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Torn (Torn Series, #1)
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Awesome Author Interviews > Christine Hughes- October Author of the Month Open Interview

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Michele Miller (Chelemybelles) | 727 comments I am so excited to introduce you all to Christine Hughes! Christine signed up for our R2R program back in August with Torn (R2R Average 4.1*) and I signed myself up immediately. This is a great book and I hope that those of you who didn't get to read this in the R2R will go out and pick it up! See my review in the book thread.

Here is her GR Author Profile but stayed tuned for an interview and feel free to post any questions you may have...

url: http://www.goodreads.com/HughesWriter
born: September 27, 1976 in The United States
gender: female
website: http://christine-hughes.com
twitter username: HughesWriter
genre: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction
member since: September 2011


About this author
I’ve always wanted to write. Ever since I was little, I would craft stories and poems but the idea to actually do it “for real” never really crossed my mind until last year. After sitting on three paragraphs of what would eventually become my first novel, I decided to expand upon what I had. At the time I had no real idea of where the story would go, I just knew I had the time to do something with it.

I hadn’t researched market trends, I had no idea about query letters or the evil synopsis, and I was green on the idea of agents and editors and all that is publishing, really. I just wanted to write something I enjoyed. I didn’t plot, outline, or character build, I just wrote. And then an author friend mentioned that I should take my writing t...more I’ve always wanted to write. Ever since I was little, I would craft stories and poems but the idea to actually do it “for real” never really crossed my mind until last year. After sitting on three paragraphs of what would eventually become my first novel, I decided to expand upon what I had. At the time I had no real idea of where the story would go, I just knew I had the time to do something with it.

I hadn’t researched market trends, I had no idea about query letters or the evil synopsis, and I was green on the idea of agents and editors and all that is publishing, really. I just wanted to write something I enjoyed. I didn’t plot, outline, or character build, I just wrote. And then an author friend mentioned that I should take my writing to a conference.

So with the confidence that my novel would surely be welcomed by all who read it, I signed up for as many seminars and critiques as I could. I knew someone would love it. In those two days, I found out I had a lot to learn.

Funny, but as a former English teacher, you’d think I’d have figured out the importance of editing and revision and revising again. You’d think I’d have known that the first draft is just that, a draft. And when the critiques started coming in, I thought I was done for. Not that the premise wasn’t good (I was told it was), not that the characters weren’t believable (I was told they were), but I used too much passive voice, I tense shifted and there were some holes in the plotline.

A few agents really liked it, but the market trend couldn’t support it. Some were not fond of the way I told the story. I queried and queried my way to 57 flat out rejections and a number of partial and full requests that didn’t pan out. But along the way I got some great criticism and pointers and I made the story better. Then, on a whim, I trolled the SavvyAuthors website and signed up for a three line pitch to editor Lauri Wellington and I did a happy dance when she requested my full manuscript.

A month later, she responded that she loved the story and the concept but it moved too slowly but I could resubmit if I revised. I informed her I sent her a revision that was based on the opinions of agents, authors and peers but I had the original (cleaned up, of course) and I was sending it in to see if it was more of what she was looking for. And guess what? It was! One caveat, I had to revise the manuscript into past tense. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.

Revising into past tense from present is line editing your entire novel. And it kinda stinks. By the end, I thought my eyes were gonna start bleeding and pop out onto my keyboard. But you know what? That little “exercise” tightened up what was loose, filled in any plot holes that might’ve still been there and forced me to realize I could be a better writer.

The road to publication can be long. It can be a hop, skip and a jump from your first query. Nothing in publication is set in stone. The market is always changing. And the biggest thing I learned is that it’s all subjective. Agents A-Y may pass but all you need is Agent or Editor Z to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. And I believe in my first novel. And I am happy that Black Opal Books does too. I hope you do, as well.


message 2: by Cristina (new)

Cristina (MrsBudryzer) | 371 comments Torn is currently being sold for $1.99 (ebook). Grab yourself a copy, I've included links for your shopping pleasure.

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/torn-...

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Torn-Christine-...


Holly | 1 comments This book is amazing and Hughes more than deserves this honor. Well written and nail biting suspenseful. Congrats and YES! Do write FASTER! I cannot wait! For the next book! Thanks. For sharing ur talent.


message 4: by Cristina (new)

Cristina (MrsBudryzer) | 371 comments Here are some questions to get things started!!! All members, feel free to post questions of your own that you would like to ask Christine.


When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

What was your inspiration for Torn?

Where do you write?

Who designed your cover?

What are three things you could not live without?

What are you reading now?

Are you currently writing a book?

Do you have another job, or are you a full time author?

What's your favorite book?

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 books would you wish you had with you?


message 5: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hughes (HughesWriter) | 37 comments Cristina wrote: "Here are some questions to get things started!!! All members, feel free to post questions of your own that you would like to ask Christine.


When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Wh..."


Hello everyone! I'm so happy to be a part of this group! Thank you so much for voting for TORN. Becoming a published author has been a dream of mine and I can't believe it's finally a reality and, as of january, I will be an author or two published books (sadly, not the sequel to TORN, that will have to wait until the summer).

I first knew I loved to write at a very early age. I was always making up stories and my favorite assignments in school had to do with creative writing. When I started high school, I discovered I had the ability to write the angsty poetry often associated with teens. That poetic side of me continue through college - there never seemed to be an end of deep, dark topics. I look at some of that poetry now and I wonder what the hell was going through my head when I wrote some of that stuff? Geez. (cuckoo!)
I became, what else, a middle school English teacher where I was able to help develop the writing skills of many of my students. It was a job I loved - until I changed districts. The last district I was in was so controlling. I'd always thought creative writing was, well, creative and I taught it as such. Of course there were parameters and all that but this district wanted to control everything and it wasn't fun.
Since I'd switched districts and didn't have tenure, when the "Great budget hammer of 2010" hit in NJ, I, and 48 others, lost my job. That summer I started writing TORN, for no other reason than to have something to do. It wasn't until it was completed and ready to query that I actually considered writing as more than a hobby.

The inspiration for TORN smacked me in the face when I was watching the last episode of the first season of Vampire Diaries (the Founder's Day Episode). When Stephan went all vamp and Elena danced with Damon, they played a song called "All I Need" by Within Temptation. That song threw the entire plot line into my head. I downloaded it, memorized it, built a playlist around it and started writing.

I generally write on my back deck. I have a large yard surrounded by trees and, in the morning, the location is perfect for me, my laptop and my cuppa coffee.

Jay Sabo of JS Designs designed my cover. I went to high school with him and we reconnected over FB when I wasn't happy with the way my cover was unfolding. He was a graphic designer and I asked if he ever designed a book cover. He hadn't but said he'd give it a shot. I think he did a great job. Since he's designed two other covers for other Black Opal Books' authors and designed the cover for my upcoming release, Three Days of Rain.

Assuming I absolutely can't live without the hubs and my two boys, I'll have to say - 1. My laptop. I get itchy when other people touch it. 2. My coffee. You really don't want to see me until I've had at least 2 cups. 3. Music. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way musically inclined and my voice could probably induce seizures but I listen to music when I write. I've built playlists around plots and characters. I have to listen when I write.

At the moment , I am book-less. I need to concentrate right now on finishing my WIP but I can say I just finished the newly released "Time Assassins" by R. Kyle Hannah and loved it.

Currently I am working on the sequel to TORN, tentatively titled Darkness Betrayed. I was delayed due to huge computer malfunctions but I think I am getting back into the groove. It's hard when you're on a roll and everything comes screeching to a halt but I'm back on the horse and hope to have it finished within the month. Fingers crossed, of course.

As of now, my only other job is that of a full-time stay-at-home mom. That ma change but I'm blessed enough to have a husband that has a great stable and secure job that allows me to write full time.

My favorite book is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - ironic since this week is Banned Books Week. That story was so ahead of its time and so much of it has come to fruition - large screen televisions, earbuds, reality tv....Ray Bradbury was a genius.

Stranded on an island with 5 books? Awe man, that's a tough one... Let me thing - F451 of course, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I Know What You Did Last Summer (the first book I read over and over), Snuggle Puppy (to remind me of when my kids were little) and Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.

Mind you, I am writing this list at 6:30 in the morning and my tastes change hour to hour - I've read and loved so many books that it was very difficult to choose. COuld I just bring the whole library with me??

Thanks for having me - I hope I answered you questions. I can't wait to interact with those who read or have read TORN. It's so surreal that I'm the one writing books now. Thanks again :)


message 6: by Gabby (last edited Oct 04, 2012 05:17AM) (new)

Gabby | 906 comments Hi, Christine, Do you have any other books planned to write soon?


message 7: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hughes (HughesWriter) | 37 comments Gabby wrote: "Hi, Christine, Do you have any other books planned to write soon?"
I have a few ideas in my head. Not sure if I am going to jump right into the third and final book in the TORN series when I finish the second or if I'm going to write something else in between, like I did with TORN and Darkness Betrayed. Three Days of Rain was my in between and it should be out by early January.


message 8: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hughes (HughesWriter) | 37 comments Side note - Looks like my publisher forgot to raise the price of the e-book. It's $1.99 for Kindle and Nook until they figure it out :) I know the links are above but here they are again...

http://www.amazon.com/Torn-ebook/dp/B...

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/torn-...


message 9: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Garrett (Heidi_g) Christine, I have picked Torn up and it is now in my virtual to-read stack:) Thank you for doing this conversation. I can only imagine what is what like to re-write your whole novel from present to past tense. Which was an interesting choice. I am writing my current series in past tense, but so much is coming out in present tense. Do you prefer one over the other? I am kind of dying to write something in present tense now, lol.


message 10: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hughes (HughesWriter) | 37 comments Heidi wrote: "Christine, I have picked Torn up and it is now in my virtual to-read stack:) Thank you for doing this conversation. I can only imagine what is what like to re-write your whole novel from present to..."

Thank you !

When I wrote it in present tense, I loved it! I'd like to eventually write a novel in present tense but after re-reading TORN in past, I definitely prefer this story that way. The only thing I wish I'd done differently is write it in third person, instead of first because I love my Sebastian (the antagonist) so much, I feel like he needs a story-line all his own.


message 11: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hughes (HughesWriter) | 37 comments How about a tiny preview of the sequel???? Here you go! (from chapter 1)

Distracted, I picked the lint off my jeans and stared out into the water. My playlist on low, I let Of Monsters and Men fill me with words of love, love, love – Sure, if I even knew what that was anymore. As the sun continued to rise on the morning, my eyes darted impatiently. The music didn’t have its usual calming effect on me. If anything, I was getting more wired by the minute and I rubbed the back of my neck to relieve some of the tension. Goosebumps came and went, darkness faded in and out and I was sure something was coming. But I didn’t retreat. It was only there that I didn’t need to be strong, that I could let go and try to be me. Whoever that was anymore.
Sitting on the edge of the cliff where Jesse died, where I’d found out Lucas had betrayed me, often brought me comfort when I couldn’t quell the storm in my head. Legs dangling over the side, I allowed my wings to spread beside me. Swirls of black and silver cast shadows while reflecting the light. The image reflected who I’d become. Their heaviness had lightened over the past few weeks and my shoulders didn’t hurt as much. I ran my hand over the soft feathers as I contemplated everything I wasn’t.
Once blue, the eyes that stared back at me in the mirror were coal black and my skin, once sun-kissed took on the hue of a porcelain doll. But, despite the wings and other changes, my new physical self was nothing compared to what’d happened to me inside. I was no longer the same carefree teenager, either. The only thing that had conflicted me was what to wear to school but now, now my heart was torn between good and evil. It should’ve been an easy enough choice. Unfortunately another one of the things I’d learned was that my life was no longer easy. I was one temper tantrum away from transforming completely into an Exiled.
My father was once an Exiled who chose to join the Faithful. Instead of reveling in sins, he fought for forgiveness. Because of this, the only thing that kept me from joining Sebastian and his followers was the small piece of my heart, the part only Ethan could find, that reminded me of who I was meant to be. Balance. I must fight the Exiled with the darkness that flowed through me. And I must lead the Faithful with the light that pulsed inside my heart. And somehow, I needed to make sure they both lived in harmony. After all, what would there be to hope for if there was nothing to despair?
Sebastian’s voice hadn’t invaded since I saw Lucas and him fall through the earth though I knew he was watching, waiting. He vowed to return and I had no reason to doubt his words. The problem was, I didn’t know when or where he and I would come face to face again.
As I sat ruminating the past and contemplating my future, the heart shaped opal pendant that hung from my neck, the Heart of Hope, began to glow and my skin began to burn beneath it. As long as I wore it, I knew Sebastian could find me. And part of me hoped he would. The part that hoped all this would finally be done. My hand fisted around the sword that lay beside me. Every muscle in my body tensed as I concentrated on finding the source of evil that had invaded my space. My skin tingled a warning and the hairs on the back of my neck stood and my feathers ruffled as I moved into a crouch as I heard a soft footfall upon the morning frost giveaway the intruder. I silently called for Ethan.
When I whirled around, sword drawn in front of me, the tip of it grazed the chin of one of them. An Exiled. Body oddly contorted with bony wings and a slim sharp sword pointed directly at my heart, it smiled and bared its ugly yellow teeth.
“Samantha.”
“What do you want?” Anger pulsed as the air around me grew electric and the sea below riled up in response.
Its voice pierced my ears like nails on a chalkboard. “Please, lower your weapon. I am not here to harm you. I am here to deliver a message.”
“I’m pretty sure I asked you a question. Who are you?” I refused to drop my sword.
“I am Malakai. I have a message for the one who maintains balance.”
“Well, you found her. What’s your message?” I pictured driving my sword through its heart and removing its wings. Slowly. The image wasn’t as disturbing as it should have been.
“Sam!”
I faltered a moment at the sound of Ethan’s voice. I wasn’t quite used to the fact that he knew when I was filling with darkness. I still wasn’t used to the fact that even though I loved him we could never be together because he was my guardian angel.
“Ethan. I’m here.”
Malakai’s smile grew grotesquely wider and thick saliva dripped from his teeth. His paper-thin wings spread out beside, readying for a fight.
Ethan entered the clearing, sword drawn and pointed at my visitor.
Malakai spoke. “I am to deliver the message to only you, Samantha. Beg him leave.”
“No. You don’t call the shots. You will deliver whatever message you need to deliver then get the hell out of here or Ethan will slice off your wings and I will drive my sword through that thing you call a heart.”
His eyes surveyed the situation. With Ethan at his back and me standing in front of him, Malakai must’ve quickly figured out that I didn’t deal out idle threats. And I was sure the fact that I was barely clinging to whatever control I had left didn’t escape him. As shadows invaded the space and swirled around me, he lowered his sword to his side, folded his wings and bowed his head slightly. “Very well.”
Feeling sufficiently bad-ass, I nodded to Ethan and he took a few steps back lowering his sword slightly and I did the same as my eyes darted around, quickly surveying the area for more of them.
It was hard tamping down the growing need to kill him. I hated that feeling. Ethan’s presence was the only thing keeping me centered. “Speak.”
“I have news. Sebastian is planning an attack. Lucas is healing at a slower rate than expected and Sebastian isn’t pleased. He is focused on killing you. Killing both of you.” His eyes shifted toward Ethan. “He has a plan.”
“What’s this plan?” Ethan’s voice was firm.
“I am not privy to that information. I am not in his circle.”
“You’ve come to tell me that?” Annoyance dripped from my words. “You come to me promising a message and you do nothing more than tell us what we already know? I think it’s time for you to leave. Ethan.” Our swords raised once again.
“Lucas isn’t healing as quickly as Sebastian would like. That much I know.”
“You already said that. What do you know about Lucas?”
“Sebastian is very angry with him.”
I snorted. “I’m sure.”
Malakai cocked his grotesque head to the side. “His betrayal is the only thing you focus on?”
“It’s the only thing I can focus on.” Rage built up and threatened to break free.
Ethan stepped closer, the tip of his sword grazing the back of Malakai.
Eyes wide, Malakai replied hastily. “You haven’t let me finish. I do have a message from one who is in Sebastian’s circle. One you’ve never met but have heard about. One who is tired of Sebastian’s ways. One who wants to return to how it’s supposed to be.”
“And who is the ‘one’ you speak of?”
“He is the one who has sent me to deliver his message.”
Vibrations ran through me. “Stop talking in circles! Give the message you were sent to give or I will kill you. You have no place here.”
“Ahh.” Malakai’s eyes narrowed. “I told him you wouldn’t listen. I told him you were not ready to hear his proposal. You are still…immature.”
“Enough!” The tip of Ethan’s sword pierced the wing of the Exiled. “Go back to whoever sent you. Tell them we don’t talk in circles. If you have nothing to tell us, we have nothing to listen to. Our patience is wearing thin.”
Malakai’s hands flew to his face as he began to shake. Didn’t really look to me like whoever had sent him had thought any it through. This minion was about to crack under the pressure. I was only too happy to speed up that process.
Arms outstretched, he stepped away. “No. No. I was sent. You must listen. Death at your hand would be welcomed in light of what I will face if I fail. You must listen. The purest fallen has sent me. He is ready to make a deal with you to overthrow Sebastian and rid the world of him once and for all.”
My mind raced as I tried to process the information. Who was the purest fallen?
Ethan whispered and I barely hear him over the din that began to rise around me. “Damien.”


message 12: by Gabby (new)

Gabby | 906 comments Christine wrote: "How about a tiny preview of the sequel???? Here you go! (from chapter 1)

Distracted, I picked the lint off my jeans and stared out into the water. My playlist on low, I let Of Monsters and Me..."


Awesome! Going to read this one, really soon :)


Michele Miller (Chelemybelles) | 727 comments OH Christine..yay! Thanks for the little preview. I really hope our members are picking up Torn and reading it!


message 14: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hughes (HughesWriter) | 37 comments I hope so too! I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.


message 15: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hughes (HughesWriter) | 37 comments Gabby wrote: "Christine wrote: "How about a tiny preview of the sequel???? Here you go! (from chapter 1)

Distracted, I picked the lint off my jeans and stared out into the water. My playlist on low, I let ..."


Thanks Gabby! I'd love to know what you think!


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