PLEASE MAKE WELCOME DEBUT AUTHOR AND HOLLYWOOD MUSIC ASSISTANT, CJ BAHR!
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, I have to tell you I fell in love with "Walking Through Fire" when I read it! Simon is an outstanding hero, and I believe you all will enjoy the awesome and talented CJ as she talks about her life, her dream, and her plan for more books!
Faith: Good morning, CJ! It is so good to have you with us
here on the blog. Please tell us a bit
about yourself for those who don’t know.
CJ: During the day, you’ll find me editing music for ABC’s
hit comedy, The Middle. As a music
editor for Film and Television my career spans over 25 years with credits
ranging from The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Father Of The Bride, to Northern
Exposure and The Following.
When I’m not editing music, I’m editing words. I was first published in 1994 with a short
story called “Does The Shoe Still Fit You Now?”, a sequel to Cinderella, in
Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword & Sorceress Anthology. Walking Through Fire is my first novel,
published by The Wild Rose Press.
I live in sunny Burbank, California, working in Television
and writing two WIPs at the same time, while sneaking out to ride my horse and
find time to cuddle with my cats and read.
Faith: Working in Hollywood has to be way exciting. On a
scale of 1-10 how does having your book contracted and published compare?
CJ: Having my book contracted and published is a solid
10! Hollywood really isn’t all that
exciting in post production, and achieving a life long dream definitely out
weighs the glamour of Tinsel Town.
Faith: Is there anything particularly memorable for you
about being contracted?
CJ: My first sale (the short story) I was notified by mail, so
selling Walking Through Fire was my very first “call”. I don’t think there’s a single author out
there who doesn’t find her/his call special, but mine might be one for the
books because I received my call on April 1st. That’s right, April Fool’s Day. I was so happy it wasn’t a prank! It made the day very memorable.
Faith: When growing up, then you dream of being an author?
If so why or why not?
CJ: Growing up, I was always an avid reader, which I think
inspired me to start writing. After
all, there were stories I wanted to read, but hadn’t been written! The idea of being an author gradually snuck
upon me. I always excelled in my
English classes, and wrote for a few school papers, but it wasn’t until a
friend showed me the open submission for Sword & Sorceress, I decided to
try and get paid for my writing. There
was nothing like your first acceptance letter to instill confidence. It was after that I thought I might have the
talent to continue and aspire to my dream of writing a novel.
Faith: How did you come up with the plot and characters for
“Walking Through Fire?”
CJ: It’s an interesting story how I came up with the idea
for Walking Through Fire. I don’t
usually dream, or should I say, I don’t ever remember my dreams. But one day, I was in that weird place where
I wasn’t quite asleep but wasn’t awake and a very vivid scene in full color
unspooled in my mind like watching a movie.
There was a man chained to a wall inside a cave, and the tide was coming
in. He couldn’t escape.
Why the heck did I dream that? I still don’t know to this day.
It wasn’t like I was under a bunch of stress. And I don’t dream of men drowning. Completely bizarre. It
was very detailed. So I wrote it down
and got to thinking. Who was this man
and why did he drown? Once I answered
those questions, Simon MacKay, my hero was born, and the story of a Scottish
ghost romance came together.
Faith: Who is your favorite character in the book?
CJ: I love writing villains, but if I have to be honest,
Simon steals my heart. It was so much
fun writing a ghost, but making it an original/different take on ghosts. Plus he ran the gamut of emotions of
bitterness to kindhearted; it was great being inside his head. And of course there was the fabulous
conundrum of Simon’s: If he fulfilled
his family’s legacy he would lose the one thing he had wanted most in life—a
Faith: Is there anything you would change about your book if
you could do it over?
CJ: I’m very happy with Walking Through Fire. I worked very hard on having a complete
polished tale. I can’t think of much
I’d change, maybe perhaps having more time with my villain, Alex MacKenzie. I think he might have gotten short changed.
Faith: Speaking of ghosts, do you have any type of
paranormal background or experiences?
CJ: No personal experience, though I’d love to have
one. I’m addicted to all the ghosting
hunting shows on TV (which I made my heroine and her best friend fans of). I even went ghost hunting a time or two, but
sadly had no luck. My favorite time was
in San Diego’s Old Town, which is famous for the Whaley House, the most haunted
house in Untied States. It was major fun
writing the ghost-hunting scene in Walking Through Fire. At first I was having trouble writing it
until a critique partner suggested I write it from Simon’s POV, then everything
clicked. That chapter still makes me
smile—ghost hunting from the ghost’s point of view.
Faith: Is there anyone in your life that may have influenced
your desire to write?
CJ: My parents were most influential in me becoming a
published author. They instilled my
love a books and reading through example.
I can’t remember a time when they didn’t have a book in hand. I have three older sisters and they always
read as well. I was reading well above
my pay grade by the time I entered school.
My mother was an avid romance reader and my father loved all those
military suspense books by Dale Brown, Tom Clancy and Clive Clusser. I have quite the eclectic reading list. Currently I read mostly paranormal romance,
urban fantasy and straight fantasy, I suppose leaning toward what I like to
Faith: What do you have planned next in the way of books?
CJ: I’ve got two.
While I was waiting to see if anyone wanted to publish, Walking Through
Fire, I decided to challenge myself in my next endeavor and write in first
person, which lent itself to an urban fantasy.
It stars a snarky, kick-ass time cop heroine, and might even be series
I normally only work on one manuscript at a time, but when
your editor tells you she loves a particular character in my novel and I should
tell that person’s story, who would be crazy enough to say no? So I put my thinking cap on, needing to
solve a few tricky problems and have come up with, Forged In Fire, a spin-off
starring a certain character from Walking Through Fire (I can’t tell you or
there will be major spoiler alerts!).
No ghosts this time, but there is a Highwayman.
Faith: Is there anything you would like to say to aspiring
CJ: Never give up!
If you want to be an author, first, write, and keep on writing. It’s easy to throw in the towel when all you
get are rejections. I’m super glad I
didn’t else I wouldn’t have a novel published today. You can do it. Perseverance is the key.
Faith: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
CJ: Thank you for picking up my book and giving a debut
author a chance. I have received some
lovely reviews I cherish, since people not only took the time to read my story,
but then decided to share their opinions and get the word out about Simon and
Laurel. It means a great deal to me. Thank you!