Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BOUND BY GUILT - C. J. Darlington - Free Book

Welcome back, C. J. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I try to write the type of books I would like to read. One of my favorite genres is suspense, so there’s usually a thread of that in my stories. But I’m also drawn toward deep characters and situations that demand a lot out of them. I love stories where hurting people find hope and forgiveness. Through my writing I hope to share the Greatest Story Ever Told by showing no one’s ever too far gone for God. It only takes one step back to Him, or one step toward Him you’ve never taken, to find yourself wrapped in His loving arms.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

One of the most exciting days in my life so far was when Jerry B. Jenkins announced my first novel Thicker than Blood as the winner of the 2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest. For so many years I’d dreamed of sharing my fiction with readers, but winning the contest made the dream come true. I’ll never forget that.

I'm sure you won't. How has being published changed your life?

It’s allowed me to share the stories that have been crowding my head for years. That’s a wonderful blessing. But I’m the same person now that I was before I was published. I think a misconception people have about being published is that it will change your life.

I know what you mean. I'm still a wife, mother, grandmother, cook, etc. I just happen to write novels. What are you reading right now?

Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the trials people with Lyme disease often face. And you know it’s realistic as Brandilyn herself was healed from this awful disease several years ago.

I know. I was one of the authors who took part in the 24-hour prayer vigil for her. What a blessing! What is your current work in progress?

I just finished the rough draft of my third novel. About to start work on the next draft. I’m not under contract for it yet, and I can’t say a lot about the plot, but if you enjoyed Thicker than Blood and Bound by Guilt, I think you’ll enjoy this one too. Stay tuned!

I can hardly wait to hear the good news. What would be your dream vacation?

An RV trip to Colorado. I’ve done it before and it was a blast! I love the Rocky Mountains. Someday I’d also love to spend a week on a working cattle or horse ranch. Not a dude ranch, but a real working ranch where I’d be put to work like anyone else. I don’t know how much help I’d be, but I’d work my tail off for the experience!

How do you choose your settings for each book?

One of the major settings in both Thicker than Blood and Bound by Guilt is a huge used and rare bookstore called Dawson’s Book Barn. This store is based on the very first bookstore I scouted for as a teenager. That’s my day job---selling used and rare books. So I drew from things I’d experienced or heard others experience for this setting.

The other setting is the fictional town of Elk Valley, Colorado. It’s based on a real town I visited and fell in love with in southern Colorado. I love the West, and I knew I had to write about it.

Colorado is one of my favorite states to visit. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

There’s a horse trainer named Mark Rashid who I would love to sit and watch work with horses. He does clinics, but none of them are near me this year. I know I’d learn a lot by observing.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

In the past two years I’ve been learning about horses and have taken up horseback riding again. I took lessons as a kid, and my sister and I even had an Appaloosa pony named Raisin as children. I’m enjoying learning about these magnificent animals as an adult. The psychology behind how they think is fascinating.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Plotting has been difficult in the past, but I’m learning how to overcome that. Writing a fast first draft has helped me tremendously.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Write the book of your heart. Don’t worry about publishers, marketing, editors or readers AT ALL in the beginning. You’ll paralyze yourself. Instead, search inside and listen to that still small voice leading you to the story only you can tell. If you aren’t passionate about your story, it will show on the page. Then, once you finish your first book, get moving on to the next! Then whenever you do receive interest from a publisher you’ll have more than one thing to show them.

Tell us about the featured book.

Bound by Guilt is the story of a teen girl named Roxi Gold who’s been in and out of foster care for most of her life. She longs for a family and will do anything to fit in---even if it’s against the law. Soon she finds herself traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. Abby Dawson is a cop who’s seen the worst of society, but not just at work. One fateful night, both their lives are changed forever. One searches for justice, the other finds herself on the run.

Sounds intriguing. Please give us the first page of the book.

“Don’t you ever feel guilty?” Roxi Gold cracked open her icy can of Dr Pepper and took a long sip.

Diego fell into the seat across from her at the RV’s dinette table, opening his own can. Fizz erupted over its side. He licked it away and took a big gulp. “Not like we’re hurting anybody.”

“No, we’re just stealing thousand-dollar books.”

Diego eyed her. “You getting cold feet?”

She bent the silver tab of her soda can back and forth until it broke off in her fingers. A warm breeze blew through the window screen and filled her nose with the scent of dry pine needles. Could that be it? She just didn’t have the guts?

“Any idea how lucky you are?” Diego leaned back, lacing his fingers behind his head. “Nothing but the wind at our back, the open road before us . . .”

Roxi managed a smile. He was right. For the past three weeks she’d been traveling with her seventeen-year-old second cousin and his mom, Irene. The thirty-foot RV was like an apartment on wheels. She’d been to places other people only saw on the Internet, experiencing things she’d never forget. Not all of them were earth-shattering, Grand Canyon moments, either. In Flagstaff, Arizona, she’d seen her first bald eagle perched high in a rustic pine, majestic and totally unreal. She even rode in an Amish buggy in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

“This is our life,” Diego said, raking his hands through his black hair. “And it sure beats standing in line at a book sale for three days like we used to.”

“Doesn’t it ever bother you?”

He chugged down more soda, then belched. “Nope.”

“What if we get caught?”

“Come on, Rox.”

“They’d send me back to juvie.”

Diego leaned forward, both hands holding his drink. “Listen, we’re okay. We’re not gonna be caught. Ma’s careful.”

She downed half of her Dr Pepper in one shot just to keep herself from blabbing. She didn’t want Diego to know how she really felt

I like it. What a hook! I can hardly wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website is a great place to start. Thanks very much for having me here, Lena!

My pleasure, C. J. Come back with the next book, too.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you wan to be in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Unknown said...

I know the first comment never wins but hey, somebody has to be first:) Would love to be entered in this giveaway! Thanks!

Nauvoo, IL

Annette W. said...

I've been hearing great things about this and hope to win it soon!

Unknown said...

Charity - i actually did win a book because i was the first (and only)commenter! But i am glad it's not first come is the winner! i would love to win this book. Thanks Lena and CJ for the interviews and giveaway.
from Arizona

Lorna Faith said...

C.J., love the first page of your book! Sounds like a great one:) Thank you for sharing writing tips for us newbie writers...that's a big help!

I'd love to be entered for a chance to win:)

Lorna from Alberta


Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Charity, the first comment has won on this blog before.

Coolestmommy said...

I love the old west, too. And towns in Colorado are places I enjoy visiting, too. The first page was great. Can't wait to read it.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Don't sign me up.As I have just received this book. Great interview.


Rick Barry said...

I agree that Colorado is a fantastic state. I always enjoy the mountains. And I like that you write the kinds of books you like to read. I know some people recommend writing whatever genre is currently hot, but I could never do that. If it's not a story I would like to read, then I couldn't get enthused about banging out the story.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

Linda in California

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Would love to win this book, looks very interesting....
From Ohio

fredamans said...

Thanks for the entry. C.J is one of my favorite Christian authors!


Anonymous said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. Thank You for the chance.
angela from kentucky

Norma said...

Sounds interesting - I would love to read this.

Norma said...

I forgot to add I'm from Saskatchewan

C.J. Darlington said...

Thanks everyone for reading and entering this contest for Bound By Guilt! If you have any questions, you can always feel free to contact me or leave a comment here. I'll check back!

Pam K. said...

I'd like to see where C.J. goes with this story after reading the first page.
This reader from Kansas hopes to win!


windycindy said...

I think this young author is fabulous!
Many thanks, Cindi

Anonymous said...

Love suspense novels, would love to win this book.

Lynchburg, Ohio

Michaela said...

Wow, what a way to start a book. I love it. I'm always looking for a really good book to read, because there are so many out there, but so few that are worth reading. Sign me up :).

kristen said...

What a fantastic plot! Can't wait to read this one.
Please enter me
Kristen from WA

Jaedyn said...

Oooh, I'm excited about this one! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

Pacific Northwest

Anne Payne said...

Sounds intriguing. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Anonymous said...

This is the second review I have read on this book. Sounds like a great read and I would love to enter the drawing. Miriam from Ohio said...

Please enter me for this book! Would love to enter...

dancealert at aol dot com

grannyvon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grannyvon said...

I would love to win this book written by C.J. Darlington. If it is good as the other one I read it will be especially good. Thanks for the chance to WIN! ybutler(at) oppcatv(dot)com
I live in Alabama

Diana Flowers said...

I would love to be entered in this giveaway! Thank you!

Judylynn said...

Please enter me in this giveaway!

Judylynn in East Tennessee

Nancye said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Melissa M. said...

This looks interesting...