Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington

TitleTrakk.com Blog Tours Presents:
Bound by Guilt
by C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale House

Roxi Gold is a throwaway, shuttled from one foster home to another for most of her life. She longs for a family and will do anything to fit in--even if it's against the law. Soon she's traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores, until a first edition of The Great Gatsby catches up with her.

Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society, and not just at work. The job she once loved has become a chore, the world isn't any safer, and there's no joy in her life. One fateful night a man's innocent blood changes both Roxi's and Abby's lives forever.

One searches for justice; the other finds herself on the run. Will the power of forgiveness set them free, or will they both remain bound by guilt?


Bound by Guilt is a book about what true love and happiness are. The world teaches us differently than Jesus does about those two things. Sometimes we think that love is about getting something from someone or being perfect to be loved. Jesus doesn't stop loving us when we mess up. We can be loved by someone for just being who we are. Sometimes we are our own worst critic. No one judges us as harshly as we judge ourselves. We need to stop being the judge and jury. God can see through all of our mess and loves us anyway. This is another wonderful book by C.J. Darlington. This is not a book you want to miss.


C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over twelve years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore. In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site www.TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats.

Today CJ joins us on her blog tour for the debut of her second novel, Bound by Guilt. CJ, thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions about yourself. As a homeschool mom I am very interested in your personal story and your writing journey.

How old were you when you started writing?

I remember being eight or nine and sitting at my dad’s old word processor typing up a story. My first epic was called “The Horse’s Story” and was about Joshua of the Bible’s horse. It was going to follow him through the walls of Jericho falling down. When I was eleven or so I started my next epic called “Moby”. It was about a Labrador Retriever searching for his place in the world. As you can tell, I love animals, and most of my early stories revolved around them. My sister and I also had a newspaper we peddled around our neighborhood for 50 cents.

How did you realize that writing would be something you wanted to do as a career?

At first I didn’t. As a teenager I had all the usual, “What am I supposed to do with my life?” questions. I knew I liked to write, and even back as a kid I would dream about someday, maybe, having a book published. But my parents really encouraged me to pursue the things that interested me. Now as an adult I believe that God often plants desires in our hearts as children to guide us into our callings. I think the biggest clue for me was that only when I was writing was I truly content. Sure, it was hard work at times. It still is. But it’s as if something inside me only turned on when I was fulfilling what God had called me to do.

Tell us about your business you started with your sister and how old you were when you began that adventure.

This was something else that I think the Lord orchestrated in our lives. One of my favorite pastimes as a kid was going to the library. So it only made sense I’d start to haunt used bookstores as I got older. There is this amazing bookstore in West Chester, Pennsylvania called Baldwin’s Book Barn. It’s five stories tall and contains over 300,000 used and rare books. You can literally get lost in it. One day we were perusing the shelves and saw a book for $20 or $30, and something clicked. We’d seen the book before. Only it was $1 or $2 at a different used bookstore down the road from us. We asked ourselves, could we buy the cheaper book, sell it to them wholesale and make a profit?

It all started from there. We were seventeen years old, and we didn’t know our little idea was called book scouting. Soon we were scouting for several bookstores in our area and turning a small profit. But it was a lot of work. Within a year we realized we needed to cut out the middle man and sell the books directly to consumers ourselves. The internet was just taking off for used book dealers, and we jumped into the foray with both feet and started our own online bookstore.

We began traveling to used book sales all across the country, and the business quickly grew into something we couldn’t handle on our own. Mom was the first to join us, and then our dad followed suit. Now that little book business started by two ambitious teenagers is our entire family’s business.

I was able to incorporate a lot of what I learned about rare books and the book business in both my novels. A first edition of Ernest Hemingways’ For Whom the Bell Tolls plays an important role in the Thicker than Blood story, and a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in Bound by Guilt.

How old were you when you started writing "Thicker Than Blood".

I was fifteen when I started the story that would become Thicker than Blood. I still have the notebook with those early writings.

I know you won an award for that book. Can you tell us about that and how that felt to be such a young author with such a great accomplishment?

It was truly an honor. It took almost fifteen years of hard work to learn the craft of writing well enough to complete Thicker than Blood. I’d actually submitted an early version of the novel to the 2004 Operation First Novel contest sponsored by the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and Tyndale House. It placed as a semi-finalist but didn’t win. So I began to revise it and started submitting to publishers directly. I received many rejections but learned from them how I could improve the story. Even so, I became discouraged after four years passed and it hadn’t found a home yet. Then one night I had the thought . . . what if I submitted the revised story to that year’s Operation First Novel contest (it’s a yearly contest)? With only two weeks to spare, I did. It was such a blessing to win in 2008. A year later Thicker than Blood was published by Tyndale House.

Did it take you a shorter amount of time to write "Bound by Guilt"?

Yes, during the time I was submitting Thicker than Blood to publishers, I was writing Bound by Guilt. It took me about four years to complete. I hope to speed that process up with my future projects!

Is there a third book on the way?

I’m currently writing my third novel. I don’t have a contract for it yet, but we’ll see what happens in the future!

I am sure your family is very proud of you. What part have they played in your writing career?

My family is a HUGE encouragement to me. I wouldn’t be here talking to you today if it weren’t for them. Mom is my first editor and is incredible in helping me edit my stories and brainstorm possibilities. My dad is my first reader and often has great insights. Tracy, my twin sister, listens to me ramble on and on about my characters and plots and always asks great questions!

What advice would you offer those who have a desire to write and become published?

I think it’s important to go in knowing it can take time, often many years, to be published. And often our first novels are learning experiences and it’s the second or third or fourth book which is published. Writing is an apprenticeship in many ways. If we know that ahead of time it can help us not be discouraged when things take longer than we might want. I didn’t know it would take fifteen years for my first book to be published. But during that time I was learning so much and am glad I wasn’t published when I first wanted to be.

Is there any special advice for the young writer?

Write what interests you! That’s huge. Don’t worry about being published or markets and things like that in the early stages. Just write the story that’s in your heart to write. Your passion will come through on the page.

Do you have any other writing projects in the works

I have a story coming out in the compilation The Dog Next Door : And Other Stories of the Dogs We Love. It’s being published in June by Revell Books. My story is about my childhood dog named Cindy and how she impacted the life of my grandmother. I called it “The Purpose Driven Dog"!

Want More?

Thicker Than Blood: Her first book-see my post below.

Title Trakk Bound by Guilt Blog Tour:  http://www.titletrakkblogtours.blogspot.com/


  1. Thank you for this fantastic post! I really appreciate it.

  2. Thank YOU CJ for including me in your blog tour! What a GREAT book!