Christa Conklin

Why I Started Writing:

In elementary school, I would come home from a trip to the library and line up novels on the couch. I would read one chapter from each, working my way down the line of books, and return to the first to begin the chapter two sequence.

Grade school and university classroom studies of writing had squelched my dreams of storytelling with plot outlines, story arcs, and other creativity-sapping mechanics. One morning, I woke with an idea for a story but did not know how it would climax or end, so I just tucked it away, believing I could not become a writer if I could not follow the rules.

I was then given the gift of “The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy” by Leonard S. Marcus. In this book, I read an interview with Madeleine L'Engle, one of the many writers who had filled my youthful heart and mind. When asked, “Did you know from the start how the story would end?” she responded, “No. I've never done that! It is more fun not to know. If you know exactly what is going to happen, it doesn't work. But if you start to write the story and listen to it, see where it wants to go … well, I think that's how God creates.”

Reading this from one of my most-admired authors freed me from self-imposed constraints. I began to write, and the story unfolded.

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

I've read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings countless times. Following one of those readings in my middle-grade years, I took out the typewriter, opened The Hobbit, and set my fingers to work. I could not get enough of it, and I was looking for another way to digest Tolkien's world. I hoped that touching every letter that he had chosen would give me a deeper connection. I did read beyond Middle Earth. I spent a good deal of time pushing the back of my grandmother's wardrobe, hoping to find trees and snow glowing in the light of a lamp post. I convinced my dear friend, and myself, that we would turn into unicorn-riding mermaids when we turned sixteen. We now agree I was simply off on the age, and we are still awaiting our transformation.

Tolkien, L'Engle, Lewis, and Robert Jordan are certainly the great influencers of my writing. Their world's expanded my thinking, enabling me to create my own.

Books I Have Written:

 

My short story Moontail is published by Agorist Writers Workshop in the liberty-minded fantasy fiction anthology The Clarion Call, Volume 3: Unbound. My story is about a mermaid protecting a Libertarian island which holds her secret in its mountains.

Tranquility, intended for young adults, will be published by Elk Lake Publishing. It tells the story of Drethene, a unique girl born into a contented, peaceful people who, through strategic intermarriage and regulation, have created a society free of war and diversity. She discovers the wickedness prowling beneath the Peace and must convince the very comfortable One People that their culture is tainted, their people are being hunted, and they must reunite with a sister-world that was written out of their past.

What I'm Working On Now:

Tranquility will have a sequel, and I am working on it. I also have a number of ideas for more novels and even a children's book, which I am fleshing out to propose to my agent. Stay tuned!

Christa Conklin

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