Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Interview With Christy Trujillo, Author of TRUE NORTH

A bit of background about the author :
My name is Christy Trujillo. I am 32 years-old and have been married for ten years. My husband and I have an eight-year-old son together and I have a sixteen-year-old step-daughter and thirteen-year-old step-son. I grew up in Bryceville, FL and moved to the ‘big city’ (Jacksonville, FL) in seventh grade. I have three cats and would have more if my husband would let me.
And now the questions...
1)       Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
Unfortunately, no. I wish I had because I would have paid more attention in grammar and English class. I started writing poems and short stories when I was very young, but never thought I had any shot at writing professionally.
2)       If you couldn't be an author, what do you think you would be?
Well, being an author doesn’t pay the bills so if you mean what would I be doing with my life, probably the same thing I’m doing now. I work for a staffing firm responding to bids and proposals so I get to write some, which makes me happy. I go to work, come home, hang with the fam, and write when I can. Hopefully one day I’ll be a full-time writer because that would be freaking awesome. Just FYI.
3)       Who would you say are your influences, both in life and in writing?
Writing – L.J. Smith, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Mary Downing Hahn
Life –  Everyone I come in contact with influences me in one way or another. People are so unique and they all add something special to my life.
4)       At what age did you start to write?
I started to write poems and stuff when I was in fifth grade, short stories in high school, and a novel when I was in my twenties.
5)       What was the first thing you wrote? If not True North, would you mind telling us about it?
The first novel I ever completed was Emmy’s Song; book one of my Maldito trilogy. I don’t recommend publishing the first thing you ever complete, you will regret it. It’s a hot mess. Like, ‘someone call the fire department because it’s going to burn down everything around it’ hot mess. The story is pretty great, though, if I do say so myself. It’s based on an old Spanish legend, ‘El Maldito’ or ‘The Cursed’ about a breed of half-human, half-vampires who hunt and kill vampires. Emmy Ortega is a senior in high school and is trying to win a scholarship to Berklee College of Music when the mysterious Cale Cruz comes dancing into her life. Drama ensues.
6)       Where did the inspiration come from for True North?
One weekend I saw a marathon for this show called Wolf Lake on Chiller and it was about this man who went to the hometown of his girlfriend who recently vanished trying to find out more about her and everyone in the town was a werewolf. They never finished the show so it just ended in the middle of everything and I started to wonder what would have happened. I added the Legend of the White Wolf and other certain attributes but the overall idea came from the show.
7)       Did you always want to write within the genre? Would you say it is your comfort zone?
When I was seventeen, I went through a really rough spot. Yes, it was about a boy, but toward the end my entire ‘life’ fell apart culminating with a suicide attempt on the floor of my school’s auditorium. When you’re young, everything is forever. When I say my ‘life’ fell apart, I mean my social support system. My family (I’m from a small southern town and grew up on a dirt road) never wavered, and despite my unwillingness to be a part of them were always there for me. But that didn’t matter. They didn’t matter. All that mattered was he was now with her and everyone took her side. So it was me. In my room. Alone. A lot. Folks, if not for L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike, and R.L. Stine, I wouldn’t have made it. It was somewhere to go and get away from it all. Opening those pages was like pressing play on the movie in my head, but so much better because I was the caster, director, and producer, making wonderful scenes from the script I had been given.
8)       What was the inspiration behind the individual characters personalities?
For a long time I based my characters on people I knew. Listen to me, and listen to me well. Don’t. Do. That. People will inevitably let you down. When you’re writing, you can’t afford to have your characters let you down.
9)       Out of all the characters you created, with whom would you say you most easily relate, and why?
Emmy, the main character in The Maldito series, is me so I relate to her very well. I guess the whole thing started as a ‘what if’ exercise. What if I would have gotten the guy, what if I would have gotten the scholarship? But then, well, you know, vampires started showing up and it became something else.
10)   Do you find that during the writing process, a characters voice pops in your head and begs to be written?
Sarah from the last novel in the Maldito series is the only character that ever called out to me. I thought there would only be two books in that series, but she wasn’t having it.
11)   How many drafts of True North were there before the final one you published?
This is embarrassing. There were three drafts. There should have been many, many more.
12)   Did you end up cutting anything that you later wish you'd kept?
Nope. I actually had something that I took out because I thought it couldn’t work but turns out, it wouldn’t work without it. The scene went back in and it all turned out pretty well.
13)   Was there ever a time when you felt like scrapping the project and starting again?
This is also embarrassing. I do an outline but really it’s just a continuous movie in my head. What they say, what they do, it is very rare that I know what exactly is going to happen.
14)   Now that True North is out there, do you forsee it doing well?
No, not really. I mean, I would like it to, of course, but I don’t forsee it doing that well.
15)   How do you perceive your own work, are you quite critical?
I’m my worst critic for sure. I didn’t have a chance to go to college because of the whole trying to kill myself thing and therefore feel like I didn’t have the advantage some other folks have as far as basic writing mechanics. I do my best to go that extra mile and make sure everything is correct, but commas make me want to throw up and adverbs are my friend. Both are very big writer no-nos.
16)   How many books do you think we can see in the series?
There are going to be four books in this series. I didn’t know that at the time I wrote it but it seems people want more. I’m doing a North-East-South-West thing all from different POVs. We’ll see how it works out.
17)   Would you be willing to share anything with your readers about what you feel will happen in the future?
My future? I’ll keep trying, that’s all I can tell you for sure. I’ll keep trying and one day I hope you read something I wrote that changes your life.
18)What are you currently working on, is it book 2?
I have literary schizophrenia so I’m always working on more than one thing as well as reading more than one thing. Currently, I’m working on True North #2 ( I don’t have a name for it yet), Dreams, a middle grade/YA fantasy thing (with some well named characters I might add), and placing the finishing touches on FireFlys, my magnum opus (I hope).
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for reading and thank you for your time. I hope you’ll give True North a try and tell everyone you know (and perhaps strangers on the street) about it should you enjoy it. Please check out my blog at for more info about me.
Well, that completes my interview with the wonderful Christy.
Christy, may I just say, thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions. I am touched that you would share so much with us. I feel a kind of kinship towards you in the fact that I too attempted suicide, and if it wasn’t for my reading and getting lost in different worlds such as True North, I don’t know if I would have made more than one attempt.
I am eagerly awaiting book 2 of True North, and am reading Dreams as the next thing on my list. Can’t wait!!

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