"Writing a book is the art of listening to oneself."-Brad Cameron

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Silk Road Interview

Recently, I was interviewed by a Pacific University literary magazine titled, "Silk Road: A Literary Crossroads." I wanted to share the interview with you, my readers. This interview deals with  my thoughts on Norse Mythology and writing tips for the young author. Do you have any other questions for me? Let me know what you think!
Silk Road Interview
Brad Cameron
Author of The Zeke Proper Chronicles
Book 1: Odin’s Light
Book 2: The Serpent’s Ship
Book 3: The Gates of Asgard

1.      You are both a teacher and a writer. How do you balance both commitments?

Seeking motivation to write and pulling away from the inevitable exhaustion that comes after a full day of teaching requires some effort to be sure. However, because writing and teaching are shared passions in my life, the challenge to force myself to sit down after a long day and tap away at the computer’s keyboard to create my stories is made much easier. The teaching aspect of my life requires a measured amount of time and effort, but that time is neatly focused between 8 am and 4 pm each day (I am not the type of teacher who brings home grading – well, maybe sometimes - I figure if it doesn’t get done at school, it can wait until the next day). This frees me up for the evening hours to write. In the evenings I usually set aside three hours of concentrated time on a writing project. The project may be a chapter in a current novel or a blog article. Either way, evenings are allocated specifically for writing. I will then set goals for the evening’s work that usually coincides with my mood, the goals, however, are always lofty. Usually it’s word count (600 – 1000 words), or the completion of an article. In either case, I find that when I push myself the motivation comes easier.

2.      Norse Mythology heavily influences your novel series. What about Norse Mythology intrigued you to write three novels about their dynamics?

One of my first teaching jobs was at a high school that offered a variety of English Literature electives. During my first day on the job I met with the school’s Language Arts Department Chair. She informed me that of the many courses I would be teaching that year one of those would be a course on mythology. I smiled bravely, left the meeting on unsteady legs, and sat down at my empty desk with a myriad number of questions floating through my mind. One of those was: Zeus, he was in mythology, right? I immediately began my research into Greek and Roman mythology, discovering a world of wonder that I really paid very little attention to in my previous educational experience. The Greek gods and their accompanying myths fascinated me, but when I finally expanded my reach and began looking into other culture’s myths, well, let’s just say that my world suddenly swelled.

Before I took my first teaching job I’d been dabbling with a few unfinished short stories, but I had no vehicle to guide them and carry them on their way. However, when I began reading about the Norse gods, and I mean the real stories about the gods - not the Marvel comic kind – then I discovered the channel I could finally use to tell my stories. I was one happy man.  

3.      Does being a writer influence your lessons when you teach? Does your lecture style influence change with your audience and how?

So much of today’s teaching emphasis is on writing and reading. Whether you’re instructing in math, science, or English it really doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I sometimes feel sorry for those teachers who are forced to integrate so much art into the sciences. However, creating great communicators, both in writing and speaking, requires that the skill be taught in all areas of education. Fortunately for me that skill is basic to what I teach on a daily basis, and being a writer often strengthens my focus in ways that I feel is foreign to my colleagues. For instance, my students hear first hand accounts of my own struggles with a plot line or a character’s development on a daily basis. I feel as if I’m able to ease their suffering on a writing assignment when they see that I’m struggling too and that I understand their frustrations.

In terms of teaching style and audience, there is very little that I change. Often I am asked to speak in front of a group of elementary students about my books and about the writing process. I’ve discovered that for most students, whether they’re 4th graders or 8th graders, the battles are the same. Students need to understand that writing is hard work. It’s not meant to be easy. But the outcome of a well-crafted piece of writing is definitely worth the struggle.

4.      What’s more difficult, teaching or being a writer?

Both occupations of writing and teaching carry with them their own set of difficulties. The real challenge of teaching is keeping students engaged. Sometimes the best lesson plans are cruelly brushed aside by an unruly group of students who are just too caught up in themselves and those around them to care about an author’s brilliant writing style: the themes, conflicts, and ingenious use of figurative language. During these times, being a teacher can become a rather thankless pursuit. But then there are those time, brief though they may be, where things really click. Students look at me with curiosity and wonder as I present a topic that really grabs their attention. They ask questions, they engage in meaningful discussion, and they genuinely seek for more information. When that happens, teaching becomes an awesome profession.

Writing, on the other hand, is a solitary pursuit. I have spent many countless hours in my little home office staring at my computer screen, but it’s always alone. Sometimes that can be difficult. Writers have to enjoy the solitude of their own thoughts, yet at the same time find the balance of social interaction. Along with that comes the constant formulation of new ideas, plot twists, and forcing one’s beloved characters into painful dilemmas just to make a story more intriguing. But when it all comes together, when the sentence, the paragraph, or the chapter is finally complete and the words flow like warm melted butter, then writing also becomes an awesome profession.

5.      What are some myths about writing/teaching that you would like our readers to realize?

I believe that one myth in particular that needs to be set aside in most people’s minds regarding the professions of writers and educators is that they’re easy pursuits, that they don’t require a lot of work to accomplish. Take a teacher, for instance. A teacher gets two weeks off in December, a week off for spring break, and two months off in the summer. That’s a lot of time that a regular nine-to-fiver doesn’t normally get. But the key here is nine to five. Most teachers (I am not one of them) is contracted to work an 8-hour day, but on any given weekday, an hour before teachers are required to be at work, you’ll find a school parking lot almost full and sometimes an hour or two after they’re supposed to go home. Teachers take home piles of work and grade in front of the TV, they continue to grade on weekends, write lesson plans, and often take on extracurricular activities after school as club advisors for no pay.  It is not unusual for an educator, who in most states is required to have a masters degree, to work 10 to 12 hours a day, five days a week. The current burnout rate for teachers is at an all time high, even with extended time off in the summer. Teaching is really hard work.

Writers, I fear, face the same type of unwelcome scrutiny. I know, because of the many questions I’ve been asked by my students and from those that I’ve visited in other schools, that writers are assumed to have a glamorous life of book signings, radio and television interviews, and diverse travels around the world to promote their work. Sadly, this is not true. Most of an author’s work is done in the solitude of a tiny home office. They stay up late to write and they get up early to write. They’re constantly thinking about the next scene in their story, whether or not to kill off a character, and over silly things like where to put a comma and if they should use but, therefore, or nevertheless as their next conjunction. Most writers have to work another job besides their writing just to make ends meet. There’s nothing glamorous about that. The truth is, writing, like teaching, is really hard work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Viking Influence Around the World - Russia

I want to acknowledge and thank all of my readers and followers. I have been so excited to see so many from Russia, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. I found a cool article that deals with Vikings in Russia that I thought you all might enjoy, especially my readers from that region. Let me know what you think!



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is This Summer Job For You??

Have you ever wanted to be the captain of a Viking Ship? I found a cool job posting on ThorNews.com where the Viking Ship "Lofotr" is looking for a Hovedsmann/Captain!

"Apply for an exciting and challenging summer job as Høvedsmann in the main season 15 June – 15 August 2015. The Høvedsmann is responsible for preparing and carrying out daily rowing trips with a Viking ship for our guests. It is an advantage if you have experience using a square sail or a boating license. You should master at least two languages."


If you get the job, let me know :)


Monday, January 5, 2015

"The Viking Age in Denmark"

I found a great video titled, "The Viking Age in Denmark" that I wanted to share with my readers. Check it out and let me know what you think!


Saturday, December 27, 2014


An article published on December 16th on Sci-News.com titled, "Scientists Find Evidence of Viking Presence in Artic Canada" caught my eye! This article is very interesting and in keeping with the theme of Odin's Light of THE ZEKE PROPER CHRONICLES. Check it out and let me know what you think!
(c) wallpaper-kid.com


Happy Holidays -

Sunday, November 2, 2014

10 things you need to know about Vikings and Norse Mythology

Though it may appear that the early Norse inhabitants were defeatists, viewing life with an eye of gloom and doom, a closer inspection will reveal that the opposite is in fact true. The Vikings did not believe in a timeless afterlife, and indeed that may seem bleak to our modern, Christianized culture, nevertheless, their philosophy embodied a bold perspective toward life, one that must be admired. They expected that men and women would have their share of tragedy and hardship. But the best of them attempted to use it and rise above it, carving out a name for themselves through bravery, loyalty, and generosity. Thus the following list, though it may appear at first to be a depressing view of life, is simply the Viking’s way of considering their inevitable hardships and eventual death. Know that they endured it, or, even better, laughed at it. 
Norscan Berserk
(c) warhammerfb.wikia.com
1. “The guy just went berserk!” I’m sure you’ve heard this kind of description before as someone tries to explain some crazy, out of control, and sometimes violent behavior exhibited by another individual. But have you ever wondered where the word “berserk” comes from and just what exactly it means?
The word berserk(s) literally means Bear Shirts. Berserks were human warriors who went into a frenzy before battle and fought wearing animal skins. It was believed that Odin gave them special powers. Writing about the uncontrollable rage of these fighters, Snorri Sturluson proclaimed:
His men went to battle without armor and acted like mad dogs or wolves.
They bit into their shields and were as strong as bears or bulls.
They killed men, but neither fire nor iron harmed them.
                                           This madness is called berserker-fury. 
2. According to legend, the elaborate and intricately structured Norse Cosmology begins with the coming together of fire and ice. The first man, according to the myths, escapes from a block of ice when the great cow, Audumla, licks him free.
3. Ymir was the first giant. He was formed by the coming together of fire and ice. Unfortunately, Ymir was killed by Odin and his two brothers, Vili and Ve. They used his body parts to create the nine worlds, fashioning the oceans from his blood, the soil from his skin and muscles, vegetation from his hair, clouds from his brains, and the sky from his skull.
Ymir (c) norsemyths.net

4. Contrary to popular belief, Loki is not the son of Odin. According to legend Loki is actually an attractive, often indecisive, mischief-making god who is in fact the son of two giants. His mother Laufey the Giantess and his father Farbauti, also known as Cruel Striker.
5. The Norsemen visualized the universe as a tricentric structure - like three plates set one above the other with space in between. On the top level was Asgard. This was Odin’s home. The second level was Midgard. This is the home of men. On the third level lay Niflheim, the world of the dead. Said to be nine day’s ride northwards and downwards from Midgard.
6. The ruler of Niflheim was the daughter of Loki, Hel. She was a hideous female monster who ruled over a place that was bitter cold with an unending night. It’s citadel, or fortress, went by the same name as its ruler. The dead would approach to find this odious tower looming with towering walls and forbidding gates.
7. Within the tricentric structure of the Norse universe, besides the realms of Asgard, Midgard, and Niflheim, were six other worlds. Vanaheim housed the lesser gods known as the Vanir. Vahalla, next in greatness to Asgard, is the huge hall that housed all the dead warriors who fight each day and feast each evening, awaiting Ragnarok, the battle at the end of time between gods and men, and giants and monsters. Next is Alfheim, the land of the Light Elves. Far below this place of magic is Nidavellir, home of the dwarfs. Moving east, along the roots and branches of Yggdrasill is Svartalfheim, the Land of the Dark Elves. And still farther east, over a towering crest of high mountains, is Jotunheim, the Land of the Giants.

Yggdrasill (c) prasa.deviantart.com
8. Thor, the son of Odin and mighty wielder of the hammer Mjollnir, travels in a chariot drawn by two goats. When Thor is hungry, after a long day of travel, he can slaughter the goats, roast them neatly over an open fire, and enjoy a fine feast. Miraculously, when the morning comes and Thor is ready to move on, the goats are resurrected and stand ready to pull the chariot once again among the many realms of Yggdrasill.
9. A terrible winter called Fimbulvetr, one that lasts three long years, will proceed Ragnarok.
10. Fenrir the Wolf, son of Loki, will engage in a fearsome battle with Odin during Ragnarok. In the end, though, the wolf will seize Odin between his jaws and swallow him. This will be the death of Odin.
-Brad Cameron

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Zeke Proper Chronicles...Book Set Available NOW!

If you missed the book launch party for Book Three of THE ZEKE PROPER CHRONICLES, The Gates of Asgard, don't worry! Book One, Two and Three are all available on your Nook and Kindle and can all be purchased on Amazon here. Get your book set now and let me know what you think!

(c) Brad Cameron

*Stay tuned for the launch of my monthly FEATURED AUTHOR blog event! If you would like to be a featured author on my blog, email my PR, Cassie at cassiemcrosby@yahoo.com for all of the information!