C.J. Hawke Interview

I am delighted to be speaking with author C.J. Hawke today. Thanks for chatting with us today C.J. and welcome to FAR!
This my first author interview--it's great to be here.

To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current release Mexican Flames?
I'm a journalist. Even though I do mostly financial reporting, my work takes me all over the world. I'm the kind of girl that attracts adventure, and some of my friends who are more settled down have encouraged me to start writing about some of my stories. This is the first book in what I hope will be a series about my travels, my work, and some of the crazy characters I meet along the way.

What was your inspiration for Mexican Flames?
Although so many things fascinate me, what really makes something a story is when I'm in love. My trip to Mexico to cover the entertainment industry brought me to my knees with not just one man, but two. I had to write about it. It was one of the craziest times of my life.

What is a typical day like for you?
My days depend entirely on whatever information I need to find. These days, a journalist can do so much research online it seems like you'd never have to leave the house. Fortunately, my editor is a stickler for unique perspectives and diversity of sources, and that kind of hunting down can't always be done online. Although there is an incredible amount of information out there, our readers want more than pre-digested material. Finding fresh ideas is what gets me out of the office. If I'm writing a story about fire-eaters, I'm going to the circus. If it's a story about the drug wars, I'm going to Mexico.

When did you decide to take "pen in hand" and write with the intent to publish?
I've been writing since I was a kid, and it's always been my dream to get published in print, even today. Although I love journalism, I have always wanted to publish fiction.

Do you have any special rituals to help you get in the mood to write?
I could daydream all day, so I always have to think about my deadlines in order to get anything done. In the case of non-journalistic work, my deadline is my mortality. And since I could go at any time, I have to get it down today.

Do you have any bad writing habits?
I don't write enough.

What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
Being a writer sounds so glamorous--making your own schedule, writing what you want--but actually sitting down and writing is tedious, lonely work, and it requires me at least to really keep my life in order. I'm frustrated more often than not, and it's really easy to lose yourself--in good and bad ways. Sometimes a great day of writing gets me high. But sometimes it leaves me feeling totally insane.

What is the best advice that anyone ever gave you?
Be patient with yourself but demand the best. And always plan for something. If you plan for nothing, nothing will happen.

What's one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
C.J. Hawke is a pen name. (Is that obvious?) I am indeed a writer, but the variety and subject matter of my work has pushed me to create a separate persona. While the actual stories are fabricated, I hope that I've remained true to myself, my feelings about journalism, about love, men, women, work and life in general.

Of all things you have accomplished, is there one accomplishment you are most proud of?
Probably the answer to this next question…which is true...

Congratulations! You just won a year off from work to travel anywhere in the world and write the story of your dreams. Where do you go, what type of book do you write, and what's the title?
This is what I mean about not being too patient, and planning for things. I actually did take a year off from work to travel and write the story of my dreams. I was sick of everything and terrified that I would spend the rest of my life doing things that weren't my passion.

I went to Buenos Aires and spent months finishing a novel that I'd started while I was living in New York. It was about a girl who runs away from home on her wedding day and hitchhikes across the country. It's a really awful book. I was also really lonely and poor while living in Argentina, and I wanted to come home after a few weeks, but I was patient with myself and gave my plans the time they deserved, and it ended up being one of the best times of my life.

I can't wait to go on another writing adventure, hopefully with better luck in the writing department, now that I've gotten that crappy novel out of my system. I'd like to spend a year in and around Istanbul writing a novel called "The Decade I Almost Died." It would be about all the terrible decisions I made in my twenties and how I miraculously survived them all.

Can you share a little of your upcoming works with us?
This series of work is going to be a series. The next installment describes a story I chased up to Canada in the middle of winter last year, and the third installment describes a story about the leather industry, for which I went to Italy. It was absolutely incredible.

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your works?
I'm on Facebook! I'll have information about my upcoming releases there.

Is there anything else you would like to add today?
I hope you enjoy my book--and I promise the second one is even better!

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us today C.J.!
Thank you!

Interviewed by: Tammy