Monday, May 19, 2014

"The Taming" by Atticus Krum

The Taming
(The Refuge Chronicles Book 1)
by Atticus Krum

The Taming is a middle grade children's book currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

A forbidden journey. A secret agenda. A mysterious object.
When Thutter McClutter, a young Glade-dwelling shrew, willingly decides to break the ancient Code and cross into the shadowy darkness of the great Woode, he is certain that seeing the mysterious Solkreat is the goal. But as he and his friends near the curious Creature, an altogether different agenda is exposed. One of his fellow adventurers wants the magic hogseye. However, the powerful and wicked Beastmonger also covets the enchanted object, and he will stop at nothing to get it - not even murder.
A story of true friendship, lasting faith, and willing sacrifice, The Taming is the first installment of The Refuge Chronicles - an adventurous trilogy about a young shrew, his newly-discovered purpose, and the ancient conflict between Light and Darkness.

Book Trailer

The thought of the great Ellyon brought terrific fear to most any refugee. It was common knowledge throughout Eldersland especially - but the whole of the Woode, quite honestly - that the magnificent Ellyon was simply the fiercest living thing that had ever prowled the ’Fuge. And with few claiming to have ever seen him, his presence in the region was the stuff of legend. Of course, he’d never been known to hurt anyone, but the mysterious Ellyon was a bear. And, after all, there’s nothing more ferocious than a bear - or his rumor even.

Featured Review
By Lynn
Excellent writing, story line and plot. It was hard to put down; the short chapters made me want to read at least one more before stopping for the evening. Good reading for older children, teens and adults. Looking forward to the next volume.

Interview With the Author
Hi Craig Furtick (aka Atticus), thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, The Taming.

For what age group do you recommend your book?
Well, the book is being marketed toward to 8-12 year olds, primarily. However, more than a few adults have said that they have really enjoyed reading the tale.

What sparked the idea for this book?
Well, the story actually came about while I was looking for ways to teach my son (who was about 6 when I began the project) about responsibility and the importance of making good decisions. I grew up in Merritt Island, Florida, and spent many days of my childhood wandering the trails of the national wildlife refuge located there. From early on, I knew that I would write about that place as well as the space center which is right next to it. 

So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
In this case, I would definitely say that the character’s story came first. Even though, as I mentioned, I was thinking about my son somewhat at the time, the story of Thutter came out of nowhere, and I have used it to set up the greater story to be told, The Last Storykeeper Saga. The latter is the series to follow, which is the story of Aden Young and his experiences with the enchanted key (of The Refuge Chronicles) and a magic storybook that he finds. 
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The hardest part to write was the probably the saddest part. It is the scene which shows what real sacrifice looks like among friends. I can’t tell you any more about the scene, however, as I’m afraid it will spoil things.

Fair enough. How do you hope this book affects its readers?
For starters, I hope that readers simply enjoy the story and the curious characters that roam the book’s pages. However, I also hope that readers find a little bit of themselves in Thutter McClutter, the main character. By that, I mean to say that I hope, like Thutter, readers are encouraged to consider the significance of virtues such as friendship, loyalty, courage, faith, and self-sacrifice in their own lives. I guess at some level I hope that readers are led to reflect a bit on the fact that selfishness can be a very dangerous thing while selfless love carries great reward.

How long did it take you to write this book?
The Taming took about ten years from inception to publication. Of course not all of those days/years were spent writing. Much of that time was spent plotting, planning, and researching the entire series.  

What is your writing routine?
I try to write several hours a day, especially when I am working on a specific project. I like to write very early in the morning, before everyone else is up, and I aim for 1,000-1500 words a day.

How did you get your book published?
I did it the old-fashioned way, I guess. I began my own publishing company and self-published. I figured if it was good enough for the likes of L. Frank Baum, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, William Strunk Jr., Mark Twain, John Grisham, Jack Canfield, Beatrix Potter, and Tom Clancy, then it must be good enough for me.

Fantastic. What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Well, I’m not sure I’m a good one to answer that question. I’m not a big proponent of traditional publishing. From what I understand, the publishing industry is changing - and changing fast. I think many good tales get overlooked in the ages-old process of querying agents and publishers. I think if you have a story to tell, you should write it and submit it to friends, family, teachers, etc. Then, upon getting their feedback, consider hiring a professional editor. Work with them until you feel you have a manuscript ready to go. You then have to choose whether you want to go the traditional publishing route (query, query, query), or whether you want to invest money in publishing your writing yourself. While the latter seems easier, be warned: it is a tremendous amount of work … especially if you are serious about it and want to one day make a living at it. 

Great advice. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I am not writing (or doing writing-related things), I enjoy spending time with my wife and four children. I also enjoy reading, watching sports of all kinds, hiking, taking pictures, and losing myself in a good movie or television drama.

What does your family think of your writing?
They are extremely supportive. Each one has been very involved in my writing since the beginning, from listening to and critiquing my tales to helping me review illustrations, book covers, and other design-work. They also assist me in various marketing and promotion efforts as well.

Fantastic. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was born and raised in Merritt Island, Florida. Living on an island that held a large wildlife refuge and the Kennedy Space Center was paradise for me. My childhood was filled with adventure. I loved every minute of it and long to go back to that time of life - perhaps that’s why my first series is set in the refuge where I grew up.

Did you like reading when you were a child?
Yes, I did enjoy reading. However, I did not have the kind of voracious appetite that my children have today. They read nonstop. I read certain books or genres, especially fantasy and books about animals … go figure, huh!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t know that I can pinpoint a specific time or event. I just remember that as a child I loved to create imaginary characters and the worlds they roamed. Writing just seemed a natural fit for how I was wired and how I most enjoyed communicating with people. I learned early on that I am a storyteller. My students will tell you that I am always telling some story or another about myself. 
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes, most definitely. I had such a wonderful childhood, and I grew up in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Adventure lurked around every corner on the Space Coast, from the wildlife refuge and space center to the beach, the port, the many waterways and fishing holes as well as the orchards, the old cemeteries, and the many attractions of Orlando. But the location was only a part of it. I had several very good friends with whom I got to experience life to the fullest. We spent many hours riding our bikes around the island and looking for different ways to have fun. We were never bored and never disappointed. There was always something to do if we looked hard enough for it.

Which writers have influenced you the most?
I suppose the greatest influence on my writing has been George MacDonald, the Scottish minister-turned-writer. Though I did not encounter MacDonald until my adult years, I have read more of his works than any other writer of fantasy. However, I have also been influenced by C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Richard Adams, and, to a lesser extent, the more recent works of J. K. Rowling and Kate DiCamillo.  

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Well, I’m just starting out, but I have already begun to receive positive responses in the form of email and social media from those who have read the book and enjoyed the story.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I am currently writing books 2 and 3 of The Refuge Chronicles. However, I am also working on the follow up series to this trilogy, The Last Storykeeper Saga. It is a series of tales which tell of a young boy’s experiences with the very same magic key that is the object of Thutter’s pursuits in The Refuge Chronicles.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Craig. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Atticus never intended on becoming a writer; however, upon learning that he was what some call a "fabulator", he came to realize that he had no choice. The stories known as the Legendarium must be gathered, chronicled, and secured. Like those before him, he must live the life of a story-finder.
Today, he spends most of his time putting pen to paper in an effort to prepare the tales he's collected for publishing. When he's not writing, he is either reading a good book, studying something from his vast map collection, or playing one of his many unique instruments such as the fluba, the trongos, or the clackamore.
Atticus resides on a small farm in the Midwest with his albino ferret named Albi. He is visited only by his good friend Friar Cig Tuck, travels when absolutely necessary, refuses to be photographed, and almost never smiles. What's more, he dresses almost exclusively in black. Of course, he says that the latter is for simplicity sake, but the few who know him are certain he's just color blind.