Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interview with Kaycee Browning

Hello everyone! I am very proud to present an interview with Kaycee Browning author of Ember Flame!

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Hello and welcome to Future Homeschool Authors Kaycee! Thank you for stopping by today!

Thanks for having me!

First, could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Sure! I'm a sixteen year old homeschooled teen living in North Carolina. I started writing when I was twelve years old and have since written three novels. I'm writing the fourth novel currently. Other than writing, my favorite hobbies include reading, blogging, skeet shooting, hanging out with friends, and going on adventures. Most importantly, I'm a Christian and I strive to make my novels, and everything I do, glorify God.

What's your favorite book? 

'Lord of the Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien is my absolute favorite book. Tolkien's diction and description are breathtaking, and the story itself is inspiring and thrilling.

Who's your favorite Author?

Tolkien probably, but I also enjoy Alexandre Dumas, Brandon Sanderson, and Wayne Thomas Batson.

If you could meet one person who would it be? 

Hmm... contemporary or historical? How about both? Both is good. I would love to meet Peter Jackson, director of the 'Lord of the Rings' films. We'd sit down, have some 'taters and mushrooms, and just geek out over Middle-Earth. Historically, I would have loved to meet the Apostle Paul. His faith in Jesus Christ was astounding and I think it would be super cool to have heard a sermon from him. Maybe I will someday in heaven! Probably not a sermon, but at least I could chat with him for a bit, right? :)

Can you tell us anything about the book you're working on right now?

I'm currently writing 'Flake Frost' which is the final book in the trilogy that 'Ember Flame' begins. It follows Flake, a friend of Ember's, on some of her crazy adventures.

How did you begin writing? 

When I was twelve, my parents bought me an amazing writing curriculum. The last assignment in the curriculum was to invent a knight for King Arthur's round table and write a short story about him. That did not sound hard, so I invented a knight named Javen and began to type. I suddenly realized that I had no control over the crazy twists and adventures Javen found himself on. 23,000 words later, I had finished his story and conquered my fear of novel writing. The next year, I wrote my first novel using the 'One Year Adventure Novel' curriculum.

What inspired you to write 'Ember Flame'?

My best friend and I were at a Christian overnight camp. The morning's discussion had been about the Book of Judges. My friend and I were chatting about how strangely God works. In Judges, God repeatedly chooses men and women with major flaws to lead His people back to Him. The Judges aren't necessarily any better or worse than you or I, they were simply flawed human beings whom God used to further His kingdom. For some reason, this incredible concept resounded with me. I chattered about it excitedly with my friend and then randomly blurted, "Someone ought to write a fantasy novel about this!" My friend gave me an eyebrow-raised smirk as if to say 'you write it' and then 'Ember Flame' was born!

What is 'Ember Flame' about? 

This is the synopsis on the back cover of the novel:

Orphan outcast Les has longed to discover her true self outside of the dense forest of Grel. However, her own insecurity keeps her permanently trapped ... until soldiers incinerate the forest and slaughter the other woodcutters. Vowing revenge, Les is forced to escape the forest and enter Holdinus- a world plagued with an all-powerful dictatorship, a tyrannical lord, and scattered children with dangerous powers known as the Leverage. Les must accept her place in the world as Ember Flame, one of the six Leverage. If she cannot find her destiny and the other Leverage, the souls of the people will perish. Will she sacrifice her desires for a world that has been nothing but cruel to her? Or will she succumb to the wills of a tyrant and live a life of numbness?

Why do you write fantasy?

Personally, I find truths and themes easier to grasp if they are demonstrated in an abstract way. Jesus taught using parables, and I believe fantasy can be used in much the same way. We live in reality and see it every day. The incredible beauty of God's world is lost in a sea of the mundane because we are used to it. Likewise, we also become numb to the terrible aspects of this world because they are so common. If written well, an abstract world-a fantasy- can help readers "see" reality clearer. For example, the character Gollum from 'Lord of the Rings' helped me see how dangerous a temptation truly can be. Gollum is constantly warring with himself, trying to decide if he should help Frodo, or kill Frodo and take the Ring. Gollum eventually makes the wrong choice, and the consequences are terrible. Now, there are no 'Gollums' in this world, but the complete strangeness of the creature caused me to understand that entertaining temptation is no trifling matter. 'Ember Flame' tries to do the same thing. I want readers to walk away from my book, completely astounded at how God can take flawed, broken humans and heal them in His love and mercy.

Do you do any research for you books? If you do what are your main sources? 

Fantasy is fun because you don't have to research, but the research that you do is a lot of fun! For my fantasies, I pick a 'culture' and base the world on it. 'Ember Flame' is a combination of modern American culture with some Medieval flare thrown into the mix. I did basic Internet searches on castles, swords, fencing, etc., but nothing super in-depth. Pinterest is an incredibly resource for the casual researcher. There are tons of incredible pictures and info-graphs to look through! 

What piece of advice would you give to writers of fantasy? 

Don't become disillusioned to the power than fantasy holds. Don't justify a character's, especially the hero's, wrong choices because it's 'just a fantasy.' I'm not saying to make the hero perfect, but the wrong decisions need to have consequences that show them as wrong. If your hero decides to lie repeatedly to his parents, make sure there are consequences. The same goes for your villains. The villains can get away with a lot, but in the end, their actions need to be shown as wrong.

What do you like most about writing? 

I love the moments when the characters and plot simply sweep me away. The moments when even I don't know what will happen next. Writing the rough draft has many moments like this, so it is probably my favorite aspect of writing.

Any final thoughts? 

I know there are many who have qualms concerning fantasy, and rightfully so. It's sad how dark and dreary the genre has come to be in recent years. However, I don't believe the solution is giving up-but fighting harder! If more authors and publishers would focus on hitting the market with good, wholesome fantasies, perhaps the macabre and horror aspects would fade and disappear. I'm simply asking all Christian to not give up on fantasy, but to at least encourage the authors and publishers who are trying to return the genre to the original depth and light that Tolkien and C.S. Lewis popularized.

Thank you so much for joining us Kaycee! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for interviewing me! It was a lot of fun! :)


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