Author on the Couch: CJ Warrant

Today I’m conducting a session with…CJ Warrant!

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#Win an ecopy of Forgetting Jane by @CJWarrant #AmWriting Click To Tweet

Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
CJ:  When I first discovered Romance Writers of America. I had no idea there was such a large community of authors and writers, who taught, encouraged and supported a writer on their journey. I joined right away, and looked for chapters, which I’m a member of. Chicago-North and Windy City.


Me: That’s so awesome! I felt the same way when I discovered RWA!
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
CJ: I would say my ambitious imagination. I’m constantly thinking of new story lines that strike me like a lightning bolt.

Every writer needs a good support system! @CJWarrant #amwriting Click To Tweet

Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
CJ: Being a pantser at heart I had a tendency to write myself in a corner, and edit while I wrote. Both ways slowed me down immensely. I learned the hard way when I had to rewrite a finished manuscript entirely. I learned to plot that won’t hinder the pantser in me and ignore my errors until I start my first round of edits.


Me: Good for you! I’m still a panster who edits as I go. Despite all my efforts to plot and plan… I just don’t want to write if I already know what’s going to happen!
What was your high point as a writer?|
CJ: Typing the last two words—The End to my first novel. It was a great accomplishment for me. Then I did my happy dance, and then had lunch with my friends and a fabulous dinner with my family. Then soon after, I started working on another book and trying to sell Forgetting Jane.


Me: And Forgetting Jane is out there now! Woot! Woot!
What was your low point as a writer—a time when you questioned your path?
CJ:  After I wrote my first novel that I actually was proud of, I decided to look for agent. It sat for 5 years, during which I sent out submissions to find an agent to represent me. I felt toward the last year of my attempt was an epic fail with every rejection—especially with the negative ones. And trust me, they weren’t constructive that I could work with and fix what was bad about my book.

I questioned my talent for writing. Was I good enough to publish, or was the story horrible—or both? I almost gave up. But, I had a wonderful critique partner who pulled me out of my decision to quit. She pushed me to pitch to the publishers instead, so I did. I sent out five submissions and by that second day, I was offered a contract. It was great feeling. I feel, every writer needs a good support system!

I questioned my talent for writing. I almost gave up. @CJWarrant #amwriting Click To Tweet

Me: Every writer does need a good support system. There’s no way to survive in this industry without friends to console you and kick you in the ass when you need it. 
Which of your characters are you most like? Why?
CJ: I would have to say, Chief Elias McAvoy. He has a way to stay calm at the most horrific times but at the same time, the little things have a way of setting him off. He’s also very passionate but sometimes doesn’t show it, which from a reliable source, I am too. 😉 


Me: How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
CJ: I didn’t—not at first. I was in the beauty industry for many years and used my imagination in that direction. But I always remembered writing poems and stories when I was kid. I don’t recollect the day or the book, but I picked up a romance novel my aunt gave me and I began reading about the author. She was a normal housewife with kids, who loved adventure and wrote stories about her adventures and the love of her life. I remember being dumbstruck over the fact that she was like me. That was when I began dipping my toe back in the writing waters. 


Me: Isn’t that amazing? You don’t have to have a college degree to be writer. Hell, you don’t even need a high school diploma. You just have to want to write!
If you could be any character in any book for a day who would you be? Why?
CJ: The character I would love to be for a day would be India Savage from Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chick Series. She is a kick ass character in every way and more that I would love to be her. Besides, I used to be a rock chick, pre-marriage and kids!


Me: Kristen Ashley books are my secret pleasure. Tell me about your dark romantic thriller, Forgetting Jane.

Amnesia and an unspeakable crime have stolen everything from Jane Doe but the haunting image of a girl in a yellow dress, which replays itself over and over in her mind.

Small town cop Elias McAvoy is haunted as well, by the crushing guilt he feels over the deaths of two women, one by his own hand. He can’t—he won’t let Jane down too.

Together they delve deeper into Jane’s case, battling against her memory loss, and an increasingly tangled web of lies and murder that span forty years-and ties Elias and Jane together in ways they never imagined. As the mystery of the girl in the yellow dress unfold, so does Elias and Jane’s love for each other. But when the killer reappears, intent on finishing what he started, Elias must face his demons in order to save the woman he loves-or lose her forever.

Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from your newest release, Forgetting Jane.

The first drag of cold air into her lungs burned like acid. Her fingers stung, deep under the nail beds as she clawed out from the hard ground. She tried moving her legs, but her energy waned fast. No matter how hard she wrestled out of the hole, the lower half of her body was bound in the heavy cemented earth. The sharp wind layered her like an icy blanket. A prickled sensation skated across her skin like razorblades. She shivered in pain.

A screech of an owl in the distance made her pause. Where was she? Dark surrounded her in its murkiness. Though a glimpse of morning light barely skimmed the horizon, the warmth of the day hadn’t touched her.

These two paragraphs are the most profound to me. When I wrote it, I had to put myself in Jane’s body and imagine what she was going through at that time. It made me cry, knowing this was the lowest point in her life and she had to fight to survive. This beginning reminds me of my first marriage and how I learned to fight, and survived that time of my life.


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Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN are available now! SAVING MERCY Book 1 in the Fatal Truth Series is now available for pre-order.




About the author: abbieroads