Something Wicked Returns Feature: Slayers by C.J. Hill


As part of the month-long Something Wicked Returns event, I'm posting my second feature.

It’s the month of Halloween and so I thought it would be great to include dragons in the books I'm featuring and talking about this month. I’m not talking about the kind of dragons that are nice or that change into human form, like in Firelight or Seraphina. I’m talking about the classical fire-breathing type with huge wings, long claws, and who want to destroy and rule over humans.

Today is the release day of just such a book. It's called Friends and Traitors and is the second book in the Slayers series by one of my favorite YA authors, C.J. Hill AKA Janette Rallison.


Author Interview

I would like to welcome one of my favorite authors, C.J. Hill AKA Janette Rallison, to my blog today! 

I think the whole premise of Slayers is quite interesting. The dragons don’t change into human form; they aren't nice and peaceful, but are quite intelligent and destructive; and they form bonds with some humans. Then there are the other humans who are born as Slayers – knights that are capable of destroying dragons. Why did you choose to write a book about dragons?

Dragons have fascinated people for thousands of years—pretty impressive for a beast that is essentially a myth. I thought we needed a modern dragon story. I mean, why should the people in the Middle Ages have all the fun? My dragons are fast, fierce, and they think most people look like appetizers.

Will we get inside their heads more as the story progresses?

In Slayers: Friends and Traitors, readers get to see a bit more into dragons’ minds. However, it is usually when they’re trying to kill someone, so don’t expect any heartwarming Eragon and Saphira scenes.

Courtesy of chrisscalf.com

How did you come up with the story for Slayers and did you have the whole story all worked out in your mind or did it evolve quite a lot while you wrote it?

When I submitted the first novel to my publisher, I had a synopsis written for book two and three as well. Like many of those best-laid-plans, the plot quickly changed and evolved. I pretty much had to throw the synopsis for book three out altogether. In fact, I haven’t even decided whether Tori is going to end up with Dirk or Jesse. I was planning on Jesse when I wrote Slayers, but my teenage daughter keeps insisting that she should end up with Dirk. (Then again, my daughter was also Team Jacob for Twilight and Team Gail for Hunger Games, so she doesn’t have the best track record.)

How did you decide on the characters’ backgrounds? Did their names or backgrounds change, such as: was Tori always a senator’s daughter?

Tori was always a senator’s daughter. When I started the series, I asked myself who would be the least likely to fit in with a group of superhero teens. A socialite was a fun choice—sort of Legally Blonde meets X-men. On the other hand, Dr. B started out as a priest. None of the editors liked him as a priest though, so he very quickly became both a Medieval professor and Bess’s father. It works much better that way. It was a good change. Sometimes editors are right.


Courtesy of Wikipedia

 
Courtesy of studiowars.com

I would never think to put Legally Blonde and X-Men together, but I totally see where that would work and it does in this book.

I am not a fan of love triangles, but I could see one slowly forming in Slayers and it actually worked for me. Will it completely form into a love triangle with all of the associate drama? What do you think about them and putting one in this series?

Funny thing, I never really intended for there to be a love triangle in Slayers, but I based Dirk visually on Dirk Benedict—which should be a warning to other authors: If you base one of your characters on Dirk Benedict, he is going to catch the heroine’s interest. I mean, the heroine is no fool, and Dirk Benedict is one of the most gorgeous men who ever lived.

So yes, the love triangle does continue. (Curse you, Dirk Benedict!)

As a reader I like love triangles. Who wouldn’t want two hot, awesome guys vying for your attention? But as a writer, I hate love triangles. I get too involved with my characters. I like both Dirk and Jesse and it makes me sad that one of them is going to have to end up brokenhearted.

Lol! I never thought of Dirk Benedict when I read Slayers. I know Dirk most from The A-Team (awesome show, loved the 2010 movie too), but also from Battlestar Gallatica. That brings back memories. (Dirk is the guy on the far left in the grey jacket.)


Courtesy of badmouth.net

I have to ask about the cover change with the second book, Friends and Traitors. I loved the original cover of Slayers, but I have to say that I love the new ones more. Though it’s a bummer that my Slayers isn't going to match the second book. Why was there a change in the cover, especially mid-series?

Slayers (Slayers, #1) This cover was changed to -----> this cover:  Slayers (Slayers, #1)

There were things I really liked about the first cover. It had shiny gold foil on it that was really cool. It also appealed to boys. The problem with it was that it didn't give people a very good idea about what the book was about. A passing browser could tell that Slayers was a book about dragons, but probably assumed it was a high fantasy novel set in either the Middle Ages or a different world altogether.

The new cover does a much better job of letting readers know that it’s a modern book with dragons. In that way, it’s different than anything else on the market.

Most of your books have these hilarious moments that are lol funny. One of my favorite opening scenes is from Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List. It is just hilarious and I literally die of mortification for the character when I read it. There is also a scene in What the Doctor Ordered (an LDS title under your pen name Sierra St. James) where Ellie is trying to keep John from seeing inside her aunt’s house. It cracks me up every time.

Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List What the Doctor Ordered

These are just two of the many moments that have made me laugh in your books. How do you come up with these scenarios? Are any from personal experience?

I seem to never run out of ways to embarrass myself. Although I didn't appreciate this talent much in high school, I must say it’s worked out well as an author. My characters frequently find themselves in awkward situations. Some of those situations come from my real life. Like my character from Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List, I’ve climbed into the wrong car many times. So far, I’ve never run into the real car owner while I was doing this, but given the amount of tan mini vans that look exactly like mine, it’s only a matter of time.

I have a tan minivan too. It isn't my ideal color. We had to give in to a minivan when we had our third child. ;)

I thought it would be fun to have my niece, Haley, who is 14 and adores your books, if she had a question for you. She wants to know: “What your favorite genre is to write in YA and why?

I’m a hopeless romantic, so I like writing in any genre that also has a romance subplot. My CJ Hill books, which are basically action novels, are fun to write because I can make the stakes high. I can put in dragons and time travel. The Janette Rallison comedies are also fun, but it’s hard to write humor and as an author you get very little credit for writing in that genre. The feeling among reviewers (and a lot of readers) is that books that are easy to read must also be easy to write. When it comes to humor the opposite is true. It’s a lot easier to write action and intrigue than good comedy.

What are your favorite five books right now (I can never choose just one, so I don’t ask others to)?

My favorite reads are always changing, but five tried and true always on the favorite list are: The Princess Bride, The Phantom Tollbooth, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and The Lord of the Rings.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure The Phantom Tollbooth
Pride and Prejudice Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

Great choices! Are there any upcoming projects you are working on that you can share with us?

Echo in Time, the sequel to Erasing Time comes out December 23, 2013. It involves time travel, hot guys with secrets, and evil future governments. Dirk Benedict doesn’t appear anywhere in the book, so the heroine is safe from any love triangles. I’m revising a middle grade fantasy and another action/romance novel. Then I’ve got to finish writing the third fairy godmother book. I’m going to be busy for awhile.

Erasing Time (Erasing Time, #1) Echo in Time (Erasing Time, #2) My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #1) My Unfair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #2)

I love all of these covers and the the books I've read, which would be all of them except for the one not out yet, Echo in Time. :)

In one sentence, why should we read Slayers?

Dragons might be hibernating and any day they’ll pop up and want to munch on humanity so it’s best to be prepared.

Lol! Good to know. =D 

Thanks so much for coming to visit my blog today, Janette! I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I am so excited to read Friends and Traitors and Echo in Time when it comes out in a few months!


I will be seeing Janette tonight, in-person, at my local independent bookstore, which I'm very excited about! It should be a great time! I'll be posting about it later, so look for that this week sometime. I'm also on her Friends and Traitors tour with Fire and Ice, which begins tomorrow, and will be posting my review on the 28th.

Here is all the information about the two books in the Slayer's series. You can scroll down to the bottom for my fabulous giveaway!

  
Friends and Traitors (Slayers, #2)Friends and Traitors
(Slayers #2)
by C.J. Hill
YA Paranormal
October 15th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends                

Summary

The Slayers – teens who have powers to fight dragons—are back by popular demand in this high-octane sequel, now with a new cover package!

Tori is at a White House dinner party when she hears a horrifying sound: dragon eggs hatching. It means in less than a year, the dragons will be mature and dangerous. The Slayers are well-trained, but their group is not yet complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker Davis, the mysterious Slayer who has yet to surface.

What Tori doesn’t bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers: she isn’t a Slayer after all, but a Dragon Lord, with a built-in predisposition to protect dragons, not kill them.
How will she overcome this to save the lives of her friends?

      



Slayers (Slayers, #1)Slayers
(Slayers #1)
by C.J. Hill
YA Paranormal
September 27th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends                   

Summary

Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

      



About the Author

(High Resolution Image)
C.J. Hill AKA Janette Rallison is old. Don't ask how old, because it isn't polite. Let's just say she's older than she'd like to be and leave it at that.

Janette lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as "an eccentric cat lady." She did not do this on purpose. (The cats, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave. Not even the family's fearless little Westie dog can drive them off.

Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn't have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can't actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let's just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horse back riding and long talks with Orlando Bloom. (Well, I never said he answers back.)






Giveaway

- US entrants can enter to win a physical or ebook (Nook or Kindle) of Slayers or Friends and Traitors.
- INT entrants can enter to win an ebook (Nook or Kindle) of Slayers or Friends and Traitors or a paperback of Slayers as long as the Book Depository ships to you for free.

All my usual requirements apply. Please use the rafflecopter below.
Ends 10/31/13.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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