Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Author Interview: CJ Redwine previews Defiance

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interviewed over 20 authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2012/13.  These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works.  Enjoy!



Greetings to our latest initiate to Dystopian August – Author CJ Redwine! Her debut, DEFIANCE, is the first in a post-apocalyptic/fantasy trilogy that features a kick-ass heroine and a fire breathing dragon. It will be out August 28, 2012 with Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins).

Here’s the summary:

Within the cloistered walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. Other girls know how to sew dresses, host dinner parties, and meekly obey their assigned male Protectors. Rachel knows how to kill a man before he realizes he should've drawn his sword. When her father fails to return from a courier mission across the dangerous Wasteland between city-states and his apprentice is named as her new Protector, Rachel expects Baalboden to send out a search party. Instead, her father is declared a traitor by another city's leader and declared dead by her own. Left with nothing but her fierce belief in her father's integrity and survival skills, Rachel decides to escape her city's walls and find him herself. But committing treason against her leader comes with a heavy price, and what waits for her in the Wasteland is enough to destroy her. 
At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. And new apprentice to Baalboden's number one Courier. A former street rat who turned his life around by sheer determination, Logan is focused on learning his chosen trade so he can finally have the means to escape the tyranny of Baalboden. He never expects to become responsible for his mentor's fiery, impulsive sixteen-year-old daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, for Jared's sake. But when his plan for escape goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster who can't be killed and an army of assassins from another city-state, they discover romance, heartbreak and a truth that will incite a war two decades in the making.
ETA the cover:



And the interview!

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?
I think heroism shows up in stark relief against a dark backdrop. When a story dares to plumb the darkness of the human soul or paint the bleakest outcome of the human condition, the hard-won happy ending means so much more. And to me, stories that are "dark" have so many little moments of truth and real hope. I love to read a story where I just don't see HOW hope can triumph because when it does, it renews my own hope. :)

If DEFIANCE had a theme song, what would it be and why?
"A Star-crossed Wasteland" by In This Moment. It's especially perfect for DEFIANCE because the ruins of the world that used to be are called the Wasteland. But it's also a song about losing almost everything, and still yearning for hope, which is exactly where my hero and heroine live throughout the story.

What fictional characters from another book would your main characters chose as a best friend and why?
Logan: Hmm ... this is a tough one. I guess I'd have to say Sherlock Holmes because Logan lives in his head, constantly deducing and calculating, and thinking twelve steps ahead of everyone else. But he's also scary-fierce with a sword and once he unleashes what he keeps under tight control, there's no stopping him, so he'd be friends with the sexy, smart-talking warrior Sherlock Holmes as played by Robert Downey, Jr. Not the stuffy, overcoat-wearing version I used to envision when I read the books as a girl.

Rachel: She doesn't really know what to do with other girls, and she appreciates a leap first, look around for danger later approach. She has a surplus of courage, mostly because if something must be done, and it's in front of her, she'll do it. And she does a lot of improvising when her back is against the wall. Plus, she understands loss on a soul-deep level, so I think she'd be best friends with Katniss.

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?
1.The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- I'm not sure there's a YA-reading person left on the planet who hasn't read this yet, but if so, let me assure you it is literary crack. Don't start it at night unless you don't care about sleeping. You've been warned. The world is instantly compelling, the story is fierce, sad, triumphant, and compulsively readable. Literary crack. I promise.

2. V is for Vendetta by Alan Moore - Incredibly incisive and intelligent. Absorbing. Thought-provoking in that spine-tingling way that leaves you with chills because you aren't sure if you're rooting for good, evil, or some new force that combines the two in a way that leaves you breathless with yearning for something you don't really want to name.




3. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry - I think this is technically billed as a zombie novel, not dystopian, but it is post-apocalyptic and the re-ordered world, the constant danger (and the REAL source of danger being something less obvious than the zombies), and the dark examination of what society looks like when reduced to rubble and forced to rebuild make this a dystopian enough to warrant a mention. Especially because I love this book with an unbridled passion. It's told from a fifteen-year-old boy's POV, and is masterfully done. It's at once funny, scary, and achingly sad. I can't recommend it enough.

4. The Giver by Lois Lowry - Told in spare, stark prose, this story cuts deep. The examination on the cost of conformity, and of giving up our creativity to serve what the government deems a higher good, is masterful, and makes the hero's ultimate act of heroism absolutely fabulous.


5. 1984 by George Orwell - I love Orwell's writing, and this book arguably gave birth to the dystopian genre. This is the book that gave us the term "Big Brother" and introduced us to the idea of a government controlling our thoughts and subjugating the individual in favor of society. It's a classic, and is probably on everyone's list, but I just couldn't put together a dystopian rec list without including it.

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends? (you know, in case it ends next year)
Well, first I'm going to figure out a plan to rule the world. Just for a day. Um ... considering my track record, that will probably be the day of the Apocalypse, so prepare accordingly.

How does your novel stand out from others the the genre?
Mine is actually a post-apocalyptic fantasy with dystopian elements. Hope, what it costs and what it's worth, are huge elements. Plus, there's a fire-breathing dragon in it. And cute boys with swords. =D Also, each city-state across the Wasteland has its own laws and culture, reflective of the values its leader holds, which means the dystopian elements present in Baalboden are twisted and reformed (for better or worse) in the other cities.

Thanks CJ!

Visit CJ’s website
Follow CJ on Twitter @cjredwine
Add DEFIANCE to your GoodReads wishlist

38 comments:

S. Mozer said...

I can't wait to read this book. 2012? Really?

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Love the Sherlock Holmes answer. Great thoughts!

Alwyn said...

Oh my gosh this sounds awesome! You pretty much had me at the Synopsis and then came the mention of a Dragon. I am a COMPLETE sucker for Dragons. And Dragons and Dystopia basically sounds AMAZING!

C.J. Redwine said...

S - Thanks! And yes, Fall of 2012. But it will be here before we know it. Or maybe it's just me who feels like that...

Pam - My hero is MacGyver meets Strider/Aragorn from LOTR. The closest combo I could think of was Robert Downey, Jr's Sherlock Holmes.

And YES I'll be at the theater on opening weekend to see the sequel...

Alwyn - Ooh, I love dragons too! I had a fun time combining dystopian and fantasy elements to create something new in DEFIANCE.

Emily said...

I love the survival theme intertwined with the post-apocalyptic ones, and I'll definitely be picking this one up!

Della R. Buckland said...

I cannot wait to read...Love your blog posts also - always makes me laugh and think.

sharongerlach said...

CJ, you're beautiful, girl. And I am so, so thrilled that your book has been picked up. It sounds amazing. I'm so happy for you.

Lesli Muir Lytle said...

So glad to finally read a blurb about this book. Sounds as amazing as I thought it would be.

CJ Redwine is a name to remember, folks.

Jodi Meadows said...

CJ THERE ARE REASONS WE GET ALONG SO WELL. REASONS!

*already scheming ways to acquire the ARC of DEFIANCE*

C.J. Redwine said...

Emily - Yay! Those are some of my fave themes in books, too. So compelling.

Della - Thank you so much! :)

Sharon - *blushes* Well, that's sweet of you. :)

Lesli - My Dark Knight buddy! Thanks for the comment and the support. :)


Jodi - Greetings, my shoeless doppelganger. I think you've got an "in" with the ARC fairy at Harper, so ... yeah, you only have a few more months of waiting.

linda said...

Wow, this sounds really awesome! Love the answers to the "best friend" question -- what a great way to characterize Logan and Rachel.

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

I am definitely going to read this book! Fantasy and post-apocalyptic world? Where do I sign in? :) Thanks for your top five, I think I need to check Rot & Ruin out. Everyone seems to like it.

Scott Stillwell said...

Can't wait to read it. I'm glad you're emphasizing hope in the story. The last dystopian novel I read was "The Road," and I haven't had the nerve to pick up another one since. If your blog is any indication, I'm sure your take on the end of civilization will be a bit more civilized :)

Writer in WA said...

I don't usually read dystopian and am that last YA person that hasn't read Hunger Games. My life is crazy enough that I have to work myself up to be able to deal with the despair. That being said, I've waited so long for something of yours to be published C.J. that I'll be pre-ordering Defiance from Amazon.

Anonymous said...

cant wait to read it cj. i love most dystopians too...yours sounds unique--but im not surprised ;)

rr smythe

jenehilt said...

I'm in with Anonymous, I don't read dystopian usually. Haven't read Hunger Games either.

But I loved "The GIver"--- it still makes me sit up straighter when I think of it.

And I will gladly read "Defiance" because I love your voice. Dragons and Kick Ass Girls are a big plus.

Consider me a minion!
Jen

Jenny said...

I was already planning on buying your book (i've been a minion for a while) but now I am totally sold. My son's name is Logan and they sound ALOT alike. He is always in his head. I already love his character!

C.J. Redwine said...

Linda - Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

Kara-Karina Run, don't walk, to grab a copy of ROT & RUIN. Seriously awesome.

Scott - *laughs* Yes, hope is a huge part of the arc of this trilogy. Hope and ultimately redemption.

Writer - Aww, thank you! :)

RR - lol. Thanks for stopping by.

Jen! Nice to see you here. I think (HOPE) you'll enjoy it.

Jenny - Yay for the Logans of this world! *hands you a lemon bar reserved only for minions*

Zibilee said...

I get a strangely medieval vibe from Defiance, even though it's a dystopian, which sounds incredibly interesting to me. I also like that these interviews are helping me build a very neat playlist and are exposing me to some very cool music! I am also glad to see a bit here about Rot and Ruin. That's one that I've had my eye on since downloading a preview of the sequel.

Miss Lauren said...

Your book sounds fantastic! I can't wait to read it! :)

C.J. Redwine said...

Zibilee - *hands you a cookie* After the apocalyptic event that formed the world in my book, society reverted in many ways to a medieval type of living. City-states. Cloaks. Wagons. So you're vibe is RIGHT. :) However, there's also some technology available. Not the slick stuff we have now, but tech nonetheless. I found it very interesting to write a world combining medieval lifestyle with some technology.

And YES to both the playlist and ROT & RUIN. Love both.

Miss Lauren - Thank you so much!! =)

Rae Ann Parker said...

Wow, that sounds like one amazing story! So looking forward to reading it CJ.

Theresa Ragan said...

Wow, CJ. This book of yours sounds so darn intriguing. Can't wait to read this story!

Connie Gillam said...

Can't wait to read the book, C.J.

It sounds like you have some pretty interesting characters.

Carolyn Rosewood said...

C.J. this story sounds wonderful! I'm so happy for you! BIG CONGRATS!! And by the way, the photo is gorgeous!! :)

Debbie said...

C.J. - what a great interview! I have never been drawn to this genre - haven't read any of your recommendations - which is strange because I'm fascinated by the end of days drama. I'm putting a few on my list to be read. Defiance seems like a great entry for me, too. I have a weakness for swordplay, dragons, and romance.

Joy Dent said...

CJ, What a great interview! I can't wait to read Defiance. I can see myself buying it from one of the great bookstores near my flat in London! I'm particularly excited about the fire breathing dragon and the cute guys with swords! :)

Joy

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hey, CJ! I'm really looking forward to reading this book. I love me some dystopian YA. :)

I'm going to check out Rot and Ruin. Sounds really good.

I too adore The Hunger Games. Can't wait for the movies.

Cate Hart said...

CJ, Defiance sounds sooooooo intriguing. And that's a great picture. I'm one of the sad few that still haven't read The Hunger Games. But can't wait for your book to come out. I love the medieval twist. Congrats!

V. Rossi said...

Oh, I am going to LOVE this. Awesome interview. *taps foot* *checks watch* Soooooo... When is the ARC ready?

Kay said...

I met CJ at Killer Nashville last year and have been following her journey ever since. So happy for her success.

Annie Solomon said...

The book sounds fabulous, not that I'm surprised! Good luck and congratulations.

Bev Pettersen said...

Sounds great, CJ! Wish it was out now. Your heroine is so appealing.

C.J. Redwine said...

Thank you all for stopping by and commenting! :) I appreciate it so much.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Your book sounds great, CJ. Can't wait to read it!

Leona said...

Hey CJ!! Can't wait until your book is out!

Michelle said...

I'm getting the feeling I'm going to love this one as much as I loved Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series. I do love me some fire breathing dragons when appropriate...

Diana Dart said...

Alright, alright, I'll read Hunger Games fer cryin' out loud. But after following your blog (which has resulted in a strange fascination with zombie goats, much to my sons' joy) I am simply itching to read Defiance. Bring. It. On.

And great interview, btw.