Interview: C.J. Brightley

Hey guys! We’re at the end of the Luminous Blog Tour of Authors, and I’m lucky enough to have the amazing C.J. Brightley on my blog today to answer a few questions! (You can check out the other blog posts in order here). Don’t forget to read through ’til the end and enter the rafflecopter giveaway!

C.J. is one of the authors in the Luminous boxed set, with her book The Lord of Dreams; moreover, she was the first person I ever heard talking about ‘noblebright’.

So it’s fitting that my first question for C.J. is, what is Noblebright to you?

 I’ve loved noblebright fantasy since before I had a name for it. I think noblebright is about “the good guys” and the hope that we can choose to be the good guys. In a noblebright story, kindness, courage, integrity, and generosity make a difference. The characters can change their lives, and the lives of the people around them, for the better. The world may be full of darkness, but noblebright characters choose to be light.

I think the idea that kindness, courage, integrity, and generosity can make a difference, is one of my favourite things about noblebright as a genre–the other favourite being that truly good characters aren’t mocked or seen as weak and naive. It’s probably why I’ve enjoyed every book in Luminous that I’ve read so far. And speaking of the books in Luminous, which is your favourite book in the Luminous collection; and why?

That’s an impossible question! I invited each of the authors to contribute to the boxed set because I loved something about their writing.

JA Andrews’s A Threat of Shadows deals with a good man, plagued by his own sin, finding a kind of redemption in generosity and sacrifice, both his own and that of others. I loved the hope in it, the idea love can make a difference, even when we think we’re too far gone.

Intisar Khanani’s Sunbolt was magnificently noblebright and fun; I loved Hitomi’s thoughtless impulse toward doing the noble thing. She didn’t mean to be noble and selfless, exactly; it just came naturally to her. I love that sort of character, and I haven’t read that many of them, although I tend to write them myself! Her writing is so vivid and sharp. I’ve already finished the second book, Memories of Ash, and am anxiously awaiting the final book in the trilogy.

Christopher Bunn’s The Hawk and His Boy enthralled me with beautiful prose. There was a cliffhanger, which I normally wouldn’t like, but I couldn’t even resent it because every sentence was so enjoyable. I’ll be continuing this series as well.

W.R. Gingell’s Wolfskin is a beautiful, clever, funny fairytale retelling. I love all her characters; they rarely get into trouble because they’re foolish or stupid, but they might because they’re naïve. They’re bright and wise and brave, and they do the noble, courageous thing even when they’re terrified.

And… well, I could go on, but you really ought to read them all yourself!

 Aw! *blushes* thanks for my share in that reel of praise! I totally agree about Intisar’s Hitomi, and I’m really looking forward to A Threat of Shadows, as well. Characters are a huge part of whether or not I’ll enjoy a book, and a huge part of which books I choose to pick up. What is your favourite kind of character?

I love courageous, kind, generous characters, especially if they have a sense of humor. And when I say courageous, I mean both moral and physical courage. Many books have physically courageous heroes; the ones I love are the ones with the moral courage to stand against evil, even when it seems the whole world is against them. 

Do you have plans for a sequel to your novel included in Luminous? (Like, please? Because I want to read it!)

I don’t exactly have plans, but I could be persuaded to write a sequel! I have a few other books I need to write first.

How would you like your persuasion? Chocolate form? Coffee? I know–lots and lots of stationary, if you’re anything like me…

Important question: how do you like to write? Longhand (shorthand?), typewriter, computer, blood, nail scratches on the walls? (Or with the bribery stationary…?)

I brainstorm over email with my father and in several disorganized notebooks scattered around the house. Then I draft in Scrivener. I often write out of order, so being able to easily reorder scenes is important to me. I also don’t have distinct drafts; I tend to just poke at it until it’s done. I share the story with alpha readers when it’s quite rough but mostly coherent (albeit with missing scenes all over the place), then again when it’s nearly done. If I’m really stuck, I’ll go back to the notebooks for a while. I’ll probably lose my notes, but the process of writing out ideas will help jostle something loose. 

Oh, wow! That’s great that you can do that with your dad! My father isn’t at all creative and he still struggles with how exactly it is I can write. Fortunately, he’s provided everything else I needed to grow into the writer I am today. Also, I’m glad to hear that there’s someone else who writes out of order! (I thought I was the only one).

What is your perfect writing day? 

In my imaginary perfect writing day, I’d get up around 5:00am and eat a light breakfast while reading over brainstormed notes and ideas. Then, coffee in hand, I’d write for a few hours (taking short breaks to read or surf the internet every hour or so). Around 9:00am, I’d take a break and go for a run or the gym for a hard workout. Then I’d shower, eat a snack, and write until a late lunch. After lunch I’d probably take a break and read, maybe take a power nap and/or a walk, and then write some more! I’d probably stay up way too late, snacking on increasingly ridiculous things, and end up writing 14 words in the last two hours of the day. It would be fun!

In reality, I homeschool my two young children (6 and 3) and I write during their nap/quiet times and after they’re in bed. A few times a year I manage to get a whole day to myself, breakfast to dinner, and I go a local café for a few hours, then migrate to the library for a few more hours. 

I have such huge respect for women who not only write but raise children. I can’t imagine having to work so hard! With that said, I guess the question of whether you’re a speed writer or a turtle writer is an easy one!

I’m a turtle writer. I’m slower than molasses in a blizzard in January at the North Pole. It’s a miracle I’ve ever finished anything, honestly.

One reason I’m slow is that I’m a homeschooling mom with two small children; partly that’s a time limitation, but mostly it’s a mental energy limitation. The larger reason is that I process story in a way that doesn’t often result in quick drafts. As I write out of order, it feels a bit like uncovering pieces of dinosaur bones. I have to put a dozen or so aside before I even know exactly what sort of dinosaur I have, and then I have to fit the next few dozen pieces into that concept in a way that makes sense, then I have to fill in the missing pieces. 

Now for the big one…tea or coffee?

Coffee with lots of flavoured creamer and whipped cream. I tend to put lots of creamer in at the beginning, then keep topping up my cup with coffee as I drink it, so that by the end, it’s not very sweet at all and I wonder why I drink such yucky stuff. 

I have no sympathy for coffee drinkers…*sniffs*Music or no music?

I’d like to listen to music while I write, but I find it too distracting. I’ve recently been listening to, which I really like. My favorite is the Thunder Focus option – anything that sounds too musical distracts me, but the thunderstorm sound is relaxing.

Sometimes when I have a scene pretty well in mind (rather than making it up as I go), I’ll listen to instrumental movie soundtracks. The soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings is one of my favorites.

Ah, The Lord of the Rings OST! Yes, I’ve got all of those on cd, along with about 50 other OSTs…The playlist I created with all the OSTs for The Pirates of the Caribbean movies is one of my favourite playlists for writing.

Thanks, C.J.!

Discover C.J. Brightley’s writing, and nine more noblebright reads in Luminous… You can also check out the full line-up of Luminous author interviews at
And don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the giveaway!

Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  iTunes  |  Smashwords  |  Google Play


Dare to step into lands of myths, magic, and monsters, because there is light to be found in even the darkest of places.

Now, ten fantasy authors have come together to offer this epic boxed set of noblebright fantasy! Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to explore ten unique worlds, fall in love with gallant heroes and heroines, and discover the chinks in the darkness where the light shines through.


What is Noblebright fantasy?

Set apart by a sense of hope, noblebright fantasy includes at least one character who, although flawed, still deliberately pursues goodness. And that goodness has the power to make a difference. In a noblebright story, even villains are not without hope. Their redemption isn’t guaranteed, of course, but it is a possibility.


This boxed set includes:

The Lord of Dreams by C. J. Brightley

When a fairy king grants a human wish, there’s more at stake than dreams.


A Threat of Shadows by JA Andrews

Haunted by his past and surrounded by companions carrying their own dark secrets, Alaric grasps at one last chance to save his dying wife. 


Heir of Iron by J.S. Bangs

Family secrets. Forbidden Love. An empire on the brink of collapse.


The Hawk and His Boy by Christopher Bunn

You can run as far as you can, but you can never escape the Dark.


Chronicles of Steele: Raven: The Complete Story by Pauline Creeden

Just when Raven tries to leave the life of a Reaper, she’s pulled right back in. 


The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doué

After discovering a secret underground kingdom and a mysterious sorcerer-prince, Princess Lily must free herself and her sisters from a dangerous curse or face a lifetime of darkness.


Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell

Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest…


Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani

A street thief with a dangerous secret, Hitomi finds herself betrayed to the dark mage who killed her father.


Rachel and the Many-Splendored Dreamland by L. Jagi Lamplighter

Magic school can be a lot more dangerous—and wondrous—than expected.


The Pygmy Dragon by Marc Secchia

Now, the courage of the smallest will be tested to the utmost. For Pip is the Pygmy Dragon, and this is her tale.


Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  iTunes  |  Smashwords  |  Google Play

A LUMINOUS Giveaway!

For a chance to win this awesome Lord of the Rings book tote, Harry Potter journal, plus swag from LUMINOUS authors, enter here:

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2 thought on “Interview: C.J. Brightley”

  1. Mei-Mei October 9, 2017 at 9:28 amEditReply

    Fun interview, I’m glad to meet some of the other authors of this set. I love the concept of Noblebright, so thanks to you both for introducing me to it!

    • W.R.Gingell Post authorOctober 9, 2017 at 11:14 amEditReply

      I’m actually so grateful to C.J. for introducing ME to the concept! 😀 Because I was writing it, and I loved reading it, but I didn’t have an idea of exactly WHAT it was, let alone think to make a real genre of it…

      Also I’m just really happy to be in a set with such lovely and talented authors =)

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