C. A. Campbell hails from Kansas City (The Missouri side, if you please), where she shares her writing space with her husband and three ridiculous dogs. She splits her time between writing, saving tiny lives, and teaching students how not to kill people as a neonatal intensive care nurse and nurse educator. When she’s not working, she can be found (likely, in her pajamas) making things out of yarn, listening to a true crime podcast, or yelling at medical errors in television shows. Heresy is her debut novel.
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Heresy (The Heretics Saga Book 1) by C.A. Campbell ~ Genre: YA Dystopian
In Arcadia, being different is HERESY.
Heresy is DEATH.
To survive, citizens must live, dress, and even love according to the United Council’s will. Their power is absolute—until a rebel bomb ignites at a national ceremony and unites the lives of three unlikely people.
When the bombing goes wrong, Nicolette Howell, a young heretic, finds herself alone and on the run, bearing secrets that Arcadia would kill for. When she’s captured, she must escape, but how can she, when her best chance lies with the son of her sworn enemy?
Driven by the execution of an innocent, Jacob Osgood, a United Councilor’s son, hunts for the truth about the heretic movement that Arcadia has hidden. But truth could cost him the one thing he cannot stand to lose: the girl who saved his life at the bombing.
Shiloh Haven, the orphaned daughter of heretics, is forced to become Arcadia’s spy in a sinister plot to destroy the heretic army. She faces a terrible choice: survive or risk everything to save the boy she might just love and the rebels who are her only chance of being free.
As their fates entwine, the three must answer an impossible question.
WHAT WOULD YOU DIE FOR?
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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Sure. I’m C. A. Campbell, and I’ve been writing since I was eleven and Lord of the Rings inspired me to pick up a pen. I live in Kansas City, MO, with my husband and our three ridiculous but adorable dogs. I like to say I have three careers. Besides writing, I’m full time faculty at a nursing university, and a part-time neonatal intensive care nurse. I love my nursing career, but it’s always been a dream of mine to be a write and publish a book, so I decided to figure out a way to make both things happen. And here I am, publishing my first novel. Sometimes, you can have it all.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Funny story, actually. My characters began as original characters that I put into Harry Potter fanfiction. I’m sure you could find it out on the internet somewhere if you really tried (please don’t). When I knew I wanted to start original fiction, I decided to keep them with me, because I loved all of them so much. I had the concept of being a ‘Heretic’ — being different than the world wanted you to be, so I knew I wanted something along that. And that’s where I struggled for the next ten years while writing this book.
The theme of ‘being different than what the world wants you to be’ is something I felt as a teenager (when I first started this book), strongly. But I had to go on a journey. I had to own that in my own life–truly make the decision to be myself even though the people around me may not like it. I also needed to see many other individuals–much braver than me–who have had to make that decision as well. Only then could I write this story that addresses the topic at the core of my own story.
How do you dare to be different in a world that tells you exactly what to be?
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
The Heretics Saga focused mostly on two main characters–Shiloh Haven and Jacob Osgood–while also following three other ‘main’ characters – and a few friends who join them along the way. In Heresy, we get to see the POV of three of them.
Shiloh Haven is the orphaned daughter of heretics whose grown up in a cruel place, called a Haven, with other children of heretics. As a Haven, she has been despised and had to fight just to survive in Arcadian society. Because of this, she lives by strict rules in order to survive–which is all she really wants. This really gets tested over the whole of Heresy when the survival of people she cares about suddenly depends on her — and saving them might mean signing her own death warrant.
Jacob Osgood comes from the complete opposite of society. As the son of one of the nation’s leaders, he could have anything he wanted–except freedom. Jake’s a rebel without a cause at the beginning–doing anything he can to disrupt the perfect dance his father, United Councilor Samuel Osgood, forces him to perform too. In the story, we get to see what happens when he actually finds a cause to stand with and something worth fighting for. But he makes reckless choices and the consequences will be devastating.
Nicolette Howell is a young rebel who has lived most of her life on the run. She’s driven by loyalty to the cause fighting against Arcadia, but when she’s captured, she’s dumped into a strange world where she’s unsure who to trust, but she knows she can’t escape on her own. And if she doesn’t escape–more than her life will end.
And Val and Stefani…well, you’ll just have to read to know a little more about them.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Oh goodness, so much stories. There were so many things that ultimately couldn’t make it into the book. I’m sure I’ll have to write bonus scenes or novellas to show all the things I know about the characters.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
It would be smoky and woodsy, with a little sweetness– like a fire burning cedar, wth just a hint of cinnamon. I would call it “Smells like Teen Revolution”.
What can we expect from you in the future?
HERESY is the first book in The Heretics Saga. Right now, the series is slated to be four books, but it’s always subject to change. I hope to release them all within two to three years.
Is there something specific you want to tell readers?
I hope you love my book, but more importantly, I hope you learn from it. I hope at the end you choose to be a Heretic–to be fearlessly, unapologetically yourself even in a world where sometimes that feels dangerous. Because who you are is not wrong. Who you are is perfect and amazing. And never let anyone convince you otherwise.
Lastly, a few fun questions: What kind of world ruler would you be?
I don’t know. If it’s anything like being a teacher, it would probably involve a lot of hair pulling of — “Why weren’t they listening?” “I know they hate this new law but can’t they see it will make them better?” “Why do they hate me? All I’ve ever done is love them.” And then I’ll probably have servants stress feed me chocolate.
What book do you think everyone should read?
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I know, I know, it’s not fiction, but it’s amazing. Here’s just one quote of a million from her book. “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
Advice you’d give new authors?
Self-doubt is a liar. Punch it in the face, and just write your book.