Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fantasy Authors of Tomorrow: Camryn Lockhart!

A warm welcome to Camryn, another regular commentor on this blog, and a lovely young woman! Camryn just signed up with my mentoring program this last Christmas, so we haven't been working together long. However, she has already impressed me with an enormous imagination, ready to tackle epic and exciting storylines that are sure to thrill boys and girls alike! You can tell within a few sentences of Camryn's story that she grew up with a passel of brothers. Her work is full of action and adventure enough to keep a reader breathless and eager for more.

Camryn has kindly agreed to share a little of herself and her work with us today. She's also offering a fun giveaway, so be certain to check that out at the end of this post! But now, the lady herself . . .

Camryn Lockhart lives in Maryland with her parents, five little brothers, little sister, and a Great Dane. She likes to sing around the house and draws in her spare time. Writing is her passion among all her interests. She strives to put God first and implement her faith in all she does, including writing.

And now a little information on the wonderful story Camryn has been working on with my mentoring program! Presenting . . . .

“Starting at sunset, the banishment is in place. No longer shall this pestilence plague us. No longer will they implement laws that we do not wish to follow. No longer will we have to tolerate . . . the Falcon Masters.”
With a ban against their very existence, the Falcon Masters are forced into hiding or risk losing their lives. In the ensuing chaos, twins are born—a girl and a boy—who are swiftly separated, growing up with two different lives. After the daughter, Saige, turns seventeen, a hurtful comment about her heritage sends her running into the woods, but she unknowingly runs into a spellbound faerie portal and falls into the clutches of a Wild Hunter
In the whirlwind of events that follow, Saige learns about her long lost brother and that her father might still be alive. More than that, according to an ancient prophecy, the civil war afflicting the land of Muireach can be stopped by her alone. Will she be up to the challenge? Or will she fall in the face of evil? Can Saige learn in time the value of family and how strong faith can be?

Doesn't that make you want to dive into the adventure right away? Camryn is here with us today for an interview, so you can learn more about her and her work. Happy reading!

Hi, Camryn! First of all, why don't you tell us a little about yourself. Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Do you like tea or coffee? Cats or dogs? Indoors or outdoors? Sports or crafts? Anything you want to tell us!
Camryn: Wow, where to start?  I am the eldest of seven children, five boys and two girls.  I am homeschooled, in my senior year of high school and hoping to make writing my career.
I think of myself as an introvert since I like time alone.  Although, I can be pretty outgoing when the time calls for it, such as making friends after I’ve moved into a new area.
I don’t like tea or coffee, but I like hot cocoa and sweet tea!  I love cats (they make me laugh with their antics!), but I prefer to only visit them, not take care of them.  I love dogs (again, antics, laughing, etc.), but I absolutely adore wolves.  If I could have one as a pet and not be concerned about my well-being, I would do it in a heartbeat!
I like being indoors and outdoors, depending on the weather.  Reading inside while it rains or reading outside sitting in a blooming tree makes no difference to me!  I dislike intense summer heat or intense cold and autumn is my favorite season.
Sports aren’t my thing, but only because I’m not as good at them as everyone else is (I’m a bit vertically challenged, so any tall guys at my youth group would trounce me at Ultimate Frisbee).  I enjoy them, otherwise!
I am into crafts!  I like to knit, crochet, make friendship bracelets; and drawing (that counts right?).  Anything that piques my interest, I learn how to do.  But I doubt I’ll ever be a professional in those things.
I play piano and guitar and dabble in a few woodwinds like the penny whistle, but for the life of me I can’t figure out the flute.  I love to sing and my dream role on Broadway is Eponine from Les Misérables.  And, of course, I like to write!

When did you first decide you wanted to be a novelist?
Camryn: When I was 11, I saved enough money to buy my own laptop. On it, I discovered a Word Pad.  I asked my mom if I could write a story on it and, with her permission, proceeded to do just that…it wasn’t very good.  Then again, I was eleven!  I have been writing ever since then, whether little short stories, fanfictions or novels in the making.
What was the first story you can remember writing down? Did you ever finish it?
Camryn: The story I started writing on my laptop at 11 years old was actually the first story I remember writing.  It was about a girl named Penny (short for Penelope) who went on a journey visiting strange creatures and people.  There was some sort of intrigue with this masked man following her, and I think he was a bounty hunter sent by her father, but I never finished it so I can’t remember and I lost it in cyberspace long ago.
What are some of your favorite books? Have they influenced your own writing?
Camryn: The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan was and is one of my favorites!  It inspired the story I am currently working on.  Touches of his work might influence the costume of my characters. 
Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword and The Outlaws of Sherwood were my also some of my favorite adventures in my early teens and I still hold them dear now.  My inspiration for adventure stories most likely came from her; or maybe my own thirst for adventure spurred me on to write about such things.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo is a recent favorite of mine due to a friend a year ago doing a play adaption his senior year.  I read it and fell in love with Hugo’s style of writing.  I found that after I read a chapter or two from Les Miserables, my writing followed after Hugo’s long descriptions and explanations.  He definitely motivated me to aspire for beautiful descriptions that make people cry!  Well, perhaps not cry.  Tearing up will do.
And then of course, Anne Elisabeth’s wonderful Tales of Goldstone Wood!  Her books showed me that I can write something exciting and write about my faith in Christ. 
All in all, I think these authors influenced me toward the fantasy genre that I have stuck with the past few years. 
What is a one-sentence summary of the manuscript you are currently writing?
Camryn: When civil war breaks out the Falcon Masters are caught in between—their leader captured, his newborn twins are split at birth—and when the eldest daughter, Saige, grows up, she has to come to terms with who she is and stop the civil war that has plagued her country her whole life, learning that a little faith goes a long way.
What is the most important lesson you've learned in your first few weeks of mentoring?
Camryn: Location, location, location!  In my writings, I sometimes focus too much on situations and the emotional turmoil, and then lose sight of the setting itself.  It’s actually something that I struggle with a lot.  I’m a very visual person, so when I have to describe a place I’ve never seen, I run into quite a few challenges. 

What tricks do you try when you face writer's block?
Camryn: Usually when I am stuck with a scene or a story, I step back and ask myself, ‘Where do I want to go with this?  What do I hope to accomplish by the end of this scene/story?’ Once my main goal is back in perspective, I forge ahead with my writing.  But what do I do when I have a case of writer’s block and I don’t know what I am going to do next?  Then I turn off my computer or shut my notebook and go play video games with my brothers or help my mom cook.  Sometimes your brain simply needs a break! 

Who is your favorite character in your current manuscript and why?
Camryn: I haven’t been attached to one yet, but if I had to pick it would be Caedmon.  He is a part of a small group that originated as pranksters but became mercenaries during the civil war.  Caedmon is a gentle and strong man who has only loved one girl his whole life.  He has internal struggles that I have in my own life and I find that I like him for how he is able to handle them. 
Would you share an excerpt from your current work-in-progress?
The Falcon Master
Saige cried but didn't want to admit it.  She hadn’t cried since she was fifteen. Why should she start now?  Angrily, she wiped her tears away with the back of her hand.  She couldn’t see through the rain and her tears and had absolutely no idea where she was going.  Arrowynd, her mount, trotted along at her leisure.  Eventually, Saige had the good sense to rein her horse in and take account of her surroundings.  Her mouth fell open in surprise.  They were much closer to her village of Kething than she thought.
The woods she had grown up playing by loomed before her in the cold mist.  Though the sight of her childhood playground should have comforted her, a chill was gradually working up her spine to the nape of her neck.  She shivered and rubbed the reins between her fingers in thought.
After the day her best friend, Jareth, disappeared into the woods, her foster parents forbade her from ever going near Sparevan Wood again.  Her freedom was further restricted when reports reached the village of disappearances similar to Jareth’s all over Kilfatar and Muireach.  One hundred and thirty children in total had vanished into the woods, all around the same age.  They were not seen again.  Saige was kept close to home until it was ingrained in her to never approach the forest.
And she hadn’t.  Saige had been a good, obedient child, listening to what her elders said, doing as they told her.  She was stubborn for sure, but good-hearted, which was why the fact that she still stood before the forest and hadn’t turned back yet baffled her.
Long after that day, when she would look back and try to explain what happened next, Saige would blame her rampant emotions, or say that she missed Jareth.  Truthfully, however, she could not pinpoint quite why she went into the woods.  Perhaps she did not see the floating lanterns of the will-o’-the-wisps dancing around inside the tree line, or perhaps she did not feel their magic draw her into the enchantment they spun.
For on that day, Saige decided to enter the imposing forest.  She did so bravely, riding in with her head held high, her horse prancing in excitement.  The trees hidden by the curtain of rain moved aside silently at the will-o’-the-wisps bidding and welcomed the long-awaited girl into its enveloping arms.
A man descended a steep incline.  The rain blew in his hooded face, eradicating the purpose of his thick, fur cloak altogether.  Regardless, he pulled the edges of the cloak further around himself, attempting to keep warm.  The ground leveled out into a flat forest floor.
He glanced back up the mountain and saw the silhouette of a village in the rainy mist.  The reason he had been summoned there was obscure, to say the least.  A messenger bird had come to his cabin two days ago with a note saying to come to the Twin Summits as soon as possible.
When he arrived, he made his way directly to the Nest, the council room of the Falcon Masters.  The falconer captains and generals sat in their crescent of seats with him at the center as he waited for their explanation.  He sat there for nearly an hour before one of them spoke.  It was an older man with long silvery hair.
“Bowen,” his rough voice said, “Travel to the border of the forest where the villages Keld and Kething are one.  Wait there until you see the White Falcon fly.”
Then they dismissed him.
So now he stood at the mountain base in cold weather that chilled him to his bones, heading somewhere with only a vague clue as to why he was there.  Bowen sighed and turned his face up to the weeping sky.
“Why me?” he muttered.  There was no answer.  He sighed and resumed his muddy trek downward.  It was going to be a long, wretched day.
Something’s wrong…
Saige peered at the trees around her as she passed them.  The bark was as black as pitch, but looked as smooth as marble.  A moment ago, she could have sworn the bark had been brown.  The leaves that she could see hanging from the lower branches looked like teardrops of emerald dangling from the boughs.  But it was autumn and the leaves she had seen before entering the wood were orange and gold.  She had never seen trees like these before.
There was no more wind; not even a breath of a breeze existed, and yet the air was not stale.  It wasn’t raining anymore either.  In fact, it was as if it had never rained in the first place.  Saige looked up to the sky, but the branches of the trees interwove to make a tightly-knit canopy, blotting out the sky and any rain that might fall through.
"That must be what is blocking out the rain,” she muttered, as if to reassure herself.  But even she, deep down inside, could tell that she was not in the Sparevan wood of her childhood.
The trees were mere handbreadths away from each other, but parted wherever she went.  Clawed branches stuck out like they were trying to catch her hair.  Saige slowly became unsettled.  She felt like something--or someone--was watching her.  Regretting her hasty decision to enter the wood, Saige sat back in her saddle and pulled Arrowynd to a stop.
“Something isn’t right.  Maybe we should go back…”
Suddenly, an owl came screeching down.  It stretched its sharp talons out and began scratching the horse’s face.  Arrowynd neighed shrilly and reared, lashing out her hooves at the bird.  Saige gasped and tried to keep her seat.
“Whoa, girl!  Steady!”
Her soothing was in vain.  The large owl kept attacking and the mare kept rearing.  Then the powerful beast lunged several feet in one stride.  Saige screamed and clung desperately to the saddle horn.  The great-horned bird pursued.
Bowen huddled between the roots of a giant tree, his fur cloak wrapped around him to keep him warm.  He had been waiting there for a day and a half now, with no sign of the White Falcon.  He ground his teeth and crossly readjusted himself in his uncomfortable niche.

Before he settled, he heard an inhuman shriek.  Bowen leapt to his feet, ready for anything.  He listened intently to the silence of the Ebony Weald looming to his left.  That sounded like a horse.  The tall man peered into the dark trees and listened.  Another scream rang out; this one decidedly human and female. 

A whooshing sounded above him and when he looked up, he saw the pale belly of a white bird flying into the depths of the ebony trees.  The White Falcon… he thought.  With a deep breath, Bowen dove into the thick trees, following the pale bird and the echoes of the feminine cries.
What an exciting selection! Thank you so much for sharing, Camryn.
And now, Camryn has offered a lovely work of original art as a giveaway to one lucky winner! Here it is:
If you would like to win this Falcon Master poster, enter your name in the drawing below. And be certain to thank Camryn for sharing with us today. I'm sure we will all be eager to read the final product as soon as Falcon Master is complete!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rae said...

I'm trying to catch my breath after that excerpt. Wow! You are an amazing writer, Camryn. I'm desperate to read the whole story now. Will it still be a few years before I can do that?

Thanks for hosting these interviews, Anne Elizabeth. They're really fun!

Molly said...

Yes, they are REALLY fun! I love all these interviews. :-D
Wow that is a really good drawing!! I love it! just wanna pick that book up and read it!!! :O

Hannah said...

Oh Camryn!! I love the way I can feel the wet wind and see the mist on the trees! Good job :)

Hannah said...

First off...WOW. I adore, adore, adore that front cover. It's simply incredible. And that summary is so tantalizing! I love the fact that it has to do with falcons.

One of my best friends is a falconer's apprentice, and she has her own falcon (no joke) so I'm even more fascinated with this novel, having had some experience with falcons myself.

If I could have a wolf without risking my health, then I would jump at it too. I'd also settle with a stunning red fox. Did you know they actually breed foxes for pets up in Russia? Soooo jealous.

You're excerpt is very intriguing! Keep up the good work! I really want to read this story someday!

JoJo said...

Camryn you are soooo inspiring!!!!
To you what is the hardest part about the writing process?

Bookishqueen said...

I loved your opening line! It felt real. How did you come up this idea?

Rebekah Gyger

J. L. Mbewe said...

I am very excited to see all this new talent coming up in fantasy.

The cover is amazing, but I have a thing for silhouettes. :-)

Thank you so much for sharing with us and doing the interview.

I am curious of who these Falcon Masters are. It sounds like they are a people group different than the others. I know what a Falcon Master is in regards to medieval history. So, I guess I'm wondering how the two relate and what makes them a "people group" if that is what they are, considering there was a leader that was taken captive. What sets them apart from the other peoples?


Also, if and when you get a blog or something, let us know so that we may follow your progress, cheer you on and get the book when it is available. :-)

Camryn Lockhart said...

Thank you guys so much! :)
Rae, hopefully it won't be too long before I get this story published. :) I'd like to think that you will read the complete story soon!

Hannah, that is so cool your friend is a falconer's apprentice! :D I've had to do so much research, I've often thought training to be a falconer would be easier than looking up how to do things.
I didn't know they could have foxes as pets in Russia. That's pretty awesome. :)

Jojo, for me, the hardest part about writing is telling the reader exactly what I see and how the characters feel. I can't say, "Hey, remember in this movie how that building they ate lunch in looked like? Yeah, that's what this room looks like." ;) It's tough for me, but for some people, it's not. :)

Thanks, Rebekah! Well, when I first came up with it, it was almost an exact replica of Ranger's Apprentice with how an apprentice is chosen by a master and trained in the arts of their trade. But my mom taught me about plagiarism, and I realized I couldn't actually publish that story. So it's been adapted and changed. Really it was just a game I played with my brothers until I began putting words to paper. Honestly, I don't believe I came up with the story entirely on my own. I think God inspired me with the majority of it. :) I hope it turns out the way He wants it to, and that it reaches all the people it's supposed to.

Jennette, you're spot on, actually. :) The Falcon Masters represent Christians in this fantasy world, and thus are a people of their own. That sets them apart. The rest of the world lives according to their standards or codes of honor, or lack thereof. The medieval trade of falconry is just something I thought made them cool. ^_^

Thank you guys again so much! :) I'm glad you liked my story.

In Christ,

Kathleen O'Hagan said...

That is so cool, your a amazing writer :)

Rae said...

Camryn, I wanted to point out something else that really struck me just in the excerpt you shared. I believe Ms. Stengl has written something before about making sure your readers can in some way relate to the characters, despite how otherworldly the rest of the story is. I think you did a amazing job of that! Yes, Bowen is waiting for a mysterious white falcon outside a fairy forest, but he immediately has our empathy because he's having to stand in a downpour (something I believe all of us have experienced at one time or another). Good job! :)

Clara said...

Your exerpt was amazing Camryn! I kept scrolling down wanting more...I love your clear writing style that caused me to think of John Flanagan's epic series:) Please keep up with this incredible story! It's so very good!

Meredith said...

To Ms. Camryn:

I truly enjoyed the excerpt from your exciting story. Like Ms. Rae has already said, it's wonderful that your characters are so relatable. The Falcon Masters are very interesting, and I love any story that features orphans and outcasts making a difference in their world. Wonderful job, and I also loved learning that you are one of seven siblings. I know you get lots of writing material from the inspiration of your family. I'll be praying for you and all your efforts. God bless you.

Mrs. Stengl: These "Fantasy Writers of Tomorrow" posts are phenomenal! Thank you for posting them. It's truly amazing the vast array of creativity that God has so wonderfully lavished upon these talented individuals. God bless you, and I hope that you have a wonderful weekend. It's been a very hectic few weeks for me, so, Lord willing, I'm going to relish a relaxing day at home tomorrow. I have a feeling I will be ensconced in my favorite reading spot, totally immersed in the adventures of a certain cat-man and a silent yet supremely courageous and expressive young woman.

Rae said...

I wanted to tell you, Anne Elisabeth, that my book club is reading Heartless this month! I'm planning to use some of the questions from the Christmas Read-Along for our discussions. :)

Shadowwolf said...

Wow! Just Wow! I am blown away by your talent, and I can't wait to read this entire story whenever it comes out!! What an amazing talent you have!

Unknown said...

I love the idea behind this story Camryn, and the adventure that is just beginning to unfold! God bless you in all your writing endeavours--and beautiful drawing! :D