Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grace Awards Showcase: The Lost Crown of Colonnade by Ken Winters (YA/Fantasy)

This week the Grace Awards Launch is showcasing Ken Winters' The Lost Crown of Colonnade. He was recently interviewed by fellow author and friend Tammy Doherty. Transcripts of that interview follow the book and author information. Check it out!

About the Book
                Davey Johnsen is a physically challenged fourteen-year-old from a wealthy community in Connecticut. In a moment he exchanges the comfort of his beautiful home for the rugged terrain of an unknown land.  

                There he meets six faithful companions who join him in the perilous journey to reclaim “The Lost Crown of Colonnade.”  One of them is the most beautiful young lady he has ever met, the teenager, Princess Alisande.

                Is it all a dream, or are his new friends and the enemies he faces very real? Will this band of seven accomplish their quest, or will they fall victim to the overwhelming forces of the Evil King of Necrus and his Master, Dagron? The answers can only be discovered between the covers of “The Lost Crown of Colonnade.”

About the Author
            The Lost Crown of Colonnade is Ken Winters first novel. Ken resides with his wife of 41 years, Connie, in North Brookfield, Massachusetts. Since retiring  from the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps in 2004 he has served in that rural town as Associate Pastor at the First Congregational Church(CCCC). They have two adult children and one joyful grandson. Holding a deep concern for the youth of our nation, his goal is to provide fun, wholesome adventures that both entertain and communicate hope in the perilous world of today. Buy The Lost Crown of Colonnade on AMAZON!

Interview with Ken (by Tammy Doherty)
I’m pleased to have this opportunity to interview my friend and fellow author, Ken Winters. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a FREE copy of THE LOST CROWN OF COLONNADE.

When I was a teen, Ken Winters and his wife Connie played a big part in the foundation of my faith. Back then, Ken was the Youth Minister at my church; he led a musical group (made up of many of my friends) called True Direction. I did Ken the favor of not singing. Later, Ken joined the Navy Chaplain service and we fell out of touch for a number of years. When he retired and came back to my church as Associate Pastor it was a great joy to learn that Ken had become an aspiring novelist.

In the last few years, Ken and I have both grown in our writing abilities, each helping the other. Now, Ken’s dream has reached fruition with the publication of his young adult novel THE LOST CROWN OF COLONNADE. I LOVE this book! It’s got action, adventure, a touch of romance, humor, and (most important?!) talking bears.

Tammy: Seems like youth ministry is near and dear to your heart. Can you touch on that?

Ken: Yes, Tammy.  As you know, from 1976-83 I served as Youth Pastor in North Brookfield. Then God led me into the Navy and for twenty years I primarily ministered to and counseled young adults and young families. So, the societal changes that affect them have been obvious and important to me.

Tammy: Is that what led you to write a young adult novel?

Ken: It was a part of it.  Of course, this book “developed” over many years. I don’t think it would have ever been completed if it weren’t for the encouragement of the Writers’ Group at our Church, and friends like you and Kay Combs. My hope was that this book might get some teens or young adults to re-think their values and beliefs. I have to mention that, while I did write this book with that audience in mind, the book has been read and enjoyed by people from 11 to 92! The 92-year-old, a dear friend named Mike, read it in a couple of days about 2 months before the Lord called him home.

Tammy: In THE LOST CROWN OF COLONNADE, Davey comes from a dysfunctional home where he has all the worldly goods a boy could want but is missing the most important thing – love. Do you see this as a common problem with today’s kids?

Ken: The American family today is in big trouble. At least Davey’s parents are still together. Unlike him, many of the teens and young adults I have met come from broken homes. Sometimes there have been multiple relationships that parents have had with multiple other spouses and/or “significant others” over the years. That doesn’t create a very stable place to grow in and learn about what a family should be. 

I do find that, even among less affluent families, “THINGS” have become way too important. The biggest HDTV, the newest cell phone or I-Pad bring a temporary thrill, but no deep meaning. When obtaining and playing with things supplants building loving relationships with others, or the God who created us, the results are emptiness or hurt or both.

Tammy: Some of the characters and scenery in your novel are reminiscent of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. I like the conversational voice of the writing, almost as if I’m sitting by the fire in Bundiggle’s trading post, listening to you tell the story. Your humorous author interjections are much like Tolkien in THE HOBBIT. Were these authors an influence in your writing style and/or the choice of setting?

Ken: I love C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. Their books are very different, yet pack a message that is deeper than just the story. I know that the “rules of writing” discourage directly addressing your audience in the first person.  However, after I submitted my book to XULON Press, I happened to read Stephen Kings The Eyes of the Dragon. Actually, I’ve never read any of his horror stories.  They are not my thing. But I had heard that this book was a very different book for King. I was surprised to find that he adopted that writing style. So at least I’m not alone. 

Tammy: Davey comes from Connecticut, where you were last stationed with the Navy. Colonnade, however, is a fictitious land. Are there any real-world influences on the setting? For example, Davey arrives in a cave and crawls through a tunnel to exit, finding himself on the side of a dead (or sleeping) volcano. Is that a bit of Hawaii?

Ken: No, it’s a bit of Colonnade’s Northern Reaches.  Obviously, there are things I have used from my own personal travels to the Rocky Mountains, Europe, the Dominican Republic and even Caverns here in the Continental US.  But I did not consciously model Colonnade after any one of those places. 

Tammy: THE LOST CROWN ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but can you share a little about book 2? 

Ken: Hmmm. Book 2 is a work in progress. Many of the key characters return to take their respective places in the next adventure. I won’t tell you which characters. I believe there will be some surprises in store for those who have enjoyed The Lost Crown.  The working title right now is “The Enchanted Bride” Book II of the Journeys to Colonnade.

Tammy: Wrapping up on a lighter note, my daughter wants me to ask this question – quoting from the novel: Most of the talking bears I know prefer small quiet farm villages, or just living in the woods like Snuffles.

How many talking bears DO you know?

Ken: Well, since I first read, The Chronicles of Narnia when I was about fourteen, in the land of my imagination I’ve met many talking animals. Haven’t you? But remember, make sure you’ve heard that bear talk before you try to make him or her your friend!

Tammy: Thank you, Ken, for sharing your time with us. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Ken:  Like your own writing, your questions have been fun and insightful.  I’ve really enjoyed this interview, which is no great surprise.  Thanks for a great time and God bless!

The Lost Crown of Colonnade thrusts a physically-challenged teen, Davey Johnsen, and readers into a new land where dangers abound. There they meet the regent of the land, his daughter, Princess Alisande, Snuffles the talking bear, and Captain William of Conklinton. While the regent and his vastly outnumbered army faces hordes of Vulture Soldiers and the dreaded Werebane of Nethland, Davey, Alisande and their faithful band take on the quest of recovering the legendary Lost Crown of Colonnade. Adventure, a budding young romance, and a journey of faith meld into a touching and unpredictable fantasy. The book has received wonderful reviews from readers aged 12 to 92. Buy The Lost Crown of Colonnade on AMAZON!

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