Local author turning heads with fantasy series

2013-10-24T00:00:00Z Local author turning heads with fantasy seriesBy Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Oro Valley author Nicole Camp fulfilled a childhood dream when her fantasy/sci-fi novel “Shadow Born” was published last week.

The e-book, the first of a proposed four-part “Shadow Bled” series, is available through Amazon and other online sellers. The book, about a mystical teenager who hides his dark, destructive background as he tries to make a normal life for himself, was published by Entranced Publishing and goes for $4.

Camp, 27, started the project when she was a student at Cross Middle School. She tinkered with it for 14 years, rewriting the book six times and enduring countless rejections from agents and publishers before finding a home for the series.

The publication is particularly gratifying to Camp because she accomplished the goal despite difficulties from aberrant sensory processing disorder, a neurological condition that makes her unable to work outside her home because she’s sensitive to intense light and loud noise.

Not content to relax after her success, Camp says she’s just getting started. The second book, “Shadow Throne,” is due out in the spring. We caught up with the Canyon del Oro High School grad.

Q: How did you find a publisher?

A: I had been writing for a long time, and I decided to submit to a few different agents. I joined an Absolute Write forum, and a publisher who happened to be on it started following me. I didn’t know she was a publisher at the time. She asked to see some pages. I retooled the manuscript as best I could and heard back from them in about a week.

Q: You plan for your series to last four books. Any chance of extending that if things go well?

A: If there’s a market for it. I’m not sure about the ending yet. I’m a “pantser,” meaning I write by the seat of my pants. I don’t know where I’ll eventually end up with a book, but I have an idea where it’s going.

Q: Do you consider your series more fantasy or science fiction?

A: I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. My first book is a lot of science fiction, more than anything. The series gets more into the fantasy realm as it goes along.

Q: You’ve been interviewed for several blogs and appeared on podcasts. How did that happen?

A: It actually kind of just came about on its own. I tend to talk quite a bit. I’m quite a chatty person, and I like to talk to people on Twitter. I keep up with people. Some of them asked me if I’d like to be on their blogs or podcasts.

Q: Did the publisher make you change much?

A: Over my generations of writing the book, I honed and culled what did work and what didn’t work. I actually didn’t lose too much of the book, if I can say it that way. It stayed very true to what it originally was. What they had me add was depth and character development, which was very helpful to the book, making it what it is. They were very thorough, and it was a very fun process. It was very helpful and definitely for the better.

Q: How have those around you reacted to your book’s debut?

A: Some of them are saying, “Well, I can say I knew her before she was famous.” I’m really not famous, though. It’s fun. People are being really supportive, and it’s really nice of them and sweet. I’m getting lots of positive feedback from readers who know me.

Q: Does writing help you cope with your condition?

A: It is an escape. It’s definitely something else to focus on at that time. It does help, being able to write and just do something and not have it bother me.

Q: What advice do you have for struggling writers?

A: Don’t ever give up. If it’s your passion and if you love to write, no matter what people say, keep at it and hone your craft. If you’re writing something that you absolutely love, there’s probably at least one other person out there who’s going to love it, too. You’ll get somewhere. Submit it and keep working on it.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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