Indie Author, AC Willis.
Before I kick off my Friday Feature; “Indie Spotlight”, I am doing a test post. For this, I’m spotlighting myself. This will work as an example for what the spotlights will look like. This is what the main spotlight post will look like.
AC Willis is a new Independent Author. She released her first novel, “Darkness Within” in December of 2013. She is also a mother of four. AC has been writing since she was a little girl and although she has tried to do many other things in her life, she always comes back to writing. Her debut novel, “Darkness Within” will be on sale on Amazon for .99 cents beginning February 2, 2014. This is the first page in an unwritten story for AC and she has many more projects in the works that will be ready for release by the end of the year. Among them is the second story in the “Darkness Within” series, titled “Light Without”. I sat down to talk with AC about “Darkness Within” and learned the motivation behind the novel and what will come next for this young, but promising author.
Tell us a little about “Darkness Within”:
Well, it’s a young adult fiction. The main character, Awen Murdock, is…extraordinary. She sees the divine in the natural world, has magickal abilities and travels to the shadow realm. She keeps all her secrets bottled up and so she is a character that is fragmented and disconnected from the world and people around her. Darkness Within is the story of her “awakening”. Throughout this novel, she is trying to learn to define herself and struggles to find a place in her world.
What is her world like?
It’s essentially our world…and our time. Awen uses social media. She goes to high school and dates, just like any normal teenage girl in our day and time. So, there’s a sense of normalcy about it. However, within this normal world, there is also a magickal one. The main thing that sets Awen apart from the people around her is that she peers beyond the normal world and sees the magickal aspects of it. She also travels to the shadow ream which exists on a different plane and holds a completely different set of rules. Existing in both places at once is hard for her and eventually, events that take place in the Shadow World begin to effect her “reality”.
Okay, so tell us a little bit about how the novel came about.
That’s kind of a multi-layered answer. I’ll try to keep it simple. The general idea behind the novel came about in 2012 when I entered a short story titled “The Darkness Within Me” into Muskogee Public Library’s short story contest. After I won, it set on my hard drive for a year. My husband and I talked about turning it into a graphic novel but nothing ever came of that. So, when I entered Nanowrimo, I thought it would be a great opportunity to expand upon the short story and so “Darkness Within” was born. Actually, it was almost a completely different story altogether.
Really? How so?
I started writing it from a completely different point of view. My favorite character in the entire story is Cailleach. I can’t say too much about him without giving away some of the novel’s best secrets but I began writing the story from his point of view. Somewhere in the middle, I decided that there were parts of the story that needed to be told from Awen’s point of view, since it is her story. So, I put her in a situation where she sees part of her own life through his point of view and I reworked the beginning. It’s funny how something like that can change the entire story.
Cailleach is a weird name.
Yeah, there’s a lot of that in “Darkness Within”. Cailleach literally means “owl” but The Callieach is a Druid goddess of winter and death. She’s the “hag of winter” but at the end of winter, she drinks from the Well of Youth and transforms into a young maiden. My Cailleach is a male character but his personality and story is pulled a lot from the aspects of the Druid goddess. I like to play with mythologies and beliefs, particularly of the Celtic people, and use them in my work. In fact, most of the names in the story come from Celtic lore.
Are the names the only thing that comes from Celtic lore?
No. The timeline of the novel comes from the Wheel of the Year. “Darkness Within” takes place between August and December during the Dark parts of the year. The novel also mentions the Tree of Life and the Tuatha De Dannan which both come from Celtic lore. Also, the struggle between light and dark is synonymous with most faith paths.
That’s interesting. Why the love of Celtic society?
I study Druidry, myself. It’s hard for something so personal not to become part of your work. Also, my ancestry is Irish. Murdock is my grandmother’s maiden name. But I do it in a manner that is not really overt. You don’t need to be Druid or Celtic to understand it. You don’t even have to be religious or spiritual. It’s a great story…it just so happens that I blended these aspects into the fabric of it…because I’m awesome like that.
So, what happens next for Awen and for yourself?
“Darkness Within” leaves a few loose ends untied so I’m working now to tie them up and finish the story with the second novel in the series, “Light Without”. Let’s just say that Awen has a few more obstacles to face before she can arrive at the moment that is her destiny. I will release “Light Without” sometime this year but I already have a few other projects in the works. Probably the next project I will release is actually a book of short stories.
Buy Darkness Within now…or wait until February 2 and grab it for .99 cents, HERE.
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