Interview: Karen Wrighton, author of Ascension of the Whyte


Publisher: SP Publications & Createspace

Publication Date: June 9, 2014

Synopsis: Sara Carson did not believe in heaven, hell, life after death or reincarnation, but what Sara Carson did not know, was that some of us are special. 

For some of us, life on earth is merely a short stopover on a much, much, longer journey. In fact for some of us, death is just the beginning of our next great adventure. 

Sara Carson was one of those special people, and her most incredible journey did not begin, until the day she died.

Ascension of the Whyte is the first story of The Afterland Chronicles series. 

The Afterlands are part of a world where two forms of human life exist, mortal humans (the natives), and the ascendants.  The ascendants are magical, immortal beings whose life cycle takes them backwards and forwards between Terra Coram (Earth) and the Afterlands. When their earthly human form dies, their spirit vapor ascends again to the Afterlands, taking on their ancient magical form once more.  

Since the Great Dragon War and the death of the infamous Lord Ka, the Afterlands had been at peace for over a thousand years, despite there being great prejudice and inequality between the casts (races).  Three of the four casts still remained; the Golds, the Bloods and the Muds. The ancient and powerful y magical Whyte cast, were no more, having been eradicated by Lord Ka during the Great Dragon War.  The Prophecy of Eldwyn the Whyte however, predicts that should the Afterlands ever again be placed under threat, then a Whyte would ascend once more unto these lands.

When Sara left home for her first day at high school that morning, she had no way of knowing that she would soon be parted from her earthly life, and would ascend to the Afterlands as a Whyte. The first Whyte ascendant for over a thousand years, Sara was soon to discover that her arrival was seen as the fulfillment of the prophecy, and that the fate of the Afterlands was to rest her hands.

Ascension of the Whyte is a tale of magic, evil, intrigue, injustice, dragons, friendship and courage, where the young ascendants become the vessels for magical, wise and ancient souls.

Interview: Q. How did writing this book affect you?

I LOVED writing this book. I feel as if I have got to know a number of interesting characters so well now that it feels like my family has expanded.  I love them all and feel a strong sense of protectiveness for them similar to that I feel for my children.  It is going to be so hard if I ever have to kill any of my favorite characters off, it will be like losing a limb. I have heard other authors talk about their books as if they were their children and I never really got it until I had one of my own…

When my book was published, I constantly worried about it… Would people like it? Would it be as good as the other books out there? Would anyone be mean about it?  Would they criticize me for being a bad author?  I believed that my book was the best book ever written and that anyone would be a fool not to fall instantly in love with it… Yes, really it is just like being a parent!

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

I found dialogue hard at first. I had no problem with the plot, setting the scene or the characters, but thinking about what my characters would say to each other and their individual voices I found really difficult.  However when I began to get to know the characters better it became much easier, which is why on the second and subsequent drafts I was able to revise the dialogue so that it was more in line with each character. The second book is proving much easier in this respect.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

I am at present working on the first draft of second book in the Afterland Chronicles series, which has a working title of Ryte of Passage.  I am also writing and illustrating a rhyming picture book, but that is taking a lot of time due to all the drawing that this entails.

Q. What are you currently reading?

I am reading The Eye of the World: Wheel of Time, Book 1 by Robert Jordan.  Primarily because one of the first people to review my book commented that it was of a similar style to this and I had not, I am ashamed to say, heard of the series.

 I am enjoying the book and I can see why the reviewer commented on the similarity, but I think Ascension of the Whyte moves much more quickly than Robert Jordan’s book.  It was a conscious decision I made to sacrifice some of the description and character building to move the story along and make it more gripping and exciting.  I think I managed to get the balance right, for my taste anyway.  I am no J. R. R. Tolkien, more J. K. Rowling I suspect.

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).

My latest news is that I am to take part in my first blog tour.  I had never heard of blog tours until a few weeks ago when I was offered the chance to take part in my own by a book blogger / publicist who had read my book and enjoyed it. The tour is to take place from the 9th to the 16th of August and if any of your readers are interested in taking part they can find a sign up form on the organizer’s blog A Daydreamer’s Thoughts. There will be chances to win signed copies of my book, plus other goodies such as bookmarks, postcards and adder stone pendants (if you have read the book you know what they are!)

I must admit I am a little unsure of what to expect and still not really clear on what I will need to do, but I am really looking forward to learning all about it and I am enjoying linking up with lots of new people.

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I suppose it is that I plot when I am driving.  I have a really long commute to work every day, I teach Psychology at a college which is almost sixty miles from where I live and so I spend around three hours each day in the car.  It is during this time that my best plot ideas come to me.  I quite often have to pull off the road so that I can jot down ideas before they disappear from my head.  The whole of the concept for the book series came to me on one of these commutes and the idea grabbed me so strongly that I knew that I just had to write it.

Q. Please tell us a fun-fact about yourself!

I suppose one fun fact is that I have recently been designing and creating cartoons.  I have a psychology blog SleeplessPsyche and I have produced a number of cartoon series based around psychology:  Earthbound Humans, The Freudian Slips and Freudian Quips.  I love discovering the humor in the people around me and find that I can say something important about humanity in a concise and humorous way through a cartoon, because a picture really does paint a thousand words.  For example I did this as a comment on our preoccupation with staying young and the ever growing popularity  of plastic surgery.



Q. Is there anything you haven’t written about that you would like to in the future?

I would like to write about so much.  I have got at least ten ideas for novels swimming around in my head.  I have started over a dozen books and Ascension of the Whyte is the first one that I have managed to get finished.  I am planning on writing at least another two books in the series and then I have two more stories that I want to develop into novels, one of them has another strong female character (that may be linked to Rose, I am still thinking about that) and the other book which will be very different and will be more of a scientific, it’s an evolutionary and anthropological mystery.

I will definitely have to live to be over a hundred if I am to write all the books that are in my head.

Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Well at one time It would have been learn to play the guitar, but I taught myself how to play a few years ago, though I don’t have much time to practice now.  However, although I have written a number of songs, some of which have won acclaim in national songwriting competitions, I have always regretted never learning how to read music, so I suppose that would have to go to the top of the list. Then maybe I could write another stage musical (I wrote one for a school production once, It was called Dream in a Nightmare) and I really enjoyed it, but not reading or writing music made it a difficult task.

Q. What gives you the most joy in life?

My husband and my daughters, my husband was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and I nearly lost him. The experience was not a wholly negative one, it taught me two very valuable things, firstly to live in the moment and most importantly to appreciate those that you love, like the saying goes…

Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching,
and live like it’s heaven on earth

Q. Which of your characters would you want to be and why?

Oh that is a difficult one,  because as I have said I have grown to love them all. Rose obviously has some amazing qualities and is a true leader, but like all leaders she has the weight of the world on her shoulders and leader is a lonely place.  I love Ro-eh-na’s character, she has suffered more than most and is terribly disfigured because of it, but she still manages to remain humble and to care about others. She also has such a fiery temperament and is very driven and I really admire her spirit. I wish I could be that single minded sometimes.

Q. How do you like to spend your spare time?

What spare time? I teach full time, write, blog, walk our dog, and look after my home and family, so my spare time is minimal. That said, I read audio books when I walk my dog (Jinks the collie), watch TV (I am a big Game of Thrones fan) and go to the cinema and theatre as often as I can.  I love seeing film versions of books I love such as The Hunger Games and The Book Thief and I am a big John Green fan so I am looking forward to seeing the The Fault in Our Stars when I can get around to it, hopefully over the next few days.

Q. How did you come up with the title?

The title came rather easily really, as soon as I had invented the life cycle of the ascendants and the idea of the resurrection of the Whytes then it made sense to call it Ascension of the Whyte, because in essence that is what the book is all about.  I did a lot of research on the mythology surrounding a lot of my characters and creatures and in the past the Whites or Whytes were always seen as being magical spiritual beings, so you will find if you do some research that most of the creatures are based on various mythological beasts.

Q. When did you know you would be a writer?

Ever since I was a child I have been writing something. I still have stories written when I was a child (they are not very good though to be fair). When I was a child I wanted to be an artist, a writer, or an archaeologist (I made the first two, but got muddled with the third and became a Psychologist instead).

I loved anything about mythology, magic and science fiction from a very early age. I moved straight from Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven to John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos. I was always writing my own stories and escaping into my own little world.  I did not have a very happy childhood, so writing was really an escape for me.

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

Just that I really hope that they enjoy reading my book as much as I enjoyed writing it.  I wish I could meet every one of them and discuss what they thought about it.  I am very happy to answer any questions posted on Goodreads, my website or my blog. I am also open to all criticism as long as it is constructive, because listening to my readers will help me to become a better writer.  No one’s opinion is worth more to me than those who read my books.

Karen

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