C.J. Fallowfield. It’s a pen name, but my real initials are C.J.
Where are you from
I was born in Sutton Coldfield, in the West Midlands, United Kingdom. I moved to Shrewsbury in Shropshire as a child, before moving over the border into Wales eight years ago.
A little about yourself i.e. your education Family life etc
I was brought up for my first seven years in a single parent family, by my mother, who is French, but has lived in England for over 55 years now. She’s a wonderful woman, one I’m lucky to also call a best friend, though I do blame her for my lack of ability to pronounce my ‘TH’s’ just like her and lots of French people! I have an elder brother, who I still look up to. He’s an amazing, intelligent, humorous and really kind guy, if only there were more men like him! I went to an all-girl boarding school, then college, but chose to work instead of going onto University. I’m currently single and live with my nine month old baby substitute, Trouble, a gorgeous fluffy black cat.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have my latest release due out on 12th March 2015, Biker for the Night. Two books out on 10th April, Dominant for the Night and The Temptress. I’m also off to London on 18th April, as a fan girl only, to The Book Affair.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I left a long and demanding career in Finance behind me in July 2013, due to a chronic illness, to take over my family business working from home. By October 2013 I was twiddling my thumbs as I hadn’t got enough to do, I’ve been used to working flat out for years. I’d always talked about wanted to write a book, so I thought what better way to fill my free time. I’ve never looked back!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it’s really only just starting to sink in, since the anniversary of my first publication in January 2014. I worked out that I’d written nine full length novels and seven novellas in just twelve months and realised that I was really growing an organic fan base on Goodreads and Facebook. I thought to myself ‘Wow, I think I can call myself a writer now!’
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote a lot as a child, but work and life got in the way. I wanted to go back and capture that crazy imagination I had back then. I had a story in my head that I’d always wanted to write, I started with the intention of it being one book, but somehow it grew into a seven book series, The Austin Series.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I prefer first person past tense, but since my first series, I do now write in dual point of views (POV) as well. I’m considering even more pov’s in an upcoming series.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I really struggled with the title of my first book, but was getting so much conflicting advice from friends as to which options they preferred, I went with my gut. New Leaves, No Strings sums up the pact made between the two female lead characters, one to turn over a new leaf and give up one night stands, the other to lose her virginity with a hot sex no strings encounter. But of course, nothing goes to plan!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not as such, I don’t think it’s our job as authors to try and make readers see a particular message, they should take what they want from our writing. I did weave in the issue of Endometriosis to The Austin Series however. It’s a chronic and painful condition that still isn’t diagnosed fast enough for many women and more attention needs to be directed to it. I hoped that highlighting it in this series might lead to one or two women recognising some symptoms and getting help.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I try and write all of my novels to be realistic, particularly with every day events and banter, but you have to add drama, so obviously the characters experience possibly more than the average person would.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The Austin Series definitely has an element of my life weaved into it. I suffered from endometriosis for over fourteen years, not being taken seriously with the severe pains I kept complaining of. When I was finally operated on and diagnosed, it was too late and I had to have a total hysterectomy at 27. I never had the chance to have children. I’d hate for any other woman to have to go through that, sadly too many have. So yes, I think as a new writer I didn’t trust that I had the capacity to be 100% original and drew from many of my own life experiences, but everything since then has all been creative.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Enid Blyton, Franklin D. W Dixon, J.K. Tolkien and Agatha Christie were my favourite authors as a child, I had a very advanced reading age when I was young and when I have time to read I’m super-fast. With regards to the influence on my writing today, I’d never read an erotic romance book, but in December 2012 I was sick of every one at work going on and on about Fifty Shades of Grey and not knowing about it. So I read it, moved onto The Crossfire Trilogy and a few others and loved them so much I decided I wanted to try my hand at this genre, so it’s stuck! In terms of a mentor, the amazing Georgia Le Carre kindly accepted a friend request from me when I started out and she gave me so much valuable advice. We’re now good friends and do author takeovers together with another wonderful author Lan LLP. The three of us really support each other and have a genuine love for each other’s work, despite us all having very different styles.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m so behind with my reading, when I’m at home all my time is focused on writing my own work, so I tend to read when I’m away on holiday now. I fitted in five books on a four day break for my birthday last month! Next on my list is Lex’s Melody, by Leigh Stone. I won a copy from her some time ago, but as I’ll be meeting her at an author event in Birmingham in July, I’d like to have read her work before then.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, another British author called Alexandra North. Her first book, The One Awakened, reminded me of my style, hot sex scenes, laugh out loud humour and lots of alpha male romance. She’s just released her second book and I devoured that in one night. She’s one of my favourite authors at the moment.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’ve just sent out ARC’s for the last in my male escort series, For the Night, which featured the hot alpha male Logan Steele. My first standalone erotic romance, The Temptress, is with my editor as we speak. This is about a woman who runs an exclusive honeytrap agency and is unknowingly set up to tempt a former one night stand. I’m moving onto another mini-series about what steamy encounters happen behind the closed doors of a six star hotel, called The Domville. I’ve bullet pointed the bones of my next erotic romance standalone All That Glisters, featuring some characters introduced in The Temptress and I’m also considering writing a romantic comedy before the year is out, under a slightly different pen name.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I don’t think I could name just one, so I’ll cheat and narrow it down to three! Karen J, my current editor, and best friend, was the one who encouraged me to press submit on my first book and has championed me ever since, but even better, she’s not afraid to tell me if she doesn’t like something, so I owe her so much. My street team, The Fallowettes, are a fantastic bunch of ladies who all supported my work before I created my team, then the book bloggers I’ve met along the way too. I’ve been so lucky to meet some incredible women along this journey, many of whom I now class as good friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’m actually paid a full time wage for working very few hours from home, I’m so lucky. Officially that’s my career, but I devote so much time to my writing that I guess you could say that’s my main focus. I’m not sure I’d call it a career or job, because I love it so much!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change anything now in any of my books, no matter what the feedback. I write because I love to write. I write what I feel, what resonates with me at that particular moment in time. Of course I’d love for everyone who picks up my work to fall in love with it, but that’s unrealistic. You can’t please everyone all of the time and for the few people that aren’t fans, I’m fortunate to have so many more that are. Fiddling with your work to try and please everyone, you end up at risk of alienating the ones who feel in love with your work in the first place. I can think of two massive best-selling UK authors whose work I really didn’t enjoy, but thousands have. I remind myself of that from time to time. Everyone interprets a book differently.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I always wrote diaries as a child, acted out stories with my Lego characters and my local primary school had to bring in a mobile library just for me as I’d read their entire in house stock. I think I was always meant to write, I just lost myself in the number crunching world of finance along the way! Thank God I had the chance to change that.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I write hot erotic romance, so I’ll attach a few teasers to give you an idea. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, knowing when to stop and go to bed! I’m terrible for writing until the middle of the night, often getting over 10,000 words done in a day, and my wrists are really starting to suffer. I need to try and set time limit, no matter how hard that may be when inspiration is flowing.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
You like asking hard questions don’t you?! If we narrow it down to this genre, I would have to say Sylvia Day. I fell in lust with Gideon within a few pages and that’s not an easy thing to do to make a reader feel for a fictitious paper based character, especially not so fast. To me he’s the perfect alpha male, he’s strong, confident, domineering, passionate … stop me now I could go on and on. What I’ve really loved is that he’s not abusive and doesn’t exert his control forcefully in the bedroom. I do have to say though that I have held off reading book four, I was disappointed to find the original trilogy had been stretched out, I like to read books in a series back to back. So I’ll wait until she’s finished to read them all in a few days. It’s killing me waiting though!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not at the moment no, though I am lucky enough to be well travelled and use those experiences to confidently write about places I’ve visited when I take my characters abroad. I have just discovered Author Signings though! How had I not realised these happened? I’m attending my first one, as an author, for SecondCity Signing in Birmingham on Saturday 18th July this year. I’ve also signed up for ones in Essex, Birmingham and Liverpool in 2016. So I hope the book related travel will increase.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I use Kellie Dennis of Book Cover by Design. She’s great, super-efficient too. I’m sure I drive her crazy as I have a mild form of OCD and can’t let someone else take total control over anything. So I tend to tell her what I want and she comes up with a load of variations and alters them until we’re both happy.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing the last chapter of a book, or the last book in a series. You know that the readers are going to have so many expectations and it’s hard to try and make sure that you fulfil them all.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’ve learned that the Indie community (independent authors without the backing of an agent or publishing house) is an amazing one. There should be so much rivalry in this market, given how many other authors are out there, but on the whole we’re all so supportive of each other. I’ve also learned how not to go about releasing your first book, so I’m paying it back by helping other new authors with advice, just like Georgia Le Carre did for me.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read, read, read and write, write, write. The more you do of each the better. Also never release a book without having it edited. You may think you can self-edit, like I did. I can spot mistakes in other peoples work, but I can’t in my own. My brain knows what I was trying to say and skims over it. I learned that the hard way by releasing my first series without having them edited by someone else and I’m now having them all done properly.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
The biggest thank you in the world. I’m just in awe that so many readers have taken my books and characters to heart. That I wake up each day to messages and reviews saying how much they loved my books, that I made them hot, cry or laugh out loud. You can’t possibly imagine how good that makes me feel. I think every author would love to be a huge bestseller and make a fortune from their writing, but I don’t think these authors would have time to read each and every single review, or to take time out to chat one to one with their fans, and that would be a very sad day for me, regardless of sales figures. So thank you to each and every one of you for parting with your hard earned money and taking a chance on a relatively new author.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. It’s always stayed with me as I cried my eyes out!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh, pretty much everything, I have a very childish sense of humour and can laugh to the point of hyperventilation. Crying, well since I hit the early menopause I’m a blubbering mess! I cry at abandoned kitten ads on TV, so when I write an emotional scene in my books I ugly cry and wake up with the worst cryover and puffy eyes the next day!
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I never got to meet my maternal Grandmother, she died when my mum was fourteen. She raised six children, despite being very sick with a liver disease. I’d loved to have met her. I think knowing that, and seeing my mum do such an amazing job bringing up my brother and I alone for so long, is why I write strong minded, independent and feisty heroines.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
She followed her heart – In retrospect I’ve made some awful choices in my life, but I wouldn’t be here and loving what I was doing now without them.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Writing pretty much consumes most of my free time, but I love catching up with friends and family, especially if it involves a good meal and some nice wine!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I was a massive TV addict, mainly American shows, until I started writing. Now I watch with half an eye on the TV as I write. But my current favourite shows are Suits, Scandal, Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash, The Blacklist and The Following. When it comes to movies I’m an action adventure girl, my favourite films being The Raid and The Raid II.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food, too many to list. Curry and anything in the dairy family would be my top choices. Colours, I love deep rich purple and black and music. I have an eclectic taste, anything but Country music. I write with the radio on low, set to Heart FM all day.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
An Architect for sure. When I travel abroad I always try and choose cities or countries with a diverse range of buildings for me to admire and photograph.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website, which has the sign up page for my monthly newsletter, as well as my work, playlists etc is http://www.cjfallowfield.co.uk
Amazon Page http://www.amazon.co.uk/C.J.-Fallowfield/e/B00I9DG7PW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
The Austin Series
Strangers for the Night
Virgin for the Night
Filthy for the Night
Ménage for the Night
Sophisticated for the Night
Biker for the Night
Dominant for the Night – Pre-order live now
31 Days of Winter
31 Days of Summer
The Temptress – Pre-order live now
CJ Fallowfield said:
Thank you Fiona!
Sandra Hayes said:
Brilliant interview with CJ Fallowfield Love every one of her books she has a sense of humour second to none and a fab personality, and I for one hope`s that one day she`ll make it big just like EL James.
CJ Fallowfield said:
Thank you Sandra, you’re so sweet x
Maureen Turner said:
I have been a fan of CJ Fallowfield for some time and I was lucky enough to actually meet her back in December 2014. Apart from being a wonderful person her ability to write the books she has written is second to none. She en’captures you with every page. Onwards and up words C.J. Fallowfield
CJ Fallowfield said:
Ah Maureen, you guys will have me crying in a minute! Thank you x