What’s cooler than a self-published author?
Let me introduce Jaime Conrad. (No, I didn’t spell it wrong. It’s the ol’ I before M rule.)
She’s the author of the incredible book Lake Caerwych. It was my first Kindle read, and a martian life form couldn’t have pried it from my hands as soon as I started reading it.
Thanks for being here with us today, Jaime!
Before we get to your book, let’s talk about you as a writer. How long have you been writing?
I wrote a lot when I was a kid. When I was about 10 years old, it was normal behavior for me to sit on my grandma’s back porch and write out 300 pages in my notebook. I would say I first starting writing stories at about the age of 6 and continued until I was a teenager. Around that time, life started getting pretty busy and complex and I barely wrote a thing for almost twenty years. Two years ago, when I was 34, I realized that writing was actually what I wanted to do in life and it had been there all along – it just got buried under the day-to-day stresses. Shortly thereafter, I got the idea for this trilogy and started writing again.
Good for you! I’m always impressed with people who follow what they want. I have to admit, I’m curious: do you believe in muses? If so, do you have a writing muse?
Yes, I absolutely believe in them! I have several, and I switch around depending on the subject matter.
What has been the most exciting part about publishing your first book?
There have been so many things that it’s hard to pick just one! I think the most exciting part was that I finally confronted completing a book and sharing it with others publicly. I knew that if I really wanted to consider writing professionally in any capacity, I needed to come out of my shell and present my product. So I made myself do it, and it was very liberating and terrifying to see Lake Caerwych live on Amazon.
What has been the most difficult part about being a writer?
At first, the most difficult part was just letting others know that I’m a writer. I didn’t know what they would think of my chosen genre or my interest in Wales. After a while, I discovered that this uncertainty was all in my head. Friends, other authors and even the media have been very supportive. Once I got over this personal hurdle, I knew that I was the only one holding myself down and I just needed to get on with it.
What’s your favorite cereal? (Nosy readers like to know.)
You will love this answer: I really don’t eat cereal or any kind of sweet stuff for breakfast. I eat eggs and bacon – sometimes a burger! Yum!
(Isn’t she great, folks? A girl after my own heart who eats a healthy breakfast.)
Ok, now let’s get to the really good stuff! Can you give us a brief synopsis of Lake Caerwych?
Lake Caerwych is a story of friendship, time travel and haunting adventure in ancient Wales. Two American teenagers embark on the journey of their lives when they find a megalithic portal in Snowdonia which takes them back to 500 BC. Lake Caerwych is Book 1 of a Welsh-themed trilogy.
I noticed throughout the book that you introduce words from different Celtic languages, but I never got confused or felt overwhelmed by the unknown words. Was that difficult to balance?
No, it was relatively easy because I was able to introduce the words gradually as the girls did their research about Wales. I learned as they learned, and this allowed me to add the vocabulary bit by bit, rather than just throwing it at the reader all at once.
What made you decide to base the story in Wales?
I’ve had affinity for and interest in Wales ever since high school, but I didn’t pursue that interest back then the way I wanted to. When I started this trilogy, I decided that the characters must go to Wales. That would allow me to write in my area of interest and would also give the story a unique feel and atmosphere.
Have you ever been there?
No, I have never been there! I broke a cardinal rule of writing with this trilogy: I wrote about what I didn’t know. This took a lot of researching, correcting of errors, more researching, more correcting and lots and lots of editing. I received some great help from readers in Wales and one author in the UK in particular. Lake Caerwych is now published in its second edition and now readers say that they can’t believe I haven’t been there. So it can be done, if one has the patience to push through and keep learning and refining the work as needed.
There is a Wales Online article which goes into my “breaking the rules” as well: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/need-to-read/2012/06/18/snowdonia-the-setting-for-fantasy-novel-by-texas-author-91466-31203101/
Was it difficult to write from the viewpoint of a fourteen-year-old?
No, it was incredibly easy! Even when I was a kid, I had the idea that I wanted to write in the teen or young adult genre. It feels very natural.
Of all the characters you wrote about, which of them was your favorite? (My personal favorite was Bridget, of course.)
I’m really glad that you liked Bridget! She is my favorite too. Bridget is actually a composite of my daughter and me, if we were fused together into one person.
Now, you have a sequel to Lake Caerwych, is that right? Is it available to read right now?
Yes, the sequel is The Space Between Worlds. It’s available right now in all formats, including paperback. You can get it on Amazon or Smashwords. In the sequel, we learn a lot more about Paul and what’s really going on with him. Be ready for a shocker!
There you have it, guys! I’m on my way to get the second book.
Which means you should too.