Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome R.J. Crayton, who writes science fiction thrillers. She left a career as a journalist to care for her young children, but writing wouldn’t leave her alone. She’s published the first two books in her series, Life First and Second Life, and the third will be released later this year.
Hello, R.J. You’ve worked as a journalist for some very large publications, but do you remember when you first called yourself a “writer” or “author?”
I’ve always loved to write, and I first called myself a writer when that’s what I did for a living. I’ve written for the Kansas City Star, Wichita Eagle, and several smaller publications. I’ve called myself an author since publishing my book in June 2013, so not really that long.
Since you were once a reporter, how about giving us a sample of how you’d write a brief article about yourself as an author on the rise.
Ha ha, I feel like a ringer answering this question. But, here goes:
WASHINGTON – With the new ease of self-publishing, it seems these days that everyone’s published a book. Many of these books are simply work the authors “put out there” to see what happened. What happened was nothing. A newcomer to the pile last year was author R.J. Crayton, an Illinois native who came east with her husband and never left. She’s written two novels, part of a dystopian thriller series, and something has happened: readers are clamoring for more.
Excellent. I find it very difficult to write about myself, but you did a fine job. You have the third book in your series almost ready for publication. Tell us a little bit about the book.
Right now, I’m completing the third book in the Life First series. It still needs a title (yikes!). The first draft is done, but it needs editing and beta readers. I’m also working on a paranormal YA novel, which is a lot of fun. It’s loosely titled Scented.
Since you’re relatively new to the Indie Author thing, what knowledge have you acquired that might assist other writers?
I’ve learned many things. One is to ask for help if you don’t know something because the writing community is extremely generous with its time and assistance. The second thing is to get not just professional covers, but covers that are eye catching and help pull in your readers. I recently underwent a cover change. The previous cover was well done and professional, but I think a little too abstract for the subject matter.
That’s an interesting point. I’ve considered changing the cover on my latest release which is very nicely done by a professional, too. But I don’t think it pulls folks in. I’ll be interested in how the change worked for you. Since you’ve been writing a series, do all your books have a common theme or thread?
At present, the only books I’ve written are all part of the same series, so they clearly have a common thread. They all involve this same Life First society and how it reacts when people, Kelsey and Susan in particular, go against the grain.
What kinds of techniques do you like to use in your writing?
The main thing I do is try to make my writing page turning. I want my readers to want to keep going, to feel like they don’t want to put the book down. If they shove their kids in front of a continuous loop of Dora the Explorer or the Fresh Beat Band so they can read my book, I’ll absolve them of their guilt, because that was always my nefarious plan.
That’s a great plan.What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?
Life First got a great review from Griffin’s Honey Blog: “This novel was a poignant, riveting, thought-provoking read that had me entranced from page one until the very end of the book. In simple speak, I literally could not put it down.”
I’m sure that felt rewarding since that should be the goal for all writers. Tell us the one sentence pitch for the new book.
Strong-willed Kelsey Reed must escape tonight or tomorrow her government will take her kidney and give it to someone else.
Geez, I hope she escapes. That certainly captures the reader’s attention. How was the book was conceived in your imagination?
I got the idea after seeing an article about a woman who refused to have cesarean section because she didn’t want to be “sliced open like a pig” and the baby died. There was much conjecture over whether doctors should have simply done surgery without the woman’s permission to save the baby. After reading the article, I wondered what a society would look like if it pitted one person’s survival against another. A society where they’d slice you open and take what they needed to save someone else.
Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.
My favorite non-spoiler scene is one where Kelsey and Luke discuss what will happen if she doesn’t escape: a holding facility. In holding facilities, the future’s answers to prisons, inmate are held until their organs are needed by law abiding citizens. At that point, the organs are harvested and the inmates die. Kelsey has this great line about holding facilities being the “used parts drawer the government reaches into to cure it’s neediest patients.” That’s a great, early scene in the book, one of my favorites.
What else do you want readers to know about your book?
It’s an Awesome Indies Approved book.
Thanks for stopping by today, R.J. I wish you the best on your books and the completions of the unnamed book 3.
About R.J. Crayton: She grew up in Illinois and now lives in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. She is a fiction writer by day and a ninja mom by night (What is a ninja mom, you ask? It’s the same as a regular mom, only by adding the word ninja, it explicitly reveals the stealth and awesomeness required for the job of mom). Before having children, Crayton was a journalist. She’s worked at big publications like the Wichita Eagle and the Kansas City Star, and little publications like Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News. Her first novels, Life First and Second Life, were published in 2013. The third novel in the series will be released in 2014.
Website: R.J. Crayton
Facebook: R.J. Crayton, Author