A special guest Show & Tell!
Rochelle Campbell has a BA in Written Communications with an emphasis on Digital Media. The SciFi End of the Supernatural will be her fourth published book. It will be available on January 30th in both print and e-book on Amazon and CreateSpace.
We met online during the #Storydam Writer’s Group, and her productivity and attitude are a great fit for the Saturday Show & Tell. (You can find her on twitter @NotebkBlogairy.)
JR: You started in journalism and public relations. Can you talk a little about how those experiences from your early writing career shaped who you are as an author today?
RC: Sure! I think you’re the first to ask me about those yesteryear experiences! The main thing journalism did for my current writing was force me to think of plot – What’s the story? My editor, at The City Sun, always wanted to know how the smaller stories related to a larger event in the world. This way, that local event had more meaning. I still have that impulse. I try to take what seems like a trivial piece of the story and relate it back to a larger trend in the story. I like to believe this adds value to the reading experience of my stories.
JR: You’ve mentioned a period of time when your writing felt blocked. So many writers experience this gap in creativity and inspiration, it’s almost cliché, but can be devastating. Can you talk a little about the cause and how you overcame it?
RC: Every cliché and stereotype has truth in it which is why it’s in existence!
My non-writing periods usually stem from personal life issues that either take/need my full attention. Or, I’m sick. I speak of this a bit in my latest blog. However, the gist of it is simple. I have two boys: a 20-year-old and a 17-year-old. Then rather late in life, I had a daughter. She’s now three years old. What a life change! I went from being an almost empty-nester, to starting back at square one!
I wrote all the way up until two weeks before she was born. Then, hardly anything until she was a bit past her first birthday. The last two years have been all about fitting this new person, this new being, into mine and my hubby’s life, and our family’s lives. Clearly, my writing took a backseat. Yet, I learned something very important.
I am not a person I like very much when I don’t write. I feel empty and shallow. My anxiety soars and every bad thing I can dream up is forefront in my mind. Then, what do I do? I start wondering, What if…? What if there’s a demon lurking in the steam erupting from that manhole? And what if that demon is seeking to possess someone…?
Voila! Block obliterated.
JR: You’ve published horror, non-fiction, middle-grader, literary, and women’s fiction. That’s quite the genre-busting! This is your first science-fiction book. What made you choose to tackle these stories at this time?
RC: I was experimenting with those forms to see if I liked them, and they liked me. And the middle-grade book? Life (and my then, 6-year-old son, pushed me toward that particular project. However, scifi? That was in my bones. I grew up on Star Trek, Star Wars, ET, Stephen King everything!!! [Carrie, Firestarter, Pet Cemetery, The Skelton Crew, Cujo, The Dark Half, Doctor Sleep, The Tommy Knockers, The Stand…], Isaac Asimov (and his fiction anthology!), Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, Ann Rice, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, etc.
Further, my writing mentor and my very first writing group, Sime~Gen, were all about science fiction. And these writers are the hardcore ones with degrees in the sciences to prove it! I learned plotting from my main mentor, Jacqueline Lichtenberg. JL had me deconstruct eight or nine SciFi novels. I had to break each book down to only the plot points; the scenes/actions that moved the story forward. As you would guess, each book became more complex than the last. By the last book, I was in absolute tears!
So you see, SciFi was ingrained upon my writing muse throughout my formative years, and well into my young adulthood. The real question is, what took me so long to get to the point of writing my own SciFi stories?!
JR: I’d love for you to share your favorite passage from the book. I realize the whole thing is your baby, but I mean a particular passage that grabbed you while you wrote and held on. What spoke to you that way in The End of the Supernatural?
RC: It took me days to pick this one…taken from The Complications of Time.
Carter closed his eyes and sent a prayer up to whatever deity might be listening and leaned his head against the cool metal wall as he tried to block out the forming migraine. There was a flickering darkness playing against his closed eyelids which he ignored. Carter heard a woman scream but this did not move him. The porpoise song was getting stronger, louder, clearer. He strained to understand what they were saying. He felt he was on the cusp of comprehending the song’s meaning.
Carter heard Jasmine gasp and felt a little tug on his shirt. The elevator jerked to a stop and he heard the doors grate open and heard the three people run out, screaming.
He still did not move his head from the cool surface. He heard Jasmine punch the metallic button and the doors grated closed. Her ragged breathing was now clearly discernable since they were the only ones in the large, moving, metal box. Carter heard her walk towards him and stop about a foot away.
“Carter, you disappeared for about three seconds. All we saw was your shirt, pants and sneakers. No head, neck, hands, nor fingers. It was just…empty space where you should have been. Then, you were back as if nothing happened.”
He heard her gulp, but the sound of the porpoises was much stronger now.
The SciFi End of the Supernatural
JR: As a creative personality, what do you do when you’re not writing to recharge your imagination and drive you into the next project?
RC: Great question Julie! I have at least five projects in various stages of completion. It’s not a matter of recharging for creativity. It’s recharging for the energy to do the writing race-dance yet again! I really have a tough time deciding which one I’ll work on next. There are so many ideas out there! But, as a writer, you must decide which idea you are currently capable of executing well, and which one interests you most at this moment in time.
Wasn’t that great? I hope her energy and industry encourage you for the week ahead!