Friday, February 4, 2011

Interview with Fantasy Authors Donna and Ken Waters

Donna is from Pennsylvania. She majored in natural resources and environmental studies at the University of New Hampshire, is a ten-year veteran of the Coast Guard, and has taught forestry and environmental science. Ken is from Fort Worth, Texas. He is a computer science specialist, worked for many years as a consultant and taught business accounting. Ken and Donna are happily married and live in New Hampshire. They read mostly fantasy and science fiction.

Hello Donna and Ken. Fantasy is so popular now days. Please tell us about your new series: The Gnome Chronicles: Bracken and the Crystal Cave and The Dragons of Middle-Earth.

Our series: The Gnome Chronicles are specifically designed as easy read chapter books, for teens and adults. We wanted to create inspirational books that were clean, witty and entertaining. They have short chapters with snappy titles and plenty of action. The characters are very engaging. We have a claustrophobic gnome, a group of magic bees, an evil druid with malevolent minions galore, outrageous bats in the Laurel Caverns and a host of fairy creatures; which inhabit the realm of Upper-Earth, accessible through the crystal henge portal.

The second book in the series: The Dragons of Middle Earth also includes eye catching chapter graphics, all drawn by yours truly. Many of the characters have real-life problems and fears, which they must face in the course of their adventures. There are also moral lessons to be gleaned from these books: such as how to cope with evil, responsibility to family, abandonment, lying, stealing and one of the most difficult of subjects – war.

We keep the atmosphere light and fun. But don’t be deceived. These books are extensively well researched. They include real scientific terms, facts, historical and mythological background, gemology and geology; as well as colorful Pennsylvania Dutch cultural references.

Wow! That’s so interesting. I didn’t realize that so much research goes into fantasy. Where did you get your inspiration for your novels?

I have always liked gnomes. It occurred to me one day that gnomes are the underdogs of the fantasy world. They seem to get honorable mention, but they never seem to be the main character. Then the idea of a claustrophobic gnome struck me as funny and Bracken was born. Of course I needed to have some interaction, so I chose a couple of teenagers; Drew and Holly (my favorite names) and included my real grandparents (Elmer and Lottie).

As for the setting, I chose my grandparents’ cottage in Majorsville, WV. They lived in the most enchanting place, with a giant stream running by their house that my brother’s and I delighted in exploring. My greatest inspiration was the happy memories of my childhood. The joyous remembrance of the adventures shared with my brothers, catching fish and discovering the magic of the great outdoors.

I love what you once said, “Magic keeps you young at heart. It has wrought miracles in our lives, and brings us ever closer to our dreams and to each other.” Please expound on this intriguing subject.

My husband taught me the true meaning of magic. I had spent thirteen years of my life studying and struggling to get a Ph.D. in science. All the magic had been trained out of me, as I was taught to be a skeptical, analytical machine. Then one day, I noticed the type of books my husband was reading. They were all fantasy novels and I asked him why? Did he not think they were a bit juvenile and perhaps foolish? To which he replied: “There is not enough magic in the world. The news is full of very limited reality and it is depressing. We have forgotten how to be happy. There is joy in magic. I choose to believe that the universe is based on happiness and the fulfillment of dreams. Magic happens all the time, but first we must believe and dare to dream.”

I realized that my husband was right. Then the reason for my lack of success in life hit me - like a ton of bricks. I have a romantic nature and life without magic was so uninspiring. Perhaps, I just wasn’t meant to be a scientist. Suddenly, all the pieces of the cosmic puzzle started to fall into place. As a writer, I have found my niche. I have finally found where I belong, professionally. Magic will ever be a part of my life now.

I love your husband’s answer to your question. You write fantasies as a couple. How do you go about it? Do both of you come up with ideas but only one writes it down or what? This is very interesting to me.

Excellent question! Ken and I have very different writing styles. It became apparent from the start that one of us would need to be the primary author. Therefore, I wrote the books. But Ken and I are partners in every sense of the word. He has contributed ideas, brainstormed with me about plot lines and characters, done marketing and research, scanned pictures, proofread and published. In essence, he has worked every bit as hard as I have. I do intend to list him as a co-author on all my books. We are ever partners in print.

That’s wonderful. Partners in marriage and partners in print! Okay, now tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Ken: There have been many astonishing things that have happened in my life. As a child, I’d gone swimming and thought I’d seen a light in the depths of the pond. I dove deep and swam hard towards it, only to realize that I was way too deep. I panicked and struggled frantically to thrash my way back to the surface. Out of breath and exhausted, I was about to give up, knowing that I really wasn’t ready to die so far beneath the water’s surface, when I felt like some massive hand grabbed me and pushed me the distance to the surface.

As a young adult, I was walking through a noisy foundry with steel filled crates stacked over twenty feet high along all of the paths around me. A forklift overloaded with steel, barreled around a corner and should have hit me, but a force that I could not see, pushed me firmly against one of the steel crates. When I turned around, I realized that I and the fork lift driver were the only people in the area.

My life has been filled with miracles and guidance, on how to get to where the miracle will be waiting for me. I’ve watched people and I know that there are miracles waiting for everyone. Will you go to where your next miracle is waiting or be patient enough to let it come to you?

Thank you, Ken. Your experiences show what kind of man you are: a man of faith who believes in small miracles. I appreciate both of you sharing your time with us today.


Grammi6kids said...

I love to read books about Gnomes and Faries and such. These books sound like they would be good for my 16 year old grand daughter. She loves to read and I am always looking for books for her that are not too racey, if you now what I mean.

Mary Campbell

Gail Pallotta said...

Your books sound lovely. Congratulations on putting a little magic back into life. Best wishes for lots of sales.

Meredith said...

These sound like fun to read! Love those little gnomes!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

oh, how fun. I would love to win please include me in this drawing.

If I had to choose one or the other I guess I'd better start with book one in the series
Bracken and the Crystal Cave

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Christine H said...

I think thats so cool you write together. My Husband Loves Sci fi, so I'd love to win your book!

Thanks for the contest!

Laurean Brooks said...

Donna, I think Ken makes a lot of sense. We sometimes need something to lift us above the doldrums and doom of what we hear around us. And I like how you two work together.

Keep writing these wonderful books!

Linda, thanks for hosting Donna and Ken. A cute couple.

Now. How do I win the "Historical" novel? My email:

buddyt said...

I haven't read a book about gnomes for a while so I would love to enter.

I am amazed at how much research you have done for the books. I think most writers would just rely on their imaginations for a book of this sort !

Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwide entries.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an amazing book. I would like to have it for my grandchildren.


Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Carol. You are the winner of this wonderful book. I know you'll enjoy it. It was so much fun interviewing this couple.

Daniel said...
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