Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Emily A. Lawrence’s character on December 8th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting C.J. Anaya, the author of The Healer, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her characters, Angela Beaumont, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to C.J. in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Angie!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Angela. Please have a seat.
Character Angela Beaumont: Thank you for having me here.
Marie: Of course!
We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?
Marie: What is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Angela: Occupation? I’m currently maneuvering my way through the drudgery of what we all call high school. Gag. I’m extremely good at annoying my teachers, dating as many boys as I possibly can, and belittling freshman whenever I get the chance. So, yes. I’m very good at what I do.
Marie: (Laughs.) All right.
So, tell us. What is your family like?
Angela: Dad split when I was two. Good riddance. It’s just me and mom, but she’s MIA quite a bit due to her single mom status. I rely on my best friend Hope and her father Dr. James Fairmont to get me through the week.
Marie: Sorry to hear about your father. 😦
Let’s try something else, shall we?
What did your childhood home look like?
Angela: It’s a home, I guess. Four walls, a roof, and a huge Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. Thank the good Lord for that unexpected addition.
So, do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?
Angela: My hobby is more like a life calling that was thrust upon me at birth, and I fully intend to chew out the higher powers that be who assumed I would appreciate the ability to view a person’s death upon physical contact. Usually has to be skin-to-skin, though. There went my social life. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to be making out in the back seat of some hot football player’s car only to see that in exactly seven days, six hours, and fourteen minutes he’s going to break his neck on the football field after a particularly nasty tackle? Mood killer. Then I’m scrambling to find ways to prevent him from playing which usually involves getting him suspended from the team in some sneaky, underhanded way. He’ll thank me later.
Marie: Wow! That’s tough.
So, tell us…what is your greatest dream, Angie?
Angela: I’d just like to be normal, to be honest. It’s a bit demoralizing to run into strangers, see their deaths, and then have no way of finding them to prevent the accidents or even murders that are about to happen. It’s even worse when I do know the person, but misread the situation. I lost an owner of a really tasty restaurant because I thought the kitchen fire she died in was at her eatery. Apparently, it was in her own house. Survivor’s guilt is a way of life for me, and watching people burn to death in visions without being able to actually save them sends me to a dark place that not even Hope can immediately pull me out of. So, yeah. Order me up a side of normal please.
Marie: Sorry. 😦
Let’s try a different question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Angela: Well, if we’re picking anyone in the world, I’d like to be a celebrity with loads of money, buy myself an island to rival that of any island Johnny Depp owns, and surround myself with animals instead of humans.
Okay, fine. I’d like to be someone like Hope. She’s kind, caring, patient, and sees the good in everyone. I wish I could be as optimistic as she is, but I’ve seen too many things to make me believe that the human race is really worth all of the effort she puts into caring. Which is a bit ironic when you consider how often I try to save every single stinking human I see expiring from preventable deaths.
Marie: I see.
All right, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now.
Who was your first love?
Angela: Never had one. I only date a guy if I’ve seen his death and I’m trying to figure out a way around it. Or if I’m due to let off some steam in the back of their car. Relationships are a no go for me. I can’t imagine loving someone and being witness to the various ways they’re going to die. I’d spend my life in constant contact with that person and never have a moment’s peace. Hope is the only person I can be around who doesn’t have that effect on me. When I touch her, I see nothing but light. It’s odd. I have no idea why I can’t see her death, but I’m not complaining. I consider it the one thing going right for me.
Although, recently Hope and I have run into two guys who are exactly like she is. Tie, blond, tan and gorgeous is all light as well. I can’t pick up anything with him, and it’s obvious he’s smitten with Hope. Victor is the hottest Asian dude I’ve ever laid my eyes on, and he falls under the light category as well. I must admit that every once in a while, I have fantasies that Victor and I will go live on our own secluded island where I’ll never have to see another person’s death ever again. Of course, he’s completely into Hope as well. I’m not jealous because Hope is amazing, but I am sad that the only two people I could possibly have a normal relationship with are so obviously infatuated with Hope. Ah, well. Guess I’m just meant to be lonely…and a total lip whore while I’m at it.
Marie: That is rough. Sorry.
Let’s try something else.
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Angie?
Angela: The first time I had a vision of another person’s death was when I was seven, right after a really bad fall from Hope’s tree house. I could have sworn I died and saw my grandma on the other side, but when I woke up, I was in a hospital with only a few bumps and bruises. My mom came in to check on me, grabbed my hand, and wham…I saw her getting into a car wreck that very night. I generally see things from the person’s point of view and experience the pain as they do. It was awful. I thought I was losing it and began screaming like a crazy person. Of course, my mom stayed with me after that. Crisis averted in that respect, but after telling her what I was seeing, my mom thought I really was crazy and that’s when the therapists came into play. I learned very quickly that sharing the details of another person’s eventual death gave people cause to lock you up. Not to mention the fact that it makes them fear you and the possibility that you could be right. No one wants the frailties of their human existence broadcast to them through a detailed description of their death. Best to keep that stuff to myself. I’ve never even discussed it with Hope, and since I never have to worry about her death, it works out for us.
Marie: Wow. 😦
Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Angela: My dream is to find someone I can have a normal relationship with. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can see and prevent unnecessary suffering and death. It took me a while to get on board with that, but if my role in life is to save people then so be it. I just wish I didn’t have to feel so lonely while doing it.
Marie: Well, I don’t think it’s too much to ask really. And I have faith that you’ll find what you’re looking for. 😉
So, can you tell us…who is your role model, Angie?
Angela: Every fabulously dressed celebrity ever. I love fashion and generally follow all of the celebrities with voracious interest. My appearance is the one thing I can control in my otherwise abnormal existence so I pay attention to the details. If you were looking for something inspiring or empowering…I got nothing. I’ll always want to be like my best buddy Hope, but I think our differences work for us.
Well, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Angela: Nope. If I don’t like you, you’ll be the first to know about it. I’m not one for brown nosing, and I don’t suffer fools well. Life’s too short for that crap.
Marie: Very true.
Let’s try another question.
So, what is your deepest desire?
Angela: I would like to see where things go with Victor. So, yeah, I really don’t want to be alone anymore.
Marie: You have plenty of time. And I bet Mr. Right is just around the corner…
How about something else?
What is your greatest fear, Angie?
Angela: Someone finding out what I can do and locking me up for the rest of my life, or people believing I’m crazy…and locking me up for the rest of my life.
Marie: Aww…well, I suppose that’s a reasonable fear. But I think things will work out for you. (Pats her guest’s hand.)
Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Angie. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂
Angela: Thank you for having me, Marie!
Marie: My pleasure!
(Waves goodbye to her guest.)
Marie: Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author C.J. Anaya on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, C.J.!
Author C.J. Anaya: Hello, Marie!
Marie: It’s good to see you again! The last time I saw you was during your interview on the Writing in the Modern Age blog.
So, we just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Angela. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
C.J.: Angie is an exact carbon copy of my best friend, Jennifer Earl. Snarky, sarcastic, tough, compassionate, and fiercely loyal. You definitely want Angie on your side in a fight.
Well, yeah! 🙂
So, what are your character’s greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
C.J.: Angie comes across as a bit abrasive at times, but her erratic, sometimes self-destructive behavior is something she does to cope with the visions of death she constantly sees. She craves companionship, but that physical contact comes with serious strings attached. She is trustworthy and loyal, but she doesn’t believe that she is worth much of anything when it comes right down to it.
Marie: That’s very sad. Having that kind of gift must be extremely hard. 😦
So…let’s try something else.
What are some of her favorite foods?
C.J.: Angie is all about double cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes.
Marie: Can’t blame her there! 😉
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
C.J.: Angie doesn’t realize how selfless she is. She puts her life on the line to save other people, but always berates herself if she isn’t able to prevent a death in time. She’ll spend more time focusing on that than on all of the good she has accomplished.
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
C.J.: Readers will love Angie. She’s that type of friend who is wild and crazy. The life of the party, a bit irreverent at times and honest to the point where a little diplomacy and tact would be useful, but she’s so ready and willing to get in a fight for you. Her sarcasm and snarky attitude covers a multitude of pain and heartache. Her tough exterior covers a softer side of Angie that makes her a very likable, complex character.
Marie: All right.
So, now that we have a real taste of Angie, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for The Healer?
C.J.: I had a really amazing dream involving a spirit trapped in a Japanese statue. Then I developed the main character, Hope and her best friend Angie, from that dream. Even though this series focuses mainly on Hope, we see a lot of Angie in it, and fans of the series have loved her so much that I have decided to write a follow up series telling Angie’s story.
Marie: Oh, that’s great!
Let’s try a different question.
What is your writing style like, C.J.? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
C.J.: I’m a little of both, actually. I do a lot of discovery writing, and I certainly outline, but I find that I have to be willing to break away from that outline when the story and characters carry me in a different direction.
Marie: I hear that! Characters can certainly have a mind of their own.
Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Healer or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
C.J.: I had to learn my own writing process and realize that it was okay and necessary to write a crappy rough draft. The important thing is to get it out there so you can go back and edit everything. Flesh out the scenes, the characters and the plot and structure once you’ve knocked out that first rough draft. Don’t edit yourself in the creation process. Wait to edit later. I think that for me, the next time I write a series, I will get all the books written and then release one every month or so just so people don’t have to wait so long for the next book, and I don’t have to feel the pressure of finishing a series that people are frustrated they have to wait for.
Marie: Sounds like a plan! Thank you for the great advice. And I have to agree. As writers, we have to allow ourselves to make mistakes during the writing process, and still enjoy the arduous journey involved in it. The editing can come later.
Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The Healer appears to be.
Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by C.J. Anaya, a very talented author! 🙂
Here is the blurb for The Healer:
A girl, a prophecy and two warring gods equals destiny!
Seventeen-year-old Hope Fairmont longs for a normal teenage life, but with a gift like hers, normal equals healing illnesses and injuries instantly. Keeping a secret like that isn’t easy, but a small town is the perfect place for her to heal those who can’t heal themselves, and an even better place for her father, James Fairmont, to hide his daughter from the rest of the world.
Life takes an unexpected turn when two handsome strangers move into town and begin unearthing other secrets concerning Hope’s future and past, revealing to Hope that her gift for healing may be the fulfillment of an ancient, Japanese prophecy gone wrong.
Staying away from these mysterious newcomers would be the smart thing to do, but Victor’s gentle, easy manner, and Tie’s mixed signals and strange mood swings draw her hopelessly closer to revealing the secret she and her father have been so desperate to hide.
Hope’s life is complicated further with visions of a previous life and the arrival of an unknown enemy sent to assassinate her before she learns what she is truly capable of.
With the support of her father, the fiery loyalty of her best friend Angie, and the child-like love of Kirby, a ten-year-old patient, Hope must fight against the forces of a relentless demon god while unwinding the tangled pieces of her past, proving to herself and those she loves that destiny isn’t determined by some cosmic reading of the stars, but by the individual choices one makes.
Embark upon a journey of heart-stopping adventure in this contemporary young adult paranormal romance filled with mythological creatures, Japanese gods, divine healing powers and a romantic love triangle. A romantic story of love, loss and second chances, this clean teen paranormal romance infuses traditional mythology, fantasy and contemporary themes to create a thrilling story readers are sure to enjoy.
C.J. is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!
Sandy nodded and gave Victor a flirtatious wink. He smiled bashfully. He didn’t seem to realize how attractive he was. It made me like him more. Sandy moved her attention back to me.
“So, what have you got for us this visit?”
“Huh?” was my dumb response.
“Your song for tonight. Are you entertaining us with something bluesy or maybe a nice up tempo rock song?” she pressed.
Realization came crashing down around me. “Oh, no. I’m not doing anything tonight. I’ve been a little busy, and I don’t really have anything ready.” I kept my eyes locked on Sandy’s and silently begged her to read the panic in them.
“That’s not true, Hope,” I heard Angie say.
My head flipped around, and I watched her hold up a folded piece of paper.
“What’s that?” asked Victor.
“The song Hope wrote today. At least I think you wrote it today.”
“Where in the world did you get that?” It was the song I’d written in my car before I’d left to see Kirby. The one helping me release all of Tie’s emotions from my system.
“I found it in your pants pocket at the hospital. The lyrics are pretty good. I can’t wait to hear you sing it.”
Her comment was given innocently enough, but her eyes gleamed wickedly, and full comprehension of her intentions for tonight became crystal clear. She’d set me up. She’d found the song and orchestrated this little date to Expresso to get me to showcase my singing capabilities in front of our dates. I was going to kill her.
“I didn’t know you wrote music, Hope,” Tie commented. “You seem to be endowed with several amazing talents.”
My discomfort was growing, as was his infuriating smile.
“Are you going to sing for us tonight?” asked Victor who seemed genuinely interested.
“Not a chance.” My reply was sharper than I’d intended. “That song isn’t finished yet, and I haven’t run the music by the band. They’d need a couple of practice runs before getting it right.”
“Oh, come on, Hope. You’ve done a lot of impromptu performances without practicing beforehand, and the band is always able to follow you,” Sandy argued.
“No worries. I made copies of Hope’s song at the hospital and already passed them out to the band. They should be good to go,” Angie said giving me a triumphant grin.
Sandy’s eyes lit with happiness. “I’ll go tell Jackson you’ll be singing next,” she said, jumping up quickly and heading toward the lead guitarist.
I wanted to leap up and run out the door. This date had been a mistake. Beads of sweat began forming along my hairline. I could hear Tie chuckling softly. I gave him an icy glare and then turned the full force of it onto Angie. “You are by far the worst best friend I’ve ever had,” I said.
“You’ll thank me later.” She reached across the table and gave me my lyrics. I ripped them from her hand and did my very best to hold back the biting remarks floating in my head.
There was some tapping on the microphone and a bit of feedback as Jackson cleared his throat. “Excuse me, everyone. Our next performance will be by one of our most popular musicians tonight. Please give it up for Hope Fairmont.”
Ooh…love it! I definitely want to know what happens next!
Universal Amazon link: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00KPI7HX0
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-healer-c-j-anaya/1117444169
About C.J. Anaya
C.J. Anaya began writing short stories for family and friends when she was thirteen years old. This soon morphed into an extensive project every year during Christmas as a way to create a fun and inexpensive Christmas gift.
Her passion for reading and writing led her to following her own dreams of becoming a published author. She was born in Utah and raised everywhere else. She even lived a few years in Brazil, enjoying the people, the culture and learning the beautiful language of Portuguese.
As a mother of four children she can be found at any given time changing diapers, playing dress-ups with her daughters, getting her fanny kicked in Mario Kart by her snarky little son, and escaping into a corner of the house with her kindle for a nice, quiet (LOL, in her dreams) read. She is also married to the most deliciously, handsome looking Latino. As always, she has plenty to write about.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing C.J. Anaya, here are some of her author links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/C.J.-Anaya/e/B00IC5M3RI/
Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Angela Beaumont, a female character from The Healer, and C.J. Anaya, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂