As some of you may know scrapbooking isn't my only love. Books about everything intrigue me. From history to fantasy if it's in front of me I will more than likely read it. When I learned a high school friend, BJ Kurtz, was an author I became excited! I have read only half of the first book, "The Curse of Atlantis" (I'm working on it) and I love her second book "The Lord of Nightmares". I've asked BJ to give us a summary of her , her books, and her current career.
Name: BJ Kurtz
Titles of Books: "The Curse of Atlantis" (published spring 2005) and "The Lord of Nightmares" (published fall 2008)
When did you first start writing?
I first discovered I enjoyed writing in the 6th grade. My teacher had a "writer's workshop" where we'd have to write stories every week. It was a way for the class to go through the writing process: write, peer review, edit, final copy. I loved it so much that I made a deal with her. I'd write a chapter a week. I was hooked at that point on. My stories started at about 20pgs each. Mainly based on books I read or songs I liked. As I developed my craft, the stories started to become more developed...and more original. Then, freshman year in High School, I wrote a murder mystery that was about 100pgs long. I was very excited. Sophomore year, I topped that by far with "the Curse of Atlantis," which is over 400pgs.
Can you give us a summary of each book?
The Curse of Atlantis
This story takes place on a planet where Atlantis has been given a second chance at life. A curse plagues the villages, taking the form of a white wolf that murders townspeople. When a child is discovered with the ability to transform into a similar white wolf, she is accused of being this curse. Kings wish to abuse her power in the army while the people want her dead.
Haunted by his own demons, Nicias hesitantly takes on the assignment of protecting her. He battles the kings who come in and out of power, fulfills his service in the army, while at the same time raising this orphaned child. In order to help save this girl, he must first decide if the child he's grown to love as his own is the horrible monster everyone thinks she is.
The Lord of Nightmares:
This story poses the question, "What if supernatural beings were behind all of the chaos in the world today?" Creatures known as Nightmares play with people's lives as a test before placing them into a game for their soul. The goal of this game is to win without falling victim to human frailties.
Driven by the memory of a fallen friend, Madison will fight against the Lord of these Nightmares. As she plays, Madison will be challenged both physically and mentally. Madison must struggle not only to win her game against a master illusionist and manipulator, but also to maintain her identity.
What's your goal with your writting?
I think any author out there has the dream of being a New York Times Bestseller. The "Harry Potter" fantasy that happened with JK Rowling is awe-inspiring. While the thought always brings a smile to my face, I think I'd be satisfied with earning enough to write full time. I love teaching, but my passion is for writing. My heaven is sitting in my living room and letting the creative juices flow. Building a fan base that supports this would be the more realistic goal...but bestseller is always my "shoot for the stars" dream.
What is your current career?
I teach math at the local high school. I actually majored in English, but my minor was in mathematics. I discovered my "nerdy" side in college while taking Calculus. I really love both subjects and enjoy helping those who struggle in math succeed. It helps that math teachers are hard to find while English teachers are a dime a dozen. I call that job security. :)
Do you enjoy it?
Absolutely. I love teaching because I fell like I'm touching lives. Every student who succeeds in my class or comes back and says that I make math fun is the biggest high I've ever experienced. I can see teaching part time at a college even after my writing career takes off. I've always had two sides to my life (the writing side and the academic side), so it feels natural to keep that balance if I can.
Are you working on new book?
Can you tell us about it?
I have two in the works. One is in the editing process. I haven't titled it yet, but it is a sequel to the Curse of Atlantis. I really fell in love with those characters and when my few readers demanded a sequel I went about writing. It takes place on Zeus' shores and really follows the girl in the first book as she grows to find herself given her rocky upbringing. As always, there's love, war, betrayal, and mystery.
The second I'm working on is in the creation process. I'm still trying to develop the plot, but have started to write the opening chapters. This follows two sisters who recently lost their parents in a car accident. The oldest has to raise her younger sister while they adjust to living in a new town. However, they find that this town has a powerful family with a dark past. As the older sister unveils the family's darkest secrets, the younger sister becomes involved in the family's current dilemma. I'm hoping this story will dive into some deep, ethical questions. I love to examine the "grey" area of life. Who is right? Who is wrong? Who is the good guy?
Where can we purchase your books?
Both published books are on amazon.com under BJ Kurtz. They are also on authorhouse.com, which is the publisher's website. I think they might be a little cheaper here, but I'm not sure. In SV, signed copies are in B.Dalton. In Bisbee, they're in Atalanta's Music and Books. I'm still working on Tucson and Phoenix, but hope to have them in stores soon.
Do have advice about following your dream?
I always feel weird giving advice on writing specifically, mainly because I feel I'm in the middle of my own battle. The best "writing" advice I could give is just to be stubborn. Write and write to develop your craft while learning everything you can about the business. Meet writers. Hear their stories. Then pave your own way.
As far as any dream, I think being stubborn is the best advice. I've had numerous people pop up in my life who want to shatter my hopes. They're hard to ignore, but if Stephen King listened to people who told him he wouldn't make it, then we'd be lacking some really interesting stories. Be stubborn and pursue your dream with all your heart. If it's in the cards, then it'll work out. Have faith in that.