Friday, June 18, 2010

Wild Wicked & Wanton--Christie Craig & Faye Hughes

I had the chance to interview two authors who swear they were separated at birth and are really sisters. Hmmm, I'm wondering if their respective parents know about this? Christie Craig and Faye Hughes, are both southern women and this is evident in their writing. I warn you now, never be taken in by the whole butter wouldn't melt in their mouths and those sweet, sweet drawls. Underneath all that sweetness there are brains that work better than a well oiled steel trap. If you've read their books you will find that hot southern nights do spawn some hot activities and they both write them so well. And a word of warning; never tick off Christie. She bypasses the whole come to Jesus chats and has a special place just for people who do. 

Christie and Faye conduct various workshops at writing conferences, (in fact you'll have a chance to take one of their workshops if you go to RWA National) have an online site called Write With Us and their courses are adaptable for online classes as well as in person. Definitely check it out; it's a very interesting site. 

They have also written two non-fiction books together, The Everything Guide To Writing A Romance Novel, and Wild, Wicked & Wanton:101 Ways to Love Like You're In a Romance Novel.
 
My curiosity was aroused and so I chatted a bit with them regarding their latest, Wild Wicked & Wanton, and working together as co-authors, among other things.
 
Please welcome to Over Coffee, Christie Craig and Faye Hughes.
   
  • I know both of you write fiction, I've read some of your books, so tell me a bit about yourselves, if you would.
Christie Craig: An ex-waitress, I grew up in Alabama with a southern family who used humor as a coping method. Laughter was how we dealt with good times, bad time and really sucky times. I was the only girl between two brothers who thought burping and making farting sounds with their armpits was dinner conversation. I married the wrong man way too young, divorced, was a single parent, and then found my real life hero later on. Being Southern, and from a long line of storytellers, I had inherited a bit of the talent. But being dyslexic, writing was something I sucked at. It took me ten years of learning and trying and retrying to sell my first book. And only thirteen years later to sell book two. However, all those years of struggle must have taught me something, because the day I sold book two, I sold three other books. Talk about feeling as if I’d won the lottery. My stories are Southern, funny, and have a bit of sizzle to them. And because I’m a Scorpio and have been known to get ticked off occasionally, I also throw a little murder in my books. My logo is Sexy, Suspenseful And Seriously Funny. And I try to live up to it.
 
Faye Hughes: When Christie and I first met back in 2005 on a writers loop, I told her I thought we might be related because, I swear, we are so alike in so many ways we could be sisters. We’d even lived in Southern California at the same time and a few blocks or so away from each other, too. We shopped in the same stores, frequented the same restaurants and clubs, probably even ran into each other in the ladies’ room a few times, but we never met until years later. I just find that remarkable. Now, I’m not from Alabama. I grew up in Mississippi, which is right next-door. I always wanted to be a writer, and I started my first novel when I was nine. It was about an 18 year old college freshman, a wild mustang and the struggle between environmentalists and ranchers in Montana. Um, I did say I was nine, right? And living in Mississippi? LOL. 
 
  • Aside from writing romance you also have writing workshops. www.writewithus.net What are some benefits of taking your workshops?
FH: Oh, that’s a great question, thanks for asking it. Christie and I love doing workshops and we did our first one together at a writer’s conference, we discovered we had the same approach. (I’m telling ya, we have to be related. And with Mississippi and Alabama being so close . . .) Anyway, we try to make a promise to the people attending our workshops that if they’ll give us their time, we will give them three things in return: we will entertain, motivate and educate. And I think we accomplish those goals. We make our workshops fun and inspiring and, yeah, you might even learn a thing or two. Speaking of workshops, we will be giving one on surviving rejection at RWA National in Orlando with literary agent Kim Lionetti of BookEnds and editor, Rose Hilliard of St. Martin’s Press.
 
  • Are the workshops a compilation of subjects you’ve spoken about at conferences or new material?
CC: Both. We’ve both been writing so long and have given workshops, writing articles for writing magazines over the years. I personally taught an on-going writing class for about five years. And since Faye and I wrote the book The Everything Guide To Writing a Romance Novel, we’ve covered a lot of subjects. So sometimes we pull from our book and sometimes when we’re brainstorming workshops for conferences, we will hit on a new subject or just a new approach to an old subject. And if we still can’t come up with something we must make up stuff. LOL. Hey, we’re fiction writers.
  • This is the second non-fiction book you two have written. What inspired you to write non-fiction to begin with? And how did you come up with such an idea?
FH: When people ask me this question, I always answer by saying that Christie called me up one day and said, “Do you want to write a book?” (You have to imagine her saying this with her Alabama drawl, too. LOL.) I told her sure, thinking she was joking and the next thing I knew, we had a contract. LOL.

Seriously, though, here’s how it happened: Christie had written a book for Adams Media several years ago called The 250 Questions Every Homebuyer Should Ask. They liked working with her and so when they decided they wanted to do one of their Everything Guides about writing a romance novel, they asked if she was interested. She called me and asked me what I thought about the project—CC and I were critique partners. She’d just sold three books to Dorchester and was going to be tied up writing those. I told her I thought it was a great idea and she should do it. I insisted she do it, in fact. And that’s when she said she’d do it but only if I wrote it with her.
 Christie, don’t you agree?
 
CC: Yup, I’d say they’ve worked out very well. Co-writing a book with someone can be tricky, but we found our work ethics, our dedication to the project really were the same. Also our writing voices complimented each other. It was a win/win.
  •  You’re a writing team. How do you handle creating a book together?
CC: We piggyback. And believe me, having Faye on my back isn’t easy! LOL. Seriously, when we decided to try to write another book after The Everything Guide, we just started brainstorming ideas and talking about possible subjects that we felt we had some knowledge in and then one of us would throw something out and the other one says…”Hey, that’s not too shabby of an idea. Maybe if we did tweak it like this it might work.” Since both us do mysteries, we considered the idea on how to kill an ex. But in the end we decided it might be too incriminating.

FH: Yeah, especially since we have all of these agents and editors buried in Christie’s compost heap in her back yard. Oh, and I think there is also a Weight Watchers attendant out there who made the mistake of telling CC she’d gained a couple of pounds one night at weigh-in. Trust me. Huge, HUGE mistake. LOL

  • Do you have any difficulties/differing opinions? Say, in how a subject is or has been covered as you’re writing. How do you handle differing opinions on a subject you both are writing?
FH: Okay, I did mention CC’s compost heap, right? LOL. Okay, seriously, I can honestly say that CC and I have never had any major arguments about this although we do have differing opinions. We decided in the beginning that we’d do a 50/50 breakdown of the work. We’d agree on the topics and then we’d choose the ones we want to write. If either of us has a problem with a chapter topic, that chapter would get added to our list. (It may sound crazy but it works for us.) Then we’d critique each other’s work and point out any problems we had but the ultimate decision about the chapter would be made by the author of that chapter. I think it honestly helped that we were critique partners first. I respected her writing and she respected mine. Our voices mesh and we both have the same goal when we write together – to write the best book possible, so we always put the work first.


Oh. One more thing. We also have this agreement that when people tell us, “Oh, I loved XYZ chapter or scene,” that we tell them, “Thank you, that’s the one I wrote.” But if they say they weren’t that happy about PQR chapter or scene, “Oh, that’s the one SHE wrote.” LOL

  • What made you decide to write a non-fiction book for women about loving like you’re a heroine in a romance novel?
CC: I’ve written over 3000 non-fiction articles for magazines and while I loved that career because it allowed me to stay at home while I continued to write novels. However, since I was selling novels I only wanted to write non-fiction that somehow helped support my fiction career. Faye and I were brainstorming once and we both agreed that if real women spent anywhere near as much time plotting their relationships as a romance author plots her novel, there would be more happily ever afters in real life. That sort of got us piggy backing and thinking of how we could use this concept in a non-fiction book. And bam! We realized that our romance heroines actually could teach real woman a lot about love.

  • What do you hope readers will take away from reading this book?
CC: Like Faye said, when we give workshops we tell everyone our goal is to entertain, motivate and educate. I personally think that it’s the same with our books. WW&W is written to entertain you, to inspire you by giving you hope that you too can be happy in love, and to hopefully educate you or offer insights to some of the pitfalls of finding a true love and making the relationships work.

One reviewer also pointed out that this book would be perfect for a bunch of girlfriends to read before going on a girlfriend weekend. It will bring to mind all the funny situations with men and relationships and help you laugh about some of the hiccups with romance with which most women face at one time or another.

FH: Ditto. And especially the entertain part. This was such a fun book for us to write. We really hope readers enjoy it as much as we did.



Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You're In a Romance Novel
Sure, romance novels offer are fun, pure fantasy, but can they actually teach a woman anything about love?

Absolutely!

Think about it, if a woman spent as much time plotting her romantic relationships as authors did in plotting their romance novels, there would be far less heartache. If real women took their cues from romance heroines, there may be more real-life Happily Ever Afters. Romance authors Christie Craig and Faye Hughes have turned their philosophy into a humorous self-help relationship book that lists 101 ways a woman can love like she's a romance heroine.


Romance heroines aren't perfect, they make mistakes. But by the end of the book, they've earned their walk into the sunset. How do they do it? Courage, wisdom, and some good ol' kick-ass gumption. Heroines don't wish they'd said something, they say it. They don't fret about their problems; they fix them. And couldn't we all use a little bit of their wisdom to deal with real life and with real men?

Meet Jayne. Like most romance heroines - and most real life women - she's had her share of heartaches. In Wild, Wicked and Wanton, Jayne's search for true love teaches her:

· How to recognize a Keeper . . . and a Creeper


· How to tame a Bad Boy

· How to trust her instincts

· How to find her own Mr. Right

· And Much, Much More!




Search inside this book


You can find out more about both Christie Craig and Faye Huges on their joint website, Write With Us 




39 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome to Over Coffee, Christie and Faye. I'm SO glad you could visit us today!

tonya kappes said...

Thanks for sharing C and F. It interesting how you two make it work. When I first started wiriting, I tried to co author a book and it was so hard. It never came to light....

Faye Hughes said...

Hi,Sia,

Thanks again for having us over this morning. And mmm...this coffee sure is good.

Faye

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Tonya,

I think the only thing probably harder than writing your first book is to collaborate on writing your first book. What makes it work for us is that we established our rules before we ever started writing. That and chocolate.

Thanks for dropping by!

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Hi Sia,

Thanks for having us back today.

And Tanya...you probably didn't have a compost pile to help keep your writing partner in line. LOL.

Actually, I've heard lots of horror stories about writers trying to co-author a book. I think Faye and I are lucky that our styles and minds mesh so well that there really isn't a lot to argue about. And neither of us are married to our words.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Judi Fennell said...

Knowing both of these ladies, I can personally attest to the "entertain" part! They're a riot!

They're also excellent authors (Christie, you had me at naming the hairless dog Fabio).

Hi, ladies!

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Judi,

Aww, you're making me blush. (But, yeah, wasn't Fabio a hoot? LOL.)

Thanks for dropping by, girl. Let's make sure we try and get together at National for a few.

Faye

VA said...

I can only imagine the hilarity that this book involves. Having recently been introduced to Christie Craig by Sia via this blog, I went out and while perusing the reading options snagged, Shut Up and Kiss Me. Hysterical. Laugh out loud funny.

Seeing the bantering in the interview above, I imagine Jayne's adventures are more than a little humorous. Thanks for stopping by ladies.

Question: Is there ever a day that you go to write and funny just doesn't work?

Christie Craig said...

Hi Judy!

So good to see you here.

Thanks so much for stopping by. You are always a breath of fresh air as are your books.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Hi VA!

Thank you so much for picking up Shut Up.

Hmm...Is my funny bone ever broken? I think I have days that it's working better. But amazingly, sitting down and gearing myself up to write, knowing I have to be funny, sort of forces me to get into the mood. Specialist say that even forcing a smile releases some of the good hormones, that laughing bring on. So I guess when I force myself to attempt to be funny, it helps me sort of become funny. Does that make sense?

Thanks again for showing up.

CC

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, VA,

I think CC's funny bone is always working. Plus, crazy things always seem to happen to us when we're together. Oh, the stories I could tell. LOL.

Thanks for dropping by.

Faye

Faye Hughes said...

Marie Claire magazine just did a piece about 5 Ways to Live Like you're in a Romance Novel and they quote our book. Please go take a peek.

http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/opinion/romance-novel-heroine-love-tips

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh kudos to you gals for that one.

I had a lot fun with the two of you and seeing how you work together. I really wish I was going to National this year, so I could go to this workshop. Finances and the fact they moved it too far away, preclude it.

I've seen the trailer you did on pitches and cracked up. Will this workshop you're doing at Nationals be available on Write With Us later? (*she asks wistfully)

VA said...

Great promo in the Marie Claire article, Faye. Sage advice, too. Willing to hear any of the "crazy things" that happen that either of you are willing divulge.

You can't plead the fifth to all of them.

~Sia McKye~ said...

And Faye, the coffe is always good here, ;-)and the virtual coffee bar is full of all sorts of goodies and of course I always keep Chocolate and for those who don't like chocolate *gasp, I keep things like Skittles.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh yah, I second Vivian. C'mon girls, you can share a few things with us.

Christie Craig said...

Sia,

I'm so sorry you won't be at Nationals. We will have to run into each other at another conference soon.

Sometimes we do a handout or write an article on a subject that we do at a workshop, but I don't think this is in the works right now. Personally, I've got my nose to the grind stone with two deadlines looming. YIKES! But when things calm down I'm sure you'll find something about it on the site.


CC

CC

Stephen Tremp said...

I'm not into romance novels but I know a lot of people are. But I can see how a woman can learn a thing or two. I've read a few pages of one once and it sure was smutty. Almost made me blush. Almost.

Stephen Tremp

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Sia,

Thanks so much for having us here for release day. I've been having a blast, and I'm sure CC has, too.

You saw one of our videos on Bitches? Really? That's cool - didn't know about it. LOL.

And thanks for the kudos on the MC promo. Seriously happy dancing feet today.

Faye

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, VA,

Thanks. The MC piece really was a nice surprise. Our publisher has been working very hard, and we appreciate them so much.

Now . . . about those stories. LOL.

Faye

Faye Hughes said...

Okay, how's this for a crazy story? The first time I met Christie in person was at a writers conference in NYC. I was flying in from Syracuse and got to the airport way early. I was sipping my coffee and they announced the flight to LaGuardia. What the heck, I though. My plane doesn't leave for another hour or so. I figured they changed the flight time so I got on board but it was so weird. I couldn't find my seat. It didn't even exist. The flight attendant said to sit anywhere, and I did. Got to La Guardia and, wouldn't you know it, my luggage wasn't there.

Yeah, you know what happened, right? I got on the wrong flight. My luggage arrived an hour later.

Okay, so I told Christie that story and we had a few laughs, especially since Travelocity called me and told me I had been a bad girl and to make sure I didn't repeat that mistake on my return flight. I joked, "Gee, TSA didn't figure it out but that gnome from Travelocity - you don't mess with the gnome." lol.

So, we have a great time, having wine, eating, talking. We go to bed late. At 7:00 am, the next morning, there is a pounding on the door. Then the door opens and this guy in a dark suit comes into the room. I blink at him, Christie is slowly pulling the covers off her head. The guy goes, "Ma'am, this is your 7:00 am wakeup call." I go, "Okay." He leaves. I sit back on the bed. "Christie, did you order a wakeup call?" "NO!" she says, jumping out of bed. "And in all the hotels I've been to, I've never had them deliver that wakeup in person, at least not without calling first And they never, ever enter the room to do it."

"Man," I say. "You really don't wanna piss off that gnome."

LOL.

Faye

Helen Ginger said...

What a fun interview. I don't write Romance but I want to get their Everything Guide!

~Sia McKye~ said...

*snork. Oh my gosh, too funny.

~Sia McKye~ said...

So, do the two of you have another joint venture in mind for the future? Not pissing off gmones but as in writing?

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Helen,

We hope you enjoy the Everything Guide - we had a blast writing it.

Thanks for dropping by.

Faye

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Sia.

Trust me, you do NOT want to piss off the gnome. LOL.

We do have a future project in mind but it's on the back burner for a couple of years while we focus on solo projects.

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Crazy stories? Oh, man. How much time do you have? Now, this one isn't really about romance, but it is about some very hot men.

I was having lunch with my daughter and son in law in Galveston and was trying to use up the film in my camera because I had taken some pictures of some of my daughter's artwork and was going to give her the film. I'm a photographer, so I have a pretty impressive looking camera. Upon, leaving the restaurant, I saw about ten or so very good looking firemen, all sitting in the back of a fire truck. There was some kind of fesitival going on, so there were a lot of people in the streets. I stare at the firemen and think, "Wow, that would be a great shot for my blog." So I sneak up, trying to go unnoticed to get a few shots.

One of the firemen spots me. Points me out to the other guys and then . . . Okay, what happened next completely floored me. All the firemen start taking off their clothes. I swear I'm not lying to you. Being the southern lady that I am, I do what most of you would have done. I keep taking pictures.

Then a man walks up and asks, "So are you Janice?"

I say no. And that's when he tells me that the men are all the Calendar Firemen and they were waiting on a photographer from the newspaper to come and take pictures. Oh, well, I got use the pictures, too. I even blogged about it.

Kat Sheridan said...

Ladies, sounds as if you two are having a great time, and the books sound wonderful! I'll have to pick up a few the next time I'm out. And a man in a dark suit in my room at 7AM would get way more of an eyeful than he'd ever forget!

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Kat,

LOL on the "more of an eyeful" for the man in a dark suit. My hair was sticking straight up and I felt like a zombie. Too funny.

Thanks for dropping by.

Faye

Faye Hughes said...

Sia, thanks so much for having Christie and me with you today at Thoughts Over Coffee. (Mmm. Love that coffee bar!) And a huge thank-you to everyone who came out and joined us. We had a blast. If anyone has any questions or comments, go ahead and leave them - CC and I will check back in tomorrow.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Faye

VA said...

Sorry I didn't get back earlier, but both of those stories were top-notch ladies! Gnomes and stripping firemen, I don't think it gets any better than this.

**THANKS**, Sia. Spectacular time here.

Sandy said...

Great interview questions, Sia.

Loved the great answers, CC and Faye. You make me wish I were going to the conference just to sit in your workshop and listen to you guys.

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, VA,

No worries. And, yep, gnomes and stripping firemen. You gotta love it. LOL.

Thanks for dropping by. We had a blast here at Sia's.

Faye

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Sandy,

Thanks for the kind words. We wish you were going to the conference, too. RWA conferences are some of the best, I think.

You can check out our website, www.WritewithUs.net, for our appearances.

Faye

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Ladies! This book is one that makes me smack my forehead and say, "Dang! Why didn't I think of writing that!"

I so believe in keeping romance alive in a marriage. My DH and I are still having fun, laughing together everyday and are more in love than when we tied the knot.

Thanks for sharing your terrific ideas!

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Emily,

It sounds as though you and your DH are on the path for Happily Ever After. And, guys, Emily is too shy to say so but she's got a fabulous new book out right now from Dorchester. If you love sexy Regencies, make sure you check ot Stroke of Genius - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0843963611

Thanks for dropping by, Emily.

Faye

~Sia McKye~ said...

Faye, I had the privilege of having Emily on my blog just a bit ago and I LOVE the premise of her book!

I'm so glad y'all had fun. I always have fun when I have live wires like you here!

I just got back from the family compound and swimming all day. What a great time.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Well, I'll be on the look out for your next joint venture.

So, what do you have coming out next Faye? Christie?

Goodness, I have to add to my TBR pile since I read about 25 books in May.

Faye Hughes said...

Hi, Sia,

Thanks for asking about our future projects. I'm working on some different projects -- both fiction and non-fiction -- but don't have anything definite to report.

Christie, on the other hand, has a lot of great stuff coming up. First, writing as C.C. Hunter, she has a YA paranormal series called Shadow Falls about a group of supernatural teens at a summer camp. The first book BORN AT MIDNIGHT will be releasing in February through St. Martin's Press. (The response from foreign markets has been phenomenal and because I've read the first book, I'm totally not surprised!)

Christie is also working on a new humorous romantic suspense trilogy called Don't Mess With Texas, that will be released through Grand Central in late 2010. It's about three ex-cons, also ex-cons who were sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit who are now dedicated to protecting the underdog. Sexy, funny and suspenseful! I can't wait for the first book to release.

Thanks again for having us visit you. We had a blast!

Faye