Monday, February 24, 2014

Interview with Kaycee Browning

Kaycee, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thanks for having me! I'm a sixteen year old homeschooled girl living with her awesome family in North Carolina. I started writing when I was twelve years old. I have since completed the rough drafts of four novels, and I have completely edited and published one of them. When I'm not writing, I enjoy reading, skeet shooting, hanging out with my friends, blogging, and eating peanut butter.

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
That's an interesting question! I suppose it might be the variety in my family and friends. My parents are both more math oriented, my brother is the tech savvy guy in our house, one of my sisters is an artist and the other loves science and cooking. There are even more preferences and differences in the group of friends I have been homeschooled with for years. I doubt this is much different that any other homeschooler, but it has certainly had an affect on the way I think and write.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
Oh, there are so many ways it has prepared me. The most obvious way is that being homeschooled gave me the time to write. I could finish my school work early in the afternoon and then spend the rest of the day writing. My parents also bought me, among other writing curricula, the "One Year Adventure Novel" curriculum which taught me about novel writing when I was thirteen. 

What caused you to start writing?
When I was twelve, my mom bought me the 'Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings' curriculum by HomeScholar Books. It was an amazing study! The very last assignment, after a brief section on the legend of King Arthur, was to write a short story focusing on an invented knight of the round table. Before, I had always been too scared to try writing a book, but I thought a short story wouldn't be so bad. I invented a character and began writing. 23,000 words later, I had completed my first "short" story and I had overcome my fear of writing. I still had (and still do have!) a lot to learn, but it was certainly a start.
What inspired Ember Flame?
'Ember Flame' was inspired by the Book of Judges in the Old Testament. I found it incredible that God could repeatedly use broken, confused, doubtful, socially inferior, or cowardly men and women to help lead His people back to Him. He took weak and ordinary people and made them strong in His name. As a fourteen year old, that truth stuck in my head and continued to resonate with me. During a discussion with one of my best friends, I tried to explain how amazing I found this to be. I made the comment that someone ought to write a fantasy based on it, she gave me an eyebrow-raised smirk, and suddenly, 'Ember Flame' was born!

Would you give us a synopsis?
Sure! Here is the synopsis from the back of the book:
"Orphan outcast Les has longed to discover her true self outside of the dense forest of Grel. However, her own insecurity keeps her permanently trapped ... until soldiers incinerate the forest and slaughter the other woodcutters. Vowing revenge, Les is forced to escape the forest and enter Holdinus- a world plagued with an all-powerful dictatorship, a tyrannical lord, and scattered children with dangerous powers known as the Leverage. Les must accept her place in the world as Ember Flame, one of the six Leverage. If she cannot find her destiny and the other Leverage, the souls of the people will perish. Will she sacrifice her desires for a world that has been nothing but cruel to her? Or will she succumb to the wills of a tyrant and live a life of numbness?"

Who will enjoy Ember Flame?
Anyone who loves fantasy, action, and/or adventure with a good Christian message will probably enjoy 'Ember Flame'! However, there is some violence in the novel that might be problematic for someone under twelve. 

Do you plan to write more books?
Absolutely! I have already completed the rough draft of the sequel to 'Ember Flame', and I'm nearly finished with the rough draft of the third book as well. I have many ideas for other stories unrelated to the 'Ember Flame' world. Frankly, I hope to continue writing books for the rest of my life!

Do you have any final thoughts?
I said this on the awesome Future Homeschool Authors blog, but I feel like it's something worth saying again. So here it goes! I know there are many who have qualms concerning fantasy, and rightfully so. It's sad how dark and dreary the genre has come to be in recent years. However, I don't believe the solution is giving up-but fighting harder! If more authors and publishers would focus on hitting the market with good, wholesome fantasies, perhaps the macabre and horror aspects would fade and disappear. I'm simply asking all Christian to not give up on fantasy, but to at least encourage the authors and publishers who are trying to return the genre to the original depth and light that J.R.R.Tolkien and C.S. Lewis popularized.

Thanks for having me! It's been a blast!

Kaycee is giving away one copy of her book! Enter to win below.


  1. Great interview - ah, I am a peanut butter lover too. ;) This book sounds up my ally - love how you based it off the book of Judges. Keep writing!


    1. Peanut butter is heavenly, is it not? :P

      Thanks! I'm so glad God included the Book of Judges in the Bible. It is so inspiring! :)

  2. Excellent interview. I can attest that "Ember Flame" is most excellent.

    And I totally agree with Kaycee about fantasy! It's such a wonderful genre, with so much untapped potential!

  3. Your book sounds interesting. I have done the One Year Adventure Novel and this year I'm doing Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings! and really enjoying it.

  4. Did you self publish your book?

    1. Thank you so much! I absolutely love the One Year Adventure Novel! I am constantly going back to the textbook and flipping through the pages to find inspiration and answers. :)

      Yes, I did self-publish my novel. It's a bit different from most fantasies, and it's a bit more difficult than what publishers are mostly marketing to middle-schoolers. It probably would have taken me a very long time to find a publisher, and I felt like God wanted me to go ahead and start my writing career. :)

  5. Way to go writing your first book. My question for you is, what sets you apart as a author from other people, and how do you hope to further God's kingdom with your writing?

    1. Those are some awesome questions! Let's see...

      First, I've found that since I started writing, I have become much more observant of people and aware of feelings. My natural inclination is to see everything as either black or white, but through trying to create realistic characters, God has helped me better understand and sympathize with people. I don't know if this sets me apart from other people, I'm sure there are people who are naturally more sympathetic, but it has certainly set me apart from who I used to be. :)

      I hope to further God's kingdom by writing exciting, thought-provoking fantasies for 11-14 year olds. When I was that age, I was going through a rough time, and I responded best to fantasies. Sadly, there are not many Christian novels of that genre written for that age. I know God is calling me to write for them, to offer some encouragement when everything seems to spinning out of control. (I wrote a long blog post about it if you would like to read more :) : )

      I really enjoyed answering your questions! :)

  6. I love your convictions on wholesome fantasy!!

  7. Which you Recommend the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum? I have been looking into getting it. Thanks!

    1. Absolutely! It is an awesome curriculum. It comes with an extremely helpful textbook, interesting video lessons, an outlining book, test book, and more! If you get the curriculum, you also get to join the One Year Adventure Novel forums, which is a community of super cool writers. The curriculum covers everything from sub-plots and characters to editing and sentence structure. Plus, it's from a Christian perspective. I know I sound like a TV commercial, but I cannot rave about it enough! :)

  8. Cool book! :) When do you usually write?

    1. Thanks! I usually write in the late afternoon or at night. My schoolwork takes up the rest of the day so I don't really get a chance until then. :)

  9. This book grabbed onto me in a way few books have! Amazing story! I can't wait until the next one!