C. J. Darlington has written stories since childhood. Her first novel, Thicker Than Blood, was released from Tyndale House in 2010. It was quickly followed by Bound by Guilt in 2011.

For more than fifteen years, she has been in the antiquarian bookselling business, eventually co-founding her own online bookstore. In 2006, she started the Christian entertainment website, TitleTrakk.com, with her sister, Tracy. C. J. is also a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com.

A homeschool graduate, C. J. resides in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of pets.

Let’s talk about your new non-fiction book, Advice For Novelists (self-published, November 2012). Please tell us about it.

I’m really excited to be able to share in this book advice from 112 Christian authors, and publishing professionals. I asked all of them to answer the question, “If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?” I received so many wonderful responses from authors like Karen Kingsbury, Frank Peretti, Randy Alcorn, Ted Dekker, plus dozens of editors, agents, and publicists. I was inspired myself as I read them, and I believe they’ll encourage writers at all stages of their journey. It’s especially for folks just starting, but really, writers at all levels can learn from the wisdom shared.

In the intro you thank James Scott Bell for his advice to you when you were just starting out as a writer. How important are mentors to aspiring writers? How does a writer find the right mentor?

I think it’s wonderful and beneficial to have mentors, but I also think it’s important we allow God to bring the right mentor to us in His time. Sometimes we push too hard for advice from people we admire, and that puts them in a precarious position sometimes. I don’t know of any author I’ve met who doesn’t want to help beginning writers, but let’s face it—unless they’ve specifically said they welcome unsolicited requests for mentorship, it’s best to let a mentor relationship develop organically. Or join an organization like The Christian Writers Guild or American Christian Fiction Writers. That’s a great way to receive mentoring help!

Also, mentoring comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to be face-to-face or even one-on-one. I’ve been “mentored” by many amazing writers just by reading and learning from their novels or writing how-to books.

You also talk about the importance of writing a story for which you have a personal passion. What inspired you to write this book, i.e. what was the passion behind it?

A portion of the quotes in the book started out as posts on my blog. The “Advice for Novelists” series was quite popular, and I had many people tell me they enjoyed reading the posts as much as I enjoyed putting them together. I’d been wanting to put together an ebook, and I thought this collection of quotes was perfect for that.

You’ve also just released a new book of short stories, Out of Time (self-published, December 2012). Please tell us about it.

Thanks for asking! My second ebook Out of Time is a trilogy of short stories (each about 1200 words).

Here’s the blurb:

A busy woman blindly rushing through a grocery store. A hard-working man with a pink slip. A desperate teen girl who has a terrible secret. All are running out of time, and the choices they make will change their lives forever.

The writing life—not to mention life in general—is full of detours. Can you tell us about a recent detour that turned out to be positive?

The economy has hit all of us in different ways, and I’ve certainly felt it. There have been times recently when I’ve questioned God and wondered why I wasn’t seeing more divine intervention along these lines. But what I recently realized was this—if I hadn’t felt the pinch, so to speak, I might never have looked for more writing opportunities. Several doors have recently opened that I might never have seen if I hadn’t been in the position of looking. So I see how God can use even those moments when we feel alone for His glory.

A few fun questions…

What’s the title of the last GREAT book you’ve read?

I am currently re-reading the Firebird series by Kathy Tyers. Total classics! Even if you don’t enjoy science fiction, these are a must-read!

What’s your current favorite song on the radio or your mp3 player?

Still loving Britt Nicole’s album Gold and Owl City’s The Midsummer Station even though both came out months ago.

What verse or story in the Bible best describes your faith journey?

My uncle by affection, and the pastor who baptized me, gave me this Scripture on that day: Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. It’s proven to be so true for my life! Waiting is worth it.

You’re a fellow animal lover. Please tell us about your current menagerie of pets.

I love my animals! I have two Whippets who keep life exciting, a Whippet mix who tries to keep the others out of trouble, and a Chihuahua mix who thinks she rules the roost. Big cat Cubby actually does.

The newest member of my family is Sky, a beautiful Paint horse, who has taught me so much in the past few months. Horses are amazing creatures.

Thanks, C.J. It’s nice to have you back at DivineDetour.

Thank YOU! It’s an honor.

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C. J.’s photo was taken by Jeff Ruppenthal/Lancaster Sunday News.

To read a 2011 Divine Detour interview with C. J., click here.

For more information about C.J., visit her website at www.cjdarlington.com.

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