Featured Author: Christy J. Breedlove
Q: In threewords, describe yourself.
A: Determined literary savage.
Q: How many books have you written? How many of those are published?
A: I’ve written approximately 26 novels over a period of 36 years. Twelve are currently published, with a trilogy that will appear within nine months or so. Most of the early books were typewritten and shelved. It’s only when I got my first agent that I began to sell anything.
Q: Do you have an upcoming release? If yes, tell me the title and impending release date.
A: My newest release is called Screamcatcher: Web World, a YA fantasy thriller. I still consider it recent since it came out April 23, 2019. Book two is Screamcatcher: Dream Chasers and book three is Screamcatcher: The Shimmering Eye. The Shimmering Eye is basically a retelling of the Hunt for Skinwalker Ranch, the most haunted property in the U.S. George Knapp, investigative reporter, documentarian and author out of Las Vegas, gave me the thumbs up on the idea.
Q: Tell me about how you come up with your titles for your stories. Do you create the title before or after you write the book, and does it ever change from the initial title?
A: I wanted to write a story about a haunted dream catcher. There was nothing on the Internet about such a trope or premise. I mean, nothing! I used the word scream and married it to catcher, thus arriving at Screamcatcher, a play on worlds, but also a fairly good identifier of the genre type.
Q: Out of all your characters in all of your books, who/what (sometimes a setting can also be an important “character”) do you think is the most interesting and why?
A: I would have to say Jory Pike of the Screamcatcher series is the most intriguing because she is definitely POC, with her Ojibwe American Indian heritage. She becomes the team leader of a paranormal investigative team on the hunt for ghosts, monsters and evil spirits. She is almost a dead ringer for Katniss of The Hunger Games, both in bow skill and physical appearance.
Q: If you could “create” your own genre of what you write, what would you call your books?
A: My fans seemed to answer that one: They say I mash-up YA fantasy with horror. I did not realize I had that much of a horror element in my YA writings. I preferred to think of it as fantasy/thriller. Somebody wanted to nominate me for the fantasy/horror category, whatever that is.
Q: Without quoting your back coverblurb, tell me about the last book you published.
A: This would be more of a tag line: A Native American teenager and her friends are sucked into a hellish web world when an ancient dream catcher implodes, pulling them into a world of trapped nightmares. They must find the exit or perish in the alternate world.
Q: Quote your favorite line from one of your stories. Indicate the line, and then the book title.
A: It’s part of a dialogue sequence from Screamcatcher: Web World:
“Everybody up!” Jory ordered the team. “That includes you, Darcy! We’ve got sunshine.”
“I don’t see any sunshine,” said Darcy, sleepily.
Jory growled. “You’ll see bright stars if you don’t rouse that flabby ass!”
“Since you put it that way, stretch girl.”
Q: Tell me something about yourself that is separate from writing.
A: I was a professional miniature and dollhouse builder, with over 80 projects built and sold. I was a federal protection officer, and a master mechanic. My last occupation was editor and report for Sunset Publishing. I guess that is a really weird combination. Oh, I have a commendation for bravery from the U.S. Government for saving over 250 lives from a burning building.
Q: Who are your top THREE favorite authors?
A: Poul Anderson, the late great SF writer, who got me started and became my mentor for years. Alan Dean Foster because of his Icerigger series. And Michael Crichton because he beat out my book Dinothon with his Jurassic Park novel. I dedicated the Wolfen Strain to him, out of admiration and superior talent.
Q: What is the last book that you read? (Not counting anything you wrote)
A: I was totally taken up with The Hunger games, both in print and movie franchise. I was astonished at how much terror teenagers could endure and survive through impossible odds. I swore then that I would write something just as thrilling and daring, taking my characters to the absolute limit of human and spiritual endurance. The Hobbit comes in second, after I re-read it so many years ago.
Q: When writing, do you have a system or something you plan, or do you just write?
A: I’m a full-on pantser—no outlines, limited notes. I just go like hell, energized by that white-hot drive of discovery and newness. I’ll back-track and add voluminous notes and references, doing most of the serious research during the second editing pass. I have to blitz and get it done to feel really setup and satisfied first.
Q: Why do you write?
A: I see myself as an entertainer. It’s my love, job and duty to appeal to the public. I want to give them a thrill ride like they’ve never experience. I’ve written some heavy duty literary work, but I’m more noted for action-plot-paced beach reads. I aim to rip your head off, make you laugh until you gag, and pull out tufts of your hair. I write for the effect and consider the importance of voice just about more importantly than anything.
Q: Do you currently have a WIP? If yes, what’s the title, and is it part of a series or standalone?
A: Oh gosh. Rainbow Warriors is a MG novel of fantasy adventure, something akin to the Narnia world. I stalled out on it because I became afraid of losing or developing that category voice, which is way more difficult that writing YA.
Q: Do you read your own work a lot? If so, what does it do for you?
A: The only reason I read my own work is because I want to laugh. I fancy myself as a humorist and love to find those choice passages that I created which evoke irony and humor. I guess I crack myself up a lot.
Q: I play music when I write, and depending on the setting or mood of the story depends on what I listen to. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what genre or artist/band do you listen to?
A: You know, I don’t listen to music when I write. I do have a fast enough pace with good literary beats. I do remember that King and Koontz listen to rock ‘n roll and jazz, and that’s okay. Music can create a mood. I guess I’m the opposite in that I could set my words to music. Hasn’t been done yet.
Q: As an author, I find that the hardest thing to write (for me) is the blurb that will be on the back cover or book’s description. When you write, what is the hardest line to write, the first line, the last line or the synopsis for the book?
A: I’m starting to get the right openings of the first lines and pages now. I didn’t pay too much attention to it before. But, yeah, like you I’d say the full synopsis is the creature that really haunts me. I can never condense it like I want and get the full message across. Thank the Maker I have an agent that will cut me to the quick for that. I just close my eyes and bleed.
Q: If you could sit down and have a coffee (or your favorite beverage) with anyone, living or dead, from any era, any time, who would it be and why? (You can pick up to 3 persons).
A: There would be quite a few. I like what I consider stylists: Poul Anderson, Virgin Planet, Peter Benchley, The Island and Jaws, Joseph Wambaugh, The Onion Field and Black Marble, Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park, Alan Dean Foster, Icerigger trilogy, and some Stephen King. Anne Rice impresses with just about anything she has written. I think it's the humor and irony that attracts me the most--and it's all character related. I would spend afternoons with any of these writers, asking questions about their early years.
Q: What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?
A: Straight up—a movie deal. I want a feature film. It’s really a long shot, but I write with all the senses and with heavy visuals. I have an agent and promotion manager working toward that goal now. I hope it comes to reality. It’s a lot to ask, but I feel I would easily pay the price for it.
Q: What do you want to accomplish, so when you look back at your life, you can say “I did that”?
A: The feature film. Heh, I’m back on that again. A franchise would be heavenly. My goals are lofty, but I’m up there in years and feel I’ve paid the dues ten times over. I could write and publish bestsellers all day, but for my work to grace the screen, now that would be hitting the ultimate honor society. I could not go any further than that. It’s something that drives me beyond all comprehension. I’ve come so close to film before in my early years. It gave me a taste, like a shark that smells blood.
Q: Any final thoughts that you want to give to your fans or even future authors?
A: Okay Writers: Watch your spending on ads--they can be grossly ineffective. Use social media and generously interact with fellow writers and readers. Don't abuse FB and Twitter solely for the purpose of "Buy My Book." Join writing groups and learn from the pros. Ask politely for reviews--don't pressure, harass or intimidate. Be creative. Target your genre readers. Offer incentives and freebies. Craft a newsletter and send it out bi-monthly. Don't take critiques as personal attacks--learn from honest opinions. Don't despair. Never give up. Revenge query. And buy Screamcatcher for .99 cents or go KU!