Friday, October 25, 2013

Author Interview: C.J. Lyons

 New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons makes her YA debut with a fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing to the very last page

The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now... or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.
Your YA debut novel, Broken is coming out soon. How does it feel? Are you nervous about entering the YA world? What's been your favorite part of the process so far?

I’ve always loved reading YA and everyone kept telling me that as a pediatrician, I should write it. But honestly, I never found a story that I thought was worthy of my kids—my patients—until BROKEN. Writing for kids is tons tougher than writing for adults. Most grownups read for entertainment, but kids read for so much more. They want to vicariously experience the world and the choices they’ll be expected to make as adults as well as learn who they are and how they can fit into that larger universe once they’re the ones in charge.

Funny thing is, once I began BROKEN and found my YA voice (very different than my adult thrillers’ narrative voice), I realized I could be much more emotionally honest than with my adult work—which also meant I could tell edgier stories. After finishing BROKEN, I now have ideas for more YA thrillers and can’t wait to write them!
You're both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author! So many people dream of reaching that kind of status, does it still feel surreal? When you hit the list for the first time what was it like? Was there a celebratory dance?
It was surreal. I was at a conference but a friend's husband went out and bought a lot of copies of the NYT and brought them back to the conference for me to sign. I honestly didn't believe it was real until I saw it there in print!
What's your best advice for someone that wants to be a writer?
Never surrender, never give up (not sure if that's Churchill or Tim Allen, lol!) And follow a simple rule my agent created: write 2K, read 2K…every day. Read everything, even books you don't like, and ask yourself what makes them work and what doesn't. And just keep writing, never give up.
You have experienced and survived a lot as a pediatric ER doctor, but TWO "hard landings" in a helicopter?! I'd say no more rides after just one, but not you. What were those experiences like?
They went by so fast and I was so focused on my patients that I never had time to feel frightened. Plus I had total trust in my pilots, they were so calm and confident that I knew we'd be fine.
Name three things you loved about writing Broken?
The main character in Broken, Scarlet, was so different than my usual tough, capable strong female leads from my adult thrillers. It was really cool to tap into memories of my own adolescent insecurities and watch Scarlet grow from a vulnerable, naive, sheltered girl to someone with the courage to step up and challenge everything in her life. It was also a lot of fun to use real life diseases that I've dealt with during my career as a pediatrician. And being able to go darker and more emotional than I can with my adult thrillers was very fulfilling.
What's in your reading pile right now? Any favorites you'd recommend or steer us clear of?
I just finished Jessica Shirvington's Endless (can't wait for the finale of the series) and am re-reading Dennis Lehane's Angie and Patrick books, with a non-fiction book for research up next called The Spy Who Loved about the adventures of a female civilian spy during WWII.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? And if you could only bring three things with you what would they be and why?

I love to travel, so that's a tough question. I've been to Ireland several times and am always up for a trip back, but there are so many other places I haven't been to like Italy and New Zealand that I want to get to as well. As for travel essentials, I always bring my MacBook Air, my phone loaded with camera, music, and white noise to help me sleep, and my secret weapon: my purple fuzzy travel blanket.
You started the Buy a Book, Make a Difference program. Can you tell us more about that and what inspired you to get involved and start a program like this?
I began the program as a way to give back to all the many law enforcement officers who have been so patient and helpful to me over the years. There are literally places in this country where killers can get away with murder because police lack the CSI training that they need due to lack of funding, so in partnership with Sirchie, a forensic training institute, I created the scholarships. In fifteen months, we've raised money to send thirty police officers for training and next year will be sending another twenty-four.
People can learn more at including links you can forward to your own local law enforcement to help them out.
About the Author:
Pediatric ER doctor turned New York Times bestselling thriller writer CJ Lyons has been a storyteller all her life—something that landed her in many time-outs as a kid. She writes her Thrillers with Heart for the same reason that she became a doctor: because she believes we all have the power to change our world.
In the ER CJ witnessed many acts of courage by her patients and their families, learning that heroes truly are born every day. When not writing, she can be found walking the beaches near her South Carolina Lowcountry home, listening to the voices in her head and plotting new and devious ways to create mayhem for her characters.  

1 comment:

  1. Great interview! The book sounds amazing, and Ms Lyon's advice on writing really speaks to me, especially with NaNoWriMo coming up. Definitely going to look out for her book when I can!



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