C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio with her very patient husband and two encouraging children. Her heart however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.
The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.
One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: "You are never too old to follow your dream even if it takes you fifty years."
Q: To start off with, what motivated you to become a writer? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?
C.J: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in high school. Looking back I’ve always kept a journal or jotted down thoughts and when my son was born I started scrapbooking. The best part of that was the journaling to tell what was happening in the pictures. Becoming a published writer, that took a long time. Mostly because I didn’t think I was talented enough or that anyone would want to read what I wrote. I needed time to work my craft and make it better.
Q: Is there a genre you won't write? Why? Is there a genre you haven't written but would like to give a try?
C.J: I don’t think I could write horror or BSMD. Why, probably because neither of those genre’s appeals to me as a reader. I’m a HEA girl and it’s hard for me to get into reading something where people are hurt intentionally or not.
I would love to be able to write a historical romance and do it justice. I would have to do a large amount of research to get the settings and the costume descriptions to be as they should be. Little details like that are important to me as a reader and I’d want my readers to have that.
Q: Plotter, pantster or a combination of both?
C.J: So don’t laugh; I had to look up what a pantster was! Now that I know, I can say I am a combination of both. I can get a vision of how a story will start, where it will go and how it might end. Then I write, scratch out, and write again and so on until I can clearly see what the characters are telling me about themselves.
Q: What types of books do you like to read? Do you re-read books? If so, what is your comfort read?
C.J: Mysteries, a problem to solve with a good love story thrown in are probably my favourite. I have read the classics but I still lean toward the ones with a mystery involved. I do re-read books. I have several books that I keep at the front of my Kindle which I bounce back and forth between depending on my mood. I can’t say I have a comfort read but I do have comfort authors. They are the ones that I go back to time and time again because their stories have touched me in some profound way.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your novels and characters? Real life events? Imagination? Or a combination?
C.J: Here again I have to say it’s a combination and it depends largely on what I’m writing. I once wrote a very short story that was an M/M romance that turned out to be very tender and sweet. The inspiration for the story came from an experience I had with a young man when I was a teenager myself. In that instance, the inspiration was real life but for the two male characters I had to imagine how young men would feel and act in that same situation.
I do get a lot of inspiration from nature itself, especially the mountains. You will always find some scene or mention in my books about the mountains or nature of some kind. I’m working on a book at the moment that takes place at a hotel on a beach. A great deal of the action in the story takes place outside...even the love scenes.
Q: What is a typical day like as author C. J. Baty? Do you write every day? How long does it typically take for you to complete a book?
C.J: As I am still an office worker by day and author by night, I write when and where I can. I love to write and I wish I could write every day. But I do find that I write whenever I have a free minute. I carry a notebook with me always. Lunch breaks find me grabbing a bite and writing. The best time of day for me is in the morning at the local diner where I have coffee and breakfast. I get up an hour earlier than I really have to just so I can go there and let them refill my coffee cup and I write. A few of the places that I frequently visit know me and know I write.
Depending on the length of the book, it usually takes me two to four months to complete a first draft. I have a tendency to edit and re-edit as I go. I guess I’m old school in that more than 75% of what I write is hand written first then typed up. I add or delete or change direction as I take it from the handwritten copy to the computer.
Q: Could you tell us a little about A New Dream?
C.J: A New Dream is a book about accepting the changes that come in life and learning to move on. Walt’s dream is crushed when he can’t be a competitive skier any longer. His self confidence is shot when his boyfriend can’t stay by him while he recovers. He mistakenly believes no one would want to love a failure with a broken body, like him. Curt has rolled with the heartaches he’s suffered in life and feels pretty good about the road he’s on but he longs for something more than one night stands and the loneliness that comes with his career. They literally run into each other one day outside a barber shop in the little town of Flat Rock and life changes for both of them. Love wasn’t what they were looking for but then love seldom comes around when you are.
Q: What projects are you currently working on? What can readers look forward to from you in the upcoming year?
C.J: Oh I am so glad you asked this question. I am currently working on two projects and I hope to have them out by the end of the year. One is a May/December story where a fifty something woman thinks that now that she’s a widow, love and passion are a thing of the past for her. She settles for the everyday routine of life but doesn’t like it. She takes a trip with her best friend to Scotland, meets and is helplessly attracted to a younger man who happens to own the inn where she and her friend are staying. The story involves arson, a murder and a kidnapping all leading up to a HEA. Of course, there is an abundance of sexual tension and desire. It’s called At Any Age.
The other work in progress is an M/M romance where our hero’s ex-lovers keep showing up murdered on a beach near the hotel he owns. Drifting Sands takes place in Beaufort, South Carolina at the Warfield Hotel. It’s a race against time to prove that Justin is not killing the men who keep showing up dead before the local sheriff finds out the truth about Justin and how he is related to the men who have been killed. His brother Peter and his brother’s best friend Marcus are trying to help. But it doesn’t help that Marcus and Justin are incredibly attracted to each other. Oh and did I mention that due to Justin’s and Peter’s father and a clause in his will, Justin is married to a local socialite who can’t stand the air he breathes. It’s going to get hot on the beach in this story.
We'd like to thank Kathy from the Book Reviews and More by Kathy blog for originally hosting this interview during the Valentine's Collection tour.
C.J. Baty's book A New Dream was published by BDP in February 2013 as part of our Valentine's Day Collection
For more information on A New Dream click here.