Chelsea Campbell - Superheroes, Villains and Everything Inbetween
When Chelsea Campbell isn't studying ancient languages, knitting or collecting useless objects, she likes to transport readers to surreal worlds... with superheroes, villains and their kind. The first book in the series, The Rise of Renegade X, is a thrilling read that has received rave reviews on Amazon. As our Author of The Day, Campbell chats about her villain-hero main character, her love for the Young Adult genre and gives some insights into how she shapes her books.
Please give us a short introduction to The Rise of the Renegade X
It's about Damien, a teen supervillain who discovers that his long-lost dad is actually a superhero. A really moral superhero with his own kids show where he teaches safety tips. It's just about the worst news Damien can imagine, until he finds out he also has to go live with him and his hero family.
What inspired you to write about superheroes and supervillains?
I wanted to write about someone heroic who specifically wasn't a hero, and then somewhere along the line that turned into him being a supervillain. And then I asked myself, "What's the worst thing that can happen to him?" Finding out he's actually half hero.
Where does the love for Young Adult books come from?
This is a tough question to answer! There are so many reasons, and sometimes they're hard to pinpoint. Voice is a big thing for me in books--if a book doesn't have a good voice that pulls you through the pages, I don't want to read it, and YA tends to have a lot of voice. The stories are usually also character-driven, which is another big thing for me. A cool or complex plot and/or world is never going to interest me more than good characters.
Despite the surreal world and circumstances, your characters are very relatable. How did you pull this off?
I don't think surroundings have anything to do with relatability. No matter what world I'm writing in, my focus is always on the characters and their interactions with each other.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Knitting and crocheting. I'm also learning to weave, though I wouldn't call it a skill yet, lol.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
No one is purely good or bad--people are always a mixture of both.
Talk to us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
I try to get as much writing done as early on in the day as possible. I have health issues that make it so I don't know how much energy I'll have (I am counting my spoons here), and the best chance for getting anything done is in the morning. Though sometimes I have a bad morning and am able to still write later on in the day. It's frustrating, which has been hard for me, especially when I know people are waiting on the next book.
Did you work out the entire plot of your book before you started to write?
Sort of, but not really. I did a lot of freewriting before I officially started The Rise of Renegade X, so I got a feel for the characters and what their world was like and what direction I wanted the story to go in. Then I plotted out some scenes I wanted to have happen by the end and tried to fill in the blanks. I always work out at least a vague plot before I start writing, though it often changes as I go along, and I can't usually see all the way through to the ending when I first start. So my plans for the first chunk of the book will be pretty specific, then it gets vaguer and vaguer as I go on. Usually about 1/3 of the way through, I realize a lot of my plans for going forward need to change, like who the antagonist is or what the major problem the characters are trying to solve is, but the themes and general outline are still solid, and the internal conflict usually stays the same.
What are you working on right now?
Book 4 of the Renegade X series, The Phobia of Renegade X.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
You can see a list of all my work on my website, http://www.chelseamcampbell.com, where you can also sign up for my newsletter to be notified when my next book comes out, or email me, or find me on social media. I'm most responsive to email, because I see it quicker, but Facebook and Twitter are also ways to interact with me.