2014 Debut Authors Bash Day #25: C.A. Staff

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10615981_763777407012769_8503315426721521009_nC.A. Staff started her writing career late in life.  Born and raised a Nebraskan, Mrs. Staff spent much of her own life telling stories to her five children.  Now that her children have their own families, Mrs. Staff has begun to share her stories with the rest of the world.
C.A. Staff’s debut novel was not actually fantasy.  Mrs. Staff was neglected and abused as a child, so her first novel was a memoir about the abuse her adopted mother subjected her to.  To help deal with the pain of writing her memoir, Mrs. Staff created Return Of The Necromancers.  She wrote the two novels side by side.
When did you first realize you wanted to be an Author?
I was in my twenties before I realized I wanted to write “September’s Child”.  I was however a single mother, and was far too busy raising children and working to write long stories.  I did write some poetry which was published.
What would you say is your interesting quirk that only happens when you are writing?
An interesting quirk of mine is when I work on my memoir I have to have complete silence.  I can’t seem to focus on my life’s story when there is music.   When I am working on my fantasy novels I have to have epic type music.  I found this out one day as I was working on Return Of The Necromancers.  I was also looking for book video trailer music for “September’s Child”.  I was so uninspired that day.  I found an original composition by Patrick Digby that inspired me to write three chapters in just a few hours.  Amazing!  Patrick Digby also was so kind as to allow me to use his original compositions for two of my book trailers.  “Standing the Storm” I used for “September’s Child”, and “The Kingdom Rises” I used for my fantasy novel.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your books?

One of the most surprising things I learned while writing both my books, was that I did have it in me to finish not just one, but two books in the same year.  I knew I wanted to write my memoir, however a fantasy novel was the furthest thing from my mind when I started.

Where did you get ideas for your books?

My family was my source of information for my fantasy novel.  My second-to-oldest son to be precise.  He was living at home when I started writing “September’s Child” (my memoir).

One day I must have looked as though I were about to fall to pieces.  He sat down on the couch with a worried look on his face.  I quote him, “Mom you know what you need?  You need to create a fantasy world that you can slip into when September’s Child gets to be too much for you.”

We laughed about the books we had shared, and the stories I told him as a very small child.  After many hours of sharing our favorite parts of our favorite books and movies, and even fantasy games, we decided upon a name for my next novel.  It was originally The Dark Mountain Saga, but I goofed up and missed my son’s mispelling of the title.  That mess up caused me to change the entire cover and title to Return Of The Necromancers.

While building Darnok the Wizard’s castle, I created my own original character.  (Troxee)  Troxee was born of Darnok’s magic gone wrong, it is part tree, part rock.  Tree + Rock = Troxee.   My ten year old grand-daughter came up with our alternative to dragons.  I did not want our story to be just like everyone else’s.  I figured there were far too many dragon stories out there.  However I love dragons, so my grand-daughter convinced me to create a new creature.  Part lion, part horse, part dragon.  My husband came up with a name for our new ferocious creature. (Lorgon)  Thus Chento was born! Chento’s name came from my friend in Bridgeport, Nebraska.  My friend had an adventurous cat named Chento.

That is not all that my Bridgeport friend contributed to “Return Of The Necromancers”.  I am a lover of history and my friend works at a museum.  We spoke over the phone and in private message on Facebook about historical happenings in Bridgeport.  The result of our many messages back and forth:  Camp Clark Bridge became the bridge over the great Danov River, and the Wild Cat Hills became the Wild Lorgon Hills.  Oh yes, and Bridgeport became Pontus Port, pontus being Latin for bridge.  Once again my husband came up with that.

As you can see there are many influences in “Return Of The Necromancers”.  Many friends and family participated in the creation of my fantasy novel, some even had their real names spelled backwards.  It was amusing doing that part, as some names just sounded silly, while others fit the story perfectly.

Out of all the books you have written which is your favorite and why?

It is a no-brainer really that “Return Of The Necromancers” is by far my favorite novel.  My memoir is terribly hard to write.  I say, “is”, because I am still putting together book two of  “September’s Child”, and it has left me feeling drained more days than not.

 

What do you think makes a good story?

I feel that action and adventure make an awesome story.  I also love a book that makes me think.   I am not just a fantasy writer, I am also a fantasy reader.  In my quest for awesome fantasy stories, some of my favorite authors include, but are not limited to, the following:   J. R. R. Tolkien, R.A. Salvatore, and Christopher Paolini.  Some of my not so well known favorites are Natasja Hellenthal, who is the talented author of one of my absolute favorite newish novels, “Chained Freedom”, and for the gruesome side of me that rarely shows itself, Steven Bruce Rosenstein, author of “A Sinister Obsession”, filled my head with all sorts of scary images.

If you could pick one actor to play a character in your book in the movie version, who would it be?

Should “Return Of The Necromancers”, ever become a movie I think Rovert should be played by Alex Pettyfer, he definitely has an archer look about him.

Who are some of the people that influenced your love of writing?

My fifth grade teacher influenced my writing, although so did my adopted mother.  My adopted mother, in a round about way, even caused “Return Of The Necromancers.”

I am not much of a television watcher, however when I watch television, I watch shows like “Law and Order”, “CSI”, and “Criminal Minds”.  As for movies, I do tend to lean towards vampire type movies.  I quite enjoyed “Underworld” and “Van Helsing.”

How are your Supernaturals different from the traditional mythology?

I believe “Return Of The Necromancers” characters differ from traditional mythology, because while creating them, I intentionally avoided tradition.  In traditional mythology, Necromancers are thought to be on the morbid side.  I quote Wikipedia, “A necromancer is a person who practices necromancy, a discipline of black magic used to communicate with the dead to foretell the future”.  My Necromancers appear human until they use their magic.  Most of my Necromancers are harmless, unless they need to summon the dead to fight their battles.  My Necromancers are also elementals.  They control the elements to which they belong.  (Fire controls fire, water controls water, etc.)  My Necromancers are as beautiful, if not more beautiful than the Elves.  They protect and care for the entire world of Danovian.  Having said that, my Necromancers might scare the eebies out you when in their true sorcerer form.  The Vampires in my novel are fairly traditional.  They are blood-thirsty un-dead creatures, despised and feared by most.

What is your view on the Paranormal “Craze” that’s going on, do you feel that it is a fad that people will look back on and laugh or a lasting interest that will birth classics to come?

The “Paranormal Craze”, I do believe is here to stay, as it has been around for centuries really.  Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, and the likes have been common-place for as long as I can remember, and I am 50 so that is pretty long.  Seriously though, I doubt it is actually a “Craze”, I am pretty sure it is here to stay.

What other genres do you write?

Currently I am finishing up my memoir.  Book two of “Return Of The Necromancers” is next.  I am also working on a children’s gardening book, that I hope will teach youngsters to love and respect plants and flowers, and I am kicking about the idea of writing an historical fiction based on Nebraska.

If you had one piece of advice for an aspiring Author what would it be?

My advice to all aspiring authors is this:  Write what tends to flow.  Write something every day.  Never give up on your dream, if this old lady can do it so can you!  All you have to do is write it!  I guess that is actually more than one piece of advice.

What would you like to say to friends and family of Authors (not just your own)?

To friends and family of other authors, I say this, “Be supportive, be honest, and pitch in.  You might find it to be fun helping your beloved author create a new world.”

Is there anything else you want to share with your readers?

To my readers, and fans I would like to say “THANK YOU!”  Because you believe in me, I continue to write for your reading pleasure.  I would also like to thank the many people who have e-mailed me expressing their gratitude for my writing.  It has been a pleasure!

Return Of The Necromancers Excerpt

As Enilorac drew closer to home an eerie feeling swept over her.  At the sight of the bloody streets of Sparevene she dismounted her mighty steed, Axel.   Enilorac tethered her horse to a nearby tree.  Cautiously she made her way through the once beautiful streets of her village.

Enilorac carefully stepped over the lifeless bodies of friends and neighbors, occasionally stooping to close their eyes as she made her way to her parents‭’ ‬home.

 

22083186Step into a fantasy world that is original! 
The world known as Danovian, where Necromancers rule is under threat! 
Vampires, zombies, ghosts, and ghouls are hiding in the shadows. They rule their world from the Necromancer Realm, watched over by Danovians Guardians. Some say those who rule the dead must be evil. There can be no good from raising the dead. Can there be? 

Danovian’s human race do not totally understand all this, but fear it has something to do with the dark days of the Great Necro War. When Lord Stelau, an air Necromancer, turned evil, the entire world of Danovian became chaotic. 
When young warrior girl Enilorac’s village is attacked by vampires and her parents left for dead it becomes her quest, given to her by Alatli, Queen of the Necromancers, to go to Dark Mountain and fulfil her destiny. The Elder Necromancers only hope of regaining control, and bringing back balance to Danovian, lies with the royal children. 
Follow Enilorac and archer boy Rovert on the start of their new magical quest in the first book in the Dark Mountain Saga, Return Of The Necromancer.