Today for our interviews with the authors from the Bulwark Anthology we have Brit Lunden, who wrote the original Bulwark book, from which the anthology has been developed.
To begin, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Brit Lunden and I write children’s books under the name Carole P. Roman. I am an avid reader, and my favorite pastime is playing with my grandchildren. I work full-time in a family business, so I get to travel all over the country with my grown sons. One of my sons is an author. I do the marketing and publicity for all his books.
I love the ballet, concerts, and the opera, and have season tickets so I never miss a performance. Since we are discussing my adult fiction, I can share that my favorite place on earth is Las Vegas, and there is nothing I like more than a craps game.
I host three monthly blog radio shows and have founded a magazine called Indie Author’s Monthly with author RL Jackson. I love the indie community and try my best to help authors spread the word of their work. I think there is phenomenal untapped talent in the indie community and love being part of the movement to showcase these talents.
Where did the original idea for Bulwark come from?
I was asked to join in an anthology from my GoodReads Thread. The only requirement was we wanted to write something creepy and spooky for a Halloween release. Some of the authors said they were going to do vampires, zombies, or werewolves.
I had never written adult fiction and really didn’t know what monster would be left for me at this point. I began the book with an ooze on a giant swampy puddle that the sheriff and his befuddled deputy were investigating and the characters took off. It became very visual for me and it became more about a husband and wife struggle to keep their crumbling marriage intact. The story developed into a riff of the witch from Hansel and Gretel.
While I love monsters like the standard vampires, werewolves and zombies, I will admit a witch bearing treats leaves me in a panic. So I created this enchanted town of Bulwark, Georgia, with lots of suggestions of all sorts of things that go bump in the night. Well, none of the other authors finished their portions, and I decided to publish Bulwark as a stand-alone to test my ability writing adult fiction. The book has done well and reviews from BookTrib, Kirkus, and Foreword Reviews confirmed that I could continue on in this genre.
One of the authors, RL Jackson, approached me and suggested we take Bulwark to a new level and create that anthology. Together we enlisted six other great indie voices to continue.
What else are you planning to write in the near future?
The character Dana Dalton has been branded as the town tramp. She’s screaming for a story of her own.
How did you feel opening up your world for other authors to work on?
I am so thrilled and excited to share Bulwark with these great indie talents. DJ Cooper brings both sarcasm and humour that often make me laugh out loud. Her books brighten my day. RL Jackson’s tender romance and strong female characters inspire me. She is a giant and should be recognized. EL Graham is a children’s author who’s break out adult fiction is as chilling and twisty as a Hitchcock thriller. Kay MacLeod writes with elegance and sophistication that bring a depth to every book she writes. Her characters, while battling fantasy-like situations are written with realism that make it believable. Kate Kelley is a new author to me, but writes with a gritty voice that opens a doorway to a reality I never saw before. Her street fighter is the perfect anti-hero and his gripping story has a wonderful arch that keeps a reader engaged. Del Henderson III takes the reader on a haunting trip to the Civil War that gives readers a slice of life into another century. The sad voices of those soldiers stuck by a war that split the country stay with you long after you close the book. Lastly, Brittney Leigh debuts her first book with both humour and in depth characters that are both enjoyable and engaging. I am most proud of Brittney as she is my assistant and decided to jump into the publishing world head first. She’s written a contemporary novella that will appeal to a wide variety of people in a fresh and exciting voice. So I am thrilled to share my world with them.
Why did you choose JB as a character to focus on?
I opened the book to the second chapter and JB’s story jumped out at me. I had a moment of panic because I had never even watched a football game. How was I supposed to write a story line for a kid who was football crazy? And then I said to myself, what did I really know about pirates and princesses, how hard could this be?
The one thing I am confident about writing is the human condition and JB’s story touches on love, following your heart, coupled with a little paranormal spice.
What are some of the themes of your story?
The Knowing started out as a ghost story and ended up in a totally different place. It definitely began from a place of loneliness in a widower’s home after unwanted guests stir up a hornet’s nest of memories. I never intended for it to turn into the possibilities of soul mates and reincarnation. The second chapter takes us back to JB’s youth where we meet the potential love of his life.
The Knowing is about that particular feeling that comes over us when we feel things that tell us something special is happening. It’s that instant when we say someone’s been dancing on our grave. It could come as the intuition that suggests we’ve been here before, or even, I know you and understand you are important to me, even though you are a stranger.
The Knowing takes a slow trip to that place when two hearts start beating as one and then reveals the why of that. It’s not as chilling or scary as Bulwark. Perhaps it is a little piece of me, and of how I feel about my own husband. Some people may find reincarnation spooky, for me, it’s reassuring that life isn’t random and we come here to be with important souls to complete unfinished business.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book and do you
have a system?
No system at all. The first sentence jumps out at me. It usually starts in the middle of an action, and the story unfolds like a movie in my mind. If you’ve ever played Double-Dutch jump rope- that is what my first chapter is usually like – there is that instant when you watch the dual ropes rotating, people are usually singing a rhyming chant, and you have that breathless moment when you have to leap into the game, catching the right second when you won’t tangle the ropes.
That is how I start a story. I wait for that perfect moment when I jump into an imaginary world, catching the rhythm of my character’s lives and then going with the flow. I then let the characters take over and they tell me where they want to go. Similarly, when I jumped rope, I am suspended, caught up in the pace and skipping without thinking. It feels as though an automatic pilot in control.
What about the other stories in the anthology surprised you most?
The imagination of each author and the way they ted their stories together within the Bulwark universe was both enjoyable and astonishing. If the Bulwark anthology is a rubber band, it was stretched and morphed to accommodate the diversity of minds and the intricate thought process of each artist. It is a total joy to see where each author took the story.