Today, J.A. Campbell is here to talk with us about her novel, Sabaska's Tale...
To Anna, horses were more than a fascination, they were everything. Luckily, she had the opportunity to spend every summer on her grandmother's horse ranch in Colorado. Life was perfect, until she received the devastating news that her grandmother had been tragically killed. Anna knew she was the only member of her family who could take over the ranch and hopefully find new homes for her grandmother's beloved Arabians.
Anna wasn't alone for long. Her grandmother had hired a local teenage boy to help tend the horses for the summer. Anna didn't stand a chance against Cody's quiet charm and the two rapidly become friends. However, even with the responsibilities of the ranch, Anna quickly discovers the secrets her grandmother had been hiding and a legacy that sends her on an adventure she never thought possible. An adventure in the saddle of a horse that wasn't a horse at all. Sabaska, her grandmother's favorite Arabian, was a Traveler; a magical being that could travel between worlds. With Anna at the reins, they find themselves trapped in a fight against evil with the highest of stakes… Their very survival.
Tricia: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
JA: Well, my name is Julie, though I write under the name J.A. Campbell. I have a Border Collie and a horse and am owned by three cats. They keep me pretty busy when I’m not writing. I love spending time in the mountains and in nature. Triska, my horse, and Kira, my dog, enjoy it a lot too. That’s where I recharge the best. I also herd sheep with Kira and I ride a motorcycle. Never a dull moment.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
JA: I began telling stories and writing basically as soon as I had the concept down. My early adventures always involved killer Portuguese Men of War, though I can’t remember why. I also self-illustrated an epic tale about a bookworm. Elementary school saw many Nancy Drew style mysteries and then I branched into fantasy. Of course, I went to school and got a science degree before I came back to my first love, writing.
Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent release?
JA: Sabaska’s Tale is an epic fantasy hiding in a contemporary fantasy skin about a modern teen who travels to other worlds on horseback and has epic adventures. She’s basically just a normal teen who inherits this crazy quest after her grandmother is killed.
Tricia: How did you get the idea for the book?
JA: My own trail riding adventures on my last horse, Sabaska, inspired the novel. When we’d go up into the mountains it would really feel like we were traveling to other worlds so I ended up writing a novel about it.
Tricia: If you could recommend just one of your books to my readers, which book would you choose?
JA: I have many short stories and two novel series. The Clanless series is a great teen vampire series, but my favorite is really Sabaska’s Tale and I’m busy writing more.
Tricia: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
JA: Oh, that’s a really tough one to answer. I love Brown, my ghost-hunting Border Collie. Ekatarine is one of my oldest characters, literally and figuratively. I came up with her a long time ago and she’s a vampire. She is super fun to write about and Sabaska will always hold a special place in my heart since she’s based off of my late horse of the same name.
Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
JA: The middle. It’s always the hardest. Once I get beyond the middles, the words just flow and it’s a joy to write them. The middles are tough though.
Tricia: What is your primary goal as an author?
JA: To tell entertaining stories that keep people coming back for more. Though, truly, I write for myself and I’m tickled that other people like my stories as much as I do.
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
JA: I’m working on the next Traveler’s Tale novel, several short stories and a potential comic project with a friend of mine. Never a dull moment.
Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
JA: It’s a lot of work, but, as trite as the advice might be by now, write every day. And if you don’t love it, don’t do it, but if you do love it, there’s nothing better.
To learn more about J.A. Campbell or to buy a copy of her book, please visit the following links:
Amazon author’s page: http://www.amazon.com/J.-A.-Campbell/e/B004RBV09S/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1378680681&sr=8-1
Excerpt of Sabaska's Tale
“I’m going with you.” After a sleepless night Anna knew she couldn’t let Raymond leave without telling her more.
“Anna, it’s not safe.” Raymond finished tying the cinch on Amir’s saddle. He checked his saddlebags and fiddled with the rest of the tack while he avoided looking at her.
“Raymond, you can’t dangle this new world in front of me and then leave. I’m not going to simply walk away and I need someone to teach me. Besides, horses that can teleport? How cool is that? And a little revenge would be nice.” She put her hands on her hips and glared at Raymond.
He finally turned and looked at her.
Sabaska snorted and walked out of her open stall to stand behind Anna. Amir nudged Raymond and nickered softly.
His shoulders slumped and he sighed. “I can see I’m outnumbered. Anna, you don’t know what you’re getting into. Travelers and their partners frequently die fighting the Vanir. Or worse, they get captured. You’re young. If you go down this path it will consume your life.”
Anna looked at Sabaska. The mare nodded, laying her ears flat out to the side in dismay.
“But we’re helping the Travelers right?”
“I’m not doing anything else useful with my life.”
“Anna, you’re what, sixteen? You don’t need to worry about any of this.”
“You’ve been involved since you were a kid.” Anna knew she was being stubborn, but she knew she needed to help. She couldn’t walk away now.
Raymond sighed again and turned around and unclipped Amir’s breast collar. “How soon can you be ready to go?”
Anna hesitated, not sure she’d heard Raymond properly. He was going to let her come? “Um, I have to tell my parents something since I’ll be out of touch. I should talk to Cody.”
“Cody will be here soon. Talk to your parents. We’ll leave after lunch.” Raymond heaved Amir’s saddle onto a rack and the big gray Traveler tossed his head and went through his open stall door and out into the pasture. Sabaska followed, nickering happily. Anna watched as they raced across the field together, tails flagged. They may not actually be Arabian horses, but they sure looked like it.
Anna and Raymond closed the stall doors so the normal horses couldn’t get into the barn.
“What should I tell them?”
Raymond smiled. “Probably not the truth. Tell them you’re going camping. We’ll be gone for a few days.”
Anna frowned. That would work for her parents, but not Cody. “What about Cody?”
“That’s tougher. I don’t know what Sherrie told him.”
Several of the horses whinnied and the horses found their stalls as Cody’s truck rumbled down the driveway.
“Guess we’ll find out.” Anna’s stomach twisted nervously.
“Guess so. Generally we don’t share any of this information with outsiders. It’s safer for everyone, especially the Travelers. Be careful who you share your secret with. It’s not just your life, it’s Sabaska’s too.”
Anna nodded, swallowing a lump in her throat.
Raymond followed Anna down the aisle and they waited in the shade for Cody to join them.
“Anna!” Cody said when he saw them.
He rushed forward and surprised her with a hug. “I was worried.” He glanced over at Raymond and dipped his head slightly. “Sir.”
“Cody, how are you?” Raymond said.
“I’m fine. Sorry about Sherrie.” Though his words were simple, Anna could hear the genuine grief behind them.
Raymond nodded, clenching his jaw for a moment. “Excuse me.”
Anna and Cody stayed silent while he walked down to the end of the barn “So, what do you know?” Anna knew the question wasn’t very clear, but she didn’t know what else to say.
Cody shrugged and regarded her carefully for a moment. “Not much. Not really anyway. It’s pretty unbelievable, but I know that Raymond and Sherrie go other places and they’re involved in some sort of war. I knew you didn’t know anything. Wasn’t sure what to say.”
Anna nodded and sank down into a chair. “I still don’t believe it.”
“Seems you’re tangled up in it now, too. Dangerous.” He glanced at the ground and sounded concerned.
“Yeah. So I made Raymond agree to take me with him. He said he has an easy task that should be safe. He’s going to teach me a little. I’ll be gone for a few days. I’m going to tell my parents that you and your friends invited me to go camping with you. Is that okay?”
Cody ducked his head, hiding his expression behind his hat brim, but Anna thought she caught a hint of a smile.
“Dragging me into it, huh?”
“It’s fine, but you have to tell me what’s going on. Sherrie never would. Said it was safer if I didn’t know.”
“She’s right. I’ll tell you what I can, but I still don’t really know anything.”
“I’ll make you a deal. You don’t have to tell me right away. Just before the summer’s over. And I’ll cover you when I can.”
“Thanks, Cody.” Anna stood up. “I’ll help you feed.”
“Sure. Better call your folks first. They’re probably worried about you.”
Anna shivered. “Yeah. Good idea.”