Book Giveaway & Author Interview: Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield

Welcome to Author Cheryl Rainfield


Bio:

I love to read. Books nurture me, helped me survive the abuse I endured as a child and teen. I also love to write. I write fantasy books and edgy, realistic fiction for teens.
My fantasy books often hold hope that I need, and feel others might need, too, while my realistic fiction is gritty, intense, and emotional. All of my books have fragments of the abuse I experienced. I write about some of the harsh things teens go through…things that I think shouldn’t be hidden. But I also write about healing, hope, and love, and finding courage and strength.
In SCARS (WestSide, 2010), Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself before it’s too late. There’s a lot of me in SCARS; like my main character, Kendra, I am an incest survivor, I used self-harm to cope, and I’m queer. And it’s actually my arm on the cover. In my teen paranormal fantasy, HUNTED (WestSide, Oct 2011), Caitlyn is a telepath in a world where that is illegal, and she must choose between saving herself or saving the world. Like Caitlyn, I know what it’s like to have my life threatened, to have someone stalk me, and to have to decide between hiding my true self or being who I am, even if that means danger to myself. I also drew on my experience with cults and ritual abuse in creating the world that Caitlyn lives in.
Books were my survival during my childhood, and my journey into myself. Books give me hope. I hope mine will give you hope, too, or something that you need.

http://cherylrainfield.com/blog/

Interview
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I used to want to have telepathy, like my character Caitlyn in HUNTED (Dec 02). Now, after writing about it, I think it could be overwhelming and painful at times. I think it might feel freeing to be able to fly, or more gratifying to have healing powers. I would love to be able to heal the people I love.

One food you would never eat?
Meat. I’m a vegetarian. I saw too many animals and people be killed when they didn’t want to be, to feel comfortable eating meat.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
When I was a child and teen, my abusers repeatedly threatened to kill me if I talked. Writing (and art) became my way of saying things I couldn’t say aloud. It was my way to have a voice.
I also loved books–they gave me safety, and helped me hope and dream, and see what kind, safe people and families were like. They also helped me want to write.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I think it’s all the reader letters I receive. I get letters from readers every week for SCARS, telling me how it helped them to stop cutting, get into therapy, talk about being queer or a sexual abuse survivor or their self-harm for the first time, how my book helped them feel less alone. And I also get letters from people who didn’t go through those things, but who now understand them better or have greater compassion. That is what I hoped for, and more! It’s an incredible, feel-good experience to know that my book has touched so many people in such a positive way.

It was also so lovely, feel-good, and exciting to receive awards and acclaim for SCARS, including the Governor General Literary Award finalist, ALA 2011 Top 10 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers; ALA Stonewall Book Award Nominee, and to have it be on the Rainbow List Biography. And getting blurbs from authors I admire and love the work of–like Lois Duncan, Ellen Hopkins, Gail Giles, Wendy Orr, Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson, Julie Anne Peters, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, Marlene Perez, Adele Griffin, Cinda Williams Chima, and Pam Bachorz–those were each a thrill!

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?
If you believe in your writing, if you want to get published, don’t give up. It took me ten years to get SCARS published.
Read books on writing technique, or if you can’t learn that way, take some classes.
Join a writers’ critique group in your genre, and get some feedback on your work. It can take many drafts to get it into a publishable state.
Read a lot–especially in the genre you write in, but also outside of it a bit.
Write what you need to write.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Yes. I always put a lot of myself (and my trauma experiences) into my books. I can see myself in Kendra (from SCARS) in her being vulnerable and in pain; in her being a sexual abuse survivor, queer, and using self harm to cope; in her using art to help herself, and needing therapy as a support; in the way she needs people. And in her inner strength, and her determination to heal and to confront her abuse memories even though she’s in so much pain.
And I see myself in Caitlyn (from HUNTED) in her acute awareness of others’ emotions; in her compassion for others and her wanting to help save or protect others; in her standing up to oppression; in her finding a voice and trying to be who she really is even though it puts herself in danger and others try to suppress it; and in her vulnerability and strength.
Both characters are survivors, and so am I.

What was your favorite children’s book?
I had so many, and they’re still favorites of mine. A few of them are: Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan; The Third Eye by Lois Duncan; The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key; Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt; Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery; The Pigs Are Flying by Emily Rodda; The Magic Grandfather by Jay Williams; The Toothpaste Genie by Frances Duncan; and The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter.

If you were a superhero what would your kryptonite be?
Feeling like I have to save everyone in pain.

What do you do in your free time?
I don’t have much free time right now–writing and book promotion are both full-time jobs. But I love to (and make time to) read good books (especially YA, middle grade, and picture books) and comics; watch a good movie or show; spend time with friends and the people I love; play with my dog; create art; blow bubbles; bake cookies–and, of course, eat them!

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I bought a print by Rob Gonsalves–Bedtime Aviation from his and Sarah L Thompson’s picture book Imagine a Night, and I framed and hung it.

Finish the sentence– One book I wish I had written is… 
Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, The Pigs Are Flying by Emily Rodda, and most any book by Dick Francis. They all speak to me deeply, grip me, and feed me each time I read them.

Write a haiku about your book.
I hide to survive/ but i want to be myself / how can I and live?

Hunted

Caitlyn, 15, a Paranormal, is on the run with her mom, trying to stay one step ahead of the ParaTroopers who would enslave her just like anyone who has powerful psychic abilities. Attempting to have somewhat of a normal life, Caitlyn and her mom hide in plain sight, living in a seedy hotel in a big city, where Caitlyn hopes to blend in by enrolling at the local high school. She secretly fights back against government oppression by blogging about equal rights for all Paras, protecting herself by signing them Teen Para. When she discovers her long ago kidnapped brother Daniel at school she s elated, but is saddened to find he s controlled by the government ParaTroopers as a Para-slave. As Para Cleansing Day nears, increasing numbers of Paras are turned in to the authorities and things grow tenser and more dangerous, especially at school. When a group robs a bank and threatens Normals, the shadow of guilt is cast on Teen Para. A killer, the Para Reaper, secretly goes hunting for Paras to drain the life out of them. Despite everything, Caitlyn befriends a Normal girl, Rachel, who is a Para sympathizer, and falls for a cute classmate, Alex, also a Normal, who always makes her feel so good whenever he s around. But it s not safe for Paras to date Normals, and it would put Caitlyn in grave danger of being discovered. When ParaTroopers crack down at school after several Paras are discovered, Caitlyn finds herself under increasing scrutiny. Fearing for Caitlyn, her mom is anxious to pack up and bolt, but Caitlyn s growing attachments make her reluctant to leave. Will she evade capture, or will she be caught and turned into a Para Slave? And just who is trying to frame her? A tautly written, suspenseful thrill ride, Hunted will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Book Giveaway
1 copy of Hunted
Open Internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to your country
Ends 12/26/11

Optional Extra Entry:
+1 Follow Cheryl on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/CherylRainfield

Winner:
Julies S. (Cookies)