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
i’ve always been a sucker for vamps (no pun intended) but i’m beginning to like weres too and you’re actually responsible for this Carmel! lol. thanks for hosting the giveaway.
hi C.J. it’s a pleasure to meet you and know about your work. thanks for being gracious as well. c”,)
Well you see my name and know I would prefer to be a vampire. Why? Vampires are strong, sexy, they dont get sick, they can technically save the dying, vampires dont need much in this world to live, their experiences from a long life could be helpful, etc.
LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com
I think I prefer the vampire to the werewolf. Vamps are just sexier and they don’t shed.
Vampire. The smell of wet dog would make me nauseous and I wouldn’t want to be naked all day.
Steph from fangswandsandfairydust.com Steph@fangswandsandfairydust.com
Aobibliophile – Nice to meet you as well. I’m digging the weres too!
Ladyvamp – great answer!
Ahz1 – LOL! Loved the shedding observation, too true!
Thanks for commenting today and I appreciate you all taking an interest in my work!
Steph – that one had me thinking of my own dogs, good point! Wet dog stench can get to you after a while 😉
Great interview! It was great leaning more about CJ and this series sounds great!
I love vampires and werewolves but would probably choose the vampire. Vampires are immortal, sexy and blend in a little more than werewolves among people…LOL Who wouldn’t want to live forever?
I love vampires and shifters! Thank you for the chance to win! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom
that’s actually a tough question… I like the were’s because they have that sense of pack/family, and the whole animal instinct thing is pretty cool… but I’m gonna go with i’d rather be a vamp….long life, healing, great diet plan… for today, that’s my answer! Thanks for the contest! Book Savvy Babe
booksavvybabe at gmail dot com
Excellent interview! I can’t believe all CJ has been through, what an inspiration she is. As for whether I’d be a vamp or a werewolf…well, weres are still sort of new to me, and I’ve always loved vampires – like CJ said, the sex appeal, immunity to illness, immortality…and I’m kind of a night person anyway, so it just seems natural lol.
I think I would rather be a were. I do not think I could drink blood and I like steak:) Thank you for the fun:)
Lori – Thank you! And I agree, the immortality thing sounds great. I never did get all the angst over it in some series 😉
Krystal – thanks for commenting and stopping by, good luck in the contest!
BSB – Good to see you here! Think I ran into you on another blog this week — thanks for stopping by. Wishing you luck you win a set of my books this month.
Thanks for the kind words, Marie. We all have challenges in life, it’s how we deal with them that defines us. Regarding your vamp observation — I used to be a night person before we had kids. I’d love to live the nightlife again! LOL!
Denise – yup, I think you nailed the ONLY drawback. I love to eat and I’m not so sure I’d enjoy ingesting blood sto survive. I read a series once that had vamps eating, but they mixed blood in like a sauce to enjoy the food more. Kind of grossed me out at the time… but it was an interesting concept!
@aobibliophile – Glad to hear that I’ve been able to influence your para likes a tad! 😛
@LadyVampire2u – There are definitely pros and cons for both but a long life would be nice!
@ahz1 – Haha, point for you for the shedding argument! LOL
@steph from fangs, wands and fairy dust – I hear ya, I have two dogs and they sure as hell don’t smell like roses when they’re wet!
@Lori @ Romancing the Darkside – I suppose weres do stick out like a sore thumb…
@Blogger Name: Krystal Larson – Good luck!
@Book Savvy Babe – Darn it, it looks like vamps are winning this one. Boo! 😉
@SweetMarie83 – C.J. is definitely a trooper. I can’t believe how positive she’s managed to stay through her ordeal.
@Denise Z – YAY! Finally, a werewolf fan! Mmm… steak. LOL Good luck!
The more I read about this series the more I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Thanks for hosting the tour and thanks for the interview and giveaway!
I love to read about anything paranormal but I’m not sure what I would want to be. I don’t know if I could take the hairiness of a werewolf and I don’t do well with the pale skin and diet of a vampire but they do look sexy as Halloween costumes! Vamp it is! 🙂
@Wrighty – LOL! I love the way you came up your answer by typing out your thought process. Hehe Good Luck!
Thanks, Wrighty, very kind of you! And I agree with you, dressing up like a vampire at Halloween is just plaine FUN.
You can be scary, sexy, angst-filled, or even sparkly — what’s not to love?
Although I love vamps I’m going to have to go with were. I don’t know that I could deal with never seeing the sun again.
Great interview! Thanks for featuring this new to me author!
On a side note, CLAY IS THE MAN!
Different type of vampires. I grew up with the Dracula type. I would like to read about this type.
pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com
@Jen D. @ Not Now…I’m Reading! – Yay! Another point for the werewolves! I ♥ Clay too.
@Charleydog – Vamps have definitely evolved quite a bit from the days of Dracula!
I would prefer to be a vampire because they are so hot, sexy and mysteries and very strong. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com
Jen, good point about the sun. Glad I avoid it now like the plague, but forever? Yeah, that would be hard.
Charley, so funny you should mention Dracula. I just started reading it last night, I’m still on Chapter Two where Harkness has been in the castle for two days. I never read it before and figured I should since I’m going to meet his great-grand nephew Dacre Stoker at an event we’re both speaking at next summer.
Small world that you should mention it today!
Tore – thanks for commenting! Good luck in the contest.
Carmel – you’ve done a great job with the blog, so many vamp and were fans… simply awesomesauce!
i’d say vamp :p just cuz thats what i’ve always loved! weres are growing one me… but vamps 4ever 😀
Although I love both, my first love will always be vamps. They are just so cool and I definitely don’t need anything else happening once a month to mess with me, lol.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com
I’d prefer to be a vampire myself. 🙂 Shifting seems so painful in most stories, and you don’t get the perk of living for ever either. 😛 Sure as a vampire you’d have to suck blood, but in most cases you don’t actually need to kill people….or at least I hope you wouldn’t. 😛
Thanks for sharing this giveaway, and interview! 😀
Thanks for the interview and contest! I would prefer to be a were – changing into something else – somethign so wild and free, that would be awesome!
apereiraorama @ gmail . com
This is a hard question to answer because I like both vamps & weres. But, if I have to choose, it would be weres because of their loyalty to the pack, their mate & offspring, their animalistic eroticism, and their is such an abundant variety of weres to choose from (I am a woman who likes variety).
Thank you both for the opportunity to win the giveaway and for taking the time to do the interview. C.J., I love the way you did not let life get you down & went with the curve ball it threw at you. I applaud your chutzpah and success at publishing.
Happy Reading, Writing, & Blogging,
Bona Fide Reflections
Penelope – the Were’s are growing on me, too. I have more of them planned for book three. Thanks for commenting on the blog!
June – ah, good point, a period and a full moon? That would suck (no pun intended!).
Ambur – yes, I like the living forever part, too. I don’t always get the angst so many authors attach to that aspect.
Ammy – thanks for commenting. yes, wild and free does sound good, especially if we’re moms right now trapped at home dealing with kids!! Oh wait, maybe that’s just me 😉
Laurielu – Thank you so much! We all have stress and crap thrown at us in our lives. It’s how we deal with it and carry on that really sets us apart from the negative nellies we all get exposed to in life.
Thanks for commenting everyone! Wishing you all the best in the contest!
I’d definitely prefer to be a vamp. I hate body hair, so I don’t think I could handle being a werewolf 🙂
I love the cover artwork of your books, C.J.! You did a great job!! Pfffft, who needs cover artists?!?
Please enter me in the draw, and thanks for the giveaway!
darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com
I would be a were if I could. Love reading about them and can even see where I would be in a pack. Love them!
I LOVED YOUR BOOKS
as someone who didn’t read novels at schools. i have only started reading with my kids and went looking for a bit more not knowing what.
your books was right on the money had it all. i want dates for next one.
vampire or were hard Question….i could take either.:)
THANKYOU this is the first book i havn’t read with my kids i think they need afew more yearstill i give it to them.
Madnicho – Thank you!!Great email to wake up to, you made my morning a little bit brighter.
Book three is due out this winter. I’ll keep people posted on my website and on Facebook.
You need to read more without your kids! They will gain a love of reading by also seeing you with your nose in a book. And what better way to escape the insanity that is parenting ?!? 😉