Published on December 18th, 2012 | by BookCrack2
Interview: Captive in the Dark’s C J Roberts Details How Caleb’s Character Came to Light
SQUEEEE! isn’t a strong enough emotion. Holy F*ckburgers is more like it!
We’ve been playing email tag with bestselling erotic romance author C.J. Roberts since early fall and we are just so psyched that she’s agreed to take over Bc today with her guest post.
For the uninitiated, C.J. is the author of the seriously dark, sexy and controversial erotic romances CAPTIVE IN THE DARK and SEDUCED IN THE DARK (review). They deal with a very unique couple with very dark and tragic issues. There is a sense of possible questionable consent. There is a kidnapping. There is a bit of Stockholm syndrome–and we think we have it, too.
Love him or hate him, the hero of this series grabs you and I found it impossible to put down. Even when I hated him.
These are in our What to Read After Fifty and Top Ten Erotic Romances of 2012. In fact, this series has garnered such a strong and loyal fan base that they successfully wrote it in and book 2 SEDUCED made it to Goodreads Semi-finals for Best Romance of 2012.
But rather than ask the same old questions we asked her one thing:
What Makes Caleb…Caleb? How did such a dark, alpha hero come to be?
It Takes Character (Development).
By c j Roberts
When Book Crack first approached me to do a guest post, I had the reaction I always have: my face scrunched up and I thought, ‘What the f*ck am I supposed to write about?’ The truth is, my head is not a playground full of epic ideas. I wish it were, but it isn’t.
So, how? How did I write two books? How am I going to write a third? Well, I’m going to do what I do best – I’m going to create a character. Once you have an amazing character – the story will come.
When I began writing Captive in the Dark, I had a difficult time finding my focus. I wrote a lot of sex scenes because they were the easiest for me. They were sexy, but they lacked depth. So I tried to focus on the plot. Originally, the entire story was told from Livvie’s point of view. She was the only character I had cared to explore and I quickly found that surrounding my main character with a bunch of ‘shells’ wasn’t doing me or the story any favors. Finally, I did what I should have done from the very beginning – I asked myself, WHY?
Why does Caleb choose Livvie?
Why does Livvie fall in love with Caleb?
Why is Caleb doing these things to Livvie?
Why is revenge so important?
Why is Caleb so loyal to Rafiq?
Why is there a bond between these two characters?
Why don’t they share this bond with anyone else?
Once I started asking myself why, Caleb began to emerge. As I searched my thoughts for the best way to answer each of my questions, Caleb began to have a past to shape his future. I knew his past had to be horrific enough to ingrain his thirst for vengeance on his soul. Once I knew his past, I could understand his loyalty. Once I understood his loyalty, I knew why he would do ANYTHING to maintain his relationship with Rafiq. I also knew why his actions toward Livvie would torture him.
I could go on, but the short and sweet of it is – once I knew Caleb, I knew what he would do. After that, I was a woman possessed. I sat at my computer and I let Caleb and Livvie have their way with me. They told me their fears and desires and I poured them onto the page. (Bc: Does she ever!) Whenever I got stuck, I would start asking myself ‘WHY’ again.
I wrote all my questions and answers on separate index cards. I stared at them for hours, moving the questions to different spots in the story and plotting the answers. Until one night, they all came together. I moved my cards around and around until they formed a coherent story.
Then I wrote until my fingers begged for mercy! I’m not kidding; I had to hold bags of ice when I was done because my fingers were swollen.
Right now, I am in the process of asking myself a series of questions about Agent Matthew Reed from Seduced in the Dark. I didn’t set out to write about him at first, but because he was such an important character in SitD, I had to ask myself what motivated him.
Why is he in the FBI?
Why does he take his job so seriously?
Does he have a lot of friends? Why/not?
Does he date?
What does he do when he’s alone?
What does he eat?
Where does he live?
What are his parents like?
What are the moments that have shaped his life?
What turns him on? Why?
I’m still in the process of answering a lot of questions about Agent Reed, but what I have intrigues me enough to keep asking the questions. I hope that when it’s all said and done, I’ll have a character worthy of following someone as great as Caleb and Livvie.
I hope this small post has given all of you aspiring writers a good starting point. You don’t have to be the best (I’m not); all you have to do is give it your best (I do).
~Being a writer takes character.
And we think she really nailed it with Dark Duet. The time she took to get into Caleb and Livvie’s heads is evident and we CAN NOT WAIT for Agent Reed and his backstory to emerge in Book 3!
Thank you C.J.!
Tina and the Bc Gals