1. The first question I always ask of an author is to please introduce themselves for the audience (for those that may not know who you are)
I’m C.J. Redwine, and I write fantasy adventure books for teens. I love lemon bars, my kids, going to the movies, and llamas. You can bribe me to do just about anything simply by promising me Johnny Depp.
2. When I started reading I thought that Defiance was going to be a quest-based fantasy novel, but then it morphed into a post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure with anti-patriarchal/feminist overtones. How would you describe your novel?
It morphed on me while I was writing it! I describe it as a post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure. But yes, it has a pinch of everything you mentioned.
3. Some of the best science-fiction has had a strong feminist slant (The Handmaids Tale being one of the best known) was your work influenced by any other stories or authors?
I’m very drawn to fantasy stories where the heroine is a) strong and capable, b) respected as an equal by the hero and c) isn’t dressed in a bra and high-heeled boots because let’s be honest—I love high-heeled boots as much as the next girl, but I’d break my neck in them if I tried to fight off an army. I wanted to write a story where I pushed the idea of keeping women in their place to an extreme and then provided an example of how protecting a girl by giving her the tools to protect herself and by respecting her intelligence and inner strength could up-end the entire system. My writing was inspired in bits and pieces by MANY other works I’ve read (shout out to Collins, Pierce, Carson, and Cashore to name a few).
4. Another novel that I was reminded of although only tangentially was Lord of the Rings when the party entered Moria and it was mentioned that the Dwarves had delved too deeply and woken an ancient Terror – the Balrog, but your Cursed One is more dragon than demon. Is the Cursed One a thing of science or something other?
The Cursed One is a Leviathon-like lizard, so he’s science instead of magic, but I am a LOTR girl from way back and I couldn’t resist the “they delved too deep” reference.
5. Another of the themes I noticed in the book was that decisions led to consequences that were often quite unpleasant for the protagonists and their friends and loved ones. Often in stories I have read, authors shy away from explicitly showing the things that can result from the best of intentions, but not you -was this intentional?
Very intentional. All actions have consequences, and sometimes the hardest part of doing the right thing is living with those consequences afterward. I believe in a truly epic story, the victory should cost almost as much as failure would. And I wanted to be realistic. Sometimes we make stupid choices for excellent reasons, and we can’t let that break us down forever. One of the journeys in this trilogy is understanding how to heal from the things that shatter us.
6. I am hoping that Defiance will be followed by more tales in the world that you have created, with explorations of other city-states, the wasteland and enlarging on the history of the discovery of the Cursed One. Do you have an epic planned?
This is a trilogy, so there will be two more books. We’ll get to explore a few of the other city-states, more of the secondary characters, and more of
the history of the world.
7. Were you a reader as a teen, and if you were what authors caught and fed your imagination?
I’ve been a voracious reader since the second grade. As a teen, I read C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and every classic I could get my hands on.
8. Do you ever visit schools and libraries either in person or via Skype? If yes what is the best way to get in touch with you about organising a visit?
I do school visits locally, and am happy to work to set up a Skype visit. You can contact my publicist Caroline Sun at Caroline.Sun@HarperCollins.com
9. Apart from works based in the Defiance world do you have any other stories that you are working on?
I do! I have a few things on the back burner of my brain right now. More speculative fiction (fantasy/post-apoc), a paranormal, and a fairy-tale retelling.
Thank you for your time in answering these questions!