Saturday, April 30, 2016

An Interview with Author J.A. Campbell

Author J.A. Campbell
A Writer’s Inspiration:
An interview with author and equestrian J.A. Campbell
An archived interview as seen in the March 2016 issue of Florida Equine Athlete
by Gina McKnight

“Sometimes I joke that I got a horse so I could justify buying a truck,
but I’d probably have a horse even if I didn’t have a truck.” J.A. Campbell

Julie A. Campbell has been many things over the last few years, from college student, to bookstore clerk and an over the road trucker. She’s worked as a 911 dispatcher and in computer tech support, but through it all she’s been a writer, and when she’s not out riding horses, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer. She lives in Colorado with her three cats, her vampire-hunting dog, Kira, her Arabian mare, Triska, and her Irish Sailor. She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories, the young adult fantasy series, Tales of the Travelers, and the young adult urban fantasy series The Clanless. She is also the editor of Steampunk Trails, an old west steampunk fiction magazine and a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Dog Writers of America Association.

GM: You have written many great books – from Steampunk to vampires – of all of the books you have written, which is your favorite? 
JAC: That’s a really tough question to answer because I have a couple I really adore. I think Sabaska’s Tale and Doc are my two most favorite. Sabaska’s Tale is both my first novel published, and one of the stories closest to my heart. I came up with the story idea when I was out trail riding in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with my first horse, Sabaska—Name should be familiar. I unashamedly named the main equine character in the book after Sabaska, my inspiration. I also love the idea of being able to teleport to other worlds on horseback.

Doc is my other favorite. The novel isn’t published yet, but there are short stories with this character and another series of weird westerns inspired by this character. Doc is a border collie who hunts vampires and other creatures with his human, Kevin. Writing an entire novel from a dog’s point of view is challenging, but quite fun and rewarding and I love how the novel came out and I love border collies and writing about animals in fun and different ways.

GM: To add to that, with so many characters on paper, which character of your own creation do you feel most connected to? 
JAC: Probably Sabaska. I based the fictional character off of the real horse and she was my heart horse. I lost her three and a half years ago and I’m glad she lives on in fiction.

J.A. and Sabaska
GM: You’ve an Arabian mare, Triska. Tell us about your horse history, your adventures with Triska, and if horses play a role in your writing…
JAC: Well, I think I’ve already answered part of this above but I’ll go into it all now. It’s a lifelong story so I’ll try and keep it somewhat brief. I don’t actually remember the first time I was on a horse. My parents didn’t have horses, but they let me do pony rides, trail rides and when I was old enough lessons. I went to college and got a BS in Equine Science and also got Sabaska, my first horse. She was an Arabian mare and I trained her myself. She taught me so much and we had so many adventures. We even did endurance racing. After she died my significant other’s folks helped me adopt Triska, a half-trained Arabian horse in Quarter Horse country. She’d been in the rescue for a while just waiting for someone like me to come along. I’ve had her for about three years now and we do lots of trail riding together. She’s wonderful as well and I’m glad to have her.

They do influence my writing. As do my dogs (border collies). They inspire my stories and help revitalize my creativity. Triska shows up in my second Travelers book and she’ll have a bigger part as the series progresses.

GM: Where do you like to ride?
JAC: I’m so spoiled. My favorite place to ride is in the mountains, which are only about an hour to two-hour trailer ride from where I live. I’ll ride on the grasslands nearby as well as some of the cow fields near my home.

GM: Do you attend horse events, seminars, rodeos, etc.?
JAC: Occasionally. If the opportunity presents I do. However, I’ve been doing a lot of sheep herding with my dogs recently so my seminars and activities have been focused on that. I used to attend endurance races with Sabaska and the occasional local show.

GM: Describe your writing studio…
JAC: I have a corner desk that I have stuffed with, well, stuff. Papers relevant to writing, some decorations, like cool rocks, and an old 1940’s typewriter that does work when the ribbon isn’t dried out. I use a laptop but I also have an external monitor which is useful when I’m working in more than one document or have a chat screen up. I have a cowriter for some of my other projects so chatting while I’m working is often useful.

GM: Do you have a writing schedule, or are you a sporadic writer, writing all hours?
JAC: I write whenever I can. I still have a day job and I spend a lot of time with my animals, so I’ll write or edit whenever I can fit it in, but I do write almost every day. I usually take Monday’s and sometimes Tuesday’s off from writing just like I have a couple of days off from my day job. On day’s I’m not working the day job, my writing schedule is usually afternoon and evenings and I exercise the animals and clean up after them in the mornings.

GM: What are you currently reading?
JAC: Right now I’m reading Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass. I just finished Brandon Sanderson’s The Words of Radiance.

GM: What are you currently writing?
JAC: Right now I’m working on the third Legends of the Travelers book. It should be called Saga’s War, but that’s not set in stone yet. The first one, Saga, is already out and the second book, Jarl, will be out in June. I’m also working on edits for that with my publisher. The Saga books are a trilogy that are set up as a prequel to the Sabaska (Tales of the Travelers) series. It’s an epic fantasy setting up the big conflict that is dealt with in the Sabaska books.

GM: Who is your favorite author?
JAC: Kristen Britain who writes the Green Rider books. I love her writing and her world. She helped inspire me to go ahead and write horse-based fantasy even though there weren’t many out there.

GM: Do you have advice for novice writers?
JAC: Write what you love, then find a way to get it out to the world. Also…edit, edit, edit.

GM: List 10 things that your fans may not know about you…
JAC: Oh, gosh…if you follow my facebook you know the most important things. My dogs, my horse. Let’s see. I love chocolate wine. I also love Irish whiskey. Bran, my puppy, is named after Fin McCool’s legendary dog, Bran. Kira, my older dog is named after an explorer named Kira. Sabaska decided we needed to do endurance racing and Kira decided we needed to herd sheep—she’s a border collie. Sometimes I joke that I got a horse so I could justify buying a truck, but I’d probably have a horse even if I didn’t have a truck. I love big trucks. Hauling hay with my truck makes me really happy, but hauling my horse is even better. I grew up learning to water ski in the Mississippi river and I miss that, but not enough to move out of Colorado because I love the mountains more.

Gina McKnight is an author and freelance from Ohio USA.

J.A. and Triska
Bran and Kira

No comments: