Thursday, April 19, 2012

Black Opal Books: Torn by Christine Hughes

Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me today the beach. I was so ready for the beach and some warm weather. Thanks for choosing the perfect place to chat :).

I'm so excited to chat about your new release Torn. I absolutely love the cover (see below) and it sounds amazing Christine.

BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...

Hello! Thank you for having me. First and foremost I am the mother to two beautiful little boys and the wife of an amazing husband! (Hi!) We live in central New Jersey (no, I don't know Snooki) and hope to one day live closer to the ocean.

As a kid, I moved all over the place. My dad was in the Army so traveled all over the United States. By the time I hit college, I'd attended 13 different schools! Because of this, I often lost myself in books and writing. My favorite books as a kid were the Christopher Pike and RL Stine novels. As a teen I would write angsty poetry of true love and broken hearts - you, know - the real WOO HOO! stuff of teenage minds. In college I majored in English and continued writing and reading. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that my husband made me realize I could do something with writing. 

My first novel TORN, a paranormal YA published by Black Opal Books, will be released in early June.

BK: Please tell us a little about your book....

When Samantha's father dies and she he was an angel because of what he was protecting,  she must join the fight between two groups of fallen angels, the Faithful and the Exiled, in a race to save humanity. In spite of the unforgivable betrayal of her best friend, the newly acknowledged love for her guardian angel, the face to face confrontation of the dark angel who killed her father and the growing need to allow darkness to take over her being, Samantha has been charged making the choice between fighting alongside the Faithful or succumbing to the darkness of the Exiled.

BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?

The song "All I Need" by Within Temptation. I was watching The Vampire Diaries (The Founder's Day episode form 2010) and Elena had to dance with Damon…that song came on and the whole story flashed into my head. It was crazy! I youtubed the song, downloaded it and played it over and over again until things began to solidify. Then I started writing.

BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I didn't consider myself a writer until I was offered a contract with Black Opal Books. I don't know why but I didn't want to tell people I was a writer then have them ask where to find my books… I don't know. Just the insecurities of beginning, I guess. Now, I would tell anyone to sing it from the rooftops if you believe it. 

BK: How do you keep your story flowing?

I put together a playlist of music, usually a hundred songs or so, that I feel "gets" the emotion of the story. I hit shuffle and write. Sometimes I add songs, sometimes I delete them but it's always music that keeps me going.

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?

Writer's block and I know each other well though I can't say we are friends. To get past it, to push through, I listen to music. I shuffle, shuffle, shuffle until I get to that song or lyric that breaks me free. With TORN, the weather would shut me down. Rain, snow, dreary days…I wouldn't write. Couldn't write. It all has to be mental….Weird, but I remember a really bad case of black with a manuscript that took me days to get passed. It was Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" of all things. And it had nothing to do with what I was writing. I guess you never know what's gonna break it.

BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?

My writing process apparently changes. With TORN, I pretty much sat outside on the deck, drank my coffee and wrote. Something about being outside in great weather made the darkness of the novel feel balanced. When I was writing the manuscript I recently finished, I would go to Barnes & Noble 2 or 3 times a week for hours at a time and just people watch, drink my grande earl grey and write. 

BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?

I would love to have a long career. I'm not necessarily looking for Rowling, Meyers, or Collins fame (though, that would be nice). I just want to be able to do something I love, have it well received and life comfortably. My dream is that books will lead me to that.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

I want them to be able to fall into the book, to escape reality - even if just for a little while. I hope they enjoy the stories as much as I enjoyed writing them. And, in relation to TORN, I want them to wonder if there is really a yin and yang relationship between good and evil, despair and hope. Hopefully they'll visit my FB page or my blog and open up a few (polite) philosophical discussions.

BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?

Cyn Balog told me once, after I'd told her I finished TORN and had registered for the SCBWI conference, that I had" just set myself apart from the "want to's" and became an 'I did'." Now, no matter what happens in the future with this book or with others, I will always be an "I did". 

BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?

Oh my goodness….Never give up. Really. I had at least forty rejections for TORN before it was picked up by Lauri at Black Opal Books. Those rejections are awful - especially the short "Dear Author/Writer" responses. Enter contests, network, go to conferences (virtual and physical), learn everything you can from everyone you can. Just don't stop. Not all dreams are easy.

BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?

The manuscript I am currently shopping out is called Three Days of Rain. It's a contemporary novel written with a male protagonist. This story was hard to write - there are just so many emotions I wanted to convey and I hope I did. Time will tell...

BK: Where can readers find you?

Well, lately, I feel like I am all over social media -; twitter - @HughesWriter; my neglected blog (I promise to fix that); the Black Opal Books Author Blog; the YA Fest in Easton, PA August 4 and the Collingswood Book Festival on October 6. I will update more appearances on my blog shortly.

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.

When Samantha’s father dies and she finds out he was an angel because of what he was protecting, she must join the fight between two groups of fallen angels, the Faithful and the Exiled, in a race to save humanity. In spite of the unforgivable betrayal of her best friend, the newly acknowledged love for her guardian angel, the face to face confrontation of the dark angel who killed her father and the growing need to allow darkness to take over her being, Samantha has been charged making the choice between fighting alongside the Faithful or succumbing to the darkness of the Exiled.


James English stepped out onto the sidewalk as a chilly fall wind stung his lungs and rattled his tired bones. Pulling his coat tighter and tucking the box under his arm, he kept to the shadows of the poorly lit street but he knew that wouldn’t be enough to hide from those he could feel were still watching him. Those who wanted what he had. Those who would kill to get it. Those who had killed trying to get it.
He devoted his life to protecting it, guarding it, and just as those who had tried in the past, the newcomer would test his limits. Without someone to keep it from falling into their hands, everything would end. The balance would shift and everything would tumble into chaos. Walking the blurred the lines between good and evil wasn’t an easy task. The thought shook him to his core and he hiked the box deeper into his grip and quickened his pace. A little farther and he would have time to think. He needed to think. And he couldn’t do it out here. Exposed.
Suddenly, he stopped walking and cocked his ear to the night. He heard nothing but the whistling breeze rustling the leaves that still clung to the trees overhead. But he could have sworn he’d heard something else. Something indistinguishable. Something ominous.
He found me.
He began to run. It drew louder, closer. The harsh flap of wings. But his feet couldn’t carry him fast enough. Not fast enough to get away from the one who had betrayed him.
This time he wouldn’t make it. He knew that, had come to terms with it the moment he discovered he’d been betrayed. His was a mission that could only end in death. His death. That decision was made long ago. But now it was all happening too soon.
There were so many things he had yet to do. He needed more time. More time to prepare, to train, to lay out the truth. He’d never taken the time to explain any of it to her. He feared without his guidance, she would not understand. She would not choose the path he had wanted to groom her for. It was a hard choice for him to make and knew his headstrong daughter wouldn’t embrace such a concept so easily.
But there was nothing he could do about it now. He just hoped the plan that he had laid in place would be enough. That they would be strong enough, good enough to protect her, to help her. He knew she was special the moment he laid eyes on her seventeen years ago. And now he would never get to watch her grow and develop the strength that lay dormant inside her. He would never be able to help her escape her demons, the demons he knew would come for her, as they came for him and those that came before.
Breathless, he veered into an alley and dropping to his knees, slipped the box behind the nearest dumpster. He quickly muttered words that only he was privy to, words that had been passed down the line from the ones who came before him, words he had hoped to pass on to her.
But he wasn’t quick enough.
He felt another presence disturb the darkness behind him as the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. Despite his overcoat, a disguise meant to harbor his identity as well as block the chill, goose bumps now covered his body as he heard the intruder’s footfalls echo around him and a small chuckle float towards him.
He needed to protect the box, to try to hide it away from the one who was after it.
Unintelligible words frantically spewed from his lips and his whole being shook with the power he was invoking. With a flash of light, he threw his arms to the sky. Chanting the last words of his prayer, he was struck from behind with a force that no mortal could survive. He reeled forward, barely catching himself before slamming into the frozen pavement, his wings fallen bloody beside to him.
Gasping, on his hands and knees, he slowly turned his head to look behind him. A glittering black sword protruded from his back. He could feel the blade pressing painfully against his heart . Out of the corner of his eye, his assailant finally came into view.
“Sebastian,” he whispered.
“James,” Sebastian smirked.
He should have known. Once they knew the exact location of James and the box, retrieving it was a task that only Sebastian would handle himself. He should have been more careful.
“You had to know I would find you, James,” Sebastian’s said softly.
James quickly uttered a prayer for his daughter. A petition, asking, begging, that she would be the balance promised so many years before. He hoped it would be enough. As the sword slowly pierced James’ heart, and the last glimmer of life dimmed from his eyes, he sadly realized that his incantation to send the box away may not have been successful.
Pulling his sword from James’ chest, Sebastian walked over to the dumpster, shoving it across the alley with a mere wave of his hand. As he retrieved the box, a sadistic  smile played on his face , victory sparked in his pale green eyes and he knew that the first half of his mission was complete.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I had a blast at the beach and that was just the break I needed today :). Wishing you much success in the future.

A former Army brat, Christine Hughes moved quite often. She spent much of her time losing herself in books and creating stories about many of the people she’d met. Falling in love with literature was easy for her and she majored in English while attending college in New Jersey.
Not sure where her love of reading and writing fit, she became a middle school English teacher. After nine years of teaching others to appreciate literature, she decided to take the plunge and write her first novel. Now at home focusing on making writing her new career, she spends her time creating characters and plot points instead of grading papers.
Music has become an integral part of her writing process and without the proper play list, Hughes finds the words don’t flow. At least a few times a week she can be found at the local Barnes & Noble with her Mac and headphones working on her next novel. Her YA novel Torn will be released by Black Opal Books in June 2012.


Elle Wright said...

Great interview, Christine! I love the advice Cyn Balog gave you. Congrats on becoming an "I did"!

Debbie Christiana said...

Nice interview! Good luck with all your appearances. It's great way to get yourself out there.


Bev Irwin / Kendra James said...

Hi Debbie. Loved your post. I also know your's and my un-friend writer's block. Want to meet the angles in your book.

Firetulip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Firetulip said...

Great post, so looking forward to reading Torn.