Natalsa of the Brim
Order of Terima Chronicles Volume 1
by Chad McClendon Genre: Fantasy
In a world where witches have been revered, a cataclysmic evening changes everything.
Natalsa, the last witch, must find out what has robbed her of her power. But more than this, she must protect the world from the new order that has arisen, and cure a sweeping disease that threatens her new home.
There is evil to be undone, and Natalsa may have to sacrifice it all, in order to save those she loves.
It was the first time my magic failed me, or perhaps I failed my magic. It was hard to believe in anything when all around me the fools were burning our portion of the town, and smoke rolled through the alleyways. I pulled my cowl closer to cover my face, not daring to be discovered with the current state of things, but my knife was ready in case I had to do the unthinkable.
I looked over my shoulder, and in the dancing flames light I saw a group of youths tossing a witch's Familiar around, and I gasped as I saw one of them fling the cat as far into the air as they could. I turned my eyes before it reached the damning ground, I could not bear to hear its death.
Chad McClendon is a 32 year old author who studied English & Creative Writing at Northern Kentucky University. Chad has been published most recently through Crossed Heart, as well as in several online publications. He has won various awards for Fiction Writing. His short story, "Uploaded Vengeance" is now available in "One Night In Salem" by FunDead Publications.
Chad attended high school in Alexandria, Kentucky at Bishop Brossart High School. He was a founding member of Monday's Child, a volunteer group that worked around the Tri-State to better the lives of others. He was active in French Language competitions, and a general troublemaker otherwise.
He and his wife, Briana, have two daughters and one boy . In his free time Chad enjoys camping at Red River Gorge, playing video games and also swimming. Authors who have inspired him include Stephen King, John Steinbeck, William Golding, J.K. Rowling, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, and others.
How to find time to write as a parent:
I’ve been a parent now for 5 years, and I have 3 children who make me proud to be a dad. I don’t like to take time away from my family to write, so any time I do write must be done well before they’re awake, or after they’ve gone to bed. I think a lot of partners and kids could get jealous of how much time I could easily spend writing, and so I try to be considerate of that so they don’t resent my writing.
Never underestimate the power of a small steno notebook and a pen while you’re in the bathroom, or waiting for a meeting at work to start. These otherwise unproductive moments could turn into something bigger if you get a stroke of inspiration. Also, if your phone can support it, do voice recordings so that if you have a few minutes to yourself, you can speak a sentence or conversation that is in your mind.
Something I’ve also done is to tell my kids to tell me a story, and though the tales they tell are short or fractured, you can always use them as inspiration for a story that they might want to hear too. I’ve recently started doing 4 page stories about the adventures of a snowman named Bob based on ideas they’ve given me. When they see the story they started come to life, they love it. It’s not a long book, or even all that complex, but they enjoy my simple drawings rendered through Microsoft Paint that accompany each page.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on:
I justified a trip in 2016 to Salem Massachusetts to work on my then work-in-progress Natalsa of the Brim. Ever since I was a child and learned about the events of the 1690’s surrounding Salem, I’ve wanted to go. So, as my first draft of Natalsa drew to a close, I knew I wanted to base more of it on inspiration that I took from Salem. I knew that there was no better way to make this book spectacular than to drive the 16 hour trek to one of our oldest cities here in the States.
I got to tour much of the city, and visited the Witch Dungeon. This is a very affordable museum, and entertains you with a reenactment of a trial based on historical documents of the age. You are then taken downstairs to visit the museum, which contains actors, scenes, as well as a beam from the original witch dungeon where the convicted were kept. This gave me a lot of good inspiration for fleshing out my story.
The trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to the original Gallow’s Hill. Now, keep in mind, at the time of my trip, the location of Gallow’s Hill was presumed to be somewhere else. But thanks to a video linked below, I was able to find the location I believed to be where the hangings took place. (Note: This location was later validated, and a permanent memorial is up at Proctor’s Ledge.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNr2SV_t0l8&t=427s
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Natalsa of the Brim?
Natalsa is the main character, as the title implies, and she is a person who has had something to depend on all her life, magic, and it is now gone. She has to learn how to be strong without it, and realize that she is more than just her powers. Her struggle is something we all can probably relate to. My favorite trait about Natalsa is something we discover about her at the beginning of the book. Even when she is in danger, she doesn’t like to hurt people no matter what wrong they represent.
One such character is Emmaline, the daughter of a man responsible for the terrors that Natalsa endures, along with the rest of the world. Despite her upbringing, Emmaline challenges accepted truth, and chooses to fight against her own blood family, to defend the family she chooses for herself. In many of my books, but especially this one, there is a theme of “Water is as thick as blood.”
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
For a long time, one of my favorite characters has been Bobby Garfield, from Stephen King’s Hearts In Atlantis. Bobby is a good friend, and thinks of others. There are many elements in his story about what a child sees, and what adults see, and how the decisions we make as kids shape who we are for the rest of our lives. I see some of my good, and bad habits, in Bobby, and I feel like parts of his childhood mirror mine; with the exception of the bad guys going after my old friends.
I think about the character in three ways:
Young Bobby is not wanting things to change.
Adult Bobby is realizing the past belongs in the past, and it may not have been all we remembered. Nostalgia is the mind-killer, think of it too long, and you will value nothing of what you currently have.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
I probably think about death more than most people, for two reasons. I was really too young to remember much of my grandparent’s passing, but the death of my aunts hit me especially hard. Norma went on December 22nd of 2001, Jean went on January 22nd of 2002, and as bad things usually go, my mom was hospitalized on February 22nd of 2002; my mom made it out. The second reason I think about death more than others, is my chronic disease Type I Diabetes. For those not familiar, it’s an auto-immune disease where my body attacks itself. I treat the disease by administering a hormone called Insulin, too little or too much of it, and I can die.
That being said, I have a fair idea of how I’d spend those last 24 hours. I’d write my wife & kids as many letters as I could while they were still asleep (supposing that they didn’t know of my impending mortality), and design them each as a respective birthday present so they’d have something from me each year to look forward to.
I’d make them breakfast, probably crying then even as I’m about to cry now writing this, and wake them up for a day of fun. If it were right now, I’d take them to the Museum Center where they have dinosaurs, and trains, and all sorts of cool things to do and learn. I’d visit their favorite parks, and writing is very hard. I can’t finish this question because it’s destroying me. Love your families, whether blood or chosen.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I try not to be too salesy in my blogs, or in person if you see me at a convention. We all know I’m trying to sell books. I figure if I can get you to like me, you might try my books, so I’ve tried to keep this interview fairly laid-back. Permit me the chance to answer this question.
The thing I enjoyed most about NOTB is that I started with one idea in my head, and once I put it to paper, it took on a life of its own. I like to think, and frequently state, that writers are historians of alternate universes. I believe that somewhere, somewhen, this story is actually happening, and that is why the writer has one idea, and the story takes on a life of its own.
I never planned on Emmaline being much of a center-role for the story, but she has consumed the sequel to NOTB, and I love so much about her. Torga, another character you’ll meet, was also not planned, but he is one of my favorites. I like that Natalsa feels real, as a male-writer, it’s difficult to ever know if I’m writing the opposite-sex correctly, but with Natalsa I don’t have that worry. I know she’s flesh & bone.
In short, this is what makes my favorite parts of this story, and I hope you get a chance to discover them too.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!