Writer Wednesdays: Author Interview with Cheryl Campbell, Echoes of War
Welcome to Writer Wednesdays!
Are you on Goodreads? If you’re looking at your screen with a blank face, don’t worry. I’ll explain.
Goodreads is a social network of sorts. Its for readers. You can create virtual shelves, search for books, and organize them as “want to read,” “currently reading,” and “read,” for example.
It was probably about three or four years ago that I got started on Goodreads. I love it! It’s also a great place to leave book reviews, which is especially helpful for independently published authors. I’d encourage you to rate and honestly review the books you read. A review can be as short as a few words and as long as you can imagine. Yes, I’ve seen some truly remarkable and in-depth reviews.
I’d also invite you to join me on this network by connecting and following. We will be able to see what books we both are reading. For an extroverted introvert like me, I enjoy this hub where I can connect with like-minded people.
Speaking of like-minded people…
Writer Wednesdays is a place to connect with others who enjoy reading and writing. Today we have a special interview with author:
I don’t know that this was a conscious decision for me. Writing was just a periodic hobby growing up, and I got into it a little more in my 20’s when I started writing for online fan fiction/role playing games around Star Trek. My first fantasy novel started off as an experiment to see if I could do it. After I wrote the sequel to it, I realized writing was far more than a mere hobby. Me becoming a writer took time to develop.
Who were the authors that influenced you as a youth, and in what ways?
I don’t remember too much what I read as a kid, but I do know I read a ton and read at levels well beyond my peers. In junior high I made a new friend with a fellow avid and advanced reader. He and I read a lot of Ian Flemming and some Stephen King as teens, remained friends, and continue to recommend books to each other today. I always enjoyed the James Bond stories more than the Stephen King books. I didn’t get into fantasy and scifi books until I was older.
How did it feel when you got to hold your very first advanced copy of your book?
It was very surreal, like it was happening but wasn’t happening. I put the book on a table and just stood there looking at the thing going: “That’s my book. That’s MY book.” It took a while to sink in that I’d written a full-length novel with formatting and great cover art and that finished product was sitting on a table before me. I still get that strange, surreal feeling with every book I’ve written, and Echoes of War is my sixth novel.
What was the inspiration behind your book(s)?
Echoes of War, the first in the Echoes Trilogy, started with a dream I had at night where I was watching a movie about a young woman that had died. She had the option to return to her life, start over, and try not to make the same mistakes as before except she couldn’t take her memories with her. Or she could move on to the afterlife.
If she chose to return to life though, there was a catch—she’d already done the dead-return-and-try-again thing dozens of times before and kept failing. I woke up right before I learned what her decision was and was furious. But I was so hooked by this idea that I jotted some notes into my phone about it and went back to bed.
That started a process of several months of world-building around this idea regarding aliens (Echoes) that could self-heal, return to a younger age if killed, retain their memories, and live again without making the same mistakes. Dani, the protagonist in Echoes of War, however, could self-heal but still lost her memories.
What was your publishing journey like?
I self-published my five-book Burnt Mountain fantasy series. I had started looking at agents and such with the first Burnt Mountain novel, but I ultimately opted to self-pub them. This was a great learning experience. So when I signed with SparkPress to release Echoes of War, I already knew a good bit about the publishing process. Certainly there were lots of things for me to learn by working with a publisher and publicist, but I wasn’t as green as some of my SparkPress peers releasing their first book.
What advice do you have for aspiring young novelists?
Don’t think you’re not a writer if you aren’t writing full time. I used to tell myself I couldn’t call myself a writer because I wasn’t writing full time. Turns out that is a load of crap. I’ve tried writing full time, and I suck at it. I just don’t have the focus and attention span to only work on writing related items (writing, editing, research, whatever) for several hours at a time.
I function best by NOT writing full time and integrating my IT work into the mix. By combining the technical and creative aspects of my brain, I’m able to increase my productivity in both areas because I can’t get bored by just doing one or the other.
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
It’s not as much a superpower as it is a super gizmo. I want a TARDIS for space and time travel. That would be too much fun!
Where is your favorite travel destination?
Highlands of Scotland and German Alps – it’s a tie between those two as favorite
When you’re not writing, what are your favorite hobbies?
Painting with oils or acrylic, but lately it’s been oil painting.
Also, minor woodworking/wood carving. I like playing with my Dremel tool. Feels more like a hobby than exercise because I genuinely enjoy it.
Decades of war started by a genocidal faction of aliens threatens the existence of any human or alien resisting their rule on Earth. Dani survives by scavenging enough supplies to live another day while avoiding the local military and human-hunting Wardens. But then she learns that she is part of the nearly immortal alien race of Echoes—not the human she’s always thought herself to be—and suddenly nothing in her life seems certain.
Following her discovery of her alien roots, Dani risks her well-being to save a boy from becoming a slave—a move that only serves to make her already-tenuous existence on the fringes of society in Maine even more unstable, and which forces her to revisit events and people from past lives she can’t remember. Dani believes the only way to defeat the Wardens and end their dominance is to unite the Commonwealth’s military and civilians, and she becomes resolved to play her part in this battle. Her attempts to change the bleak future facing the humans and Echoes living on Earth suffering under the Wardens will lead her to clash with a tyrant determined to kill her and all humankind—a confrontation that even her near-immortal heritage may not be able to help her survive.
All worlds are dying, and it’s up to one broken and dysfunctional family from Earth―the Wellsleys―to save the day.
Cancer-ridden Ella celebrates her fifteenth birthday beneath an enchanted mountain, but it is what lies even farther below―the mysterious Star in the sea―that demands she grow up quickly. While Ella grapples with the sacrifice she must make and the lies she is forced to tell, her mother, Tessa, is hell-bent on protecting her.
Through bizarre encounters, love-sick Tessa realizes that she is not the lonely orphan she believes. Her husband, Arden, and father-in-law, Archie, are not the only ones with magical bloodlines. This revelation changes everything.
As Archie chooses to embody his unexpected ancestry, he learns that leading the charge in the ultimate battle against evil won’t be as easy as he thought. He’ll need his family―and the strange allies he has gained―by his side to give Ella enough time to set things right.
Can they defeat the unstoppable Millia sands―and another unexpected foe―before everything they hold dear is destroyed? Or will their adventure tear them apart for good? The finale to The 8th Island Trilogy will hold you spellbound until the final page, and long after.