Interview with Fantasy Writing Joan Campbell

Who’s ready to talk about some exciting, good magic in a priceless fantasy tale?

I am, I am!

Grab a blanket and a few pillows for my fun chat with Joan about inspiration and hanging out with her characters from her debut novel, Chains of Gwyndorr.

About Joan

joan-campbellJoan Campbell is the author of Encounters: Life Changing Moments with Jesus, a collection of short stories, reflections, and prayers. Chains of Gwyndorr is her debut novel. Joan lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with her husband, two daughters and their Labrador, Tabeal, named after one of the characters in the novel.

Let’s Chat!

– Hi Joan! I’m so excited to have you on the blog! For those who don’t know you, can you share three words to describe yourself?

Wow, only three – tough limitation for a writer!
Christian.
Word-weaver (does that count as just one word?)
Mom (of two teenage girls)

– I saw in the “About Me” section of your blog, that you live in South Africa. What are some of your favorite things to do there?

I love our beautiful nature and wildlife, so visiting one of our national parks and taking in the wildness and majesty of animals such as giraffe, elephants, rhinos and lions is right at the top of my ‘favorite’ things list. Because of our wonderful climate, we have a very outdoor lifestyle with lots of hiking, biking and outdoor eating – barbecues (called ‘braai’s in SA) are always a firm favorite.

– That sounds so very exciting! Shara from Chains of Gwyndorr learns about power rocks. If you had the opportunity to have any of the power rocks, which one would you like to have?

sunset-114558_1920I’d like a Verity Gem, which is clear when somebody tells the truth, and goes cloudy when someone lies. Don’t you think it would be great to know when someone isn’t being completely honest with you? The Mind Rock would be interesting too – reading someone’s thoughts – but I’m not sure I’d want to know what everybody thinks all the time!

– Haha! I totally agree, Joan! I wouldn’t mind having a Verity Gem. It was really hard for me to choose a favorite character from your novel because they all tugged at my heart. Though I’ve heard on numerous occasions that most authors can’t choose a favorite character, I am curious about who you would want to hangout with for a day. Who would you choose? What would you guys do?

I think hanging out with the monk, Brother Andreo would be great because he knows so very much! I’d take him to one of those national parks I mentioned earlier and hopefully he could tell me all there is to know about the birds, animals and plants. Kind of like having an on-hand talking guide.

– Brother Andreo would be a wonderful guide to different animals and plants. I could use his enlightenment about the many birds we have around where I live. As I mentioned above, all the characters tugged at my heart in someway. Which of the characters do you most relate too?

Probably Shara. She has this burning desire to know the secrets of her past and will do almost anything to uncover them. For a long time I had a burning desire to be published which, at times, threatened to become quite an idol in my life. I had to learn to put God first and trust Him, whether my publishing dream came true or not. Shara also has to learn that the choices she makes can lead her either to freedom or deeper into captivity.

landscape-355898_1920.jpg– I had to come to that same place in my writing as well. Nicho is such a sweet guy! Can you share what inspired some of his character?

I love a guy whose smile lights up his entire face and eyes (my husband Roy has a smile like that) and so I gave Nicho a beautiful, dimpled smile. Nicho’s life is tough because he is an oppressed Lowborn in a very divided society. He has to choose not only how to fight the oppressive system but also whether he allows the hatred and discrimination to change him. These are things I see playing out all the time around me in South Africa, which is often still a very divided, angry society. Life in such circumstances can bring out the very best or the very worst in people and, in Nicho, it ultimately brings out the best.

– For my last question, what is one thing you want readers to take away from reading Chains of Gwyndorr?

My desire is to take readers on an exciting journey, and Chains of Gwyndorr is only the beginning of that. But I hope that some of the lessons the characters learn along the way – about the importance of making good choices and living a courageous life –also leaves an imprint on my readers.

– I am definitely excited to see where you will take us next in this journey! I appreciate you stopping by today, Joan, and sharing about Chains of Gwyndorr

Connect with Joan

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About Chains of Gwyndorr

chains-of-gwyndorrSecret schemes. Stolen magic.

Trapped behind Gwyndorr’s towering walls, Shara longs to unlock the secrets that surround her. She believes the Cerulean Dusk Dreamer is the key. The power rock gives vivid dreams of the past and future but it also has a dark side.

Its forces lay siege to her future, tightening her chains. In seeking help, Shara rekindles a forbidden friendship with Nicho, the Lowborn lawbreaker facing banishment to the Rif’twine Forest.

Together, Shara and Nicho must thwart the plans of their enemies. But what if the power they unleash is an even greater chain than what they’ve come to bear?

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#onelinewednesday from Chains of Gwyndorr

Have you ever read a story that made you feel a range of emotions, to extreme happiness and then to wiping tears from your eyes?

Joan Campbell’s novel Chains of Gwyndorr did that for me.

I was excited to have the chance to review her book, but was also slightly nervous since it had been a long time since I read anything with magic.

She blew my expectations out the water!

I absolutely fell in love with all of her characters. They drew me into their world and did not let go, even when my Kindle had long been turned off.

I know it’s more than one line, but today’s quote really touches my heart. Shara’s journey has been my journey at one point in my life and her words of freedom have echoed in my heart as well. I hope you take a chance on her story.

Chains of Gwyndorr book quote.jpg

Interview with Edgy Writing Sara Baysinger

Today we have a fun interview ahead of us, and a special one.

(drumroll please)

Happy release day, Sara Baysinger!

Her debut, Black Tiger, is officially out there in the book world and I couldn’t be more excited to be interviewing her on this occasion. Grab a blanket and a few pillows for my fun chat with Sara about inspiration and writing of her dystopian novel.

About Sara

sara-baysingerSara Baysinger grew up in the heart of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador where she spent her childhood exploring uncharted lands and reading all things magical. She now lives among the endless cornfields of Indiana with her husband and two young children. Sara enjoys writing and reading anything out of the ordinary, and has a bad habit of zoning out at the most inopportune moments. She is currently considering seeking medical attention for her potentially life-threatening coffee addiction.

Let’s Chat!

– Hi Sara! I’m so excited to have you on the blog! For those who don’t know you, can you share three words to describe yourself?

Thank you so much for having me! 😀 Okay. Three words. Introvert. SuperNerd. DinosaurHunter. (Sorry, that’s technically five words, but you get the idea. :P)

– I saw in your bio that you have chickens (which is totally cool!). Do you have any special names for them? 

sara-baysinger

Sara with Princess Layer

Of course! One can’t very well own chickens and not name them. 😉 Oh, you want to know their names? Hen Solo, Chewbocker, Princess Layer, Obi Wing Kenobi, and Luka Skyflocker. (Can you tell how nerdy my family is yet?)

– Their names are so awesome! Love it! I’ve noticed you have a love for nature via your Instagram account (you’re photos are awesome by the way!). How did that inspire scenes for “black tiger”?

 I do! I am such a country girl at heart. And I’m so glad you asked this question. I grew up in the mountains of Ecuador, in a small village. We had a retreat center about 30 minutes away that was located in the middle of nowhere. Think “Lord of the Rings” type of landscape. It was magical. My sisters and I went there often to ride horses and explore. I definitely give all credit to this place for sparking my love for nature. I left that place behind in my childhood and my family had many moves since then, mostly to cities. But my husband and I just bought a house in the country (in Indiana) and it really takes me back to my youth. I love that I can step outside and instead of hearing the motors of passing cars, I hear the sound of crickets and birds chirping. Instead of the smell of car exhaust, I smell honeysuckle and just pure, fresh country air. I love taking pictures of all things outdoors because I’ve learned never to take for granted the beauty of nature. (You can follow my nature pics on Instagram at @livingontheburrow)

To answer your actual question, I wanted to somehow put into story my love for nature. I wanted readers to feel that longing for the peaceful countryside, to smell the air and hear the music of nature.

– That definitely sounds like a magical place to live and great inspiration as well. I’ve heard on numerous occasions that most authors can’t choose a favorite character, BUT I am curious about who you would want to hang out with for a day. Who’s the lucky character to hang out with their awesome author? What would you guys do?

rainWow this is a hard question! I think I would definitely pick Rain from Black Tiger… as long as we were friends. (I would NOT want to hang out with him if we weren’t friends. He can seriously be a jerk sometimes.) As for what we would do? I don’t know. Visit the local library, maybe? 😉 (Totally giving away my nerdy side here.) Actually, it would probably be fun to go to theme park with Rain.

– I’m pretty sure I would pick Rain too, but definitely would want him as my friend. I could imagine it would be a blast going to a theme park. Coming from living in the country, how do you think your experience would be if you were suddenly thrusted from your home and into the city of Ky? Would it be similar to Ember’s? (hopefully without certain visits of a few places though, right?)

YES! In fact, I totally drew from my experiences to write Ember’s story. Like I said earlier, I grew up in a rural village and went out to the country often. When I was 13, our family moved to the city and I left all that behind. The city we moved to was HUGE (kind of like Ky) and slightly intimidating. I remember feeling trapped a lot of the time, because every time I stepped outside I was surrounded by buildings.

So to answer your question, if I were sent to Ky, I would probably feel very much like Ember did, wanting to leave it behind and return to the quiet country life.forest

– That must have been rough. Though I haven’t lived in the country, I could see myself reacting the same way as you and Ember. Alright, I gotta know! I’ve made it known to you that I’m #TeamRainAllDay, but who’s side are you on? Team Forest or Team Rain?

That’s seriously the best hashtag! Umm… I don’t know. I mean, I could be Team Forest, because he always has Ember’s best interest in mind, and he really does just want to keep her safe. But then, Rain is fun and exciting and a little…dangerous, so I could totally see myself being on Team Rain, too.

Hmm…I guess you’ll just have to wait until book two to figure out my answer. 😉

– I definitely cannot wait for book two! It should be interesting to see what your answer is. 😉 For my last question, if America suddenly had a Career Day similar to those in Ky, what career would you want and why? 

I would be a writer, obviously! 😛 But I guess if I were a part of the Proletariat I wouldn’t have that option. In that case, I would definitely want a career in the Community Garden. Aaaand I would probably want to work in the orchard. ❤

– Writing is awesome! I appreciate you stopping by today, Sara, and sharing a little about your chickens and Black Tiger

Connect with Sara

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About Black Tiger

black-tiger-coverWhen the fire goes out, supposedly dead, the embers still remain; tiny specks of deadwood and ash that have the capacity to burn down an entire city.

Ember Carter is a sixteen-year-old farmer’s daughter who wants nothing more than to stay close to her family in the Community Garden when Career Day approaches. Unfortunately, all farming careers are given to boys, and besides, as of the past two years, all students have been drafted to the Line of Defenders to fight in a war no one seems to know about. When Ember meets Forest, the mysterious stranger who seems to know a bit too much about city life and the way the government is run, she’s even less eager to leave the safe haven of the Garden.

On Career Day, the future couldn’t look brighter when Ember is the only student assigned the career of a Farmer. But all hopes come to end when she attacks a Defender to save her best friend. Suspected a rebel and sentenced to death, she’s transferred to Frankfort Prison where she will carry out her sentence.

But Frankfort is full of surprises and snotty Patricians. While in prison, Ember learns a dark secret about Forest that makes her question what little she knew about him. And then there’s Rain,the carelessly handsome boy who enjoys instigating her just a bit too much. If THAT’S not enough, the world learns something about Ember even she doesn’t know. A secret that brings her character into question, enlightens her on her mother’s true identity, and ultimately, gives her the power to affect the rise or fall of Ky.

With the handsome Forest tugging at her heart, and the rogue Rain whispering treasons into her ear, can Ember make the right decision that will redeem the corrupt government of Ky?

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