Author Spotlight: CJ Darlington

Suzanne Author Spotlight

Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winners from last week’s Author Spotlight with Rachel Hauck and Denise Hunter are Britney Adams (Once Upon a Prince) and Liliya (Barefoot Summer)! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com).

This week welcome CJ Darlington!  To win a copy of CJ’s Thicker than Blood (Tyndale, 2009), leave a comment on this post.

cj-hatTell us a little about your new book . . .

Ties that Bind is the story of a young woman who, on a quest to find her father, discovers she has two sisters who have no idea she exists. Mix in a first edition set of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, and a troubled horse named Lacey, and I hope you have an engaging reading combination!

For anyone who’s wondering, this novel stands completely by itself from my first books Thicker than Blood and Bound by Guilt, so don’t think you have to read them to enjoy it. But if you have read the

m, you’ll perhaps get one extra layer to the tale as some characters who’ve featured prominently in my other novels do return in Ties that Bind.

How can readers find you and your books?

I like to keep active online. I have links to everything on my website, including Facebook, Twitter & Goodreads: http://www.cjdarlington.com — There you can also sign up for my mailing list where you’ll be the first to know about new happenings. I do answer every e-mail, do don’t be shy to contact me.

Anything new for you on the book horizon?

Ties that Bind is hot off the press! I’m excited to hear what my readers think, and I hope to make some new ones too. That said, I am hard at work on a new novel. I can’t share much about it yet, but it’s something really fresh and new for me. Its tentative release date is later this fall. I’ll keep you posted!

What is the smartest writing advice you ever got?

I’ve been blessed to receive so much wonderful advice, much of if from various craft how-to books I’ve read. But one of the nuggets that sticks out for me is from author James Scott Bell. Once when I was in a slump he encouraged me by saying that writing itself was the best cure for the writing blues. I like that. When times get tough, keep writing. And after that, write some more.

Why do you write?

My goal with my stories has always been to point people to the Lord. Some projects require a subtle touch, others can be more blatant, but above all, I want to share this theme: no one is ever too far gone for God to love. It’s a thread that flows through just about everything I’ve written.

I’m inspired by…

So many things! When I watch a good movie I’m often incredibly inspired. Seeing a story unfold in front of your eyes is awesome. When I read an amazing book I’m inspired too. Then sometimes I’ll be surrounded by nature or a friend will tell me a story, and a spark will light a tale in my heart. That’s happened more than once. Or maybe I’ll watch a documentary and ask myself, “What if?”

My great adventure has been…

During my early twenties I had the opportunity to travel the country in an RV for my family’s used book business. Every month or two we’d have a new adventure. I’ve been to 44 states, driving through many of them. I’m so thankful for the memories I now have spending time with my family barreling down the interstate, especially now with gas prices what they are. When we started gas was $.99 a gallon! I spotted my first bald eagle near Flagstaff, Arizona; helped put out a forest fire in Colorado; spent the night in a garage in Ohio; and had so many other crazy adventures.

If I could go anywhere, it would be…

I would love to visit Alaska. I am in love with mountains. To see the highest in North America would be amazing.

Describe yourself in one word.

Analytical.

If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save?

Besides any family members, my dogs. Nothing material matters as much as they do. And I actually have to be careful not to visualize this happening as it’s something I try hard not to fear!

thicker-than-blood-200What has been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moment so far?

Winning the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Contest with my novel Thicker than Blood. I went to that year’s Writing for the Soul conference only knowing my manuscript was a finalist. Imagine my shock when Jerry announced it as the winner the very first night, and Tyndale House surprised me with the book cover. I was on cloud ten for the rest of the conference. It was such a huge, huge blessing, and gave me my start in the Christian publishing world. I’ll forever be grateful to Jerry, his staff, and the Tyndale House editors for that chance.

What drives you to succeed?

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I could’ve done things differently. I want the fruit of my hands to be a blessing to people. But success to the Lord might not mean the same thing to me, so I desire for His ideals to be mine, that I’d travel down the path He has for me.

Best Saturday Afternoon Read

I love Christian fiction, especially character-driven suspense. If I have a new book by one of my favorite authors, like Sibella Giorello for example, I will be a happy camper! I’ve also really enjoyed novels like the Hunger Games and Divergent.

Best Indulgence

Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream!

If you could give your ten-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Trust the Lord to lead you. Don’t stress about the future because He’s got it covered! Pursue your interests with abandon, and don’t be afraid to be silly! Actually, this advice applies to any age.

If a picture paints a thousand words, what are you doing on that picture?

I’m riding my beautiful paint mare Sky. She’s worth looking at for any length of time (I’m not biased at all), and I think if you examine the picture closely you’d see the serene look on my face and know that on Sky and around animals, I am oh so happy.

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This week on @SuzanneWoodsFisher’s Author Spotlight meet CJ Darlington and enter to win one of her books! Tweet it.