An Interview with C. J. Chase
Yesterday, I got to interview Lisa Karon Richardson about her latest book, The Magistrate's Folly. Today, it's my privilege to talk to C. J. Chase about her new release, but first a bit about C. J. herself.
|C. J. Chase|
She won the 2010 Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and says she likes to make her characters solve mysteries, wrestle with the difficult issues of life and faith, and fall in love. All wrapped up with a happy ending, of course. She lives in the swamps of Southeastern Virginia with her handsome husband, active sons, one kinetic sheltie, and an ever-increasing number of chickens. When she is not writing, she says you will find her gardening, watching old movies, playing classical piano (badly) or teaching a special needs Sunday School class.
Sounds like you stay busy, C. J. So tell us about The Reluctant Earl. What is unique about your heroine Leah Vance and her story?
Leah is a governess for a high-ranking politician’s family. She has a sister in an asylum, something which would end her employment if word got out. Supporting her sister has been a drain on her meager inheritance, and she has finally resorted to selling political secrets to procure the necessary funds.
Oooh, that sounds intriguing. What are the underlying themes of the book? What will readers long remember after reading it?
That we need to trust God to provide, even during our darkest times.
Did you have any surprises during the writing process or did everything go as planned?
Hmm. I have to plan things out before I write, so I don’t get a lot of surprises when I’m actually writing. There is one thing, but if I told you, it would spoil the ending.
No! Don't spoil the ending! Instead tell me what came first in the writing process? Character, plot or theme?
Character and setting. Unusual for me, but this book was a follow-on to my previous book, so the character and time period were already determined.
It's always nice to have those things established so you'll know which direction to go with your story What did you learn that you didn't already know when researching this period in history?
An unusual confluence of natural phenomenon caused the summer of 1816 to be abnormally cold and wet. The poor harvests caused the last major famine in the Western world.
Until I started hearing about your book, I had never heard of that famine. So tragic. We don't realize how good we have it these days. So what was the most difficult part of writing this book? The most fun?
Well, writing emotion is always draining for me. For some reason, I enjoy writing the mystery/suspense portions. Words come much more easily when I’m murdering a character than when characters are falling in love. Scary, huh?
Snicker. I know just what you mean. Did any of your characters insist on doing things you hadn't planned on?
I hadn’t anticipated Leah’s cousin setting himself up so conveniently to be the hero for my next book. Thanks, Alec.
Oh, that does sound convenient. I wish you could convince some of my characters to be that cooperative. What are you working on now and when can readers expect to find it on the shelves?
A follow-on to this one set in Scotland. But I haven’t sold it yet, so no publication date.
We'll keep our eyes open. I love books that have ties to other books. They're so much fun. What would you most like your readers to know?
I’m afraid of heights (but love to fly). I can’t stand the taste of coffee. I can say the alphabet backwards as quickly as most people can say it forwards. I answer fan mail. I really love my family.
You are a woman a many and varied talents. I'm impressed! What does a typical day look like for you?
Do other people really have such things?
Evidently not many, but I'll keep asking until I find one. So what do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?
I might have saved myself some time if I’d listened to my critique partner when she first told me I should be writing for the Christian fiction market.
Sounds like a smart crit partner! How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
Well, I really like to write “bad girls.” Not sure how much of me I should admit to including in them, you know?
Snicker. Your secret is safe with us. Thank you for letting us get to know you and your book a little better. Congratulations!
Readers, you can find out more about C. J. at www.cjchasebooks.com
Are there any questions you'd like to ask C. J. about her writing or her new book? Remember to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a free copy of The Reluctant Earl!