All posts by Wendy Van Camp

Writer. Gemologist. Artisan Jeweler.

Author Interview – Kristina Schram

No Wasted Ink welcomes Author Kristina Schram, a doctor of Counseling Psychology who writes novels ranging from fantasy to gothic paranormal romance. She is a mother of three and an instructor at workshops for aspiring authors in New Hampshire.

Author Kristina SchramHello, fellow book lovers! My name is Kristina Schram and I write YA, Fantasy, and Paranormal Gothic Romances. I read something every day, usually from two or three books at one time. I enjoy photography, playing basketball, and throwing tomahawk and knife. That last hobby sounds a little strange, I imagine, but it will come in handy if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing at a young age, beginning with self-illustrated books about wanting to own a castle. I think every author starts writing because they love reading books and feel the drive to create one themselves. When I was a teenager I kept a journal filled with awful poems and tidbits about who I was in love with, along with my struggles to figure out how to get them to notice me. Nowadays, there are times when I think that if I don’t get all the stuff in my head down on paper, I’ll spiral into madness.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably in high school when a short story I wrote was published in a statewide literary magazine for student writers, and which received the Scotty Award for excellence in writing. I didn’t consider myself a writer of books until I finished writing a novel while in graduate school. When you first start writing, it takes a LONG time to complete a book, so to accomplish such a feat really made me feel like I could do this as a career.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The Prophecies is the first book of four in The Chronicles of Anaedor series. Here’s what it’s about:

When Lavida Mors is sent away to Portal Manor, a mysterious family estate, she unwittingly stumbles across a secret passage to the fantastical and dangerous world of Anaedor. Her misadventure sparks off a series of frightening events, beginning when the enigmatic Frio kidnaps her and her two friends and delivers them into the hands of a malevolent being determined to destroy Lavida. Found guilty for crimes against Anaedor, Lavida and her friends are unfairly imprisoned. To stay alive, Lavida must reveal a secret about herself she has kept hidden her whole life, but in doing so, she could lose everything and everyone dear to her.

What inspired you to write this book?

When I was in graduate school, I was always searching out nature. I grew up in the country, but the university sat smack dab in the middle of a city. Strangely enough, however, in that same city, there was a huge park filled with streams and ravines and rocks and trees. One day, while walking off the beaten path, a strange and rather disturbing thought occurred to me… What if a whole world lived under us and we had no clue they were there, watching and waiting? So basically, being paranoid is how I came up with the idea of a hidden underground world populated by mythical creatures, which I called Anaedor.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I definitely like writing plot-driven books with a lot of mystery, adventure, and drama. At the same time, I love developing unique and realistic characters. In creating these characters, my psychology background, especially the classes I took in abnormal and personality psychology, comes in handy more often than I would have guessed.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The Prophecies isn’t exactly a unique title, but it’s a major focus in the book. How I came up with my world’s name (Anaedor) is perhaps a little more interesting. The name Anador (which was my original spelling) actually just popped in my head, and I immediately thought I must have heard it before. So I looked up the name and found that Anador was a planet in a Star Wars book. I’ve never read one so I’m not sure how that word wormed its way into my subconscious. I didn’t want to give it up, though, so I added an ‘e’ and kept the name. But there’s more. Just now, I looked up Anador to be sure I had my facts straight and found it spelled Amador, with an M! So I could’ve kept the original spelling. Though now I kind of like the added ‘e’ so maybe it was meant to be.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

All my books have messages in them because I remember how much I liked learning from the books I read as a kid and how much these messages influenced my development. For the Anaedor series, I was hoping to help people become more aware of how easy it is to judge and fear others because they’re different. I was always one of those, shall we say, unusual, kids myself. In writing about Anaedor, I wanted to convey to young people that being different should be celebrated and can lead to wonderful things!

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

In writing fantasy, you do make up a lot of your world. However, I don’t think any writer can escape the influences of their own life. I often borrow bits and pieces of interesting people that I see in real life and use these morsels to create unique characters. I also love everything British, an obsession that shapes how many of my Anaedorian characters speak and act.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Discovering C.S. Lewis was a huge factor in my becoming an avid reader. Reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was an experience I had never yet encountered—so mythical and magical and full of wonder—that I couldn’t help but be bowled over! Reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was also a game changer for me. I was having a bad day when I came across the book and sympathized with Mary Lennox because she was lonely, like myself. Her persistence still inspires me to keep going even when everything looks dark and bleak.

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

I’m not sure I can consider any of the authors that I love as mentors since I’ll never be able to meet them, but here’s my wish list if I could: Jane Austen, because she has an amazing insight into human nature; Daphne du Maurier, because she’s great at building gothic suspense; and William Shakespeare, for his awe-inspiring ability to turn a phrase.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Hive Collective designed my book cover. I felt they best captured both the mystery and intrigue of The Prophecies.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t let rejections or roadblocks stop you. Be persistent. Every writer has faced these obstacles, so you’re not alone. In terms of publishing, there will be times when you’ll feel lost and overwhelmed. Again, don’t give up. Most importantly, never look at any project as a whole. Break it up into pieces, take baby steps. Otherwise, you will go screaming into the night.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Dear readers, you’ve been so awesome and supportive over the years, and I’d just like to say a heartfelt thank you! I promise to do my best to keep writing good works that not only entertain, but also educate (in a fun way). And if I ever get my castle, you’re invited to visit!

The Prophecies Book CoverKristina Schram
New Hampshire

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Publisher: Hive Collective

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksSometimes I get lucky in my surfing and find plenty of good links to articles about the writing process. This is one of those times. There is everything here from dealing with writing and reading when you are visually impaired to how to be a better writer in general. Enjoy.

How I Use Scrivener To Organize My Book Writing

Getting Started With Jutoh: A List of Resources and a Cheat Sheet

Want to Become a Better Writer? Copy the Work of Others!

Ode to Scrivener

Reading Challenges of a Visually Impaired Writer in the Digital World

D is for Dashes – The Definitive Guide: You Need Never Query Them Again

How E-Books Saved My Ability to Read

A Tale of Two Sisters and Hamlet

Prewriting Checklist

Book Vloggin’ with Jan: Women of Science Fiction

Writing Space: Library and Reading Room

Library and Reading Room

Today’s writing space inspirational photo is a bit of a departure from my usual offerings. This is a small, home library complete with ladders to reach the upper shelves, a large file cabinet for periodicals and a central place to read and view your books. Finding such a grand space in the home is not an easy task in this day and age, but we can all dream, no? You can view more about this library space here.

Book Review: The Sword in the Stone

Book Name: The Sword in the Stone
Author: T.H. White
First Published: 1938

T.H. White was born in Bombay, British India, to Garrick Hanbury White and Constance White. His parents separated when he was fourteen years of age and he returned to England to finish his schooling in Gloucestershire. He later studied at Queens’ College in Cambridge where he was tutored by scholar and author L.J. Potts. Potts would become his friend and correspondent throughout his life. White considered him to be “the great literary influence in my life.” It was at Queens’ College that White wrote a thesis on Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and was exposed to the legends of King Arthur.

After his graduation in 1928 he began teaching and to write. His first novels were science fiction. Earth Stopped in 1934 and its sequel Gone to Ground in 1935 concerned dystopian themes. Once they were completed, White was searching for a new subject to write about. He wrote to a friend in 1937, “I got desperate among my books and picked [Malory] up in lack of anything else. Then I was thrilled and astonished to find that (a) The thing was a perfect tragedy, with a beginning, a middle and an end implicit in the beginning and (b) the characters were real people with recognizable reactions which could be forecast[...] Anyway, I somehow started writing a book.”

This book was The Sword in the Stone, which White considered a preface to Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur that he had written his thesis upon. It would bring a child’s delight to the story of Arthur’s early days and was influenced by Freudian psychology and White’s love of natural history. The book became a Book of the Month Club selection in 1939.

In 1939 White moved to Ireland where he remained during the second world war as a conscientious objector. During his time there, he wrote the sequels to The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood and the Ill-Made Knight.

White died of heart failure in 1964 while aboard a ship en route from Piraeus, Greece after a lecture tour in the United States. He is buried in Athens and his papers are held by the University of Texas at Austin, USA. White had no children and was never married.

Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of all England.

The Sword in the Stone began as a single novel, but later became the first tome of the classic series The Once and Future King. Of all five books, it is the most lighthearted and could be considered a young adult novel. The rest of the series is darker and clearly for adult readers. The Sword in the Stone follows the story of a young orphan boy who is nicknamed “Wart”. He lives with Sir Ector, a knight of the King and works as a page in medieval Great Britain. One day, while retrieving one of Sir Ector’s birds, which his foster brother Kay has lost, he meets Merlin, a wise wizard who lives his life backwards, growing young as the years go by. Merlin knows Wart’s true heritage and has come to tutor the boy. He becomes both Wart’s and Kay’s teacher.

Merlin and Wart go on a series of learning adventures, each one designed to teach Wart the skills necessary to become a great and wise ruler. Wart rescues people with Robin Hood and Maid Marian, goes on a quest with King Pellinore for a beast, and turns into a wide variety of animals to experience the world in new and more interesting perspectives. In the end, he gains enough knowledge and wisdom to fulfill his destiny, to pull Excalibur from the anvil and be proclaimed the rightful King of England. For Wart is actually King Arthur of Camelot and he will become the stuff of legends.

The Once and Future King is a reworking of Sir Thomas Malory’s 15th Century romance, Le Morte d’Arthur. In fact T.H. White wrote in a cameo appearance for Malory as one of the historical figures that populate the tales. While the first book is light-hearted and has a boy protagonist, White follows the entire life of King Arthur including many of the darker aspects of his life in the later books. This is not a series for children, although The Sword in the Stone can be thought of as a young adult novel. The books are full of medieval references that could be confusing to those that are not familiar with common terms of the time period, yet the writing style is quite readable and as the story continues, the darker side of man is revealed.

The Sword in the Stone was made into a famous cartoon by Walt Disney in 1963. The movie features a famous battle between Merlin and the Sorceress Madam Mim. This battle was removed from later editions of the novel by the author and usually is not found in the later collections of the series. Lerner and Loewe’s 1960 musical “Camelot” is based on the last two books of The Once and Future King series and later this musical was turned into a movie of the same name in 1967.

You’ll find references to these stories woven into our pop culture from the Broadway musical and the movie, to its being an inspiration to author J.K. Rowling as she wrote her Harry Potter series and to Neil Gaimann’s character of Tim Hunter. If you enjoy the legends of King Arthur or stories about the middle ages and have some familiarity with the time period, you will find this series of books to be enjoyable.

The Sword in the Stone Book CoverThe Once and Future King

The Sword in the Stone (1938)
The Queen of Air and Darkness (1939, original version The Witch in the Wood)
The Ill-Made Knight (1940)
The Candle in the Wind (1958)
The Book of Merlyn (1977)