Thursday, June 30, 2016

Claire Banschbach | Author Interview and Book Review

This week I have both an interview and book review. If you like non-magical fantasy, check out Claire's Rise of Aredor series!

1) In a nutshell, what do you write​?​
I write fantasy/adventure books, mostly for teenagers. But I want anyone of all ages to be able to enjoy my stories. Mainly I want to write clean adventure stories that are worth reading.

2) What spurred on the desire for writing​?​
Basically I had an entire book in my head for almost five years. These characters were always there and I enjoyed hanging out with them. Then one day, I decided to pick up a notebook and a pen to see if I could get it all on paper. Once I discovered how much fun writing and letting myself brainstorm new stories was, I never stopped.

3) How do you balance writing with living -- or is writing your full-time job?
I’m currently in Physical Therapy school, which takes up most of my time. So during semesters, I don’t get to do a lot of writing since I’m always studying for something. During breaks is when most of my writing gets done. But I have a weekly serial story I publish on my blog, so that makes me write something at least once a week.

4) Who do you hope to reach with your writing?
Anyone and everyone! I know it’s something authors say a lot, but it really is true – if my stories can impact at least one person’s life, then that will make me happy.

5) If someone asked you for your best writing tip, what would it be?
Don’t force yourself to write. I’m not a big proponent of the whole “you must write every day or so to break out of a slump” thing. If you don’t want to write, then don’t. It’s my thought that your writing will be better when you actually want to do it. And maybe that’s just the lazy person in me talking. ;)

6) ​What are three things that you greatly enjoy doing?
1. Reading. Obviously.
2. Horseback riding. I started lessons when I was 12, but it’s been a while since I’ve
been on a horse due to school and everything. :(
3. Hiking. It’s something I don’t get to do very often, but I love it!

7) You created your own world for "The Rise of Aredor" series. How did you go about doing that?
Landscape wise, I took some inspiration from a few other books and the rest was just countryside that I personally like. Culture wise, Lawhead’s Arthur and Robin Hood books helped me develop a fascination for ancient Welsh culture which inspired Aredor. I’ve always loved anything Irish or Scottish (I used to Irish dance) which inspired Braeton. As for Calorin, some people have noticed that the name resembles a Narnian country which indeed did inspire it, but I also think that Arabic culture is fascinating as well. So with that long winded answer, I basically took elements of cultures that fascinate me and used them as a basis to construct my world.

8) What was the thing you enjoyed most about writing "The Rise of Aredor" series?
Since Corin is the main character, he’s obviously my favorite. But I love his and Aiden’s friendship, so basically any scene with them together, no matter the situation, was always a blast to write.

9) What was the hardest thing about writing "The Rise of Aredor?"
The girls. Weird answer I know, but I tend to find that writing guys is easier than girls. Odder still since I only have one brother and six sisters, so I don’t have a lot of experience with the male persona. Anyway, out of the three main female characters in the series it was a bit more difficult to construct individual characters and not have them quite so cardboardy.

10) How are your other books different from "The Rise of Aredor?"
The new series I’m working on right now is a little different in the fact that it’s magical fantasy. With most of my other books I’ve started to include more noticeable religious overtones, something that The Rise of Aredor series does not really contain as far as giving a message of faith. It’s been fun but challenging so far to work it in.


Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. An avid reader of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and many other adventure novels, Claire was prompted to begin writing her own fantasy novel at seventeen after several years of daydreaming.

She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn’t have spare time). When not scratching out stories and homework with pen and pencil, Claire partakes in the joys of watching the Boston Red Sox, Aggie football, and playing volleyball. She hopes her strong foundation in God will help to guide her writing. 

She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Texas Tech Health Science Center.

Connect with Claire:

20512334Lost in a foreign land and separated from his family, Corin does his best to survive as a slave in the household of a Calorin lord. With newfound friends he fights for survival in ambushes and wars. For one act of bravery, he is awarded his freedom and returns to a home that has been invaded and ravaged by the Calorin armies. When Corin sets foot on Aredor's shores, he has one goal in mind: find his family. He is driven into the forest, where he is reunited with childhood friends. From the shelter of the woods, they begin a spirited rebellion against Corin's former cruel master, who now holds sway over Aredor. Follow Corin's path in his quest to free his imprisoned brother, find a father who has vanished, and ultimately free his country in The Rise of Aredor.

This book is divided into two segments or "books" (Book One: The Phoenix Guard, Book Two: Hawk Uprising), basically defining two parts of Corin's (or Hadmid's) life.

I couldn't really discover a plot for the first part of the book -- it seemed like the story was being driven from event to event, told in an overview sort of way. I didn't really get "into" the characters. However, when it came to the second book, I thoroughly enjoyed it! There was definitely a strong plot as Corin set to work at finding his family and summing up the courage of the Aredorians. In some ways it made me think of Robin Hood.

There were a few things that I either missed or they weren't there -- for example, who was the inside informant of Lord Rishdah?

What I liked:
- I appreciated the "no magic" in this book!
- It was very clean as far as no morally compromising situations (really, no romance at all), no bad words; there weren't any scenes that made me feel uncomfortable
- Karif. You'll have to read the book to find out who Karif is. ;)
- The humor. Ah! I did laugh a few times throughout this book!
- I didn't find it extremely gruesome, though about 90% of the book was descriptions of war and fighting. There were tortures, but they were mentioned, not detailed.

What I didn't like:
- I can't call this a Christian book. The higher powers of Zayd and Lleu is mentioned. Hope of earning a place in Lleu's halls.
- I'm not big on dreams, and there were two scenes: one where Hamid dreamed that a dead friend warned him of upcoming danger, another where a wounded man dreamed that he talked with a messenger from Lleu then was healed. Those were just a little weird to me.
- From a fictional point of view, I enjoyed it. They seemed to always get the inside scoop, always be one step ahead, always have mistakes turn into victory, etc. (exception at the climax, of course) If I wanted to read a story where the good guys always managed to be smarter and more skilled than the bad guys, this was it. But if you like realistic stories (which, I tend to...), too many good things happen to make it believable.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading The Wildcat of Braeton in the next month or so!!!

*I received this book from the author in exchange of my honest review*


Unknown said...

Wonderful to learn more about you, Claire. You are full of amazing surprises.

Claire B. said...

Thanks for the interview again! And for the review. :) I had fun swapping questions with you.

Amanda Tero said...

@ Claire - I had so much fun too! :) Thanks for coming onto my blog! :D

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