C.C. Sommerly - Blurring the Lines Between Good and Evil In Heart-Pounding Urban Fantasy
CC has been known to trip on a perfectly smooth surface, burn herself when cooking, and has an unhealthy attachment to coffee. As with her everyday life, she likes to bring a sense of unexpected to her stories, blurring the lines between good and evil with genre-bending fiction. CC is a Marine veteran, who was born and raised in Redding, California. Currently, she lives in Virginia with her kids, cats, and a crazy Doberman. As our Author of the day, she tells us about her book, The Hidden.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Hidden is about?
The Hidden takes place thirty years in the future in a post-apocalyptic world. It follows the journey of a disgraced Marine, Teagan. She makes a colossal and irreversible mistake that forces her to discover hidden truths about herself and her world. On the way, she faces a decision: embrace the monster within or let the monsters win.
What inspired you to write about a government experiment, mixing the DNA of demons with that of humans?
Humans have a long obsession with building a better and more advanced military, soldier, and technology. I took that concept and added it to a post-apocalyptic earth. In a world overrun with demons, what better defender could you have then one that could meet demons on equal footing? By experimenting with DNA, scientists could create a hybrid human that was their “backup plan” in the event that demons broke the treaty and became our enemies.
Tell us more about Teagan. What makes her so special?
There is literally no other creature in the world like Teagan. She is a fierce and protective Marine and her entire life is centered around helping others. When her life crumbles and her primary purpose is taken away, she must learn to handle knowing that nothing about her life and herself is what she thought it was. She is forced to undertake a journey to discover the hidden truths about herself and the world around her.
You like to blur the lines between good and evil in your books. Why do you take this approach?
I think very few things in life are clear cut. There is rarely a clearly defined black and white on issues. Instead, there are shades of gray to so many things. Having no obvious right or wrong is intriguing to me because it presents a dilemma to the characters. They are often forced to make a decision that might not be the ideal, the best one, or even one they want to make. Sometimes, the only decision you can make is the least bad one. Teagan, the main character in The Hidden, is continually challenged by situations that call into question her beliefs in herself and the world around her. She has to consider what makes something or someone evil and what makes it good. As she reevaluates her beliefs, she grows as a character and person.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Wrangling five kids, while creating secret worlds in my head; doing photography; using my black thumb of death to its full advantage – no cactus or air plant can survive its deadly touch; ability to sing slightly on-key karaoke; possessing a knack for injuring myself in the most random and unusual ways (I burnt myself by knocking a cooking potato out of the stew pot and onto my foot. I still have the scar from it.); grilling anything; and I’m a gamer dork (Fortnite anyone?).
You are a Marine veteran. How has this influenced your writing?
Becoming a Marine is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. It taught me so much about loyalty, pride, dedication, sacrifice, and being a part of a unique group of people. I carry over a lot of these qualities and traits to my lead characters. I tend to write about strong female leads – both physically and emotionally strong. I think that strength can also be a character’s biggest weakness. They’ve learned to depend on having the ability to slay demons, like in Teagan’s case, or solve cases like Marty in the Croft and Sterling Paranormal PI Agency series.
The Hidden is the first book in a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
The Hybrids Series in which The Hidden is a part of and it should be read as a series. The story of Teagan and the Hybrids carries over from each book and as their story evolves. The challenges won’t be resolved until the final book.
Why Urban fantasy? What drew you to the genre?
I mainly read urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When I started writing, I gravitated to writing the genre I was the most familiar with and would enjoying writing. A big part of the appeal of urban fantasy is that it weaves in legends, lore, myth and fantasy. And, who doesn’t love dragons and fae and all sorts of supernatural creatures?
What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?
I never fully know where my story is going or the full understanding of who the characters are. So, the most fun in writing this book came from discovering the characters and the trouble and predicaments they found themselves in.
Readers describe the story as a heart-pounding, pulse-raising and nail-biting experience. How did you pull this off?
When I write, I always start with a very loose outline that literally contains bullet points with each scene I want to have in the book. I also have some idea of the characters for the story. As I write, I learn more about the characters, their world, and the story unfolding. By not knowing the direction of the story, I leave the option to add in things that I didn’t expect or predict.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I try to write every day. It helps keep me focused on the story and ensures I meet my deadlines. That is a pretty standard habit for most writers, but one thing I do differently is that I love to write on my phone. Seriously, once the household is asleep, I feverishly type on my phone. I get more written in a shorter period of time doing this.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently finishing up the sequel in the Croft and Sterling Paranormal PI Agency series. Once it’s done, I will start the fourth book in the Hybrids Series: The Embattled. In between these two, I’m researching for a new upcoming series that I’ll be writing with another author, Katie Epstein.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website is a good resource for information about my books. You can access my site at https://ccsommerly.com/books. I also post to my Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1339244776231092/