Recently, I got involved with a secret society who delves in the art of magic. I’ve only been involved for a few weeks, but I can already say that the other casters are phenomenal at their craft! They can create dragons with a single thought and are capable of transporting an unsuspecting victim to another world where Night Walkers stalk Bangerter Highway. The forces of good and evil can blur to grey, leaving one to question everything they think they know.
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone all Matrixy. I promise I’m not allied with the dark side. Although, they did want me to join their forces because of my mad baking skills. I’ve no plans to start running around in swirling cloaks and pointy hats, but I do hope my work with the Utah Fantasy Writers will simply be magical.
Today, I’m introducing you to R.J. Craddock who is one of my fellow Utah fantasy authors. R.J.’s second novel, The Offspring, in her series The Children of Cain is scheduled to be released on May 11th, 2014:
A murder behind her and the wilderness before her, friendless Witch Gwenevere flees to survive. Yet Mother Nature is not kind and even Gwen’s magical gifts cannot save her from a deadly winter storm. Narrowly escaping death, she is rescued by an unlikely hero and taken into the shelter of a mythical realm. Has Gwen at long last found her own kind? Will she finally solve the mystery to her own identity, or her mother’s murder? Or is innocence blinding her to the true reality of this dark sanctuary?
A: So, R.J., I noticed you’ve been writing since you were eleven-years-old. Were your early works fantasy?
R.J: Yes, mostly my short stories and poems were about fairies, but my first attempt at novel writing was a historical fiction.
A: Wow, that’s a pretty tough genre to write a first novel in. Learning to craft literature alone is a daunting task without incorporating timelines and knowing when scissors were invented. I shudder at the thought! After taking on something so difficult, writing magic must have been a breeze. When did you first come up with the idea for The Children of Cain?
R.J: Almost five years ago. It came to me whilst working a very tedious nightshift job, imagining this world kept me both sane and awake at the time.
A: Working a nightshift is a brilliant way complete a novel, a tool many of the greats have used to finish their works. It’s easier to get lost in your thoughts without interruptions. What is your favorite aspect of your craft?
R.J: World building. As much as I love history and historical fiction, I found out early on that my true talent is in playing god. Creating whole new worlds to my own liking, redefining the rules of nature and societies is what I’m most known for.
A: Speaking of building worlds, you’re the youngest of eight children. How did you like growing up with so many older siblings?
R.J: It had its pro and cons. My family is very large, very artistic, very opinionated and dysfunctional. We competed a lot but growing up I was the only writer until recently. (Sigh) Mostly of the time I played by myself and felt like an orphan, much like my character Gwenevere. The upside to that is that I used my imagination a lot to make up for it, and read a lot of great books J
A: You and I, my dear, have a lot in common. Lucky for us, we can draw on those personal experiences in our work to help our characters become more real. The Offspring is the second book in this series. How much has your lead character, Gwenevere grown since the beginning?
R.J: In book one The Forsaken we meet Gwen at the young age of five. In The Offspring we pick up where she left off at the end of book one, at age eleven. As a character she’s gone through a lot already, yet has no idea just how much more chaos she’s about to get mixed up in The Offspring. She’s more confident in her abilities as a witch, yet is still very naïve and has a lot to learn about witch craft and the world. For Gwen growing up is anything but easy.
A: Sounds like you understand her very well. How does she inspire you?
R.J: Gwen is stubborn, and undaunted no matter how bad things get. She fears failure above all else, failure to survive, failure to endure. She refuses to give in and finds the strength to go on, even when it seems she has nothing left to fight for. Also she’s wickedly sarcastic like myself.
A: I love strong female roles in literature. What is in your reading queue right now?
R.J: City of Lost Souls, By Casandra Clare.
A: Casandra Clare is one of my favorites! She can paint a scene like no other. I hope to be like her someday, when (if) I grow up. If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at the beginning of your writing career, what would you say?
R.J: Just tell your story. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of it, just write and let it be read. When I was a kid I was too afraid to share my work with anyone because of my dyslexia. No matter how much my teachers encouraged me to submit my work to the school literary magazine I just couldn’t do it. I was so afraid of failure that I wouldn’t even try. Now my motto is “If you never give up you can’t fail”
That’s a great motto, and again, I am struck by our similarities! Thank you for stopping by, and visiting with me. I wish your project the greatest success. To learn more about R.J. Craddock and The Children of Cain, please visit her website at:
And look for The Offspring in May: