Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guest Post: C.C. Hunter & International Contest!

Hey guys! Today we'll be having a guest post from the fabulous C.C. Hunter who has surpassed all of my expectations with her debut YA novel, Born at Midnight!

The one question I always get asked is how much of myself goes into creating characters. Do I draw aspects of my own personality when fleshing out the people who star in my books? Do I give my characters my own flaws, and weaknesses, and perhaps my strengths? Do I force my characters to take upon my own bad habits? Are my characters simply reflections of myself?

The answer is yes . . . and no.

Everything I write isn’t a reflection of my own life. I haven’t faced the same kind of things that my character Kylie Galen faces in Born At Midnight. However, I’ll admit my personal experiences not only show up in my work, they help me create real characters and write real emotion. For example, while I’ve never seen a vampire with blood dripping from his chin the way Kylie does in the book, when I worked at a restaurant years ago, I was confronted by an angry credit-card thief with a knife large enough to skin Bambi. And the I-could-die emotion and fear--the uncertainty of not knowing if my underwear was going to come through the situation clean--was the emotional force for a lot of the scary scenes in the book. So when writing about fear, lost love, disappointment, I recall a time in my own life that I felt drowned by that same emotion and it helps me write a scene that reads true.

Now for the five similarities between me and my characters:

1) My ability to laugh in the face of adversity.

I think it’s just in my genes, because most of my family is like this. We love to laugh during good times; but we laugh harder during stressful times. It’s as if we follow that old adage, “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.” The hardest I’ve ever laughed was at a funeral. I give this humorous way of viewing life to all my characters. The funny moments in Born at Midnight mostly stems from my characters’ ability to laugh during tough times--to laugh at themselves and laugh at their mistakes.

2) My parents divorced at sixteen like Kylie’s parents.

One of the times that I both laughed and cried a lot was during my parents’ divorce. I remember feeling as if someone had walked into my life and yanked the foundation out from under me. I was angry, and hurt. How could they do this to me? I couldn’t understand how they could just stop loving each other. I felt they were acting childish and as if I was the grownup. And I saw for the first time their flaws, and imperfections. When I decided to have Kylie’s parents getting a divorce, I immediately remembered the emotional storm that I felt and it all went into the book.

3) Like Miranda, one of Kylie’s new roommates at Shadow Falls Camp, I’m dyslexic. My son is also dyslexic.

I didn’t learn to read until I was in the third grade. School was hard for me. I couldn’t seem to get the written words to stick in my brain. I often got things backwards, like I’d call the backyard, the yardback, and when people would snicker, I still couldn’t figure out what was so funny. Things like knowing my right from my left was nearly impossible. It didn’t help that I could write with both my hands. When I write, I still leave out words, and I’m still a terrible speller. I have critique partners who read and proof my work. But I don’t think I’ve accomplished what I have in spite of dyslexia, I think I’m accomplished it in part due to it. Dyslexics are very intuitive. We tend to pick up on emotion and I think this has helped me in my writing. Also being dyslexic, I make a lot of mistakes, but I learned to keep going and I think perseverance is what helped me keep writing and growing as a writer/story teller.

4) Like Kylie, I too felt a bit invisible in High School.

I wasn’t really bullied, but I just wasn’t noticed. Didn’t belong to any ‘In” group. I had a few friends, and like me, they were mostly quiet and went through school unnoticed. Now, I’m so not like this anymore. I think my shyness was in part due to my being dyslexic. But that feeling of never really fitting in played a big part in creating Kylie’s character.

5) Like Holiday and Kylie in Born at Midnight, I have experienced that feeling of being visited by a ghostly presence.

I know, it sounds crazy, but it’s happened to me several times. The first time I was only ten. My great grandmother had died and a few days later, I woke up to her hovering over my bed. She was wearing this beautiful gown and it flowed back and forth, so much so that I didn’t think she had legs. She said she just wanted me to know that she was fine, and that someday I too would have this beautiful gown. My parents told me it was just dream, but I could swear I was awake.

Another time I was grown and I was visiting a war museum. I was writing articles for magazines about the museum and I had to take pictures for the articles. For some reason, I was hit by this overwhelming sense of sadness when I first walked in, and I couldn’t help but cry. And then when I was taking pictures of a bloody kimono that had been stripped off a dead Japanese woman, the batteries in my large flash camera burst. I blamed it on faulty batteries, and it didn’t occur to me that it could be anything else. Well, not until I went back a month later to get the photos that I hadn’t been able to take the first time. The moment I walked into that room, I was hit by the same sad feeling. But it got really strange when I went to photograph the kimono, and my flash wouldn’t work again. My hubby removed the batteries, thinking they were bad, and put them in his pocket. Before he walked away from the display case, the batteries burst in his pocket. It was pretty darn scary. We left, and I didn’t try to photograph the kimono again.

So what about you guys? Anyone out there believe in ghosts? Have you ever felt the spooky feeling as if you aren’t alone?

And now, for the contest! It's going to be international and all you have to do is comment on this guest post and comment on my review of Born Midnight. Then fill in the form below. Up for grabs is a bag full of BAM-related swag!


Caitlin March 31, 2011 at 9:30 PM  

I don't believe in ghosts per se, I like to think what we perceive as ghosts are actually strong emotional imprints left on the world...which is why a lot of ghosts are often seen to be doing the same thing repeatedly. Thanks for yet another great guest post and giveaway! I think I must have entered at least 5 giveaways for your book now!

Ammy Belle March 31, 2011 at 10:48 PM  

Thanks for the guest post! This books sounds pretty awesome! Thanks for the chance to win it, too! :)

Lindsay Cummings author March 31, 2011 at 11:33 PM  

i love her! so happy she has a book =]

Teril March 31, 2011 at 11:37 PM  

Ohh this book looks great, and I have hear raving reviews. Thank you for reminding me.

Kulsuma March 31, 2011 at 11:50 PM  

I think finding writing/ spelling tough at a young age sometimes spurs some on to be the best that they can be at it. I have sometimes felt a 'presence' but (luckily) I've never seen anything. I think I'd pass out.

suzi1811 April 1, 2011 at 12:04 AM  

Great interview and thanks for the great giveaway! I'm dying to get my hands on this book!

suzi1811 April 1, 2011 at 12:05 AM  

Great Interview and thanks for the great giveaway! I'm dying to get my hands on this book!

Becca Watson April 1, 2011 at 12:45 AM  

Love the interview! Can't wait to read the book!!

Rhianna April 1, 2011 at 1:02 AM  

I totally think drawing from real things in your life/personality to make a character more realistic is great. Those aspects work like tentpoles, holding up the outside of the fictional person. Great post C.C.!

Mona April 1, 2011 at 1:12 AM  

I really enjoyed the guest post. Your story about the war museum was fascinating yet creepy. That experience would be great to include in a book. It is said that truth is stranger than fiction.

When I was younger, I had a hard time putting my shoes on the right feet and telling time.

Jessica @ a GREAT read April 1, 2011 at 1:24 AM  

Great interview! I love finding out info on debut authors! Sure to love this book!

Andra Lyn April 1, 2011 at 2:04 AM  

Thanks for the interview! It was very interesting to hear about your opinions. Some authors claim that you should write what you know, and basically spit themselves out in character form. I have heard this can be very cathartic lol. :D

Bookish Fangirl April 1, 2011 at 4:02 AM  

I really enjoyed reading the guest post by C.C. Hunter.I can't wait to read Born at Midnight.

Anonymous,  April 1, 2011 at 4:42 AM  

Great guest post! I like to see how author's incorporate themselves into their characters so this was interesting to read.

jennifer April 1, 2011 at 6:35 AM  

i cant wait to read it!

Pokadots1121 April 1, 2011 at 6:56 AM  

I loved this interview. Thanks!

andrea b April 1, 2011 at 7:00 AM  

thanks for the interview! I don't believe in ghosts, but then, I've never had an experience like the author's! I would like to laugh at the face of adversity... I don't, but it would probably be a good idea sometimes...

andrea b

donnas April 1, 2011 at 7:51 AM  

Great post. Really looking forward to picking up a copy.

Baggins April 1, 2011 at 9:02 AM  

Fantastic guest post! I believe in ghosts, though I haven't really had any encounters. Well, there was this one time after our family dog had died (he'd been with us since I was a kid) and I was heading down the hall to the lounge room, where his beanbag still was, and I swear I could hear him snoring. It was so real that I completely forgot and fully expected to see him sleeping when I turned the corner. Weird, I know, but to this day I believe he was there. :-)

C.C. Hunter April 1, 2011 at 9:22 AM  

Hi guys!

Thank you all so much for stopping by. I love the comments. You are all putting a big smile on my face. I hope everyone will enjoy Born at Midnight.

I can't wait until Reggie posts the interview with Kylie. I had fun with that piece.

Jenny N. April 1, 2011 at 9:43 AM  

Nice guestpost! I don't believe in ghosts as I've never had an encounter with one but one of my aunts swore she saw the ghost of a relative when she was a little girl.

Holly April 1, 2011 at 10:50 AM  

Great interview! I can imagine you had nightmares for awhile after that incident at the restaurant. I can't wait to read Born at Midnight :) Thanks so much for the chance to win!

Vivien April 1, 2011 at 11:44 AM  

Very honest interview. Loved the questions.

Darlyn April 1, 2011 at 12:21 PM  

I've seen the book on Goodreads. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for the post too!

Elzahh April 1, 2011 at 12:27 PM  

Thank you for the guest post/interview! I am so going to read this book!

Fashion Addict April 1, 2011 at 1:33 PM  

Awesome Interview! :D I can't wait to read Born at Midnight!!!

Rachel Leigh April 1, 2011 at 1:52 PM  

Thanks for the interview! As silly as it may seem, I believe in ghosts. I cant wait to read this book! Great giveaway!!

Rachel Leigh

C.C. Hunter April 1, 2011 at 7:36 PM  

Hi Guys!

Thanks for all those comments. Keep them coming. I'm sipping my coffee this morning and smiling.

Aik April 1, 2011 at 10:22 PM  

I don't belong to any ‘In” group either. But when I read in a book about a girl who lost her real self in efforts of fitting in with the popular crowd,I'm happy to be myself.

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Corrie April 2, 2011 at 1:57 AM  

Cant wait to read this one!

TheGirlOnFire April 2, 2011 at 2:17 PM  

I like that there are some similarities between you and your characters. Thanks for the interview.

Sara April 3, 2011 at 12:12 AM  

Wow that museum story was quite spooky. I definitely believe in ghosts, who else could you explain events like that?

Fi-chan April 3, 2011 at 3:41 PM  

You're dyslexic?! And the ghost experiences, omg creepy. and I didnt even know batteries can burst.

PinkStuff28 April 3, 2011 at 10:57 PM  

I do beleive in ghosts....'re the first author that is dyslexic ...and it's pretty awesome , what you've acomplised so far :D

Good Luck !

Stacy April 4, 2011 at 12:47 AM  

Great interview. It's kind of sad that no one realized she had dyslexia until third grade. I'm glad that she decided to write despite dyslexia.

the imagine tree at aol dot com

Nyra April 4, 2011 at 12:30 PM  

Great interview, i love this part: “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.” .

So true!!!

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