Today I have an interview with Christine Huges, author of the soon-to-be-released Torn.
I’ve always done some writing – the angst-y poetry associated with teenagers and young college students. I still have so much of what I wrote back then and when I look at it now, I wonder if I wasn’t truly off my rocker! As for the beginnings of Torn, I had written a small paragraph and sat on it for quite a few months. Then, in March of 2010, I found out that due to budget cuts, I was losing my job as a middle school teacher. At that time, no one was hiring and I was pretty bummed. It was my husband, actually, who nudged me in the direction of taking up writing again. As for the inspiration behind Torn, it was a song. All I Need by Within Temptation. I heard the song and suddenly, a whole story flashed in my head. I brought my laptop onto the deck every morning that summer and just wrote…mostly with little idea of where I was actually going. I had an idea, like I said, but after awhile, the characters kind of just did whatever they wanted. I’m still amazed at how different the end product is from how I’d first envisioned it.
Torn took a little less than a year. Before I mentioned that I liked to write outside and because of that I was writing heavily, everyday, from about July through September and then I just kind of dropped it. I’d write here and there, adding and editing through the winter months. In March, I think, is when I picked it back up and worked myself exhausted. See, I’d spoken to an author friend who told me about the SCBWI conference that was taking place in June 2011. My goal was to finish the story by the conference, and I did. So I guess actual concentrated writing time? Torn took about 7 months with a few months of nothing sprinkled in. Of course, that doesn’t account for all the critique changes and edits and revisions that followed until Black Opal Books picked me up a couple months later.
Revising and editing. It’s so hard when someone sees something you don’t. At first I was very reticent to change anything – after all, it’s my book and I wrote it and I know what’s best! Truth be told, in my opinion, an author needs outside eyes and suggestions. For example, after speaking to my first round editor for Torn, I noticed she was able to spot some flow issues I hadn’t noticed. Like I said before, it made sense in my head. But once I moved some paragraphs and chapters around, I saw the whole picture – and I liked the story more! As much as I truly dislike the revising and editing process, it is a necessary evil – especially in this day and age of self-publishing. As an author, I need to figure out what is going to set me apart from other authors. I feel the editing department at Black Opal Books is the edge I need.
The cover! I have to admit; my cover has been completed for a while now. Apparently my husband contacted my editor, Lauri, and asked if he could get a copy of the cover so he could print it out and frame it. Little did either of us know that the cover is one of the last parts in the process but, thankfully, Lauri was game and had the art department contact me as if doing the cover early was normal. So we worked on it for a little bit and I was getting antsy. I had a vision in my head and we couldn’t nail it. I approached a friend who is a graphic artist and asked him if he wanted to have a go and after a short conversation, he sent me a cover. It was 90% there. I sent him the photo of the wings you see on the cover and within hours, he emailed me the design. It was, is, amazing! Originally, I didn’t want wings or anything angelic on the cover as I was told by many agents “angels have been done – the market for them is over”. I thought I could “trick” the reader into picking up the book. In the end, the picture of the torn (hehe) wings was the way to go. My friend Jay, of JSDesigns, did a fantastic job. This was his first cover and since then he’s worked with two other Black Opal Books authors and been approached by others. He gave me as much input as I wanted and I am glad he and I saw eye-to-eye on what ended up being the final product.
Sure. I am so excited for the book to be released and I hope that it’s well received. However, the fact that I was able to write a book and have it published has been so surreal. All I can say to aspiring writers is never give up. It’s a hard road with many, many rejections and negativity. If you can keep your focus, eventually your goal will became reality.
If you’re in the NJ or PA area, I will be at the YA Fest in Easton, PA August 4, 2012 and the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, NJ on October 6, 2012. I have a few more dates up in the air but I’ll solidify them soon and post them on my Facebook page and blog site. Thank you so much for having me here! Happy Reading!
About Christine Hughes
A former Army brat, Christine Hughes moved quite often. She spent much of her time losing herself in books and creating stories about many of the people she’d met. Falling in love with literature was easy for her and she majored in English while attending college in New Jersey. Not sure where her love of reading and writing fit, she became a middle school English teacher. After nine years of teaching others to appreciate literature, she decided to take the plunge and write her first novel. Now at home focusing on making writing her new career, she spends her time creating characters and plot points instead of grading papers. Music has become an integral part of her writing process and without the proper playlist; Hughes finds the words don’t flow. At least a few times a week she can be found at the local Barnes & Noble with her Mac and headphones working on her next novel. Her YA novel Torn will be released by Black Opal Books in June 2012.