Author Spotlight #8

The Author: C.F Gonzi

C.F. Gonzi has always had a wild imagination, and she discovered early on that writing was a fantastic outlet for all of her exciting ideas. She lives in a beautiful Utah valley with her husband and daughter, where she enjoys rock-climbing, reading, and hiking when she’s not writing. UNRAVELED is C.F. Gonzi’s debut novel.


The Book: Unraveled

McGregor has been pumping the streets of New York full of illegal and experimental drugs for too long. He’s slipped through the FBI’s fingers twice already, but they just made a new break in the case…Delilah’s two-year probationary period is up. She’s already passed the entry tests to becoming a field agent and is hoping to be let in on the action right away. The top Criminal Profiler in the city, the attractive Agent Jace Avery, is leading the McGregor Case, and Delilah wants in.As anticipation and excitement for the impending infiltration rise, Jace’s feelings for Delilah are interrupted by caution. However, after an impressive performance on her first mission, Delilah lands a spot on his infiltration team.Will Delilah be the one to unravel this case? Or will McGregor be the one to unravel her?


Also Available: Numb

As the top criminal profiler in the FBI, Jace Avery is used to closing cases quickly. But after a year of playing cat and mouse with McGregor, all he has to show for it is an incarcerated girlfriend and two new victims of the drug lord’s experiments.Siale is an all-star basketball player at her high school, already being recruited by the top colleges in the nation. She has her whole life figured out, until a run in with McGregor’s drug takes basketball away from her. A forced acquaintance with Agent Avery soon turns to friendship as Siale’s need to play ball almost equals Jace’s desire to save Delilah.Will Siale have to remain numb to this integral part of her life? Or will Jace’s desperate efforts be enough to stop McGregor and cure his victims?


The Review: 4/5 stars!

Unraveled isn’t in my usual genre that I like reading, so I was a little surprised that I really enjoyed it. I read this book in one sitting, eyes glued to the pages, trying to figure out where Gonzi was going to take the story. Let me just say that the way Unraveled is written, with all of the intricate build up and twists, the use of language and thought, and the warping reality within Delilah’s spiralling mental state is fascinating. Gonzi did an amazing job at writing from multiple POV’s, ensuring both main characters had their own unique voice.
The themes found in this book, along with the character’s struggles as they try to deal with some pretty awful stuff, were all written in a way that showed Gonzi’s depth and knowledge base as an author writing about crime and the effects that drugs have on people.
I’m looking forward to reading more from this author!


The Interview:

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

I think the most surprising thing I discovered while writing was my general obsession with making the reader be able to feel. I guess I never realized that to stir such emotions in someone else was so invigorating, or so addicting.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

This is a hard question because my book is full of plot twists that I would hate to give away. But I think the readers should know that maybe these characters seem too perfect at the beginning for a reason 😉

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

Actually, my main male protagonist, Jace Avery, was somewhat mannered after my husband, solely because writing a romance was made easier by imagining my soulmate in it.

What was the inspiration for the story?

I follow various writing prompt accounts on social media, and came across a post where someone complained about never reading a story from the villain’s perspective. That is what inspired Unraveled, and I can’t say more because I don’t want to give anything away.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

This may sound naive but I do not think my book holds a message. It was simply a story that I needed to get out of my head. Perhaps the theme is that we are all a little insane in our own way.

What is the significance of the title?

One could say my main character gets “unraveled” as the story unfolds.

What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

There already is a sequel! It is entitled Numb and follows only one of the POV’s from the first book while introducing a new one. And now, as I write the next and final installment of this trilogy, I will be introducing one more POV as well.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?

The biggest challenge in writing Unraveled was definitely the editing of the first draft. I had to cut what I thought was an absolutely perfect 85k manuscript down to 60k because beta readers and friends decided a lot of my fluff was unnecessary, (looking back, I definitely agree). One of the highlights of writing was sharing my ideas with my husband. Oftentimes he would look at me like I was crazy, but even then he would remind me how creative I was to even have those ideas.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Inspiration comes to me in many different forms, but I think I gain most of my inspiration from simple writing prompts; most of the time they open a floodgate of schemes that have nothing to do with the prompt itself.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

This is such a hard question! I think my favorite author of all time would probably have to be Louisa May Alcott. I am obsessed with how eloquent and beautiful her language is, and am constantly in awe of her ability to pull emotion from every page.

What are you reading now?

I am currently reading The Blood Society by B.B. Palomo, as well as Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle aloud with my husband and daughter.

Favorite book/story you have read as an adult, and what was your favorite book when you were a kid?

My favorite book as an adult is definitely Little Women, but my favorite childhood books were the entire Harry Potter series.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When not writing, I love going to the mountains with my family, whether that be kayaking on a lake, rock-climbing, hiking, or just camping. I also enjoy playing the piano, baking, singing, playing basketball, doing hair, and spray painting.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

I think the best piece of advice I could ever offer is to not shy away from that rough thing you want to write. That thing that you are afraid will make others uncomfortable, or is a hard subject. Write it anyway.

How do you handle writer’s block?

I often just let writer’s block run its course. I’ve tried to force my way out of it, but I never get solid prose from force, so I have decided that if I feel writer’s block, the best thing to do is distance myself from the project till the motivation and determination to write comes again.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I think a fundamental understanding of ethos and pathos are important elements in good writing, even if you don’t necessarily recognize that that is what it is called. The ability to call onto emotion can override any grammatical or spelling errors. Good writing evokes feeling.

What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?

My plot always comes first. I develop a somewhat solid plot before I look into my characters at all because they have to be able to fit into the story well. But you can ask any writer, our characters rarely listen to us.

Describe a typical writing day.

I unfortunately do not get writing days. I get blocks of time in my day that are typically filled with writing: when my daughter takes her afternoon nap, and then again when she goes down for bed at night and my husband studies. Each time is the same, though not monotonous. I grab my notebook, pen, phone, and laptop, find somewhere comfortable, (but not too comfortable), and sit down to work. I’ll have my Harry Potter water bottle beside me, occasionally accompanied by a baked good or veggies and hummus, and set my fingers to work. Don’t be fooled, though; most of my writing time is spent staring out the window or at my phone trying to find the right words to better portray my scenes.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

The most difficult part of writing is indefinitely the self-doubt. I get to a point in every one of my books, about halfway through the manuscript, where I begin to hate everything I’ve already written, and fear that everyone else will too.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I don’t hear from my readers as often as I would like. The one’s I do hear from, however, are very often mad at my cliffhangers and begging for spoilers, which I rather enjoy.

How do you do research for your books?

An open google tab is my constant companion as I write. Also, if I know anyone of similar occupation, lifestyle, or ethnicity of the character I am writing, I will interview them to get more details on the subject.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood? How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I don’t wear makeup, I leave my phone behind, And I separate myself from any distraction. I also clip my nails, because when writing emotionally draining scenes, I often drag my fingers down my face in exasperation. There have actually been many scenes in my current project that have drained me more than usual; for these I just have to walk away from the computer and find something uplifting to do, which is usually baking. With Unraveled and Numb, I found that reading the scene aloud to someone else and making them feel the same was uplifting to myself. Wow, that sounded evil. I’m sorry, I promise I’m not.

How do you handle literary criticism?

I do my best to take criticism into stride. I know that my story isn’t for everyone, and my writing style may not suit what others like to read. I try to imagine myself in the critic’s shoes, see my mistakes or their critiques and understand that we are all human, but none of us are the same. That makes the blow of criticism much easier, though still not the easiest thing to deal with.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

World building definitely depends on the story I am writing. For example, Unraveled takes place in present-day New York, so very minimal world building went into the preparation for the book. Storyboarding, on the other hand, takes at least a good month to put together, because I want to make sure the foundation of my tale is as solid as rock.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book, and are you on social media? Can your readers interact with you?

I have a Facebook page under C.F. Gonzi and an Instagram account @cfgonzi where I post updates on my current works, promotions for published works, and general life reports. I answer every DM that comes my way, so long as it is appropriate. I have actually made many friends around the world from doing this. A website and newsletter will be in the works as soon as I finish my current manuscript.

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