Meet The Author

Meet The Author: Interview with Michael DeCamp

Stopping by Authors & Readers Book Corner today is Author Michael DeCamp. As a young married man, Michael developed his passion for reading after finding Dean Koontz’s Twilight Eyes on a grocery store shelf. Over time he discovered that whatever his imagination could invision, his keyboard could create and he starting writing. Michael starting with short stories, which lead to his full novel, Abandon Hope. He shares his inspiration about the fictional town in the book, the fantasy within the book along with his podcast. Let’s jump into the interview.

A&RBC: Abandon Hope takes place in a fictional town called Cutters Notch, Indiana, where did you get the inspiration for the town and the book?

MD: For the last two decades, I’ve worked as a Territory Manager for an industrial manufacturer. In that job, I traveled through a lot of small, southern Indiana towns. So, the description of the town is really a mash up of all of the tiny towns I’ve seen over the years. The name of the town was inspired by a movie. A few years ago, I saw the movie “Breaking Away” at the Franklin Artcraft Theater in Franklin, Indiana. It is about the iconic Little 500 bicycle race held every year at IU in Bloomington. In the movie, the team that was made up of the local town boys was named the Cutters after the nickname for the men who worked in the local limestone mines. Those men would cut the slabs of limestone out of the walls of the mines. So, I envisioned a little town in that area where they had cut a notch out of one of the rolling hills, thus taking the name “Cutters Notch.”

A&RBC: The story has several trigger warnings, how important were these to the story?

MD: Interesting question. To be honest, I had to look up what a trigger warning was, so the ones that are there in my book weren’t put there on purpose as trigger warnings per se. I think they were just part of the elements of building a suspenseful story. In one of the definitions that I read, some professionals were saying that trigger warnings, which are intended to ease anxiety in folks who have experienced trauma, can have the reverse effect of actually building and enhancing anxiety in advance of reading the material. Isn’t that exactly what happens in a good suspense story?

There are some intense subjects such as domestic abuse, a kidnapped girl and cannibalistic villains, but in the development of a thriller story, you need scary, intense situations to be in play or the story doesn’t generate the page-turning effect that you need to make the story powerful. When writing this story, I had to decide what the motivation would be for the kidnappers to do what they did. I didn’t want to go down the sexual abuse road, so I chose something more unusual and I think that maybe made the story even more intense.

A&RBC: The book takes on a fantasy element when Gavin, Gronek and Smakal were introduced into the story, tell us about them and their role in the story.

MD: Gavin, Gronek, and Smakal are actually the core of what I built the story around. In the late 1980’s, my wife and I lived in a house on the near south side of Indianapolis. She had braces as a youth and she would periodically wear her retainer to keep her teeth in alignment. She kept it in a little blue hockey-puck-looking container. Well, one night, she went to look for it and it was gone. We searched everywhere. In every drawer. Behind and under every piece of furniture. In the freezer. Behind the toilet. It was no where to be found. Weeks went by. Maybe close to two months. No sign of it. It was just gone. Then, one evening, I walked into our bedroom and there it was on the corner of our dresser. I called out to my wife saying, “Hey! You found your retainer!” She rushed into room and replied, “No, I didn’t.” I pointed at it. “Well, there it is,” I said. “I guess the dimensional bandits were done with it.” I don’t know where I got that phrase, but it stuck in my head until I developed a whole story around it. Gavin, Gronek, and Smakal—the Dimensional Bandits.

In the story, they are key in creating the spiritual bridge between our known world and the spiritual world where the spectre operates. Plus, it was just fun to imagine the details of how things operate in their Arboreal Realm and how they pass back and forth into and out of our realm—borrowing things. Details like where they get their clothes and the use of the Slumber Dust were a blast to envision.

A&RBC: Reading the book made me think of several fairytales, were there any that contributed to the story?

MD: Another interesting question. I may have unintentionally channeled a little Hansel and Gretel, but I don’t think there is a direct correlation with any specific fairytale other than that. It’s not a fairytale, but I did find some inspiration from the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis and the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I also found some inspiration regarding the style of my writing from Dean Koontz. As for fairytales, though, nothing really intentional.

A&RBC: You have a podcast named after the town, tells us about the Cutter Notch Podcast.

MD: The Cutters Notch Podcast is focused on all things creative. I stretch the boundaries of that definition (what it means to be creative) and generally have fun with the concepts. It is fairly new and I am still building new episodes—I usually add two per month. Podcasting was suggested to me as a way to promote my book, Abandon Hope, but I wanted to broaden it out so that it would remain appealing over the long term. So far, I’ve interviewed some authors, had an episode where we discussed Halloween and I read one of my scary short stories, and I’ve interviewed a couple of technical people about using social media and podcasting. In the future, I’ll have more authors. Plus, I have a comedian, a painter, and some local musicians lined up.

I have a great deal of fun with this creative process. I love the banter and the laughter as we explore different topics. I hope others find it as fun as I do. They can find links to the episodes on my website or they can just search “Cutters Notch Podcast” on any of the standard podcast suppliers.

A&RBC: Will there be more books based in the town?

MD: Yes! Right now, Abandon Hope stands as Book 1 in a trilogy. I am over two thirds finished with creating the story in Book 2. I’m supposed to have the manuscript to my publisher by May 2020. Then, I have a deadline for Book 3 of March 2021. After that, who knows? I’m having fun with expanding characters and developing the intricacies of the little community, so maybe there will be more. I already have two short stories based in Cutters Notch. I’m thinking of sharing one of them in each of my next two books as a little something extra.

A&RBC: Hope and Maggie are hiding away from Hope`s father, Kenny. I`m dying to see if he finds them. Will he appear in future novels?

MD: The troubled soul of Kenny Burton does play an intricate role in Book 2. After that, I’ll just have to see how it plays out in my imagination. We’ll see. I haven’t really seen how he ends up in Book 2, yet—although I do have a pretty good idea.

A&RBC: Did you have a writing process while working on Abandon Hope?

MD: Some writers have everything outlined and planned out before they even start typing away at a keyboard. That’s not me. Basically, I let my imagination free flow. It’s like I’m watching a movie in my head and my job is then to describe it so that others can see the same movie. Maybe that’s why Abandon Hope has so many crazy twists.

One advantage of that is if I don’t like the ending, I can just change it.

In general, I free flow the story. Then, I go back and fix inconsistencies and add detail. I’ve been told that the imagery in my book is very vivid. That occurred because of my second, third, and fourth trips through the story to add in the sights, sounds, and smells—to add color and depth.

Frankly, I’m not sure if I could write from an outline. I’d probably find it two constrictive.

A&RBC: What is next for Michael DeCamp?

MD: I have a non-fiction manuscript that is trying to find a publishing home. I’ve titled it “Lovementalism-Applying Love First Concepts.” It is a Bible study class/devotional book that utilizes personal stories to apply bible passages to our lives with regards to how we should love one another. The concept of lovementalism is that it is the counter and replacement for being judgmental. The stories truly are very personal. Most are either examples of how people showed real love to me, or stories where I blew it and didn’t show the love I needed to show.

I’m in the middle of finishing Book 2 in the Cutters Notch series. I suspect it will be on the market by late next summer. Then, on to Book 3.

On the back burner is a family drama, completely unrelated to Cutters Notch, that is based on the life of my mother. I take real events from her life and fictionalize them. I was thinking about her life a few years ago and realized there was a real story to be told there. I’ve started it, but it is on hold for now. It may be my “Great American Novel.”

In the meantime, I’ll keep doing podcasts.

A&RBC: Where can readers find you? Where can they purchase your book?

MD: Abandon Hope: Cutters Notch Book 1 can be purchased on Amazon in both Ebook and in paperback. If your readers are in the Indianapolis area, signed copies can be found at Indy Reads, Irvington vinyl & Books, Porter Books & Bread, and Red Dog Books. You can also connect with me, find the Cutters Notch Podcast, and link to Amazon for my book by visiting my website: www.abandonhopebook.com

You can find me on Facebook by searching: @abandonhopebook
Follow me on Twitter: @MikeDeCamp1
Follow me on Instagram: mdecamp1985

About The Book

Hope Spencer and her mother moved to the tiny community of Cutters Notch in forested southwestern Indiana to hide from Hope’s dangerous and abusive father.  Unaware whether he is still in prison or has been freed, they settle into a new life under new identities.  The athletic 13-year old becomes close friends with two boys in her quaint neighborhood, and when she mysteriously disappears one Saturday afternoon, they take on the task of finding her.  Racing against time, the boys join forces with their state trooper neighbor and three other very unusual allies to battle against the evil taking aim at their friend.

Will they find and rescue her or will they fall victim themselves?  Still, they are determined.  They will not Abandon Hope.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Meet The Author

Meet The Author: Interview with Alexis Marie Chute

ALEXIS MARIE CHUTE is an award-winning author, artist, filmmaker, curator, and inspirational speaker. Her memoir,
Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy After Loss, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2017 and
received many literary awards. Expecting Sunshine is also a highly acclaimed feature documentary film, produced and
directed by the author, that was screened around the world in 2018 and 2019. Chute is also the author of the epic fantasy adventure series called The 8th Island Trilogy, which features multigenerational and diverse characters.

She is a highly-regarded inspirational speaker and teacher. She has presented on business, art, photography, writing,
filmmaking, bereavement, and the healing capacities of creativity around the world. She stopped by to share a little about her writing and new book Below The Moon.

Q & A with Alexis

A&RBC: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?

AMC: I have been writing since as far back as I can remember—and even before I could hold a pen. As a child, I was very creative and cerebral. I was always coming up with stories and adventures. Fortunately, I didn’t lose that trait as I grew up. I find writing inspiration everywhere, at all times. My brain is a sponge for my environment and stimuli. Sometimes this is overwhelming, but most often I use this hyper-awareness to my advantage.

A&RBC: How does a new story idea come to you? Is it an event that sparks the plot or a character speaking to you?

AMC: I get new ideas all the time. From everywhere. From everyone. A new lightbulb is constantly illuminated above my head. My struggle is not in finding ideas, but choosing which ideas are worth my attention and which ideas should be the focus for right now.

A&BC: What inspired your story?

AMC: My 8th Island Trilogy was inspired by the belief that we will go to extreme lengths to save those we love. The three unlikely characters learn that their past selves do not define their present bravery. They rally against unsurmountable odds and learn that they possess strength they never imagined. In many ways, the trilogy is a fictionalized look at the resiliency of the human spirit. That is a topic I am obsessed with and optimistic about!

A&RBC: Is there a message/theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

AMC: The resiliency of the human spirit is what percolates up in most of my work. It’s the dogged determinedness that I see in so many people,  No matter the hardships they face. They inspire me, and because of them, I want my work to inspire others.

A&RBC: What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

AMC: My greatest challenge in writing any book is getting my bum in the chair, overcoming that procrastination. Once I’ve gotten over the initial hump, and am in the flow, I’m good to go in that department. Then the next struggle is when to stop editing. I am a relentless, picky, and perfectionist kind of editor. There comes a point, however, when I need to hold back and declare a book, “FINISHED!!”

A&RBC: When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?

AMC: Free writing is the best tool I have found to break out of writer’s block. I sit down and simply start typing, no matter what it is. Getting my fingers moving and the mental juices flowing always opens the floodgate eventually.

A&RBC: Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?

AMC: I am far too busy and productive to have useless superstitions about my writing. It has been valuable for me to be disciplined and approach my writing with bootcamp focus. I sit down and work. I love it, but if I only write when I feel like it, I will procrastinate till I’m dead.

A&RBC: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

AMC: Not in winter—I hate snow—but I typically love being outdoors! My favorite activities are paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking, trail running, and sitting in a hot tub outside and talking for hours with friends and family.

Also, aside from my writing, I am a visual artist, curator, filmmaker, and public speaker. So those things, plus family time, keep me super busy. I do, however, always make time for the important people in my life.

A&RBC: What is the one book no writer should be without?

AMC: A dictionary and thesaurus. Though I use these tools online now, I am constantly referring to them while writing my books.

A&RBC: Where can readers purchase your books? Where can they reach you?

AMC: My books can be purchase at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Readers can connect via my website: http://www.alexismariechute.com/

Socially at

Facebook page
@alexismariechute

Twitter handle
@_alexis_marie

YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/user/AlexisMarieChute

Instagram
@alexismariechute

About The Book

Below the Moon (Book Two in The 8th Island Trilogy)

Ella Wellsley is not your typical teenager. Cancer left her mute, but not powerless. Trapped in a parallel dimension, Ella
rallies her strength to join her family—her mother, Tessa, her grandpa Archie, and her magical boyfriend, Luggie—in locating
the cure to her illness. This cure is entangled in the fate of all worlds, and threatened by the presence of an evil Star
anchored in the sea. The Star has thrown life everywhere into chaos—and it is Ella who holds the key to unlocking its
mystery.

Caught in a web of betrayal, mistaken identities, secrets, and love triangles, Ella, Tessa, and Archie must overcome their
troubled pasts to ensure a future for all worlds. On this journey—armed with unearthly abilities and unexpected allies—each
member of the Wellsley family will learn the power of love in the face of their greatest fears.

Purchase:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Book Features, Giveaways

Book Spotlight of Dragon’s Claw by Brynna Curry with Alyria Curry

Dragon’s Claw
by Brynna Curry with Alyria Curry
Genre: Sweet Fantasy Time Travel Paranormal Romance
When a magic sword falls into Catryna Logan’s hands, she is faced with
the reality of demons, dragons and a past that can’t possibly be
real. Or can it? To escape the evil serpent demons searching for her,
she will have to put her past and future in the hands of the dragon
demon king Kairyuu. But will trusting him cost her everything?

Bethany Cagle, who writes as Brynna Curry, was born south of the Mason-Dixon
Line in a small Alabama town. Growing up, books fueled her dreams and
imagination, ultimately became her sanctuary during the hardest times
in her life. After living all over the southern states, she finally
landed back in north Alabama where she met her husband, Jackie. She
spent a wonderful twenty-two years with her hero, raising their three
children.
Now widowed, she spends her free time writing and tending her ‘army’
of feral cats and rescued strays. Her furry minions, Jace, Styxx,
Beerus, and Asheron, are always willing to keep her company while she
works. She insists love is the truest magic and with it, every day is
an adventure.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
Bookish News

First Lines Fridays #12

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. I first saw this on Life of A Literary Nerd  and decided this would be fun to start adding to my blog. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

*Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page

*Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

*Finally… reveal the book!

The Clock Struck Midnight, and for once Koa didn’t have anyone to track… or kill. A buttery aroma wafted into the air as Koa opened a bag of freshly popped popcorn. There came a low purr from behind and she glanced over her shoulder at the stoic black cat that sat on the countertop.

FIND THE BOOK BELOW!

Netherworld by K. N. Lee

Koa is a powerful half-breed on a mission with obstacles she has to handle on the way.

Description on Amazon 

What would you do if a demon threatened your mother’s life? If you’re like Koa, you’d sharpen your enchanted sword and go after him…

Our world is threatened by the creatures of an alternate land called the Netherworld. Good thing Koa and the Netherworld division are there to keep the vampire population in check.
Koa is a powerful half-blood with a mysterious past. Her best friend is her boss, she has a cursed mother, an enchanted sword, and an attractive human pet.
Koa also has a problem. A Netherworld serial killer, with a taste for little girls, threatens everything Koa has worked hard to protect. Not even Koa’s boss, Halston can stop him. But he knows one prisoner that can. Too bad that prison is in the Netherworld.
Is Koa ready to journey to the Netherworld to release the one creature that can break her mother’s curse and protect all that she holds dear?
Have you read any of K. N. Lee’s books? Share in the comment below.