Welcome to my blog spot- grab a cup of coffee and a good book ;-)
C. R. Pugh is the author of Hunted in the Valley and Secrets of the Valley, two great young adult novels that are packed with action, intrigue and even some romance. She's a runner, GIF queen on Twitter, wife and mother.
I recently "sat down with her" after reading book 2 of her Valley series, Secrets of the Valley, and asked her some questions about it, her writing and what this busy former teacher is up to next!
Here's what she told me:
Me: Hi CR, tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?
CR: I actually didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. Books have always been a part of my life and I have a vivid imagination. During my childhood, I had terrible nightmares. My mom taught me to make up happy endings for my nightmares so they wouldn’t be scary anymore. That has always stayed with me. Even now, when I have detailed dreams, I can’t help but think about them until they blossom into interesting stories. Seven years ago, I finally took up the challenge to actually write one of those stories down.
Me: What inspired you to write the Valley Series?
CR: It was one of my strange dreams that inspired Hunted in the Valley. I’d been thinking about that dream, turning it into story, for a couple of years when a teacher-friend of mine told me I simply had to write it. I thought she was crazy. “I'm not a writer! I can’t write books!” My friend was writing a book at the time as well and I felt that small voice saying, “Huh, maybe you can write it.” I knew I would never know if I didn’t try, so I sat down one day and said, “I’m doing this.”
Me: Nice! Well, I’m glad you did :-) Which character of the series is your favorite? Why?
CR: When I started writing Hunted in the Valley, my favorite character was Ravyn. I love strong female characters, especially fighters. It’s my favorite kind of story to read. Right now, moving into book 3, I think I am loving Pierce more and more. In Hunted, there a lot of mystery surrounding his character. I’ve enjoyed bringing his personality to light and show his true colors. Thorne’s sisters were a lot of fun to write as well. They are audacious and funny. You will enjoy getting to know them!
Me: Oooh, I can’t wait to get to know more about Pierce! How intriguing! Did anyone in real life inspire your character, Ravyn? Thorne?
CR: No one in real life inspired my characters. I will admit, however, that it was Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer that was in the dream I had about this story. That’s where Thorne’s blonde hair came from.
Some of Ravyn’s traits come from me. I was always terrified of the dark and had bad dreams.
I mainly took a few of my favorite qualities from characters I enjoyed watching or reading and created two people that might mesh well together.
Me: Spike! Ah, love it!! What are you working on now?
CR: I am in the middle of writing book three of the Old Sequoia Valley series now. I’m hoping to be finished by the end of March. The title has not been decided on.and my editor will not get it until September but I’m excited about how the story is going to unfold!
Me: I’m super excited for book 3… Now, how many books are there going to be in the Valley Series?
CR: To be honest, it’s hard to say. When I first started writing Hunted, I meant for it to be a stand alone. I was a brand new writer and didn’t know what I was doing! My story just kept going, so I finished book one and started book two. I would like to say that this series will finish in three books to be a well-rounded trilogy, but I am open to four if the story takes me in that direction. Whatever I do, I won’t be rushing an ending. Readers deserve to have a fantastic finale for Ravyn and Thorne!
Me: Haha! Yes we do ;-) I’m all for more books myself :-) So, what are you planning for after the series is complete?
CR: After I finished Hunted in the Valley seven years ago, I didn’t know where the story was going, so I set it down and wrote two other books. One of them was a historical fantasy set in the Pre-Revolution American Colonies. I have a wonderful cast for this story. Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets the Patriot. The story is much lighter and funnier than the Old Sequoia Valley series. I’m excited to get back to that story.
Me: OMG! That sounds fantastic! I can’t wait to read it! Now, as a wife and mother, how do you get any writing done?
CR: I am lucky to be able to stay at home while my daughter goes to school all day. I spend much of that time writing and editing. Summertime is much more difficult while she is home all day. The early morning hours are my friend during those months.
Me: Got ya! Glad you can get that needed writing time in. Tell us a little about the next book of the series! When is its debut?
CR: In book three, Ravyn and Thorne have been reunited, but General Wolfe still remains hidden inside the compound. They must find a way to eliminate him without killing a lot of innocent people. Max, a Warrior from the hunt in book one, is stepping forward and giving us his point of view from inside of Peton now that Thorne and a small contingent of Warriors have gone back to the Valley. You will continue to see Thorne’s sisters, and I’m excited to introduce some new and interesting characters to the story. The scientist inside the compound - his name is Audrick - will be making his debut in book three as well. It was important to me to tell his side of the story, knowing what was happening inside the compound.
Right now, I am hoping that book three will be ready to launch by the middle of November, just in time for Christmas!
Me: Oohh, all good stuff!! I’m so excited!! CR- I gotta ask! What drew you to the YA genre?
CR: Harry Potter. My sister pushed those books in my hand and told me I had to read them. My love of young adult books grew from there. It helped that I worked at the middle school level most of my teaching career. We had an amazing librarian - I called her my book-dealer! She and I could talk books for hours and she always had recommendations for me. Thank you, Heather!
Another reason I write YA is because I want to write books that appeal to boys. There were a few boys in my classes that truly loved reading, but others could never find anything they enjoyed. Hunger Games and Harry Potter seemed to be the only ones they would pick up. I challenged myself to write books that would appeal to both males and females alike.
Me: That’s awesome!!! I love YA books myself, well books in general really, LOL but the Hunger Games was such a great series! Speaking of the Hunger Games and Harry Potter! Who are your favorite authors/books?
CR: The Razorland Trilogy by Ann Aguirre, the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, Legend trilogy by Marie Lu, Hunger Games by Sarah Collins, and the Finishing School for Spies series by Gail Carriger have been my biggest influences and favorite reads.
Me: I plan to get into the Throne of Glass series myself, so many great books out there to read!! What do you love about writing?
CR: I love that my imagination finally has an outlet. I’ve had all these stories inside my head all these years and I never believed anything would come of them. Even if all of my stories don’t make it to publication, it’s thrilling to see my characters coming to life.
Me: Agreed!! I love letting them take control and see what happens, it’s such a good feeling. Final question- What are you looking forward to in 2019?
CR: The first thing I’m looking forward to is finishing book three of the Old Sequoia Valley series and giving my characters an amazing ending to their journey.
I’m also excited to begin a new story. My goal is to write one new book before the year’s end. I have a couple of ideas for stand-alone novels. One is a high fantasy and the other is a historical fiction.
Me: Wow, I can’t wait to see what new and wonderful stories you generate, CR. Thank you for taking the time to sit with me and discuss your work. It’s been a true pleasure!
You can find C.R. Pugh’s Hunted in the Valley and Secrets of the Valley both available now on Amazon (Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and in paperback)
C.R. Pugh grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia where she graduated high school. After graduating college she moved to Texas and began her teaching career. Ms. Pugh never imagined becoming a writer and, in fact, hated most of her literature classes growing up!
It was the growing popularity of Harry Potter and, later on, Hunger Games that drew Ms. Pugh back into the world of fiction. Living in the North Dallas area, Pugh began working at a middle school with a fabulous library (and a wonderful librarian **my book-dealer**). Pugh was well-supplied with books that she just devoured.
It was there at that particular middle school, while teaching full time, that she began tinkering with the idea of writing her own work of fiction. Pugh's debut novel, Hunted in the Valley was published August 2018. The sequel came out February 2019. Book 3 (title TBD) is on track to be released November 2019.
C.R. Pugh is now a full time stay at home mom and writer. She loves being involved at her daughter's elementary school. Other hobbies include reading (of course),running long distance, binge-watching NCIS, and making Friends jokes about anything and everything!
Shanna Swenson, Author of the Abundance series
Shanna loves a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart. She also loves supporting her fellow indies.