Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, C.J.!
Thrilled to be here, too. Love any opportunity to get nerdy about stories.
What 5 things should readers know about you?
Ah! It’s awesome to be hanging with you guys too. Oooh. Straight in with a tough question. Hm. Lemme think . . .
- I’m not shy. I’m just quietly trying not be weird. Like, people always assume ‘oh you’re a bookworm you must be shy and introverted.’ NO, Susan, I’m just a nerd with social awkwardness. So, please, if you ever meet me feel free to be your weird and wonderful self so we can skip straight to fangirling together about books, movies, games, food . . . anything really.
- I feel like I’m the odd duck who relates more to male characters written by female authors. Like, I don’t want to be with the love interest . . . I want to be him. Is that weird? I feel like this needs investigated in the book community. I volunteer.
- I drink a lot of tea. To the point that my friends can see me having withdrawal symptoms and quickly intervene. It’s gruesome, like I think I start morphing into the she-hulk after about 24 hours of no tea in my system. So if you see me and I appear murderous, find me tea, quickly—you’re life depends on it.
- The reason I have a tea addiction . . . I’m Irish. Northern Irish specifically. I live in a wee village outside Belfast. It’s a cultural fact that everyone in Ireland drinks tea, and if you don’t, you’re shunned. What kind of faerie hijinks is this? An Irish person who doesn’t like tea? Smells like Fae mischief to me.
- I once got chased by an angry rhinoceros in the South African brush. I’d never considered myself a sprinter, in fact, I never run as a rule, but in that moment I’m pretty sure I could’ve brought home Olympic gold. Hussain Bolt would’ve had trouble catching me that day, I’m tellin’ ya.
OMG—well, I have to say all five are a lot of fun, but that last one takes the cake! Makes me wonder what exactly angered the rhino… 😉
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
I’m a huge JRR Tolkien fan and have always been fascinated with his research into local folklore and mythologies. And just fascinated about him and his approach to storytelling in general. I also have a little bit of wanderlust and love nothing more than travelling the Scottish Highlands and investigating the ‘thin places’ of Ireland, all while pouring over mystic books, spiritual texts, and historical accounts. I’m insatiably curious about the world. I love to ask a ton of questions about customs, cultures, languages, and religions of others I come across. I just LOVE to be learning and because of that I do believe my imagination never knows when to take a holiday.
So the idea for ‘Tempest’ and the world of the ‘Veil’ came out of a love affair with Irish folklore and pre-Celtic mythology, specifically after following the research a certain Professor Tolkien carried out on the Tuatha Dé Danann; a supernatural race in Irish history that he based his Elves on. But in particular, it was the story of the Goddess Airmid, a lesser known but no less awe-inspiring goddess of healing and herbalism in this mythology that snared my attention. In the early days of writing ‘Tempest’ I was sick with a serious illness which had turned my life upside down, but studying the story of Airmid, learning about her strength and resilience, it gave me the courage to pursue healing for myself. Though it became more than that, it became about learning to cherish and love my body for exactly how it was. I went from writing this story about the ancient gods of Ireland to exploring the healing journey between all the characters, because we all have hurts, traumas, and scars, and I wanted ‘Tempest’ to explore that journey we all find ourselves on at some point in our lives – a healing journey back to our true selves and the hidden power we all have within—a force for good.
Oh ,wow—I’m sorry you were sick, but you definitely turned the experience around and made it into a positive!
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I started writing around 2013/14 after I became very unwell with a serious physical illness. It took its toll on me, both in body and in mind and I’d always loved reading, and storytelling so I threw myself into my novels to give my mind something to do. Lord of the Rings is one of my all time favourite stories—anything by Tolkien really—and I was reading some hobbit fanfic when I suddenly got the urge to have a go at writing my own fanfic. I’d had a few ideas knocking around in my head. So, one day I took the plunge and posted my first fic online. A few months later and I’d thousands of regular followers and a million reads. I’d never considered writing as a career, that was for talented and educated folk, and I was a nobody. Except, this journey I’d now went on in my writing was taking me down a whole new path and on quite the healing journey. I was doing some Tolkien research when I came across stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann. I fell in love with the stories and began developing the first drafts of Tempest, but at the time I knew nothing about writing, or even how one goes about putting out a novel. That’s where the Lord of the Rings fandom came to the rescue. I met other authors in the community, and they encouraged me. They taught me the foundational skills, and kept me uplifted, pushing me through the bad days. Until, one day, I decided to get on a plane and go to a writer’s conference. I hadn’t travelled in years since becoming sick, but the most marvelous thing was happening, my body was on the mend and I was getting stronger. At that conference I met my now literary agent, more incredible author mentors, and the rest as they say is history. So WHO inspired me . . . Tolkien and all my fellow Tolkien fans who have become my dearest friends.
Impressive! He is quite the inspiration!
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I’ve a couple of project I’m working on. Book two of ‘The Veil Chronicles’ is one. It is the most emotionally charged story I’ve written, but if I’m not feeling all the feels when I’m writing my drafts then the reader won’t either, and that’s my motto. I’m also super excited about my other project—completely different from my usual fantasy—I’m about to turn in the manuscript for my first ever romantic contemporary The Adjustment Period slated for release in Summer 2022. It’s a fun, flirty, beach read with a big heart. I began writing it over the course of the first lockdowns of 2020, just to see if I could try my hand at something different. It was snapped up pretty quick by an amazing publisher, and I just got a glimpse of the cover—eeeek! So, beautiful. I’ve also two other fantasy projects in the mix—which I can’t totally talk about just yet, but I AM SO excited about one in particular and I know my readers who’ve been with me since the early days of fanfic will LOVE the news potentially regarding a release late next year . . .hopefully . . . fingers-crossed. Jeez, I need to tape my mouth or stuff a sock in it. SO, I’m a busy bee for the next year and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Awesome! So much to look forward to!
What are you currently reading, and what are your thoughts about it so far?
I’m currently reading The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout. It’s the third book in JLA’s popular From Blood and Ash series. It took me a little while to get into the series. I did the usual picking it up and putting it down, not really sure if I was feeling it. Then one afternoon, after a particularly difficult day, I decided to power through. My, my, my how entertained I’ve been these past few weeks. I think what I find the most fun about this book is the character interactions and Poppy. Poppy tickles me. To be honest If I’m not yelling at a character then I’m not happy with the book. And, I was constantly ranting at Poppy, which makes it all the more entertaining. I don’t know how many faces I’ve pulled, how many snort laughs I’ve made, how many times I warned Poppy about Hawke, honestly, I’ve lost count. And, controversially, I kinda understand why Hawke does what he does, lol. Back to my issue . . . I relate to the male characters written by female authors. What is up with that? Haha I’ll not spoil the story for those intending to read, but for those that know—yeah, I’m thinking I agree with Poppy, there’s something twisted about Hawke and I ***mischievous eyebrow waggle*** You know, I’d have way too much fun as a villain in a story . . .y’know, the misunderstood, more morally ambiguous anti-hero kind of villain. I just know in an alternate universe I’m toying with the idea of world domination or some kind of uprising, just toying mind you, planning should the need ever arise.
LOL—I can’t wait to see that, should the need ever indeed arise! 😉
If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
‘Forbidden love. Seductive power. Cruel intentions. Lexi Danu is forced into a clandestine world of magic, myths, and ancient vendettas. Her blood hides more than just lethal power, and she must unearth that truth before she loses more than herself to a web of lies and betrayal.’
Perfect! Thank you so much, C.J!
About the author:
Clare is a successful and highly popular author of award winning Fanfiction, with thousands of online fans and over 2 million reads on her Lord of the Rings Fanfic epic. Clare has also won several writing awards within the Fantasy, Inspirational, and Short Story genres. Her story Refuge was a top prize winner and as a direct result published in Faith & Freedom anthology by EA books. She has recently been shortlisted for Writer of the Year 2019.
As well as writing, Clare is an experienced Occupational Therapist, with a passion for enabling people. She has contributed articles for online organizations aimed at highlighting disability as a positive influence in modern literature. Her love of storytelling, merged with her positive messages inspires her to create meaningful narratives that represent diversity, and promote unity.
You can learn more about Clare by visiting www.CJCampbellOfficial.com
by C.J. Campbell
(The Veil Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: August 31st 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
To unearth the truth, she must embrace the legend within.
For eighteen-year-old Lexi, freedom is a luxury. She’s spent her life evading capture for a genetic gift that feels more like a curse. Her bulletproof immunity and monstrous disfigurement is of great interest to a secret organization, but they aren’t the only ones. A cryptic tip alerts Lexi that something else hunts her–something darker.
Desperate to enjoy her life before it’s too late, Lexi leaves the protective cocoon her parents created for her and signs up for art classes at her local college. There she meets Conner, who is confined to a wheelchair, and they become friends who are willing to share each other’s secrets. But a chance encounter with Connor’s foster brother Killian changes everything.
Killian shares the same mysterious secret within his blood as Lexi. Their fateful meeting sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic events that exposes the terrifying truth–Lexi is a celestial queen of a bygone race. Connor is their last royal heir, and Killian is a half-breed abomination hated for his very existence. With Connor kidnapped by an ancient god determined to rid the world of the stain of humanity, Lexi and Killian find themselves under the protection of the secretive Order of Kings.
Lexi believes she’s been thrown into a world of myths and legends, but things are not as they seem. Lexi becomes convinced the Order is keeping dangerous secrets that threaten not just her but all of mankind.