Falling in love with literature was easy for Christine Hughes.
Not sure where her love of reading and writing fit, she became a middle school English teacher. After nine years teaching others to appreciate literature, she decided to take the plunge and write her first novel, TORN – a YA paranormal released by Black Opal Books on June 9, 2012. Her second novel Three Days of Rain was released by Black Opal Books January 5, 2013.
I have read and reviewed both of Christine’s books and will feature them at the end of this post. Here is my Interview with Christine:
“Torn” and “Three days of Rain” are quite different books. Do you feel more at home in a particular genre?
At first, YA was more comfortable because I’d been a middle school English teacher for so long. The voice was easier for me to reach. Three Days of Rain is Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Fiction (depending on who you talk to) and that was a bit more difficult for me even though I wrote it much faster. Not sure if it was the subject matter or what, but it was more difficult. I guess, the answer is that YA is more of my comfort zone but I’d love to take more challenges and write outside of my comfy box.
“Three days of Rain” received an honorary mention at the Paris Book Fare (?) recently. How did they get to notice your books?
I entered their competition. Last year I entered TORN in the Hollywood Book Festival and won an Honorable Mention as well.
Congratulations! And…..you are also a finalist at the RONE Awards Paranormal Category! Well done!
How did you come to writing in the first place?
I always kind of wrote something. Be it bad poetry, simple short stories – creative writing was my favorite class in college. Then I became a teacher and taught others how to write. It wasn’t until much later I really began to write for myself. Even then, I had no goal in mind. Just kind of wanted to see if I could do it.
Did you have the stories for your books already in place?
Not usually, except in the case of TORN’s sequel, tentatively titled Darkness Betrayed. Even then, I wasn’t sure where it would go. Then again, with Three Days of Rain, I based the entire story on a song of the same name written and performed by a friend.
How did you get the ideas?
Songs. Even if I’ve heard the song a million times, one day a storyline will hit me like a movie, almost, in my head. I build a playlist around the song and possible emotions I want to portray and begin writing. I have to have music playing or I get lost.
Does much change during your writing or is the story pre-written in your head?
Ha! So far, everything has changed. I try to outline but I am a panster at heart. I never follow the outline anyway so I guess it’s for the best.
What made you write for Young Adults in “Torn”? Was that planned or did it come out like that?
Not sure if YA was planned, per se, but I wrote, at the time, what I knew and what I knew was the YA voice. Originally, it wasn’t about angels. That happened organically. Also, it began as kind of a mystery ala Edgar Allan Poe. Not sure why it ended up where it did but I am very happy with it.
Parts of “Three Days of Rain” are quite heavy going. Was the experience of writing it painful, cathartic in any way or important to you for other reasons?
Gosh, it was so exhausting – mentally, emotionally – to write that novel. It was in me and I had to get it out. That book, more than TORN, was written just to see if I could get something so emotional out there. It’s hard too, because I can barely relate to any of the pain those characters felt. Poor Jake. I’ve gotten many, many “how could you do that?” messages from people about that book.
Would you say your books have a core message?
I don’t know. Hope? Hope that something greater is out there. Hope that no matter what’s thrown your way, something – whatever you believe in – will help you through.
What do you like most about writing and what least?
I love when an idea hits me. I love that feeling that I have to write it. The worst? Revising, editing. Blah. It’s the worst. Well, maybe the synopsis and back cover blurb are the worst. Nah. Revising and editing. Hate it.
Who are your favourite characters and why?
Ahhh. In TORN I love Sebastian. He’s the bad guy but he’s awesome. In the sequel, Damien is my favorite. In Three Days of Rain, I can’t pick. Even Madison has some redeeming qualities for me – though most may not agree.
What would they say about you?
They’d probably say I change my mind too often! And maybe I throw too much on them. If I’d just ease up and give them normal, happy lives…
What is your writing environment like?
Depends. I love to write outside when the weather permits. I have a space in my home and I wrote 90% of Three Days of Rain at Barnes & Noble.
What is your writing process like?
Process? Playlist on shuffle and write. That’s it. I review what I wrote the day before, do a little revision and move on.
Who are your publishers and editors? Cover artists?
My publisher for TORN and Three Days of Rain is Black Opal Books. My cover designer for TORN was my friend Jay Sabo and the photo for the cover of Three Days of Rain was taken by the amazing Simone Becchetti.
Who are your favourite authors?
I don’t know. I have so many. I’ve read every JD Robb and Harlan Coben book, I love Hemingway, Ray Bradbury. As a kid I read every Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine book –just not the Goosebumps. I’m just finding new authors to read and I am falling in love with so much more. Ask me next week and I may give you a different answer.
What and / which book would you take on a lonely island?
Can I load up my kindle and bring that? I honestly can’t answer that. It would depend on my mood that day!
Who are your favourite indie authors?
Sophie Davis is up there right now. So many others. I haven’t read much more than 1 or 2 books from anyone new because there are so many. I think Kyle Hannah has a big future. His Time Assassins was great.
What are you reading at the moment?
I must hang my head in shame – I just read Sloppy Seconds by Tucker Max.
What are you working on right now?
Ahhhh! I fun YA thriller where people get offed every other chapter! Oh, and I finfished the sequel to TORN a week and a half ago.
When and where will we be hearing about it?
Not sure. Stay tuned…
Well, there is one thing I should say. Your books are on offer until June 10th:
With the sudden, mysterious death of her father, Samantha discovers her life isn’t what it seems. Not only isn’t she the normal teenage girl she thought she was, Sam must now take her father’s place in the fight between two groups of fallen angels, the Faithful and the Exiled, in a race to save humanity. In addition to dealing with a devastating betrayal—and having feelings for someone she’s forbidden to love—Sam must also fight the growing darkness within her as she struggles to make a choice between fighting alongside the Faithful or succumbing to the temptation of the Exiled. Both sides require sacrifices Sam isn’t sure she can make.
“Torn” by Christine Hughes is a great paranormal read for young adults. Samantha English lives with two boys her age who are there to protect her in the absence of her father.
Soon Samantha learns that her family has some paranormal roots and although now on the side of the good they used to be on the side of evil, making her a target for the evil forces as well as a potentially unreliable alliance partner. While Samantha comes to terms with this new knowledge she is being trained to control her powers and on to of this she falls for one of her protectors.
This is a very enjoyable action packed novel with deep and interesting characters who are ‘torn’ between the two sides.
The narrative begins with a sequence of Samantha’s father, creating extra interest by giving us a hint of what will come back later in the story.Hughes brings unusual depth to her story and does well in her portrayal of the torn nature of her protagonists. The romance part is also very convincingly done and as far as the paranormal parts are concerned the situation is more complex than I have described (so as not to spoil the experience for you).
To me paranormal and young adult novels are a hit and miss, but this book was a definite hit for me.
Just when he thought his life was turning around…
Things haven’t been easy for Jacob Morgan. Persecuted by the ghosts of his past, Jake lives each day just going through the motions, barely getting by. Then Lily Burns comes to town and befriends him. As Jake starts to heal, he begins to hope that he has finally overcome the mistakes and tragedies that have tormented him for so long. But just when he thinks his problems are solved, his past comes back to haunt him, and once again, Jake is confronted by situations he is ill-equipped to handle. Can Jake hold on to the progress he has made, or will the lies, guilt, and secrets he’s tried to ignore shove him back into an abyss from which there is no escape?
“Three Days of Rain” by Christine Hughes is an tragic story and an emotional reading experience but one that is worth your while.
Jake has an almost co-dependent and raw relationship with substance using Maddie and – as the clique goes – it is rather complicated. Just as it seems that Jake has given up on love he meets Lily, who has her hands full to get him to open up and trust her.
I was recommended this book by a friend and expected a straight forward romance novel, maybe that helped to deepen the impact this book had on me. I was stunned by the raw emotions, the deep insight into the tormented characters and the intensity of it all. It is not an easy read but one that draws you in and won’t let you out until it is over. I found the reading experience very compulsive and need to emphasise also that it was not all gloom and misery but where it is, it is well justified and purposeful. The author has amazing talent and a promising future. I will keep an eye on her next works.
Three Days of Rain: