Welcome to Rabid Reads C. J.!
|C.J. Ellisson writes erotica and urban fantasy. Her vampire series, The V V Inn, mixes a heavy dose of erotic elements with suspense, action, a little bit of mystery and some light humor. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two children, two dogs, and a fluffy black cat who makes her sneeze.
To learn more about C.J.’s books (where you can read half of the novels for free), please visit her website
Was it challenging to write from various POV’s in THE HUNT?
Yes! I’m not a very experienced writer. Vampire Vacation was not just my debut book, it was the first piece of fiction I’d written since one lowly creative writing class back in college twenty years ago.
I took weeks perfecting the “voices” and feel for each POV in The Hunt. I felt getting the tone right in the opening seven chapters would be key in telling the rest of the story well. My editor for V V and my agent both read those opening chapters before I went any further. I wanted to make sure I got the concept just right.
Out of the plethora of mythical creatures available; Why did you choose to feature vamps and weres for the supernatural hunt?
They are the creatures I enjoy reading about the most! I’m introducing magic users (witches and wizards) in book three, but the vamps and shifters still hold a special place in my heart.
The second installment in your THE V V INN series is quite different from the first; why the change?
Hmm… I’m not sure which part you’re referring to the most – the POV change from Vivian in book one to the whole seethe, or the level of eroticism prevalent in book one.
Since book one is told through Vivian, her overt sexuality colors the entire story. I had one beta reader out of eleven who said they weren’t happy with the lower level of eroticism in book two — but honestly, I couldn’t have told the story the same way. Vivian is the one who is a sex-crazed ancient vampire, not the lower members of her seethe. I felt to have them act and react as she does would have been contrived on my part.
Alaska’s a far cry from Virginia; why did you choose this as the setting for THE HUNT?
I tossed the idea of a vampire book around in my mind for a while. First thing that came to me was the setting. If vampires fry in the sun, why has no one told a story from a place that is dark most of the year? It seemed to make perfect sense at the time!
I had to give the vampires a reason for being there, and let’s face it – most areas of Alaska are not heavily populated, which presented the problem of a steady food source for the undead while remaining undetected by locals. A large private resort seemed like a perfect solution.
I love the artwork on your covers! Who contributed to the final result?
Thank you! It was no other than little ‘ole me!
I hired an artist and held a contest for the original cover. I felt the result really represented the book. But it didn’t sell very well. 🙁
I had no more in my budget for another cover artist, so I taught myself how to use Photoshop and made the two covers currently on sale from images I found at stock photo websites. I swapped covers for V V to the purple one in March and sales started to take off.
What’s next for THE V V INN series?
I’m so overjoyed with how well the series has been received so far — sure, some readers can’t get past the graphic sex, but the ones who do, love the books. I’d be happy to keep making up adventures for the crew for as long as the readers have an interest.
Right now, I’m hard at work on Big Game, book three, and have been writing snippets of book four, The Seduction of Death, which air monthly on a fiction blog called Digital Digest.
What’s the most challenging part of being a writer?
Finding and maintaining a balance. It seems I do well a few weeks and then I fall back into old habits again (surfing the web, hanging out too much on facebook, avoiding housework…).
The amount of work that goes into reaching readers and building a fan base is endless. I’d be so thrilled if I received a huge six figure deal and had a publisher with a big marketing department behind me… but alas, I’m not waiting on that to happen! I do the work the best I can and hope for good results.
Was the shift from your career as a Realtor to a full-time writer difficult?
LOL! Well, I didn’t really have a choice. I had to stop working as a Realtor and close my small property management company when I became too ill to continue. Rather than sitting around the house and sinking into depression, I decided to do something I could handle – which was writing.
Where do you get your inspiration for the erotic elements in your stories?
I have an extremely vivid imagination and a very healthy relationship with my husband. While I can report I’ve never hung from the rafters or been chained to a wall and spanked with a crop, I will say the best written sex scenes come from knowing what something feels like in order to be able to describe it well on the page.
I see that you’re a Kelley Armstrong fan! Me too! Who’s your fav werewolf in her WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD series?
Hands down – CLAY! Something about his devotion combined with his pseudo-sociopath nature calls to me.
According to your bio, your writing went from 0 to 100km/hr in a matter of months. What’s your secret?
I don’t know how many people actually read my bio, so thank you for the time, I appreciate it. It would be real easy to give some platitude here like “lots of hard work”, but that is really only scratching the surface. There is no secret, sorry. I work fifty to sixty hours a week at this gig.
I began writing to escape the mental strain of dealing with being diagnosed and beginning treatment for three autoimmune diseases (Celiac’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Eosinophilic Esophoagitis), Hypothyroidism, and three tick borne diseases in the span of eighteen months. The former autoimmune diseases making the latter tick diseases very, very hard to treat.
Getting diagnosed with Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Bartonella Henselae, various other bacteria, and a slew of nasty parasites right in the middle of trying to manage the autoimmune diseases pushed me over the proverbial edge.
I had trouble walking, thinking, forming sentences, suffered memory loss, severe exhaustion, had bouts of rage, lost feeling in my hands and feet, and started showing signs the Lyme had traveled to my brain. In six months I went from being tired and not feeling right to being in the late stage of the disease and in serious trouble.
Everyday I take thirty-five pills, drink seven gross liquids, watch my diet carefully (lots of stuff interacts with the pills), force my aching body to do simple exercises, and try my best to not snap the heads off my family when the annoy me.
Attitude is everything in life. If I let this crap get me down I knew I’d never get better. Hell, I see it every week when I go for weekly IV infusions. Some people look pale and gaunt, others need walkers, canes, and wheel chairs. It’s seriously depressing.
When I first came to this specialist the nurse practitioner said, “You’re going to get better. I can tell.” When I asked her why she thought so (because really, aren’t all the patients there trying to get better?), she said “I can see it in how you carry yourself and the energy you project.” I never thought I wouldn’t get better, and I still don’t.
I believe writing is what has saved me – it’s what has given me that “spark” the women saw. If I didn’t have something to focus on outside of all of this medical crap day in and day out I’d curl up in a ball and cry. I’ve been a driven and ambitious person my whole life. Getting seriously ill didn’t stop that; it just put limits on me physically.
Sit at the computer and start work at 7:30, take a few breaks through the day, and quit at 6? Sure as heck beats lying in bed feeling sorry for myself!
If you had the choice between being a vampire or a werewolf; which would you choose and why?
Okay, I’m going to sound like a sappy fool, but I’d be a vampire. I chose to write a main character who never got sick, could live a seemingly endless lifespan, oozed sex appeal from every pore, and had amazing strength because it’s what I so desperately wanted to be.
Thanks so much for the interview C. J.!
Thanks for having me here today! I hope my long answers didn’t bore anyone and I sincerely appreciate your time with the interview.
C.J. is offering up…
An ebook set of Vampire Vacation and The Hunt
Leave a comment and tell me if you’d prefer to be a vamp or a were and why. This Giveaway is open internationally and ends on September 22nd at 11:59 PM. Good Luck!
About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada