Welcome, Celaine Charles!
Our mothers have been best friends since nursing school. The cool thing is, through writing Celaine and I have reconnected. We used to play together as children, but like most families, kids grow up and go their separate ways.
Celaine has recently released a new YA fantasy book, Seem Keepers. She is a wife, mother, writer, poet, blogger, and third-grade teacher. Where does she have the time to do everything? And is one of the sweetest gals I know.
Here’s a little bit about her writing, her characters, and time-management secrets.
My inspiration for Seam Keepers came from a challenge, in a round-about way.
I had been writing for years but was unable to finish any of my stories. I never told a soul about my writing and wondered if it was something I should give up or continue pursuing. I even prayed about my future as a writer, literally asking God for a sign to move forward or step back.
My answer was delivered two weeks later after meeting a woman at my son’s karate class. She introduced herself as a writer. In a rush, I responded that I was a want-to-be-writer. I couldn’t believe I had said it out loud, but she just shook her head and said, “Then you are a writer.”
She challenged me to write a book in a month, along with the likes of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Her rules were to write something brand new, and not to stop and revise or edit until the very end. Well, I didn’t finish in a month, but I did in eight months. Finally, for the first time, I had a full and completed story.
Now I could delve into the work it would take to make it a book. I cheated a little, taking a story idea I had started earlier about dreams and the possibility of worlds within dreams. I didn’t pick up where that story left off though, I created a whole new tale about the outskirts of that world…thus creating a story about warriors protecting the “seam” of the Dream Realm.
New characters, new plot, new everything! So, with a little dreaming (literally), some good ole fashioned prayer, and a challenge from a fellow writer, I was on my way to becoming an author. Of course, I took classes, went to writing conferences, read lots and lots and lots of books (both within my genre and resource books). I joined online writing groups and participated in a writing critique group.
Writing is an ongoing learning adventure, and I am grateful to continue along this journey.
Mason is my favorite character in the book.
I believe this is because he was the first POV (point of view) I wrote from on that very first draft. Shortly after, I worried I might not be able to carry the whole story from a male perspective, since I am a female writer. So, I gave Ashton a bigger voice. However, within no time they became equal characters throughout the story, and I couldn’t choose between them.
I did end up starting and ending with Ashton’s voice, as it became an opportunity for me to showcase an anxiety-ridden girl to become something so much stronger. And Mason’s character arc did a fantastical thing…it crisscrossed with Ashton’s. His overly confident arc changes into something, not timid or weak, but more real for him. I won’t give anything away, but they each grow in amazing ways, and will both forever live in my heart like they are my own children.
As an educator and a mother, finding time to write is always a challenge.
What works best for me is compartmentalizing my life. It may not sound like the best plan to some, but for me, it works perfectly! During my school hours, I teach. I hardly let myself think about my stories during that time. It’s not too difficult because I love what I do and I want to be there 100% for my students.
Then, when I come home, it’s all about taking a brain break, dinner, laundry, kids, life…until about seven or eight at night. That’s when I disappear into my office for an hour or so (my goal being two hours) to write, write, write!
I probably do that about 3-4 times per week. I am also a poet and keep a writing journey blog, Steps In Between, so I write more than just my fantasy novels. This is how I manage my time now, with my three kids mostly grown.
Two are through college and my last one is in high school. But when they were younger, I wrote in the parking lots outside my son’s karate and sports lessons, or in the car while my youngest daughter rode horses. I wrote late at night, and early in the morning. I wrote wherever I could steal a free moment. I’m not going to lie, my husband is a great cook, and thankfully has supported my writing dreams from the very beginning. He made lots of dinners!
Seem Keeper Book Blurb
Ashton Nichols dreads the change graduation will bring, most of all, losing her impulsive best friend, Mason. Her world turns upside down when she follows him into the woods and encounters a demon and a destiny beyond what she ever imagined.
Mason Deed seeks freedom from his grief-stricken father. But after his encounter in the woods, he must think about Ashton’s safety. Hiding the truth from her about her identity leaves them both vulnerable and caught between good and evil.
Together they uncover the unimaginable. Will they find enough courage and strength to claim their own free will, save their families, and protect human souls?
Seem Keeper Excerpt
Ashton’s mind stretched around every possible event that could take place in two days. “Is it my birthday?” She shook her head. “What’s so important about that? I turn eighteen.”
His audible response was more than a growl, more than a groan. It was a guttural, painful bawl that caused her to step back. Mason leaned over, hands on his knees. Exasperation swarmed his body like an aura.
“Look at you.” She gripped his shoulder. Angry or not, she loved him. “Whatever this is, it’s hurting you. It’s hurting us. Let me help you.”
“You don’t understand.” He spoke through gritted teeth.
“Does it have to do with your dream-hunt in the woods? Those hawks crashing through my window?” Desperate, she touched his cheek, locked eyes. “Tell me what’s happening. If not for you, for me. It’s driving you crazy? Can you imagine how I feel not knowing anything?”
He pulled free, paced in circles, sand flying every direction.
“Mas, please.” She stepped in his path, his gaze like burnt embers.
“It’s big.” His weight fell to her shoulder, and she cemented her feet in the sand to hold him upright. “It’s bigger than the both of us.”
She clung to him like a buoy in dangerous waters, unable to tell anymore who was saving whom.
Celaine Charles lives in the Pacific Northwest where she teaches elementary school, writes fiction and poetry, and blogs about her writing journey on Steps In Between.
Her YA Fantasy, Seam Keepers, debuted May 12, 2021 (The Wild Rose Press). Always busy, Celaine is currently drafting the sequel, Dream Keepers, along with a brand-new YA Contemporary Fantasy, Life Song.
Her poetry book, Colors Collected, debuted in August 2019. This book stemmed from her online poetry series, Colors, hosted on Channillo, and awarded Best Continuing Series, Best New Series, and Best Poetry Series for the 2018 Channillo Awards. In addition, she has poetry published with other various presses.
When Celaine isn’t writing, she is usually with family and friends, or hiking among the trees and the flowers in her beautiful evergreen state.