know about you?
Hmm…Probably that I am adopted. My family growing up was rough, but God saw fit to grant me a second chance with a family who loves and supports me.
Question #7 When and how did the writing bug bite you?
I started off as a book worm. The next step was writing. However, I was discouraged by the person I was with, who told me it would never amount to anything. However, I continued to write for myself, as a form of therapy to escape what I was living. After I left that life, God directed me to my family, who were fascinated by the books, and to my wonderful husband, who encouraged me to publish them once I read them to him. And the rest, so they say, is history.
Question #8 When you write, do you plot everything out or not? Why does that work for you?
Nope. I have no idea how things will work out in the story lines. I sit down, pray, and start typing until I can’t type anymore. Then I set the book aside for a bit (could be up to weeks). When I pick it back up again, I read the last chapter or two, then keep typing, starting the process all over again until it’s completed. Somehow, it all flows together.
Some people term this theory ‘a pantser.’ I enjoy this because I don’t know how things will work out, or how things will end. Quite honestly, I can’t plan, because when I do, the characters take over and take things in a completely different direction.
Question #9 What is the best thing a reader or reviewer has ever said about you?
I love it when people get excited about them, and that the books pull a variety of emotions from them – Ex: One person wrote about SEASONS OF CHANGE: “The story of Katie MacKenna made me want to laugh, cry, and inflict serious harm on other characters.” Or from ANGELS AMONG US: “Thank you for allowing me to read these amazing and warm stories. A VERY real spiritual reality check within my own self. Trials that I have faced and will face, I know that “with Christ I can do All things.” He is my strength and my protector.” Or from THE CALL TO DUTY: “This book contains all the emotions a reader could want. There are plenty of ups and downs throughout the story. It is wildly unpredictable, unlike many “Christian Fiction” books I have read. I enjoyed that aspect VERY much. This book made me laugh, cry, and think.”
Basically, the best thing a reader can tell me is that I made them ‘think’ or encouraged them to take a ‘spiritual reality check’ within themselves. In hearing these quotes and reviews from my readers, to me, THAT is success!
Question #10 What is the worst thing a reader or reviewer ever said about you? How did you handle that?
Some say there are too many characters, or it’s too preachy, or there’s too many Bible quotes in the books. To be honest, those types of reviews don’t bother me. If there is something constructive in the review, I pay attention to those and keep them in mind for the next book. My theory is not everyone is going to like what I write. Just like there is a variety of music out there, there are a variety of books written. Not all are for everyone. When I get reviews that are discouraging or just plain mean, I read the ones that are encouraging, pray, and keep on writing, knowing I’m writing for those who enjoy them.
Question #11 If you could go to one place and write, where would it be and why?
I write in my own home in my ‘office’ on the couch, with my husband beside me. I enjoy that, because he is near me, I usually have my cat on my legs, and the words are flowing from my fingertips, while I have noise cancelling headset on, playing music in my ears. When that happens…life is good.
Question #12 If you could have one experience back to do over again, what would it be and why?
To find my husband sooner. I know the Lord takes us through things in our lives to make and shape us into who we are, but that would be the one thing I would change. He is encouraging, supportive, understanding, loving, chivalrous, and very much the love of my life. While I will be happy with him for as long as the Lord allows, and even into eternity, I would love to have met him a lot sooner!
Question #13 Who do you consider a mentor in your life? What did that person teach you?
I have a couple of author friends who have granted me some of their well-earned advice from their own experiences since I have started in the author world. If I have any questions, I know I can go to any of these people, and they will be more than happy to let me know what they think. They don’t beat around the bush, but the way they explain things is done well. They have taught me so much, I can’t even begin to write it all here. Being in the Indie author world, brings encouragement and support, where I might not have had it in another realm.
Question #14 Is writing your only job? If not, tell us a little about your “day” job.
Writing is the only career where I get financial income, yes. I am also a youth leader, and that brings about another form of ‘income.’ The energy and investment that goes into guiding these young adults is rewarding in its own way. I mentor four young ladies throughout the month, and we have regular youth group meetings on a week night, along with various youth activities through the year. I also enjoy my ‘job’ of being a wife – which is my most rewarding career of them all! I wouldn’t trade any of these ‘jobs’ or ‘careers’ for any job in the world!
Question #15 If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Before I was a published author, I was a catastrophe adjuster. While I enjoyed this, it was a lot of hard work, but worth it! Being the first one in to provide some relief to those struck by nature’s fury gave me the encouragement to continue when there were days I wanted to come off the field. I met a variety of people in many stress filled situations, but to bring a smile to their face brought joy to my heart.
Question #16 What is your favorite verse in the Bible? Why?
I have a couple, but the top one is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This verse helped me to see that what I was living at the time had no hope or future. This verse was my encouragement to find out what it was that the Lord really had for my life. This verse was a promise to me, that I held close to my heart, and the Lord has NOT let me down since!
Question #17 What is your favorite quote? Why?
It’s a quote by Kahlil Gibran: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
This is true on so many levels. In order to evoke a lot of emotions, you have to have experienced them or at least a portion of them. It’s in those scars, that we see the biggest changes in our lives.
Question #18 What is your favorite book? Why?
That would be like asking who is your favorite child. I don’t have a favorite book, except for the Bible. Other than that, they all pull out different things when written well. I love books that make you think, or that pull out a variety of emotions.
Question #19 What other hobbies do you have?
Photography is another hobby of mine. One of the pages on my website has photos that I have taken. I love pulling things out from a scene that people see every day, and they see the picture, and say, “How did I miss that?” I love capturing nature’s beauty in photos, or freezing fun moments in time through them.
Question #20 What is your workspace like? Clean or chaos?
Clean. My husband and I don’t like chaos, nor do we like messy. It stresses us both out! LOL!
Question #21 How did you break into writing?
I got into it as a form of therapy, so to speak. I could escape into ‘another world’ while under extreme duress. After I met my husband, we read a couple of the books together, and he suggested that we publish them. After a lot of research, and the realization that my books don’t fit the ‘usual Christian fiction’ world, I chose to publish on my own through a print-on-demand company called Booklocker.com. Angela and Richard are great to work with and they make the actual publication process affordable and painless. They also work with a phenomenal cover artist, Todd Engel, who has done all of my covers. Best decision ever!
Question #22 Where can people find you on the Internet?
The easiest way is to go to my website. I have all of my online links, as well as the links to my books in easy to find format on the web pages: http://cjpetersonwrites.com/
My online links are on the home page, and my book links are under the books tab.
Question #23 What advice do you have for other authors?
Do your research before you decide to publish. Also, keep writing! If you can’t find the story you want to read, write it. Everyone has a least one good story within them…usually more than that!
Question #24 Tell us about your book.
There are five out that I am advertising right now. (One needs to be rewritten prior to marketing it again.)
The Holy Flame Trilogy is a set of three books: THE CALL TO DUTY, OPERATION A.N.G.E.L., and ANGELS AMONG US.
THE CALL TO DUTY:
Casey Carter is a ‘newbie’ to the firefighting family of Engine Company 15. Not only does she have to prove herself as a probationary firefighter, but she also has to battle misconceptions of females within her newly chosen profession. As situations begin to arise, can she count on the firefighter brotherhood to have her back? Will she be able to pass the tests placed before her, or are there aspects that she was not even aware existed?
Often in life there are two realms in play. There is the physical realm – what is right before you; the other is the spiritual realm – what is unseen. Each can directly affect you, whether you believe they exist or not. Can Casey keep them in balance when she is not exactly sure what she is fighting? Can a group of men help her see what cannot be readily seen, hear what cannot be readily heard, and be able to overcome what she never knew existed? Will they be able to show Casey her true Call To Duty?
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
This is the second book in a trilogy that follows firefighter/paramedic Casey Carter and a special ops unit known as Angels. As their worlds collide, Casey has to figure out how to live two lives at once, balancing her firefighter family with her military family. Unbeknownst to her, things had gotten ‘hot’ around Casey. The Angels have stepped in to cover where Jack and Mac could no longer be, by providing safety and security for her on a twenty-four hour basis. But did she find something more than security within their ranks?
See how the Angels, with help from a unique band of characters, were able to heal not only Casey’s body, but also rescue her mind and soul. See how events completely turn Casey’s life upside-down once again. Did it end up being for good…or will these events finally do her in? Will the Angels be able to protect Casey from those hunting her?
I Peter 5:8:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
ANGELS AMONG US:
This is the third and final book in The Holy Flame Trilogy, which follows the life-changing events that surround Casey Carter (a firefighter/paramedic from Engine Company Fifteen of Denver, Colorado) and an elite, special operations unit called A.N.G.E.L. (Available to Nurture God’s Eternal Love).
With help from a unique band of characters in the Outback, Casey Carter was able to work through her past. However, would it prepare her for what was to come? The battle is forming. Both sides are amassing their troops as allies align, but will there be enough remaining Angels for them to win? Without knowing the day nor the hour, will they be prepared?
What kind of battle would this be if the Angels of flesh and blood were battling against the unseen powers of darkness? This may be the deciding factor in Casey’s struggle for freedom, but will the remaining Angels survive or will it be their final battle?
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
**A portion of the proceeds from THE CALL TO DUTY, OPERATION A.N.G.E.L., and ANGELS AMONG US go to: http://www.airborneangelcadets.com/
For more information on what the men and women of AIRBORNE ANGEL CADETS OF TEXAS do for our military, check out their web page
The Grace Restored Series will have five books. The first two: SEASONS OF CHANGE and WINTER’S VERDICT have been released. As the others come available, they will be posted to my web page.
SEASONS OF CHANGE:
Katie MacKenna experienced one storm after another in her life. When Leukemia stole her mother from her and her father, Katie was only seven-years-old, and her father didn’t know how to cope after such a catastrophic loss. His response was to shut down and become abusive. The overwhelming devastation which surrounded Katie throughout her journey in life forced her to shut down just to survive as well.
Trust is a difficult thing for many people, but for Katie it’s virtually impossible. Every life has Seasons of Change. Will those seasons open Katie to new opportunities or will they forever isolate her in survival mode? Will she be able to overcome the storms that have surrounded her to answer a call for help?
1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
Winter’s Verdict is the second book in the Grace Restored Series. After graduation from high school in the small Oklahoma town of West Springs, Katie MacKenna decided to start her life over in Cleveland, Ohio. Taking into account her roommate and closest friend over the last couple of years in college, Jillian Shaw, was murdered by a serial rapist on campus just before break, Katie chose to stay on the nearly deserted campus instead of returning home to her abusive father. During break, she is approached with an opportunity that may affect her aspirations to be an FBI agent. In the meantime, she also builds a friendship with Giovanni, the mafia leader’s son. Things around her are confusing at best. Can she trust what is right before her when everything is not as it seems? Will her heart experience a winter thaw or will she forever be known as the Ice Queen?
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
**A portion of the proceeds from SEASONS OF CHANGE and WINTER’S VERDICT go to Hope’s Door, whose mission is to offer intervention and prevention services to individuals and families affected by domestic violence and to provide education programs that enhance the community’s capacity to respond. To learn more about them, check out their web page: http://www.hopesdoorinc.org/
Question #25 Tell us about the characters in your book.
My characters are ‘real’ characters. They all have an element of me in them, though I will never tell which portions are me!
My characters face life’s roughest course. It’s usually a dangerous journey that leads them into places they never knew existed. Through these trials and tribulations, they trip, stumble, and some even fall flat on their face, but God picks them up, dusts them off, and starts them on the path once again. With God’s help, they come through stronger than ever!
Question #26 Do you include your own life in your books? Why or why not?
As I said, there is a part of me in every book I write. It’s a lot easier to describe something that you have lived, or from someone close to you who is willing to reveal their heart has lived, to bring the character to life. I, of course, will never tell what part is me and what is not. That’s reserved for those who truly know me to figure out.
Question #27 What is special to you about this book?
To me, all of my books are special. My motto that I always sign my books with is, “While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.” The journeys the characters go through have an element of truth that hits home. They struggle with things that real people struggle with each day. How the stories will end are known only to the Lord…or ARE they finished??
*Hint – my characters do cross-overs into other books. That’s something to keep an eye out for.
Question #28 What do you hope readers take away from this book?
As unique as each person is, is as various as what each person will take away from the books. The main goal I pray to reach is that each person understands whatever is going on in their life, God has a plan for you, Jesus is walking it with you and will never leave you, and the Spirit is willing to guide you, if you’re willing to listen for His voice and guidance.
Question #29 What’s your favorite “treat”?
Ohhh! This is an evil question! LOL! I love Snickers and Heath Bar ice cream bars. My other favorite is peanut M&Ms.
Question #30 Morning or night, which is the best and why?
Morning, because it’s quiet. I can get things done before my hubby gets up, and get a jump on the day.
Question #31 Favorite season and why?
My favorites are Fall and Spring – both for different reasons. I love the fall colors, and the crisp fall air. I love the fall, going into the winter, because that means family with Thanksgiving and Christmas!
I love spring, because I enjoy gardening and planting. Watching one set of plants bloom and go, only to see another set come out right after is a thrill. Planting and gardening vegetables and herbs is another hobby of mine.
Question #32 Favorite sport and why?
I like sports that are not the least bit sedate. I enjoy Formula 1 (Nico Rosberg and Daniel Riccardo); Hockey (Dallas North Stars & NY Rangers); Football (Minnesota Vikings & Dallas Cowboys) to name a few.
I also enjoy playing volleyball. 🙂
Question #33 Least favorite household or yard chore?
I really detest doing the dishes and laundry. Thankfully, that’s where hubby picks up the ball. He doesn’t mind laundry, and his theory on dishes is, ‘whoever cooks shouldn’t have to do the dishes.’ Since I love to cook, he doesn’t mind doing dishes. It works out great!
Question #34 Least favorite thing to do?
Math! I hate math! It gives me brain pain. Again, thankfully hubby’s a math brain who enjoys that.
Question #35 Favorite thing to do?
Write, of course! I can get lost in a book in no time flat!
Question #36 You have a whole day to go anywhere and do anything. What would that be and why?
Honestly, to be anywhere with my husband. Wherever we go, we enjoy the nature around us. Our favorite place is at the ocean…wherever it is!
Question #37 Pose a question for our readers to answer…
What is the biggest blessing God has gifted you with to give to the world?
About the Author:
C.J. Peterson grew up in a Christian military home, but it was far from tranquil. Many of life’s lessons were hard ones. Like many people, she walked with God, wandered away from God, and back again.
After a long time of searching, C.J. found her husband, a 24-year Navy Veteran. His support and love was the encouragement she needed to rekindle the creativity she thought she lost long ago.
“While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.”
Email Address: email@example.com
Twitter Handle: @authoress_cj https://twitter.com/authoress_cj
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/writingbycjpeterson