Welcome to the next stop in the For Ever Blog Tour hosted by Supagurl! Author C.J. Valles has stopped by for an interview about For Ever and writing. For Ever by C.J. Valles is a paranormal romance about a girl who can read minds and the one boy she can't read. Don't forget to check out the other stops along the tour by clicking on the tour banner!
Sixteen-year-old Wren Sullivan can read minds, but when she moves from Southern California to Portland, Oregon, she meets Ever Casey—the one person whose mind is off-limits. Wren does know one thing about her mysterious classmate: he has a dark secret to hide. And the closer she gets to learning the truth, the more dangerous it is for her and everyone around her.
Did you always want to be an author?
Yep, I think at some level, even as a little kid, part of me wanted to be an author. I just got sidetracked along the way.
Tell us a bit about your novel.
For Ever follows the story of Wren Sullivan, sixteen-years-old, just moved to Portland, Oregon, and can read minds until she gets to her new school and encounters Ever Casey.
How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
For Ever started out as a two-page or so character study of a girl in high school. Now that it’s possible to read about everybody’s thoughts on the Internet, I was thinking about what it would be like to read minds and how tough that would be in high school. I enjoyed the character I was working with so much that I did some free writing and got to what I’ll call the “classroom scene,” where things just kind of blew up, and I chased the story from there.
If you got the chance to spend a day with any character from your books, who would it be and why?
I would have to go with Ever, for the same reason my MC was so drawn to him. He’s a contradiction, a mystery. He also has a bit of an unreachable quality that I think many times draws us to celebrities and other public figures. We want to know more about them because they’re so close, yet inaccessible.
What drew you to the YA genre?
It’s funny, because I never really read much YA when I was a young adult. I went from reading Nancy Drew in elementary school—straight into adult fiction during junior high. I had read some Sweet Valley Twins and a few one-offs of other YA books, but even at the time, it always felt like I was reading something by an adult trying to come up with what teenager might say. I know the Vampire Diaries actually came out right around the time I entered high school, but I didn’t even hear about it until maybe five years ago. I had actually started to write a more adult-centered book right before diving into YA, but then I wanted to work with characters a little bit more—hmm, not naïve, but fresh.
What do you hope readers will obtain from your book?
I think there are a lot of different reasons why I read, personally. I read to be entertained. I read to get sucked into the story someone else is weaving. I read to feel something. I read to think. I read to escape. There’s some critically lauded modern fiction out there that I’m glad I’ve read, but I was glad to be done with it. Other books have entertained me, but they wouldn’t be considered classics. When it comes to For Ever, I hope people are entertained, and that the story takes them on a journey that will continue in the sequel.
Where do you like to do your writing?
I write pretty much exclusively in my home office. I don’t have a laptop, so outside in the sunshine (when the sun shines in Portland, Oregon!) isn’t an option.
What are some of your favorite YA books or authors? Non-YA?
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series really changed the face of YA, in my mind, because it felt like Bella Swan’s thoughts were written from such an authentic place. My curiosity with the genre was renewed after I found out about Twilight. I read L. J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries right before going on self-imposed lockdown. At that point, I stopped reading any YA, because it’s hard for me to read and write at the same time. As far as non-YA, I’m all over the place. I cruised through almost all of Carl Hiaasen’s books in a single summer. On the other side of the coin, I fell in love with The Time Traveler’s Wife and read it three times. Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls really kicked me gut when I finished it. Some of the books I love are more of a love-hate relationship.
Are there any books and stories that have influenced or stuck with you from your childhood or young-adulthood?
Yes! Definitely. I remember being absolutely captivated when one of my elementary school teachers read us Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (published in 1975). I think there are definitely echoes of the themes that touched me woven throughout For Ever. I was also a big Nancy Drew fan, so I’ve always loved a good mystery. In high school, I was swept away by Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, which was so dark and gothic. If I keep thinking about it, I’ll just keep going and going … LOL
Do you have any other works published and how do they compare genre/style wise with your current work?
For Ever is my first published piece of full-length fiction. My first attempt at a full-length novel—still unfinished—was a sort of comedy-crime-mystery. Totally, totally different from For Ever. I finished another YA novel—and its sequel—just before I wrote For Ever, but they’ll never see the light of day.
Do you have any current writing projects? Can you tell us a bit about them?
Right at the moment, I am so close to finishing a first draft of For Ever’s sequel Never. (I’m taking a little break for this interview!) I am really, really excited about that. I also have another YA title that I’m about a third of the way through that’s a twist on ghosts. I’ll work on finishing that one once The Ever Series is done!
Thanks, Angela, for the great questions and sharing with your followers!
Thanks go out to author C.J. Valles for stopping by to give us an inside look at For Ever and to Supagurl for hosting the For Ever Blog Tour!