Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with C. J. Parker

Welcome today, author C. J. Parker!

What do you want for your birthday?

Air fair, dues for RWA conference, Hotel costs. I've never been to the RWA conference and I so want to go. If I were rich I'd spend my free time, between writing my books, at conferences. RWA, EPICon, Romantic Times, you name it I'd go. I love the camaraderie of being around other writers. Confess. Don't you feel misunderstood by the world around you? It's hard to understand someone who goes off into their own world without warning. Sometimes at parties someone will say something, and it will send you plotting a scene you'd been having trouble with. Only another writer understands.

When do you make a wish?

I wish on the first star, I wish just before blowing out birthday candles, I wish when I'm in the mood. My mother used to tell me I wished my life away. But it's such a joy when a wish comes true, plus that just gives you room for one more wish.

Where did you go on your first date?

To an antique car show. My hubby loves the '57, '58, and '59 Chevy Bel Air. I love the '56 and '57 T-birds. You know, the one with the little port hole window on the side. Now if I just looked like that Summers girl in American Graffiti I'd be a happy soul. There I go wishing again.

Why didn't Christine choose the Phantom?

His obsessiveness would have driven her as mad as he. She couldn't ever live up the image he had conjured up in his mind. There are so many reasons why a woman would walk away from a love like that. None of which, included his appearance. She saw past that. But she also saw that his heart and soul were more scarred than his face.

How do you choose your character's names?

I don't. They tell me their names. My characters come to me like a whisper at first. It's as if they are waiting their turn, but will only wait for so long before their voices become louder and more insistent. I see them in my mind. I know how they walk, how they talk. I can hear their voices. (Okay, not like I hear voices, but you know what I mean.) Once I have their features in my mind, they smile and introduce themselves. But for the life of me, I don't know why the hero in my WIP is named Kent. I keep telling him he's got to change his name. But then the heroine has a name I have to keep on a Post-It note on my desk so I know how to spell it.

My name is Charlotte "CJ" Parker. I've been married for 30 years; have no children, unless you consider a very spoiled Basset Hound a child.

I first discovered the love of reading in the third grade when I climbed onto a kitchen chair and searched the titles on the spines of book after book in my mother’s “library.” She was a devoted fan of Hemingway, Kipling and many other classics. I read them all. What I didn't understand, my mother would patiently explain to me. By the fifth grade I was writing “novels” for my mother to read.

I've never lost the love of writing or for creating my own worlds and the people who inhabit them. When I became “just a housewife,” I signed up for a course in fiction writing at the University of New Orleans. In 2004 I attended a weekend workshop led by Donald Maass titled Writing the Breakout Novel. In 2006 I attended Heather Graham’s New Orleans Workshop where I entered Kate Duffy’s query contest and won first place. I'm a host for a weekly, hour-long writer’s forum. I'm a member of RWA, SOLA (local RWA chapter) and EPIC.

Okay, that's the boring stuff. I love gardening, doing pottery and ceramics. I crochet and do cross stitch while I plot out my stories. I love anything paranormal. Hey, I live in New Orleans, how could I not. Try taking a tour of the cemeteries here and tell me you don't feel it.


Brandy said...

Great interview. I like the question and answer on why Christine didn't choose the Phantom.

Diane Craver said...

Hi C.J,

I'd love to go to a RWA conference - I've never gone either.

That's neat you live in New Orleans and write paranormal stories.

Great interview and love your book cover! I'm going to visit your website now.