Thank you so much for being here, C.K. Volnek
1: what genre do you write?
Thank you for having me. I write mostly MG, Tween and YA. My middle son hated to read and it challenged me to come up with stories that could entertain, encourage and inspire my readers.
2: How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was in my teens. But my dream of writing novels was put on hold for many years while I raised my family. There just weren’t enough hours in the day, or enough energy in my body, to crank out my novels. But I wrote newsletters, articles and short stories all along, even getting a story picked up for Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul.
3: What do you like the most and least about writing?
I love to tell stories. Always have. I remember being the designated story teller around the camp fire when I was young. I love to take my characters and make them come to life, watching them go after their dreams and persevere even though obstacles try to stop them.
What I like least, is my internal editor. She seems to raise her head at times she shouldn’t causing quite a ruckus between her and my muse. She also likes to inflict the seeds of doubt at times when I can be very vulnerable, my own worst enemy.
4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?
I’m lucky to have a lot a hobbies. Mostly I like to spend time with my family. I also love to travel, especially hiking in the mountains. I like to draw and paint, play with my flower garden, make jewelry, take my Papillons (all 4 at once) for long walks, and relax with a good movie like Pride and Prejudice.
5: Which authors do you like to read?
I really like the voices of Jane Yolen, Deb Calleti and Edward Bloor. But I admit, I also love the stables of Anna Sewell and Jane Austin.
6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?
I’m nobody really special. Just an average person. Wife, mom, employee...but I have a passion for writing and with hard work and keeping my dream alive, I’m excited to accept my first two contracts. If I can do it, anyone can, if they want it bad enough to work for it.
7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it?
I have two novels coming out with MuseItUp Publishing. Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island will be released in September, 2011 and The Secret of the Stones will be shortly thereafter. Both are tween novels. Please check out my author page at http://museituppublishing.com/musepub/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128&Itemid=82
8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Two elements stand out to me when one is first writing. 1. Believe in Yourself and 2. Never give up!
1. It’s so easy to doubt yourself, believing that you cannot compete with the likes of J.K. Rawlings or Stephen King. But don’t believe it. Your story is important and if you don’t write it, no one else will!
2. It’s also easy to just give in and go on to do something else, especially at the first hint of criticism. But if you give up, you’ll never know how your story could have touched the people it was meant to touch, maybe being the lifesaver of just one person...
9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?
I do take bit and pieces of real people. The MC of ‘The Secret of the Stones’, Alex Ramsey, is based quite a bit on my middle son, down to the ‘middle child syndrome’ my character reacts with.
10: How did you come up with the idea for this book?
I have an overactive imagination. Seems I read anything and my muse automatically asks... ‘what if...’ That’s how ‘The Secret of the Stones’ came about. I was reading a short story about Merlin and Vivienne. My muse reflected on the movie The Sword and Stone and how Merlin changed him and Arthur into squirrels and fish. My muse automatically wondered what would happen if a boy today had that same power. It’s a rather humorous tale and one I delighted in writing as most of my stories or on the more serious side.
11: What are you currently working on?
I am currently working two books... ‘The Secret of the Wood’, the sequel to ‘The Secret of the Stones’, where Alex will continue his magical adventure. And I am also working on a YA titled ‘The Three O’Clock Hour’. It is a fiction story based on the school bus tragedy of my home town.
12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Hmmm... I’m a Christian. I love my family and hate it when we’re apart. I love dogs and horses, traveling, hiking in the mountains and strolling on the beaches. I love pasta and tulips, gardening and making jewelry. I am a night owl which works out great for my muse since my hubby is an early bird.
13. Where can we find you? Website? Blog?
I would love to hear from readers and writers alike.
My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for having me. Have a wonderful day!
Unedited excerpt of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
A hurricane has hit Roanoke Island earlier than expected, catching twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren at home...alone. Thinking he’s heard his dad calling for help from the boat dock, Jack heads out into the storm. But his dad isn’t back from town. The only thing out in the storm is a giant tan and black Mastiff. Wanting to get the dog to safety, Jack follows him up the bluff next to their beach house, the very bluff his little sister had fallen off of, the bluff he’d been forbidden to go up.
And the rest of the chapter...
Jack’s stomach knotted as he reached the top of the bluff. The massive white oak stood like a sentry, its dead, leafless branches reaching so high they seemed to spear the dark clouds. It groaned as the winds battered its gnarled branches, twisting and turning as though possessed.
The storm was getting stronger.
Jack stopped and wiped at the rain on his face as he scanned the bluff. Where was that dog?
A sharp bark from the shadows on the other side of the tree made him jerk. He blinked, staring into the blurred shrubs, their branches whipping back and forth like swords.
But as if he were an apparition, the dog was gone, melted away. Jack pushed his wet hair out of his eyes and looked again. He searched the bushes and vines; checked the slope that led down the back to the forest. There was no sign of the Mastiff.
The wind pressed hard against Jack’s chest, forcing him to step back. Soggy leaves slithered into the mud with a sucking noise under the weight of his foot. He tipped unsteadily; tripping over the oak’s crooked roots and fell against the rickety fence on the edge of the bluff. A weathered rail jerked up and down in the wind, jumping at Jack like an angry animal. He pushed himself upright again, his eyes widening as he stared at the missing section of fence to his right. This was where Kimmy fell.
The normally shallow water below the cliff exploded as black water beat at the narrow strip of rocky beach. He stared south, toward the long point of the island. Frothy whitecaps topped the enormous waves making them look like giant rabid sea-monsters. The coast line blurred into a haze of grays.
Rain whipped sideways across the bluff, stinging Jack’s cheeks and ears. The wind whirled around him like giant arms, tossing him back and forth, shoving him toward the tree; to where the water pooled into a bowl-shaped gap between the roots, swirling and churning like a witch’s brew.
His feet slid in the mud, gripping at the tree, but the smooth trunk offered no hold. The wet soil slipped beneath him and tossed him into the whirling mire.
He thrashed about, struggling to get out of the pool. But the slimy sludge only pulled harder. It sucked at his legs and arms. It filled his ears and coated his hair. It swirled him around and around, inching closer and closer to the void in the fence, toward the edge of the bluff, until the river of mud slithered over the edge … carrying him with it.