Thursday, 18 April 2013

Author Interview with C. J. Duggan & International Giveaway

I'm very excited to announce that today, author C. J. Duggan, who wrote The Boys of Summer, which I reviewed on Tuesday (read my review here), will be visiting us here at Pen to Paper, with an interview and international giveaway of an eBook copy of The Boys of Summer!
I loved the book, and I'm really hoping that you guys are going to love it too!
So without further hindrance, I'd like to welcome C. J. to Pen to Paper!

First of all, could you tell us a little something about yourself?
I am a 31-year old Aussie Author of New Adult/Mature Young Adult novels. I live on a border town of rural New South Wales; with my husband Michael and our fur covered children.
The Boys of Summer is my debut New Adult Romance and Book One in ‘The Summer Series.’

When did you first fall in love with the written word?
I have always for as long as I could remember been a storyteller, scribbling madly in exercise books about make believe worlds and the people that lived in them. One thing though that I didn't catch on to until much later was the realization that not every one shared my enthusiasm for the written word. I was horrified to discover that not every one fist pumped 'YES!' when reading the timetable at school to see they had a double English. I naturally thought everyone loved to write stories? I was wrong.

What authors did you read when you were a child, and did any of these authors inspire you to write your own stories?
I was a huge Enid Blyton fan when I was young before moving onto Christopher Pike, Dolly fiction and Sweet Valley High in my teens. No one author drove me to write, it was something that was fuelled by my own imagination and the need to tell the stories.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not, what else did you want to be?
Growing up, being a writer was not exactly something you could have as a day job, unless you were one of the chosen few. All my stories were always heavily character driven with a huge tongue in cheek feel about them. Even as a teenager my stories always had a quirky element to them. It was a creative outlet that I would never believe I could have made a career out of. In school I loved history and at the completion of Year 12 I enrolled into a Bachelor of Arts at La Trobe University majoring in history. I took a year off Uni to work and in that year I moved interstate and my life took a different path. I am now in a position where I can say that I am earning a living as a published author and able to pursue something I love.

When you write, do you try to keep to a schedule, or have a word goal for the day?
I find it really helps to keep a word tally each day. Before I sit down in my office I write my word count goal on my white board, I draw a big box next to the number and my aim is to tick that box with a big red tick at the end of the day.

Do you have a special place that you like to go to write?
I have my office or as I fondly call (the cave)
When I started writing books, I made a decision that I needed my own space if I was going to take it seriously. I think it’s really important to have a space where you can just cut off from the world. It’s a place that I can surround myself with inspiration and really concentrate.

I know that music inspires a lot of writers, and they often listen to a playlist whilst writing. Is this something you do? And if so, what do you listen to?
Absolutely! I create playlists for each of my books. It’s usually based on what I am listening to at the time that inspires me or book specific music that gets a mention in the story. I really like to be able to set a scene in the story and give readers the chance to listen to what I’m listening to help connect with the story. Naturally when penning The Boys of Summer I was listening to the greatest hits from the 90’s.

Other than reading and writing, do you have any other hobbies?
I have a real passion for renovating. We live in a large Victorian Homestead that we have lovingly restored over the past ten years; it is now to the point where we have exactly like we want it, finally! We also love to travel, last year we set out on a 5 week tour of the U.S and had an absolute blast. Next stop will be Europe.

What inspired you to write The Boys of Summer?
I always tend to say that the Boys of Summer was born from NaNo month (National Novel Writing Month) however it stems from something much deeper than that. Yes, it was absolutely given life in an amazing NaNo session in 2011, but it stemmed from a story I have had floating in my mind since I was 11 years old.
It was an amazing discovery that this very story was something that has always been in my subconscious after all these years.
Some stories are destined to be told, after 20 years I am finally able to make it a reality for that little girl who was brave enough to jot down an idea. For that reason the Boys of Summer will always be very special to me.

I loved all of the characters in the book, and they all felt like real people. Are any of them based off people you know?
I didn’t base any of the characters on people I know, more so on personality traits I have crossed paths with over the years. There was always the mean girl in school or the older boy you would pine over from afar. I wanted to bring those real emotions into my characters, and I would like to think that’s what makes them to relatable.

You set the book during the 1990s, and I thought this was a really interesting choice for a contemporary romance. Why did you decide to set the book then, rather than closer to the present? I wanted to write a story based on growing up in Australia in the 90’s. A time before Facebook and social media, when Oasis was the “it” band and cut off jean shorts were the height of fashion. Where we still listened to cassette tapes in out cars, and chatted to our friends with curly corded phones. A time of innocence, and the creative things you had to do to have fun growing up in a small country town. It’s been really rewarding having reader write to me and tell me how they could relate to the characters regardless of where in the world they come from. It’s also feels great to bring Australian culture into the market.

If you could take any character out of the book and make them into a real person, who would it be and why?
Just one? :/ Very hard to say because I love them all for different reasons, but I think everyone could have an Adam in their life. To me he the one person I wished I had of had by my side in high school. Loyal, funny but also deeply caring, I defy anyone not to fall in love with Adam.

The second book in the series, An Endless Summer, which comes out in July 2013, tells the story of Amy and Sean, but will we see any more of Tess (and her friends) and Toby?
It’s been fascinating working on Amy and Sean’s story, and really interesting because I think readers were initially surprised by the combination. Amy was a background character in TBoS, and now it’s her story we get to learn more about the workings of ‘the Onslow Hotel.’
Tess in book one is a real wallflower and lacking in confidence. Amy is completely the opposite; she is feisty and spoilt and needs to be taken down a peg or two, and what better person to do that then Sean Murphy who lives to infuriate her. There is lots of banter and tension but also a story of growth in characters, I like to give realism to my characters, to be able to have readers be emotionally invested with them and all their flaws. It has been great revisiting all the characters from the Boys of Summer and where they are at years later. All the old faithfuls are back.

How many books are you planning to have in the Summer series, and will the others feature other characters we've met before? At this stage it’s planned to be a definite three-book deal, with the option of a character spin off that I am pretty excited about.

Do you have any other projects, aside from the Summer series, lined up?
With book three of the summer series scheduled to be released late 2013 early 2014 my next project will be a NEW Mature Young Adult novel based in Melbourne, Australia. New world, new characters, new drama's...a whole lot of fun. Yes there will be swooning!
 Due for release in 2014.

If you could go anywhere in the world, money not being an issue, where would you go, and what would you do there? Well, in my private jet I think I would mosey on over to London where the guys from Top Gear would have my own personal Aston Martin waiting for me so I could cruise my through Europe.

If you won $1 million, what would you do with it?
I would invest and write full time after I have gone on a rather sugar coated version of the above holiday of course.

And finally, could you tell us one interesting or quirky fact about yourself?
I’m a night person. I do most of my writing late into the night often not going to bed until 2am only to get up at 7 to head off to my 9 to 5 job. Needless to say I love my weekend sleep-in’s!

And now for some more excitement! As I mentioned, C. J. has kindly offered an eBook copy of The Boys of Summer up as a prize for an international winner from Pen to Paper!
The only condition of the giveaway is that you must be a follower of Pen to Paper via Google Friend Connect in order to enter (my giveaways are a thank you to my wonderful followers, so why not become one?), and if you decide to enter for any extra entries, you must make sure you complete each task in full.
The giveaway is open internationally and will run until May 16th 2013.
Good luck to everyone who enters!


Maji Bookshelf said...

I LOVED this interview!! I also loved the whole 90s setting in Australia.. I need more of those! so good. I am so happy about the three book deal and really excited about the spin off! Also a new series? with swoon worthy moments? I AM IN!

awesome interview,
- Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

Cliona said...

Fab interview! Interesting answer about why C.J. decided to set the book in the 1990's. The Boys of Summer sounds like a really great book!

erin said...

Sounds fantastic! Thanks for the great interview!

Mary Preston said...

I rather like the idea of a book being set in the 90's. Way less tech, people caught up in person more I think.

Carole said...

thanks for the giveaway - i tried to sign up via GFC but your widget isn't showing - will try to do it via my blog and see if that works.

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