Please welcome CJ Matthew to the Clog Blog. CJ, we simply must know, when you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters?
My characters and I share a team effort to get their story on the page (computer). Before I began researching the Dolphin Shore Shifter series, I was “approached” by two (potential) fictional couples and multiple supporting characters. We all worked together on the initial world building, with a stronger emphasis on my input. I decided on the rules, on what physical and mental strengths they would retain after shifting from dolphin to human form. For example, choosing Santa Barbara as the home of the pod and their non-profit corporation, Save Blue Water, was only logical.
Each book in the series features its own hero and heroine. Those two characters have a much bigger influence when it comes to setting their goals, motivations, and inner conflicts. I usually meet the antagonist or villain last. He or she makes huge contributions to the external conflicts in the book.
Q: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Not writer’s block in the traditional sense. Twice now I’ve written a book “out of order”. Once for this series and once for the Paladin Group. That mistake (on my part) makes the writing process much slower, more challenging, and frustrating for the characters and me. Not true writer’s block, but it’s a pain in the backside. Then there was the time I was requested to write a Shore Shifter novella. That took forever to write and was quickly turned into a full length novel.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your Shoreshifter series?
I love reading about shifters, and there certainly are a lot to choose from. I wanted something different, so I combined my love for dolphins with the idea of the Chumash origin legend: Mother Earth, Hutash, built a rainbow bridge to give her people more room on the main land. But when some of the Chumash people fell from the bridge, rather than let them die, she turned them into dolphins.
Q: What inspired you to write your book, Deadly Reboot?
I grew up an Air Force brat and love reading about military warriors. My personal heroes are USAF Pararescuemen and F-15E Strike Eagle pilots and WSOs. I decided to create a small fictional company, The Paladin Group, owned by a rescued female AF pilot and staffed with wounded former PJs, now lawyers and investigators determined to continue their rescue work.
Think Scandal meets the A-Team-but nobody is sleeping with the President!
Q: What was the most difficult aspect of writing Deadly Reboot?
This was my first “official” romantic suspense novel. Characters without paranormal issues. Which for me, meant I had to work hard at maintaining tension, slipping in clues, not giving too much away too soon. I bombarded my local police sources and deputy sheriffs with lots of questions about police procedure! And in the process, I learned different police departments do thing differently.
Q: How did you come up with the title?
My hero/character Hale! My fictional former USAF Pararescueman was depressed about his leg injury, hated taking a medical discharge, and didn’t like law school. So when he was approached by Paladin at law school graduation, he looked at the opportunity as a “reboot” to his life. I thanked him for the idea and decided to use the word for all the titles in the series.
Q: Tell us your latest news?
I’m deep in writing Lethal Tide, Dolphin Shore Shifters book 4. The story is set in one of my “home towns”- Long Beach, California. The hero, Conley is on his second three year mission with SBW and responds to danger with his gun and by the “seat-of-his-pants”. His partner, Betty believes in doing her research, thinking first before she leaps, or shoots. This book is scheduled to release the end of March.
After that I’ll go back to Peachwood, GA and next The Paladin Group story.
Q: How important is it for you to match your character’s written appearance with the models on the book cover?
Thanks for asking. I try to match but it’s an almost impossible feat. I believe that’s why you see photos of cover models with their heads cut off. I want my readers to use their imagination. I’ll give hints but they need to picture the characters in their brain. Make them a personal fantasy! I hope my readers get the “feel” of the cover, then mostly ignore the faces.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
My website http://www.cjmatthew.com
(There is an entire section devoted to the Shore Shifters. The Paladin Group page is coming.)
Join me on Saturday, when we read a sexy excerpt from CJ’s first book, BLOOD TIDE. ~Tina