C.J. Darlington is back with her sophomore novel, Bound by Guilt (Tyndale House, February 21, 2011).
Her first book, Thicker than Blood, released by Tyndale House in 2009, was the 2008 winner of Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest. C.J., who grew up with a love of libraries—and is a homeschool graduate—began seriously studing the writing craft at age sixteen. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for more than twelve years and makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats.
Who/what first sparked your interest in writing and books?
Ever since I was a little kid I’ve loved to read! Whether it be the next book in The Chronicles of Narnia, or a new book in the Childhood of Famous Americans series I checked out from the library, books have played a huge part in my life. I credit the books themselves as originally sparking the interest to write. When I read Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti as a teenager nothing was ever the same. I wanted to write stories that had the potential to touch lives. My parents were always a huge support as well (and they still are), always fostering that love of books and reading.
How does your faith play into your writing?
My faith is one of the main reasons why I write. Through stories I hope to show (and that’s the key, showing rather than telling) just how far the reach of God’s love is in our lives. If I didn’t have faith, I’m not sure how I would feel about writing.
What would you want to do if you didn’t write and/or work with books?
I’d love to work outside somehow. If I could mix my love of animals up with that, it would be the icing on the cake. Lately I’ve fallen in love with horses. I’d even be happy just mucking out stalls!
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
It took about fifteen years for me to be published. If it had been up to me I would’ve typed “The End” and the editors would’ve been banging on my door to publish my first novel. I’m glad it didn’t happen that way. I had a lot to learn about craft and the business of publishing that I might not have learned if I’d been published earlier. So maybe it wasn’t a detour after all. Maybe it’s exactly how God planned for it to happen.
I’m really excited about this story! There are aspects of it that have been brewing in my mind for many years. Several scenes I’ve imagined in my head for ages and am thrilled to finally be able to share.
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.
Besides providing entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
I hope they’ll be challenged to look past outward appearances and see people, especially teens, the way God sees them. Love them for who they are with no strings attached. Love them even when they make mistakes. Love truly does cover over a multitude of wrongs.
You, along with your sister Tracy, established a Christian entertainment website (www.TitleTrakk.com) in 2006 and have interviewed a number of authors, musicians, and filmmakers. What has been your favorite interview to do so far? Who’s on the top of your “dream interview” list?
I had a lot of fun interviewing Ted Dekker a couple years ago. He was such a real guy. We ended up talking at length about his new latte maker! I was also honored to talk to Francine Rivers as well.
My dream interview is with Frank Peretti. His writings inspired me so much as a young writer, and he seems like a really down to earth guy.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Well, a good triple cappuccino or strong cup of English or Irish Breakfast tea is always at the top of my list! I sometimes get a hankering for Chili & Lime chips too. Oh…and ice cream. I love a treat like that.
This website features both music and literary guests. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I played the guitar as an early teen. Very, very roughly. At one time I had aspirations of having a band of some kind. I wrote many simple songs. But I realized later that what I was trying to do with those songs, tell a story, was limited for me by the restrictions of a three minute song. When I discovered fiction writing, my dreams of songwriting quickly faded. I had found the medium I enjoyed the most.
What kind of music do you listen to when you’re relaxing with the radio or an mp3 player?
I actually really enjoy trance music. Especially trance with positive lyrics or ones that are instrumental. That’s one nice thing about most trance songs—many are instrumental so I don’t have to worry about questionable words. I also love a good Christian rock or pop song.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
Wow, that’s a tough question. One of the things I love again about trance music is the ability it gives you to picture a story. They’re like soundtracks in some ways. So I guess my life could be one long trance song!
Are you a major or a minor chord?
I am usually drawn to songs with minor chords for listening purposes, but I’d like to think my life is a major chord. They’re happier!
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
A combination of all of them. I want to be the strong, female lead but usually end up fading into the background more than taking charge. I don’t mind following someone else’s lead…if they’re a good leader. I enjoy standing off to the side and observing behind my dark glasses sometimes as well.
Please tell us about your pets.
I have three Whippets. Well, one of them is a Whippet mix named Story. Don’t you just love that name? My dogs are what make me smile in life. Their antics crack me up. I love them!
Thanks, C.J. It’s great to have you at DivineDetour!
~ ~ ~
C.J.’s photo (above) was taken by Cindi Koceich of Selah Photography Studios
To read an excerpt from Bound by Guilt and/or Thicker than Blood, logon to C.J.’s book page at http://www.cjdarlington.com/books.htm.
Visit the TitleTrakk Christian entertainment site at http://www.titletrakk.com/.
To purchase Bound by Guilt, logon to: