An Interview with C J England
This month we will be talking to CJ England about her upcoming September release, DON’T SPANK THE VAMP, her career, and what is to come in the future.
1. Congratulations on your newest release, DON’T SPANK THE VAMP, due out on September 2, 2006. This story is a bit spicier than some of your previous books. Can you tell us a little bit about the story?
Sure… Here is a quick blurb…
Dawn is a sculptor who spends more time with her hands in clay than on a man. When her friends take her to a special kind of toy shop, her entire outlook on life changes.
Aidan is a vampire who loves to walk on the wild side. He has existed for over a century waiting for his twin flame... his soulmate to find him.
Dawn is told by the shop's fortune teller that she will find her destiny if only she will reach out and take it. Will she be brave enough to push past the fear and embarrassment and grab hold of a very special kind of love? One that could last forever?
An artist looks for inspiration and when Dawn meets Aidan she is inspired to give up her safe boring life and take a walk on the sexy side.
Toys included. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I wrote this book because I wanted to explore a part of sexuality that I hadn’t yet in a book. I believe that good creative sex is VERY important between lovers and I had fun doing the research, I gotta tell you. <grin> But the basic premise of all my books remains the same. True love.
2. A common theme in your books seems to be the issue of soulmates. This theme is prominent in both DON’T SPANK THE VAMP as well as THE MYLARI CHRONICLES: SOULMATES. How much of this theme comes from your own personal life and beliefs?
Only… all of it. <LOL> I believe that we all have soulmates out there. Sometimes you are fortunate enough to find that person quickly, while others wait a very long time. And sometimes you don’t find them at all.
I’m fortunate in that I married my best friend not even knowing he was my soulmate. Finding each other has been the most painful and joy filled experience of my life! When you read my books, you will see a little of that journey in each of them.
3. Dawn, the main female character in DON’T SPANK THE VAMP, is an artist. It made me wonder: how much of CJ do we see in any of the characters you create?
I am a very creative person. I am a jill-of-all-trades when it comes to art and different crafts. I have painted, done pottery, photography calligraphy, tole and many other types of art. I did a singing tour in Europe when I was in my early twenties, and actually did some acting in San Francisco. So I’ve done it all.
I have a great respect for all artists. I usually will make one of my characters an artist to honor them. Plus… I’ve noticed that most of us creative types are more likely to suspend disbelief and do some of the things that happen in my novels, so I guess it’s for a practical reason as well.
4. Your stories have spanned several genres- from a shapeshifting rabbit, to fantasy, to steamy romance, to a very sensual vampire. Is there a particular genre you prefer?
While I write in all genres… I really like to write paranormal and fantasy. It seems to be what flows the easiest. My Jonathon tells me it’s because I live in my own little world. But like the t-shirt says… it’s okay ‘cause they know me there and tell me all these fantastic stories so I can write them down for you. I would like to write a mystery or suspense someday, but that would mean planning ahead and that often makes my head hurt. <smile>
5. I know that you provide other writers with a lot of support and encouragement and have stated you wished you had pursued getting published earlier than you did. What was the catalyst that pushed you into pursuing your writing in a published form?
I do try and support other writers. It doesn’t have to be a cut throat business. My chat list is like a big family and I know of two newly accepted authors that were encouraged by my list to submit. I will take the time right now to invite any authors to ‘come dream with me’ on my list and promote themselves. Contests, excerpts, and announcements are all welcome!!! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CJsaysFollowYourDreams/
I personally have been writing since I was in second grade. I’ve done newspapers and magazines, but I’d never taken the time to send off a story until I discovered e-publishing. I researched and dreamed and six weeks later, I had a full length novel accepted by Silk’s Vault publishing. http://silksvault,com
My first novel was actually The Peacekeeper Journals: The Joining but I didn’t know quite where to send it to, since it isn’t an erotic romance, but more sensual. The good news is I just recently found a home for it at Whiskey Creek Torrid. In fact they are taking the entire eight book series!
I love e-publishing for its ease of use and availability to both authors and readers. Even though I have been asked to submit to New York, I plan to keep e-publishing.
6. What first sparks a story idea for you? Is it the scene, the characters, or something else that kickstarts your creative muse?
YES! I can be inspired by the weirdest things. It can be a TV show like Supernatural and The Mythbusters. I got to thinking… what if you combined the two and boom… The Mythfinders, one of my WIPs was born.
Or then there is the other side of the coin when I have no idea where the thoughts come from. Like Here Comes Peter… still haven’t figured that one out yet!
But as you probably know, most of my ideas come from my dreams. Either I go to sleep and dream a book, or I take an idea to bed with me and when I wake up in the morning, I have a new story.
7. I know a lot of authors credit varying musical artists with providing them inspiration and motivation while writing. What inspires you while writing?
I sometimes listen to music. It isn’t what inspires me though. I have my desk set up so I can look right out my window at the lake. I also love to hear the wind blow. My air totem is the wind and it inspires me to dream.
When I do listen to anything, it will depend on what mood I am in, but country music is what I enjoy the most.
8. Your stories seem to have a lot of “Kleenex moments”. How do you visualize the balance of sensitivity and alpha qualities in your male characters?
I make it my goal to write about life. Even in a fantasy or paranormal, art should imitate life. And life has tons of both laughter and ‘Kleenex moments’. Someone just asked me how I put humor into my books so effortlessly and I responded with the simple answer… just look around you. Life is hysterical... all you have to do is write it down.
On the flip side… life can be full of sadness too and when you are in love you usually move between the two. If you have ever had your heart broken, you will understand my books. Life hurts, but the great thing is in my books, no matter what they may go through, you will always see a happy ever after. It’s in the CJ rule book. <grin>
Men in real life are never one dimensional. I never enjoy as much the stories that focus solely on the woman’s point of view. I like a balanced story which means letting the reader know what they both think. A good alpha male will be sensitive, just like a kick-ass heroine will have a soft heart too.
And of course they will always love and be true to each other.
9. This question goes hand in hand with the previous one. How would you describe the ideal romantic hero?
This is a tough one, because I adore so many types of men. But if I were to describe my favorite hero to write it would be this way... Tall, dark, handsome in a bad boy rough around the edges way. And he’s got to be in great shape. I don’t go for the guys who are so built they can’t put their arms around a girl. But I do want nicely defined muscles and rock hard abs. And a nice butt is a must.
Long hair and bedroom eyes and he has to know how to use his hands and mouth. And kiss…. he’s got to know how to kiss.
That’s the outside. But the inside is just as important. Even though he’s rough around the edges, he has a kind heart. He’s proud, a touch arrogant, honorable and of course totally alpha. But he’s got that hidden sensitive side. And, the most important thing of all… he is utterly and overwhelmingly in love with his lady. She is the center of his world.
Whether he be a prince or a witch or a vampire, a rabbit, a divemaster, or a hot tub installer. No matter what is going on in his life, she will always come first.
10. What author or authors have made you say, “I wish I’d written that”? And if we were to peek, which books would we find on your bookshelf?
I love quite a few authors, but my four favorite authors are Nora Roberts for her wonderful characters and story telling, Linda Howard for her great heroes and hot sex scenes, Jayne Anne Krentz for her humor and alpha males that aren’t the norm and finally Elizabeth Lowell for her heartrending ‘Kleenex moments’.
If I had thing that I wished I had written, I think it would be the series by JD Robb (Nora Robert’s alter ego) Murder by… I love that series. It’s got your kick-ass heroine, a gorgeous alpha male and a world that is so creative I wish I could do half as well. <sigh> Who knows maybe The Peacekeeper Journals will go that route some day.
11. Do you have any personal celebrations or rituals that you perform once a book is completed?
<giggle> Once I totally finish a book, I get it all ready to go. Whether it’s an electronic submission or mail, I give it a squeeze and a kiss and then mail it.
When I get an acceptance, Jonathon always brings me home chocolate! Last time it was Ben and Jerry’s Double Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream! YUM!!!!!
12. Your relationship with your husband, Jonathan, is an extremely important part of your life. How do you balance your writing time, promoting your books, and still spend time with him?
My relationship with Jonathon IS my life. If I didn’t have him, I wouldn’t be complete. I know that may not sound politically correct, but there it is. He is my soulmate, my lover and my best friend.
It isn’t easy to balance everything. I’m an all or nothing person, so it’s tough sometimes. I try hard to make sure that if he’s home and wants time with me, I drop everything. He and my kids have to come first. I have to practice what I preach and my books all say the same thing. Love is the most important thing in the universe.
I’m very organized. I have lists everywhere and it’s only because of those that I can get everything done that I need to!
13. Which book has been your favorite to write and why?
Tough question. I love all of them, or I wouldn’t have written them in the first place. <LOL> My readers all seem to love Here Comes Peter… because of the sexy alpha hero and all the fun puns and jokes in it.
But overall I think I love The Peacekeeper Series the most. My first creation, it’s got six sexy heroes and one heroine who is innocent yet can kick some serious ass when she wants to. I’ve built an entire world around this series and I’ve dreamed up books for each of them.
My proof reader said that ‘Peacekeeper is like a fine brandy. You savor it slowly. Just swirl it in the snifter and smell the bouquet and take a sip and enjoy the flavor and swallow slowly.’
14. Your stories are very sensual. How would you explain the difference between sensual/erotic stories and porn?
I think in some ways it’s a matter of personal belief. You can stand ten people in a room and ask them that same question and get ten different answers. Even RWA can’t decide.
But for me, I believe that sensual romance isn’t a heat level but an emotion level. My books are all very hot and sexy but the emotions between the characters are just as, if not more important. In many erotic novels, that isn’t the case. It’s more about the sex and the relationship is secondary or non-existent. I like the term romantica better for books such as mine. The storyline is strong, the sex is hot, but more importantly the characters are deeply in love with each other. That is the difference.
Most porn has no love story, it’s just about getting off. And if there is a storyline, if you took the sex out, it would fall apart.
15. I understand that your mom is also a writer. What does she say about your books?
My mom, bless her, tried to read The Mylari Chronicles: The Soulmates, but she couldn’t do it. She’s a bit shy about sex. She said she had trouble reading it with one hand over her eyes. <LOL> Told me the love making scenes were too long. She said the story was great, but it was hard having to read ‘all that stuff’.
Suffice it to say, my mother writes a more traditional story. She loves me and says she supports me, but she’d rather have me write inspirational stories. I’ve done those too, but right now, my heart is with my sensual romances.
16. Can you give us some teasers about any upcoming works that you have coming up?
Sure… I’ve got a few more scheduled for release. One is Don’t Spank the Vamp… that I mentioned already, coming out September 2nd. That teaser is up above.
Next, I have a story coming out in October celebrating Halloween called Luck is a Lady. It is a great ghost story about two stubborn people who have to break a curse by Halloween Night, or any chance they have at love is lost forever. No release date on that yet.
In October or November… I will be part of the Masquerade Anthology from Aphrodite’s Apples with a story called Blindsided. When a blind author is given a secondhand invitation to a party, she meets Apollo, god of her imaginings. But will loving him be all she’s dreamed of… or a nightmare?
I also have a holiday story in negotiations at this time about the magic of Christmas snow and the warmth of a love that can melt through all the ice of winter.
And then finally this year, I have my first print book coming out in the Forbidden Love anthology by Under the Moon Publications. The story is called An Unholy Embrace and is about an ancient vampire who saves a woman from rape, then decides to keep her for all time. It is due out December 21st just in time for Christmas.
Here is a quick blurb from it…
Sebastian is an ancient vampire who has lived in the forest for centuries living off the blood of any unwary villager who happens to cross his path.
Terran has grown up in the shadow of the great forest, unwanted and unloved. When she comes of age and her loveliness sparks the interest of the men in town, her life becomes even harder.
When the vampire rescues the lady from a near rape, he finds himself enthralled with her beauty and her quiet courage. Terran finds herself falling in love with the brooding stranger, but when he breaks his word and steals her mind, she runs from him.
But Sebastian can't forget her and vows to win her back. Will Terran forgive him? Will they have a chance at eternity forever?
I have several more coming out in 2007, both contemporaries and paranormals, from several different publishers, including the sequel to Don’t Spank the Vamp.
17. Thank you so much CJ for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. Is there anything you would like to say in closing?
I would like to invite all of you to join my chat group. We are a family and love to get to know new people.
And I’d also like you to go visit my website. I update it regularly and you can find out more about me, read excerpts from ALL my books and see what contest I have going.
Finally, I have a list of some other places you can find me on the web. Get to know me a little more and then email me. I love to hear from my readers!
Newsletter group... http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CJsDreamtimeNewsletter/
Authors Den... http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?AuthorID=37849
Road to Romance... http://www.roadtoromance.ca/first_timers/cjengland.htm
My Space... http://www.myspace.com/cj_england
Essence of Erotica Blog Spot... http://essenceoferotica.blogspot.com/
Email me at... firstname.lastname@example.org/
Thanks Anne for having me. I appreciate you taking the time! And good luck to CK2S Kwips and Kritiques. It is a wonderful review site!!!!
And remember everyone… Follow your dreams... for they will lead you into a world of imagination.