Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Character spotlight ~ CJ Darlington's Christy & May Williams

Today the spotlight shines on sisters, Christy & May Williams

CJ Darlington is one amazing lady! Co-founder of TitleTrakk.com, antiquarian book buyer,
author, winner of the Operation First Novel contest, daughter, sister and friend! I'm privileged to spotlight her characters, Christy and May from her excellent debut novel, Thicker Than Blood and I hope you enjoy the insight.

Over to you, CJ:~

Brief physical description:

Christy Williams is thirty-three and average height---five four or so. Her natural hair color is light brown, but recently she’s bleached it blonde to please her boyfriend. Life hasn’t been easy on her, and it shows up on her features. In fact, the first time her younger sister May sees her after fifteen years, it shocks her. The beautiful sister she’d idolized as a girl has the face of a much older woman. She tries to hide behind makeup, but there’s no denying what her hard living has done to her.

May on the other hand could pass for someone in her twenties. Living and working on a cattle ranch and spending her days outside has given her wrinkles around her eyes and on her cheeks, but her youthful features dominate her face. She’s a few inches taller than Christy, and working outdoors has helped her maintain the figure she had as a teenager.

Actor/famous person

I’ve been thinking about how to answer this question now for years (I hoped someday you’d ask it, Rel!) I’m not as up on current actors or celebrities as some, so it’s hard to nail down someone famous. But . . . I’ve always maintained that actress Tracey Gold reminds me a little of Christy. Especially that mug shot photo that’s circulating the internet. Since Christy’s arrested for a DUI in the first scene of Thicker than Blood, it’s kinda appropriate (sorry, Tracey!).

Now May’s another story. If someone were to play her in a movie, I think I’d want it to be an unknown actress. Just a normal young woman who wasn’t model-thin and could actually physically do some of the things May does on the ranch. I was paging through a book called The Montana Cowboy by David Stoecklein one day, and I think I spotted May.

Strengths and weaknesses:

Christy is an alcoholic. There are reasons behind her addiction, but alcohol really has run (and ruined) her life. She’s not proud of it. But she doesn’t know how to change. In fact, she doesn’t believe she’s capable of change.

May is a strong character in many ways. She’s independent and fun loving. But her weakness is her struggle to trust God despite her circumstances. She’s facing financial ruin and about to lose her beloved ranch. She can’t see any way out. Trusting God is not coming easy to her.

Rel: I imagined Kristen Paige Williams as May

Quirk (if any):

Wow, I don’t think I gave these characters any quirks! How bad is that? I’m wracking my brain here . . . Rel, what do you think? Can you think of any? J

Rel: Mmmm....well, Christy certainly has a penchant for digging a hole for herself and as for May...I'm not sure either! Maybe some of you who have read the book can point one out??

Your inspiration for the character:

When I was a kid, my sister Tracy and I would play make-believe games with our best friend, Erica. We would each pretend to be a different person and make up stories for them as we went along. One of the characters we invented was a woman named Christy. She was originally a real estate agent, and she had a sister named May who lived on a farm. Often Christy would go visit May on the farm, and we had great fun inventing scenarios for them. As I got older, I asked myself, “What if I wrote a story featuring these characters?” They’ve developed and changed over the years, of course. But that core idea for Christy and May is still there.

Background to the story:

When I first started writing Thicker than Blood, I was fifteen years old. I still have the notebook in which I wrote that first draft. I had no idea that little story would become my first published novel.

Many things changed along the way. Christy obviously didn’t stay a real estate agent. I found myself bored to tears trying to research real estate. My mom was the one who actually suggested I make Christy a used book dealer because of my own interest in rare books. Something clicked, and a whole new story was born.

My fictional bookstore, Dawson’s Book Barn, is based on real-life bookstore Baldwin’s Book Barn in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I began my career in antiquarian books scouting for Baldwin’s. In fact, the manager at the time was the one who taught us the points of a first edition For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. I made that book play a prominent role in Thicker than Blood.

I hope the theme of redemption is clear in this story too. One of my goals as a writer is to show people that no one is ever too far gone for God’s love. You can never step so far away that one step back won’t place you in His arms.

Thanks, CJ! What a delight to have you on my blog as a published author! So excited for you, still :) Bring on the next novel - hehehe!

On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Rueben Burns from Stacy Hawkins Adam's, Dreams That Won't Let Go.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Thicker Than Blood

Visit CJ's website and blog

Check out TitleTrakk.com, founded by CJ and her sister, Tracy

Buy CJ's book at Amazon or Koorong


Don Hoesel said...

Thanks for the insights. My copy should be on the way. I look forward to reading it.

C.J. Darlington said...

Thanks so much for having me (and May and Christy). We really appreciate it! :)

Jenny said...

Great spotlight...I really enjoyed getting to know May and Christy better.

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