Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New York hosts Texas; an insightful look into...

Fly me to Bulgaria, or to Hawaii, or to many other places, but I have to admit flying to New York was not at the top of my list. However, I made the trip to visit my delightful hostess Kirsten Campbell.

Kirsten Campbell
Kirsten introduced me to her wonderful family: husband, kids, and grandkids. We ate, laughed, played, ate again and I looked around to see how full Kirsten’s life really was. Thankfully, she assured me there would not be a test on names!

In the late night hours, when the house was quiet and the kids and grandkids were snoozing, we sat at the kitchen table. Kirsten with her coffee and I with my ice water with a dash of lemon and we talked about what life was like for her whose Young Adult book, Blood Master Book One, recently hit the Amazon best seller list.

K-Trina: Kirsten, you have an awful lot of energy to keep up with your kids, grandkids, work and write full time. Curious minds want to know: what is your work schedule like when you are writing?

Kirsten: I write in the morning/evening commute prior to leaving for my full time job as a Legal/Compliance Assistant. On the weekends I will work up to eight hours at a time and that includes editing too!

K-Trina: Oh, good gracious. Or more accurately, Bless Your New York Heart! I am originally from Texas so I am allowed to say that, sweetie. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Kirsten: I was seven. We had a writing assignment, and I wrote a poem. The teacher hung it up in the classroom bulletin board and praised me in front of the class. I knew then. When I was nine years old I wrote my first book. It was a flip book I called, “Where are you?” I still remember the silly little book. I took a bunch of 8 x 11 sheets of paper, cut them into fours and then wrote a short story about a little girl looking for her mother. I drew the pictures and everything! It was a hit in class.

K-Trina: Hats off to teachers who recognize talent at a young age and support young ones in their dreams. Teachers have more of an impact than they realize. I’ve had a few supportive teachers in my time as well. Tell me, what does your family think about your writing?

Kirsten: My family supports me 100%. I have included them in every aspect of my writing and even put them in my books! Tassta is a character that developed from watching my daughter and how she handled certain situations. Yes, she hates butterflies, just like Tassta (in the book).  My daughter and I share the same aversion to them. They just look so weird. I love their wings but that’s it.) Tassta (my daughter) went to a butterfly haven and a million of them landed on her and that was too much. She has hated them ever since! My son is the protagonist in Dark Matters. I believe they love when I put them in my books.

K-Trina: That is awesome. I have yet to put anyone I know in real life into my full length novels. My first two childrens books were written for the grandkids. How long does it take you to write a book?

Kirsten: It took me a few years to write the G.O.D.s Series of books. (Yes, all four books are written!) I had to commute from Westchester, NY to NYC by train every morning and I wrote on the train in the morning and evening for 4 years. That’s 2 hours a day, five days a week for 4 years for four books. My poetry book is a collection that has been previously published in different journals and magazines, so it took a few years to complete. My short story collection took about a year to finish.

K-Trina: I have read and reviewed Blood Master, adult and young adult versions. I bet you are excited with the recent best-seller rating on Amazon kindle. One thing kept going through my mind: Where did you get your ideas for your book?

Kirsten: Many of them come from weird dreams which I have used for short stories and my books.

K-Trina: That is, almost, kinda scary. (We both had a good chuckle here, took a sip of our drinks and continued on.) Staying on this line of thought, what would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? All authors have at least one.

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Kirsten: I have to have everything right at my fingertips. I need my cup of coffee, my pens, sticky pads, highlighters, small thesaurus and of course my laptop and iPad all within reach, then I go to work for about six hours at a time for days. Sometimes I do eight hour marathons to finish a book and go for days just typing and taking 15 minute breaks to eat or talk to the family. I sleep five hours a night. Always have…

K-Trina: (Yawning) I don’t know how you survive on 5 hours. I need at least 8, preferably 10 hours of sleep. I have been known to do marathons to finish a writing project as well. What was one most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?

Kirsten: I couldn’t believe how involved you can get with the characters. You really end up liking each character, even the bad guys-to a point. I mean, if you write the character correctly, they become multi-faceted and interesting, so they become real in your imagination and you can almost hear their voices when you write their dialogue. It’s complicated but fun.

K-Trina: It certainly is fun and I agree that I have fallen in love with characters and hated others, and always hoped that my readers would feel the same strong emotion. In your opinion, what do you think it takes to make a good story?

Kirsten: First and foremost, I believe you need to have a great plot. I think that the best way to beat plot holes is to make sure you have a beginning that matches the end in some way, and that even though the end and beginning match, there should be some kind of twist at the end and lots of growth with the characters. There has to be surprises and lots of color and flavor, and of course honesty in dialogue between characters. I love a good writer’s voice, too!

K-Trina: You have a great author’s voice and in more than one genre too! Poetry, Adult and Young Adult. Each one is unique and authentic. Which book of yours is your favorite?

Kirsten: Oh man... I have wrote a lot of books but my favorite so far is The G.O.D.s Series. I am in love with Griffin Storm. He’s just so sweet and innocent and his love is so encompassing and eternal. Blood Master is just the beginning of the sweetest love story, but it grows so much in the next book, Blood Rage, as he grows and becomes what he is meant to be. 

K-Trina: Your books evoke a lot of emotion. Do you hear back from your readers?

Kirsten: Yes, I do! I often hear about how much they love the main characters in the book. Most love Griffin and his ways of getting deeply involved with his friend’s lives. Others like Tassta. She’s a character that you either love or hate. Lots of women have written that Tassta disappoints them because of her flakiness and weaknesses, but she is only 17 when Blood Master begins and she’s been coddled her whole life. She grows throughout the book but she has yet to be tried. In Blood Master she learns what her heart wants and that alone is a hard lesson. Everyone seems to get Penn. Yes, he’s funny and at times a jerk, but he’s the perfect friend for Griffin. He kind of keeps things light and airy in the book. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I believe...

K-Trina: It has been wonderful meeting you and your family Kirsten. One last question before we turn in for the night. When is Book 2 of the G.O.D.s’ series going to be available?

Kirsten: Blood Rage, which is the second book, will be release around November 2015.

K-Trina: That sounds awesome. I am definitely going to be looking forward to it. Thank you for having me here. But before we leave, let’s leave the reader an excerpt from Blood Master (Adult) Book One.

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Blood Master Book One Excerpt

“The Underground, what’s the Underground? You keep saying that like it’s an actual place,” Tassta Vinetti said.

“It is an actual place. I live there. I’ve been there a while now. It used to be Underground Atlanta, but since the earthquakes, it’s just called the Underground. It’s a wreck, but people still live there. My friend, Waylene, lives there. She told me that I shouldn’t stop to help anyone or I’d wind up getting hurt.”

“She was right,” Tassta said and chuckled. She left the room for a second. When she returned she handed the albino man a wet washcloth. “Put it on the bump. It’s bleeding again.”
Griffin nodded and laid the washcloth over the bump on his head. He smiled sheepishly then continued. “Waylene’s my best friend’s daughter. His name’s Skylar Jennings. He’s the leader of the underground dwellers, the people that I take care of and go on raids for.”

“Why do you put your life on the line for them?”

Griffin shrugged. “I guess there’s no one else stupid enough to do it.”

“How many people are down there?”

“I don’t know, hundreds?”

“That many? Why don’t they get their own supplies?”

“Because most of them are children, little children,” Griffin said quietly. His lips tightened and his head suddenly felt heavy, so he bent forward while peering up through his feathery, white eyelashes. He knew this little piece of information would hit Tassta hard, but he also felt she had to know the truth. He figured Tassta was sheltered at the Brotherhood and from what he could see; she knew nothing of real life out on the streets or in the Underground since the Great War and the earthquakes. Oh, he knew she had heard rumors and been on a few raids, but he also knew that her brother would never let her go out and investigate the validity of the rumors of those five blocks underground that used to be known as Underground Atlanta. No, sweet little Tassta Vinetti was protected from the harshness of the typical life outside of the Brotherhood.

“There are hundreds of children in the Underground? That can’t be true. That’s impossible…”

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Blood Rage, Book Two, Coming November 2015 

 A little more about Kirsten Campbell....

Kirsten Campbell is the author of several short stories and poems that have been published in Bewildering Stories, The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, Ascent Magazine, The Fairfield Review, Poets-Artists & Madmen, Interracial Voice, Beauty Talk, The CoffeehousePress Journal, The Write Gallery, Sagazine Online, COBRA, and several other magazines.

Her novel, Blood Master – Book 1 of The G.O.D.s Series is an Urban Paranormal Fantasy novel that is currently available on Amazon.com in Adult and Young Adult version. Blood Master hit the Amazon Top 100 List. The second book of The G.O.D.s Series, Blood Rage, will be out by the end of this year. She is also a published poet and her poetry book, Perfect Chaos, hit the Amazon Best Seller’s List three days in a row and was an Amazon Hot New Release. She’s also the author of Darkness Calls, a book of Paranormal Short Stories for young adults. Her websites are www.kcampbell-gods.com, which is the site for all things Blood Master, and her Author’s Website is, www.kirstencampbellbooks.com

She has two chapbooks that were published; one by Ladybug Press (Poetry from the Covert Bourgeoisie), and the other by Puddinghouse Publications (The Abandoning Kind). 

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K-Trina Meador, aka K. Meador