#Interview With Camilla Ochlan!
Hey Everyone! :-)
Camilla: I am a teacher and writer. I've been an actor, a waiter, a shop girl, an office temp, a bookstore clerk, a martial arts instructor, and a bartender. I am a perpetual student and love books, movies, and TV. I am a great dog lover and devoted cat servant. And after over 20 years of struggling with it, I finally call myself an Angeleno. I love telling stories. I have written six books in the Of Cats And Dragons series with Carol E. Leever, and two books and three novellas in the Werewolf Whisperer series with co-author Bonita Gutierrez. I've also published a short mythpunk noir called The Seventh Lane.
Me: Sounds like you've been busy! :-) What's the name of your latest books and what inspired it?
Camilla: The latest book is Summer's Fall, the third in our fantasy adventure series. My best friend Carol and I have roamed the Of Cats And Dragons world for over three decades, creating our stories in the telling -- from our high school Dungeons & Dragons games to a database where gathered over three hundred of our stories and story fragments. A couple of years ago we decided it was time to share. It wasn't easy, sorting through generations of characters, plots long and short, episodes half-forgotten and threads of tales never completed. From the moment Carol and I decided to write that first Of Cats And Dragons novel, it took nearly a year of combing through storylines, weighing character arcs, before we arrived at a starting point. Other decisions had to be made as well. While our stories range from grimdark to slapstick, we had to pick one path. Ultimately, we had to go with what the core really was -- heroic fantasy with a touch of whimsy. Game Of Thrones without the naughty bits. And while we had literally dozens of possible protagonists to choose from, we agreed that Omen and Tormy were at the center of our fantastical universe. And from where should we launch the tale of their beautiful friendship? After a couple of false starts and at least another year of trying to figure it out, we decided to begin — at the beginning. Night's Gift is the pilot to our new series, followed by Radiation, and now Summer's Fall, which begins a new quest trilogy.
Me: A labor of love, then. ;-) What are you working on now?
Camilla: Having just released Summer's Fall, Carol and I are working on the edits for The Hollow Season, and The Autumn King, which should be released at the beginning of August and sometime in the late fall respectively. We will also be breaking the outline for the next book this month. The idea isn't so much rapid release, but timed release. We'd like to offer new installments from the world Of Cats And Dragons every six months or so.
Me: Cool! What authors, or books, have influenced you?
Camilla: I'm probably most heavily influenced by mythology, folk and fairytales. I look up to Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury as storytellers. But I've been influenced by so many writers, it's really hard to pin down exactly. Anne Perry and Elizabeth Peters both created long mystery series with fantastic characters. The kind of characters you think of as friends, not just people on a page. I know that is the kind of experience I want to give my readers.
Me: There're some great authors on that list. :-) What are you reading now?
Camilla: Back for another round of Edith Hamilton's Mythology (just can't stay away). I am also reading some of Brian McClellan's short stories, getting ready for the release of his next Powder Mage novel. I'm reading a lot of nonfiction as I research future projects. I am planning two historical fantasies – one in the Werewolf Whisperer universe, which focuses on the character Kai and takes the reader to ancient China; the other is a secret ;)
Me: Sounds interesting! For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?
Camilla: Of Cats And Dragons is a fun fantasy adventure for the whole family. You've got heroic quests, dragons, monsters, tons of magic, and talking cats. It's where the epic meets the adorable — and may even serve as a gateway into fantasy literature.
Me: The best kind of fantasy, then. :-) What's your favorite part of being an author?
Camilla: The mental practice of constant storytelling. I love disappearing into the writing, hitting that flow. And when it's all done, you have something that wasn't there before. And with Of Cats And Dragons, it's such fun to finally share the contents of my head. Carol and I have been living with these characters for three decades. So, it feels good to release them into the wild. And I am thrilled at the positive response we've gotten.
Camilla: I've been an elementary school teacher for a very long time. To make time and room for my writing, I substitute teach day-to-day now. That way, I can be of service but am not tied down to one classroom or one school. And if I need more writing time, I can adjust my schedule easily. I really enjoy when I get the chance to teach writing. That is the best part of my day job.
Me: Sounds like the best of both worlds. :-) What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?
Camilla: I love telling the stories, that's the enjoyable part. The hard part is coming to terms with having had a late start as an author. I always wanted to write, my degree is in English, but I didn't have the confidence or the discipline to write — not for decades. It's hard to fathom now. Why did it take me so long? I was doing a lot of other things — figuring out the world around me and my place in it. I had to feel settled before I could make a serious start. And gather experience. It would have been great to publish in my twenties, but I wasn't ready. Other people are ready much earlier, but I still had a lot of my #^$%@ to work out.
Me: Well, I guess we all start writing when the stories inside use are ready to be written. :-) What genre do you place your book in?
Camilla: Epic fantasy. Heroic fantasy. Young Adult fantasy. Coming of age fantasy. Comedic fantasy. #Gleedark. In a pocket somewhere between Stardust and The Hobbit.
Me: Wonderful! Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?
Camilla: The Of Cats And Dragons books are pure fantasy. The world Carol and I created is extensive, so we plan on keeping the series going for a long time. And if you love audiobooks, our Of Cats And Dragons audiobooks take the fun to a whole new level.
Me: I'm sure that's excellent news to all of your fans. :-) And so these fine folks can find all your amazing stories, are there any links you'd like me to post?
Connect with me:
Twitter: @CamillaOchlan https://twitter.com/CamillaOchlan
Seething Brain Blog: https://seethingbrain.wordpress.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Camilla-Ochlan/e/B00OBOOBF6/
Of Cats and Dragons: http://ofcatsanddragons.com
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
OF CATS AND DRAGONS:
NIGHT'S GIFT(book 1)
RADIATION (book 2)
SUMMER'S FALL (book 3)
Audible: coming soon
THE HOLLOW SEASON (book 4) PRE-ORDER
THE SEVENTH LANE (not OF CATS AND DRAGONS - mythpunk, stand-alone audiobook): https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Seventh-Lane-Audiobook/B00QJD1CVS