Imagine it: you’re 17, you move to a new city for your senior year of high school, and you meet a boy. The chemistry is electric between the two of you, the connection undeniable. So maybe being the new kid in 12th grade won’t be the worst thing in the world after all, right?
Until he tells you: his foster parents lost a daughter 14 years ago, and you’re the spitting image of the age-progression photos detectives mocked up a while back.
Could it be? Are you…the kidnapped daughter of your new boyfriend’s foster parents?
As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?
This is the key question that IN ANOTHER LIFE, New York Times bestselling author C.C. Hunter’s newest YA thriller hinges upon. Published yesterday, the novel delves into the mystery of Chloe’s adoption while simultaneously undertaking a look at complicated family dynamics and relationships; delving into questions of how to overcome childhood trauma and whether what we experience as children — and the choices we and our parents make — determines our fate; as well as increasingly life-and-death stakes for our two protagonists.
I was lucky enough to send a few questions to Ms. Hunter for this tour and I’m thrilled to share some of her background and story with you today. The first thing that intrigued me in researching was her name: C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym for Christie Craig, her real name and the one under which she writes humorous romantic suspense novels.
I’d labored for ages under the impression that pseudonyms were chosen to keep identities private or to, at least, separate two identities, that is, keep readers from knowing the same author is writing in both genres; however, it’s made clear on every platform online, that Christie Craig and C.C. Hunter are the same person.
“I was already publishing my humorous romantic suspense novels when an editor asked me to write a young adult paranormal series,” Hunter told me when I asked why this was. “She advised me to use a pseudonym to avoid confusing my readers since it was a different genre.” [You can find C.C. Hunter’s website here.]
Hunter grew up in Alabama, in the deep South, and says, “storytelling was infused in my blood.”
Not only did her grandfather gather her and all her cousins around him to regale them with stories, but dinnertime in her immediate family was also a time for sharing and storytelling.
“Our dinner table conversations were supposed to be interesting,” Hunter says. “If our day was boring, we had to find some deeper meaning to the mundane events or elaborate to make the conversation more interesting.”
Hunter told me she is dyslexic, meaning she wasn’t much of a reader, she struggled in school, and she didn’t allow herself to dream of being a writer. She couldn’t keep herself from dreaming up stories in her head, though.
“From the time I was about eleven, I would run off by myself into the woods, find a tree to lean on, and I would create stories in my head,” she said. “ Stories of young love and adventure…It wasn’t until I was 23 when my husband asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life that I admitted I wrote stories in my head and I wondered if I could learn to put them on paper. His reply, ‘Just do it,’ was like a challenge.”
It took 10 years to sell her first book, and another 13 years to sell a second: but she persevered, kept at it, and now she’s a bestselling author in multiple genres.
I’m going to tie this back into IN ANOTHER LIFE here, because it’s relevant, even though it might not seem so on the surface. Learning to translate the stories you’ve in your head onto paper after 23 years of believing you can’t do so takes gumption, guts, and incredible fortitude. It’s the kind of thing even I, ambitious and big-dreaming to a fault, don’t know if I could do. It’s incredibly impressive.
I’ve only read one of Hunter’s books (yes, it’s the one I’m discussing for this here blog tour ;)) but I can see that her character, Chloe, possessed similar fortitude. No, not always. She’s a 17-year-old whose life was turned upside down and in reading there were moments I wanted to step into the pages of the book and shake her and just tell her what to do.
But I know from my own experience as a writer, aspects of who we are translate into our protagonists. Our weaknesses and also our strengths. Including, when we have it, our gumption, guts, and fortitude.
I enjoyed IN ANOTHER LIFE in part because, as much as Chloe is scared to learn the truth because it will turn her life upside-down…as scared as she is of confronting people at the beginning of the book…by the end she has grown into a take-no-enemies woman who tells people what she wants and stands her ground. It’s admirable, heroic, and the kind of role model that’s needed.
If you wandered over to Hunter’s website at any point, you might notice her blog page is fairly active and up-to-date. She also releases novels regularly, has a husband, friends…the usual trappings of a life. She explained the value of prioritizing work time, including sometimes saying “no” to fun events…while at the same time realizing that it’s a balance, and sometimes she realizes she’s cutting back on too much social life.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she offered as one piece of advice to others who may be struggling to find balance. “As I have gotten busier, I have hired an assistant to help me keep up with things…The biggest piece of advice I can offer other authors juggling all things writing related is to not compare yourself to other writers. Your life is different and only you can set your goals.”
But the biggest thing to remember?
“The most important thing you can do for your career is to write the next book,” Hunter said.