Sep 01

Saturday Six Pack – CJ Urban – Author of Diary of a Dead Girl

This week’s Saturday Six Pack is with new indie author, CJ Urban, who recently launched her first book, Diary of a Dead Girl. The book came to my attention through a recommendation I received from another author who suggested I check it out. I did and I have to say that it’s a strong debut. CJ is very talented and I’m looking forward to seeing where she takes her Julie Townsend series.

Diary of a Dead Girl centers around Julie Townsend, who is 23. In the very beginning of the book, Julie’s parents die, leaving her with custody of her ten year old brother, Sam. In her quest to give Sam a better life, she moves them to Dupont, which is a small town outside of Sacramento. Her uncle allowed her and Sam to live in his old house rent free. On the day that they move in, she was told that the only rule was not to move any of Tara’s things. Tara was Julie’s cousin who was murdered when she was sixteen, and her bedroom was left as a shrine. The door to Tara’s bedroom is locked and when Julie decides to get inside of it, she meets a man, Skye, at the hardware store. Julie opens the door to the bedroom and finds Tara’s diaries. Julie thinks that because of what the diaries say that the wrong person was convicted of Tara’s murder. Julie drags Skye on a journey to find her cousin’s killer. On their list for adventure is breaking and entering, a suspicious sheriff, a troubled young man, and a deadly secret that someone does not want out, and will do anything to keep them from finding out.

CJ Urban’s `Diary of a Dead Girl’ is a quick, delightful read. I am really big on books that do not go into excessive details and explaining, and this book has just the right mix of details and simplicity. This is CJ Urban’s debut novel and I have to say I was extremely impressed. The storyline was smooth, the mystery exciting and the characters were loveable. Full of mystery and a lazy Sunday feel, this is one book that you can read in one sitting, and still want more. It also leaves itself wide open for a sequel, as I was very upset by the ending. (I won’t tell you why!) I am looking forward to the next installment.

1) Congratulations on the launch of Diary of a Dead Girl. Can you tell us a bit about the genesis of the story and your overall writing process?

Diary of a Dead Girl came about, first and foremost, from my love of mysteries. Searching for the truth has always fascinated me. The story developed after deciding that I wantedmy book to have a female protagonist who had a dream of becoming a private investigator. The rest of the story created itself, really, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

My overall writing process is more about organizing myself more than anything else. If I’m organized and I know exactly what I want my characters to be doing in the story, the writing just flows.

2) What made you decide to move forward as an indie author? What’s been your experience to date as an indie?

I decided to move forward as an indie author the moment I graduated from college. At first I was going to become a teacher, but the current climate in that field made it difficult,so I decided to change my focus to writing a book instead. I had always wanted to write, ever since I was a little girl, and when I saw members of my family having success with their books on kindle I thought, “Hey, that’s what I want to do!” From there it was as if a switch in my head had been flipped, and I knew the world of writing was where I wanted to be.

To date my experience as an indie writer has been amazing. I’m blessed to have a book that’s doing well, and I’m beginning to see a fan base appearing, which is extremely fun.The part I love the most is connecting with other authors and my readers.

3) As you know all too well, there are a ton of books out there competing for everyone’s attention. Could you share those marketing and promotional strategies you have found to be most successful?

The strategies I’ve found to be most successful are those that get you into your readers’ world. The two platforms I use most of the time are Facebook and Twitter. Using these two takes some work, but it’s worth it to be able to connect with other authors and readers. Connecting is an awesome two way street. My friends and followers promote for me, and I do the same. That’s the best way, in my opinion, to market a book. Connecting with my readers is the fun part for me, because I write so others can escape for a little while into a world they’ve never experienced before.

4) When you’re preparing to begin a new book, at what point do you know when you’re actually ready to start writing?

I know I’m ready to begin writing when my full outline is complete, and I feel confident in the direction I’m taking my characters. I’m the type of person that needs the organizationthe outline brings. Until I know where my story is headed, I can’t effectively start the book.

5) Diary of a Dead Girl is the first in your Julie Townsend series. Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the series as well as what you’re currently working on and when we might expect tosee it launched?

The Julie Townsend Series is so fun for me, because at this point I don’t know for sure how many books are going to be in it. So far it’s a trilogy, but that could change as my characters develop. I’m currently working on book two, Secrets of a Dead Girl. I don’t have a final release date yet, but I will certainly let everyone know well in advance when they can expect it to be available.

6) Last question, and it’s the one I ask everyone because I’m intrigued by every writer’s ongoing effort to improve. If you could change one thing about yourself as a writer, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about myself as a writer it would be to would follow my schedule more closely. I tend to stray from my schedule, and that’s not good when you are trying to get your next book out.


1 comment

  1. C.J. Urban

    Looks great! Thanks again for the opportunity to be interviewed by you!

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