I’ve been a fan of C.J. Redwine ever since Defiance, and was thankful for the chance to interview her back in 2012. I was also lucky enough to attend one of her workshops, and it was worth every penny (they all are). While there, I found out about THE SHADOW QUEEN, the first in her new Ravenspire series. At long last, THE SHADOW QUEEN is here (today!), and the premise is knock-your-socks-off amazing:
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
C.J. also answered some follow-up interview questions!
In our last interview, you said you’d “like readers to see what it looks like to be broken and then to do what it takes to heal and find hope again.” Have you found that your stories continue to invoke this, and if so, how have your readers responded?
I think every story of mine will have an element of brokenness to the main characters because that’s what life does to us, and because being broken for a while doesn’t make us less heroic or less able to rise from the ashes. I want to portray that, but I have found it looks different in each story because of course each character is different and so are his/her circumstances. Many readers have a strong emotional response to that element in my stories, and I think it’s because it resonates with all of us.
It certainly does. Having an aversion to Snow White and the Huntsman, I was ecstatic to learn that THE SHADOW QUEEN emerged from your rant after watching it. How has THE SHADOW QUEEN developed since, and what do you like most about crown princess Lorelai?
The Shadow Queen developed into an epic showdown between two equally powerful female characters, one of whom would sacrifice anything and anyone for what she wants and one of whom would sacrifice herself for the good of others if all of her other plans fail. As an added bonus, the huntsman is also prince charming, and he is a dragon shape-shifter so there’s that.
It was really fun to write. I wanted the Snow White character (Lorelai) to be driven, intelligent, fierce, brave, and to overcome incredible odds/hardship, and she does just that. I really love that Lorelai is a thinker. A planner. She has some mad parkour skills and some incredibly powerful magic, but what wins the day for her is her brain.
You had me at parkour! And you’re right–the best protagonists also have the cleverest minds. As mentioned, you conduct writing workshops. What do you find most rewarding about helping other writers?
I really love teaching! I used to be a teacher before I had children, and it’s always been a pleasure to break down a concept into something that can be easily understood. I feel like it’s a privilege to unlock concepts for other writers and help them see how they can use that in their own work.
You’ve definitely done that for me, and for countless others, I’m sure. What are some of your current projects?
I’m finishing up the second book in the Ravenspire series. This time, I’ve written the next tale in Rumplestiltskin’s life. After being exiled from the fae kingdom by the disloyal miller’s daughter, he’s set up shop as a wish granter in the kingdom of Sundraille. He’ll grant you the wish of your heart, but it will cost you your soul.
Sounds breathtaking. Thanks, C.J., for yet another amazing interview!
To grab THE SHADOW QUEEN for yourself, click below:
You can also find C.J.’s other books, including an excellent one on querying:
QUERY: Everything You Need to Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get Signed