Two words: why not? Okay but seriously…I really love end of the world stories. But as with most tales, I also love something with a paranormal twist. I wondered what it would be like for a set of people to have the entire world at their fingertips because there are just so little people left.
So what if a disease wiped out humanity and all that was left were immune supernatural creatures? And what if one of them didn’t even know what she was?
Daphne doesn’t know what she is, and has to navigate being potentially the last person on earth. This obviously isn’t a new idea, but I thought it would be so interesting to look at it through the lens of what on the surface seems like an everywoman. Imagine having to watch everyone around you die horribly, and somehow come through unscathed? I wanted to explore what that would do to a person, how she would deal with it (or not deal with it), and what she would do with her time.
What would you do if you were the last person on earth?
Emily hails from rural Nova Scotia, curled up on a tree stump with a bubblegum pink notebook and a steaming mug of French roast coffee. She is a thirtysomething mom of a toddler and a fur-baby. Her lumbersexual husband doesn’t actually work in lumber anymore, but he still wears the plaid and the beard.
When she’s not writing and/or momming, she’s sipping espresso, crocheting, and listening to audiobooks. She’s an established freelance writer and editor.
Daphne Rhodes would tell anyone: being ‘the one’ sucks.
At least, she would if there was anyone left to tell. She’s the one who’d survived. The one with the magic immune system that saved her.
The only one left on this whole miserable planet.
Daphne spends her days alone and craving answers as to why it had to be her. Why did she have to watch everyone she’d ever known and loved die a horrific death?
On her mother’s deathbed, Daphne learns long-hidden family secrets that send her on a quest across Canada to not only discover where she came from, why she survived, and who she is…but what she is, as well.
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.
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.
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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.
Jared K. Chapman is an author, filmmaker, and educator. He is a native Californian who spent his formative years at school in frigid Alberta, Canada with his father and summer vacation in arid central California with his mother. He holds degrees in psychology & religious studies and is currently a doctoral candidate studying the social psychology of extreme groups. He lives in a little oasis just east of Los Angeles with his wife and three sons. 2HVØRHVNØT is his debut novel.
Welcome to Fellowship City, where the Haves are super-powered, and the Have-Nots are just like you.
The Mighty have all the wealth, fame, power, and superpowers, but even they are subject to the monastery’s control. To maintain peace, telepathic monks see into the past, present, and future to police the other Mighty and the minority of powerless Citizens, who have nothing but their identity tags tattooed on their wrists.
Twenty-year-old Mario lives with his kid sister in one of the many camphouses on the island south of the city. Unlike the other citizens he stands in line with every morning waiting to be bussed to work, he actually likes his downtown job and the Mighty restaurateur who employs him.
At least, he did.
This morning, the grisly, undetected murder of his boss changes everything. In a flash, Mario becomes the primary suspect and must race against time to prove his innocence in a world that oppresses the powerless.
Part READY PLAYER ONE. Part DIVERGENT. Part MINORITY REPORT. Totally Superpowered! 2HVØRHVNØT has fast-paced action, suspense, horror, and mature themes that are sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.
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What inspired you to write this book?
I had a thought in my head about to be or not to be but applying it to the situation of haves and have-nots, which resulted in the title to have or not to have. I thought that was too presumptuous and cumbersome, so I kept thinking and though To Have or Have Not sounded much better, and I am a Hemingway fan, so there’s a little homage there. I kept thinking and thinking about this title and one day while driving home the numeronym popped into my head 2HVORHVNOT. I thought that would be a cool title for a book, so I began to think what a book with that title would be about.
I immediately thought about a tattooed identity code on someone’s arm. I thought about how it could be scanned and used in the future like credit cards, but I thought that was too obvious and really wasn’t sure what the story would be. Poor people are Have Nots and can’t even use their codes while the reach people can… it seemed like something I’ve seen many times before. So, my mind went somewhere darker. What if only the Have Nots have these identity codes and they’re forced on them? I began to think about the Holocaust and poor lives lost in the camps. I began to think about Nietzche’s idea of the Ubermensch inspiring the Nazis. I began to think about Japanese internment camps and signs that said No Jews Allowed or Colored Only Section. I began thinking about the X-Men stories where normal people wanted to round up the mutants and put them into camps. Then, I thought what if that was flipped. What if the people in power, the majority, were the ones with superpowers.
I started to think about what kind of world that would be. I drew upon a lot of the social psychological theories I had learned through the course of my collegiate life. I found myself really drawn to Sherif, Asch, Milgram, and Zimbardo’s famous experiments. Ultimately, I wanted to delve into conflict resolution between two completely different groups. I also drew upon my religious studies and my interest in science-fiction/fantasy, post-apocalyptic/dystopia speculative fiction, particularly 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, The Dark Tower Series, Running Man, Demolition Man, Minority Report, and Ready Player One. All of these inspired me to create the world of Fellowship City.
In Fellowship City, there is a caste system with the highest, most powerful Mighty being the telepathic seers, monks of Sol & Luna, who police the other Mighty. This creates a world without heroes or villains, because the monks stop any crime or wrongdoing, even wrong-thinking before it happens. They eliminate the bad elements to create a utopian world for them, but in doing so, life is mundane. Their superpowers are meaningless. In this world, a pyrokinetic has a job as a barista reheating coffee in the ceramic mugs of old customers. But in nearly every utopia we find some dystopian element, and for those without powers, this world is a nightmare. They are forced to serve the Mighty, live in camps or slums, and must be tattooed with their scannable identity codes.
What can we expect from you in the future?
This book is launching a world. I am currently working on a prequel trilogy describing the rise of the Mighty. I’m editing the first book, writing the second, and have the third outlined and ready to go. I’m also working on a short story that doesn’t fit in the prequel books or in any sequel books, and I have plans to write more of these short stories to complete the world. I set up 2HVØRHVNØT to have a sequel, which I am currently outlining and expect to release next year. After that, I plan to write a third book in the series, making it a trilogy. I also plan to write three shorter books focusing on three of the character’s origin stories.
Once I have published all the Fellowship City books, I would like to complete the epic novel I started in 1996.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in 2HVØRHVNØT: To Have or Have Not?
There are tons of colorful and interesting characters in my book. The two primary protagonists are Mario and his sister, Zelda. They live in a camphouse on the island south of Fellowship City. Mario works downtown at a trendy restaurant where he has recently been promoted from dish-boy to server. Zelda is still under 18, so she doesn’t have to do “real work,” although she volunteers her time in the orphan house when she’s not the story-keeper for a role playing game called SOFA that she plays with her friends.
My book has three episodes, and Mario is the main protagonist of the first episode. He likes working at the restaurant, because the Mighty who employs him is a good guy compared to some of the other horror stories he’s heard. He and his sister lost their parents seven years ago and lived in the orphan house until Mario was able to get his own camphouse and take Zelda in as her guardian. He’s always felt responsible for her and even now fears that he may not have prepared her for the world she will soon enter, because he’s treated her like a princess ever since. Mario has an eidetic memory, which serves him well as a server, but it’s not always entirely perfect. He’s filled with internal conflict as he blames the Mighty for the loss of his parents but needs to work for the Mighty to survive.
Zelda becomes prominent in episode two. Her brother is the most important thing to her in the world and when things look bleak, she feels that she needs to do something. Usually, she seems rather level-headed and the leader among her friends, but her brother is her kryptonite. She gets tunnel vision and will stop at nothing to protect her protector. She’s smart, funny, and athletic… a butt-kicking princess.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Mario and Zelda are obvious, I think. Their father loved the retro games of yesteryear and named his children after his favorites. Jakandy is actually named after Jack Handey from Deep Thoughts on Saturday Night Live. DerMööve is a telekinetic of German ancestry, so I was going for something that could get that across. The Arcane Sawyer just came to me out of nowhere as a blend of Paul Bunyan and Thor. There are many more names with backstories, but I don’t want to give too much away.
Fans of Powerless, The Testing, Hunger Games and the Maze Runner will crave this world of iniquitous secrets, intrigue, and desire to find a place in society.
Divinic. Somatic. Psionic. Naturalist. Who will you be?
Having a superpower is ordinary. Your Power determines your job, social class, and future success.
But Ugene doesn’t have a Power. The only thing special about him is that he isn’t special at all. Ugene is Powerless.
So when the most prominent biomedical research company in the city offers Ugene a solution, he jumps at the possibility to be ordinary. All he has to do is agree to allow them to use him in their research. But the longer he stays at the research facility, the more he realizes something isn’t right.
Friendships are forged. Trust is broken built and broken. And everything Ugene thought he understood and believed is called into question.
Who can Ugene trust in his search for answers? What is he willing to sacrifice for Powers?
He lost everything. His dad, his best friend, and the woman he loves.
Ugene and the other test subjects escaped Paragon. They thought they were finally safe. But the battle for freedom is far from over.
When a rouge group calling themselves the Protectorate offers to help Ugene, he worries that his friends are falling into another dangerous trap. The struggle for freedom becomes a desperate fight for survival. Ugene is determined to stand up for what’s right and save the oppressed citizens of Elpis from persecution by Paragon and the Directorate.
The deeper Ugene digs, the more he uncovers about the Directorate’s sinister secrets, the Protectorate’s true goals . . . and the dangerous game he is about to play.
It’s time for the deception to end. It’s time for the truth to finally come to the surface. And it’s time for everyone to finally learn that being Powerless isn’t weakness.
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STARR Z. DAVIES is a Midwesterner at heart, and lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids. From a young age, Starr has been obsessed with superheroes like Batman and Captain America, which inspired her novel, ORDINARY. If Starr had a superpower, she would be an Empath, because she is an emotional sponge and easily relates to how others feel.
While pursuing a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, Starr gained a reputation as the “Character Assassin” because she has a habit of utterly destroying her characters both emotionally and physically.
In her free time, Starr loves watching Doctor Who or anything with superheroes, reading books (duh!), writing about her favorite fantasy stories (Song of Ice and Fire, Mistborn, The Wheel of Time), and staring out the window as she dreams up more stories. Oh, and sometimes she steps out the door.
5 F U N F A C T S A B O U T S T A R R Z . D A V I E S
1. Starr is short for Starrburst, her given Native American name.
2. Starr is a big fan of cheesy puns and 5th grade humor and will often laugh at her own jokes before anyone else. Ex: What’s ET short for? Cuz he’s got small legs!
3. Starr’s favorite quote is from Batman Begins (of course, a superhero!): “It’s not who you are, but what you do that defines you.” She tries to live by this ideology.
4. Starr loves to fantasize about who would star in a film as her characters. In fact, she sometimes “casts” actors on her social media feeds by posting pictures. After seeing Detective Pikachu, no one else but Justice Smith would satisfy her as Ugene.
5. If she were to choose a superhero whose personality is most like her own, Starr would be Spiderman—nerdy, awkward, and witty, but always eager to do the right thing to help others.
AMAZON DESCRIPTION: Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. Only Ruby can keep their highly dangerous prisoner in check. But with Clancy Gray, there’s no guarantee you’re fully in control, and everything comes with a price.
When the Children’s League disbands, Ruby rises up as a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam’s brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. There are still thousands of other Psi kids suffering in government “rehabilitation camps” all over the country. Freeing them–revealing the government’s unspeakable abuses in the process–is the mission Ruby has claimed since her own escape from Thurmond, the worst camp in the country.
But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IANN, the disease that killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire.
WRITING: minor editing issues peppered throughout the book, just like the first two, but editors are only human. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where there weren’t at least a few editing issues. Bracken is a wonderful writer, and minor editing issues can’t distract from that.
STORY: I loved book one… I enjoyed book two… but, I think this one is my favorite. I was on the edge of my seat reading the whole time. I cried. I was shocked. I was afraid for the characters. Bracken made me care about the characters so much that I was afraid for them. On page 417 was when I knew something terrible was going to happen. I won’t tell you the what happened just before or even after but lets just say my world turned upside down on page 417 and it wasn’t until much later that what I anticipated came true. Welldone, Bracken.
CHARACTERS: Being the third book in the series, Bracken has already fully fleshed out the characters for us. We know them well enough to guess how they will react in different situations and to feel their hesitation, fear, pain, excitement, and sometimes – not often – their joy almost before they do.
APPEARANCE: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, Bracken’s covers are beautiful. I wish I knew who designed them because I would hire him/her to do mine. My favorite part of all the covers is the second full-color cover with the character quote. The quote for this book, “They don’t burn, do they? Not like us.” It was an unexpected character who said this one… and I loved it.
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