Camp Maple Creek by Jude Liebermann Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Denika is sent to a camp in Washington for the summer, where she meets and falls in love with Fionn. This mysterious fellow camper is not a normal teenaged boy, and she is intrigued by how he makes her feel. As she spends more time at the camp, she realizes she needs to discover the dark truth of what the place really is. Who can she trust to help her? Fionn or maybe the other new campers? One way or the other, she's determined to right the wrongs that have been done.
This book combines both A Camp for Gifted Teenagers and A Camp for Gods and Monsters of the Maple Creek series.
“You’re right, this place is amazing.” It’s too amazing. How can this all be offered for free? Someone has to be paying for it.
“What’s in the notebook?”
I sigh and slide it closer to me with a shrug. “Nothing, just personal stuff.”
Amy nods, clearly interested but she respects my privacy. Her gaze shifts to over my shoulder, and her eyes widen.
“Wow, who is that?”
I almost ignore her whispered question, but then I feel it. The strange sensation floods through me and over me, and my skin prickles into goose bumps. I cross my arms over my chest and shiver, before turning to follow her gaze.
The guy can’t be much older than us, and I figure he must be another camper, but he wasn’t in the van. And I’m pretty sure all six of those boys are already seated at nearby tables. As the newcomer enters the cafeteria, it’s as if time slows down. Each step matching the opposite flowing arm, he moves with a grace I’ve never seen on a male before, let alone such a tall one. He has to be almost a foot higher than I am, and I’m considered tall.
His sandy blonde hair is short, but not cropped and slightly spiky with bright golden tips. His eyes are a shockingly pale blue, like Chris Pine blue. His gaze seems to take in everything all at once, yet he doesn’t focus on any one thing. He wears a loose white button down shirt over black jeans. I can’t tear my gaze away from him and watch as he walks over to the salad bar and grabs something, before turning and leaving the room. No more than fifteen seconds could have passed, but it feels like a lifetime to me. It is only then that I realize I have been holding my breath and let it out with a gasp.
“Wow!” Amy repeats, and I turn around in my seat to face her.
I shiver again and stare at my arms as the goose flesh fades. “Did you feel it too?”
Confusion replaces the awe in her expression as she frowns at me. “Feel what?”
Shaking my head, I push my food away, no longer hungry. “Nothing. I think I’m ready to see our room. You coming?”
She points to her food. “As soon as I finish eating. See you up there.”
My legs shake as I push up from the table. Taking a deep breath, I force my feet to move as I head for the exit. Will he still be nearby? I have no idea what to make of that strange sensation that flowed through me as he entered the cafeteria. It wasn’t unpleasant, but I’m not sure if I liked it either.
Fighting the temptation to run, I walk quickly, looking down each corridor I pass. A green shirt sees me and smiles. “Hi Deni, do you need help?”
I haven’t met this counselor, so it surprises me that he knows who I am. Lauren assured me that everyone would know my nickname, so clearly it is associated with my picture in their system. I’m tempted to ask him but decide it doesn’t really matter. There are only ten of us who are new, so it’s not too intuitive that all the employees would know us by sight.
“Yeah, actually, I saw a guy in the cafeteria just now, who wasn’t wearing a green camp shirt. Are there other campers besides the ten of us who just arrived?”
He listens attentively and nods. “Yes, of course. There are many campers in the facility.”
“How many? Will we get to meet them?”
His smile lengthens across his face. “Certainly, after you all have gone through orientation and have gotten used to the schedule.”
I nod but want more info. “I’d like to know who the camper was who just now left the cafeteria. Did you see him? He was dressed in white and black, blonde hair with frosted tips and the palest blue eyes I’ve ever seen.”
The smile leaves his face. “Fionn was in the cafeteria?” His eyes widen, and his spine straightens as he forces a smile. “I mean the campers were instructed to give you all a chance to get settled in before they swarm all over you. I’m sure they are all dying to say hello. We haven’t had anyone new join us since December.”
I stopped listening shortly after he revealed the guy’s name. Fionn…I say his name in my mind over and over again. Such an unusual but beautiful name, much like the guy himself.
Jude Liebermann is a romance novelist who writes in a variety of genres and heat levels. Formerly Brandewyne was her first published novel and is offered for free on most online bookstores as well as her forum, where there are many other downloadable books/stories for members. Camp Maple Creek is her newest published romance and her first attempt at writing young adult (YA), and she's really excited to get the word out on this exciting fantasy involving Denika's adventures at a special camp for gifted teenagers.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was inspired to write my first romance at 13 after reading a Johanna Lindsey novel, Fires of Winter. That story had such a strong impact on me, so I sat down at my old fashioned typewriter and started creating. Of course my writing matured as I did and so have my stories. I have written in many genres and heat levels, all the way from young adult to erotica. I have such a diverse catalog that I had to create a ratings chart on my website to help visitors know which stories will suit them best.
How to find time to write as a parent?
This was tougher when my son was young. I had to basically wait until he was asleep, and I did a lot of creating late at night. As he aged and acquired his own hobbies, it is no longer a problem. He’s now used to me spending a lot of my time on the computer.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Creative, loyal, intelligent, fierce, conscientious
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a writer. I was about 6 or 7 when I wrote my first short story. It was a mystery along the lines of Nancy Drew, and I wish I still had it.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I can see all of them being made into movies but especially the A Modern Myth trilogy, Faith’s Portrait and of course, Camp Maple Creek
What inspired you to write this book?
I enjoy reading young adult novels, even though I am not the intended audience. They just seem to flow better and are more enjoyable to read, and I wanted to write a similar story to all those that I have read, like Twilight, Vampire Academy & House of Night. Vampires have been done enough though, but I wanted to stay close to that genre, so I created a camp where “gifted” teenagers get handpicked to attend. Of course, no one knows what those gifts might be, and they are slowly introduced in the story as well as where they came from. As with most of my stories this one nearly wrote itself, especially about halfway through. It took on a life of its own and even surprised me with the conclusion.
I don’t mention it anywhere in the book, but I did some research on Irish folklore, which is where I came up with the hero of the story, Fionn. That research led me to find the villain and bring everything together. I’m really excited about this story, but with no advertising, very few people have been able to enjoy it yet. I’m hoping this book tour will put it in front of more people.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Not yet, but if it is well received, I might be convinced to write a sequel. Side stories are something I never even thought of, but I could start working on that soon. Thanks for the idea.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Camp Maple Creek?
Denika (Deni) is the heroine of the story. She is 16, about to turn 17, when her mother sends her to a camp in Washington. She doesn’t want to go, but her mom is going out of the country and doesn’t want her to stay at home alone. So she goes and immediately meets Fionn. He’s a resident of the camp, and she quickly learns that something isn’t quite normal about him. They are both drawn to each other and end up falling in love. While he’s a mystery, Deni is mostly an open book. She’s a loner with few friends, and she likes manga. She always has her sketch book and sketches the people around her. This talent comes in handy and is referenced several times in the book.
How did you come up with the title of this novel?
I went on Google Earth and looked all over Washington for the right spot for the camp. When I did, I found Maple Creek winding through the mountains there. That’s where the camp is, hence the title was born.
Who designed your book covers?
Other than the ones that have been professionally published, I have designed all the rest of my covers.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
There are a few, and it’s really hard to detail them without giving away too much of the plot. One of them happens after Deni has acquired her gifts and thinks that Fionn has betrayed her. She gets very upset and even shocks him with how powerful she is. It gave me chills as I wrote that scene.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Only the main characters come to me in the beginning. The rest are created as they are needed for the story.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
This greatly depends on if research is needed. When I wrote Faith’s Portrait, it takes place in the 1930’s, so I did quite a bit of research to make sure I didn’t put the wrong things in place during that decade. Like which cars were popular, and did they have radios. Did they have street lights or stop signs? What movies, actors and characters were popular at that time? I tried to make it as real as I could.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
Oh my, I could practically write a book on this topic. When I first got started, the internet wasn’t an option for research or publishing. Email was new, but pretty much everything was through snail mail. I sent off letters using the Writer’s Market (a huge books with nothing but addresses). It was a lot of work. POD publishing was so expensive, so it was hard to sell them. Who wants to spend $20 on one paperback? I certainly wouldn’t. In the last few decades self publishing has taken off, and it’s pretty easy to find a publishing site. Smashwords and Createspace (acquired by Amazon) opened many doors with their platform as did Amazon. It’s like night and day, and I’m actually surprised so many books are still published the traditional way.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I love writing about male characters. I have created men that I have literally fallen in love with. Drew from A Modern Myth was the first one. I got so into his head that he became real to me, like a part of the family. Drew helped me enjoy writing from a male perspective, so it was never difficult for me.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
This greatly depends on if the story takes over soon after I start writing. In the beginning it can take awhile to get into the flow, but once it does, it can take as short as a month to finish writing. Other times, especially if I hit a wall or have to do research, it can take six months.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Oh yeah, this is very real. The only thing I have found to get through it is by forcing myself to just type. It doesn’t even have to be on the current story. I have to type the first sentence that comes to mind, like “She never thought she’d jump into that well.” Then I type another one without putting much thought into why. “But how could she not, when the boys’ taunts pressured her into it?” I keep going until the words start to flow. Sometimes getting your mind off what you’re working on will relieve that block. If it doesn’t work, maybe rethink where the story was going. Maybe you put yourself against a wall and need to backup and go left or right. The delete key is your friend at times like these.
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