Shadows, Shells, and Spain
Posted by Literary Titan
Shadows, Shells, and Spain follows Jaime as he searches for his wife by following clues she’s left for him along Spain’s Camino trail. What was your inspiration for the setup to this novel?
Well, I knew that I wanted to write about the Camino. The adventure had everything I think I needed to write my next book. I had the rich history of the Camino; I knew I would uncover interesting anecdotes in every town; and I was assured that I would meet wonderful characters from around the world. All I needed to do was add my fictional story to my already unbelievable reality.
Now when I embarked on my own pilgrimage, I, of course, was immediately fascinated with Spain’s compelling landscape and the Camino’s magical history, but it was the people on the path who really inspired me. Each walker had their own personal reason for their demanding journey. Some had just quit their jobs. Some had just quit their marriages. Some just needed to unplug from their stressful lives back home. Whatever their reason they were all united in their belief that walking across Spain would help them heal from their hurts or stimulate their minds to live their lives better when they returned home.
So I knew I needed main characters in my book who were equally damaged and required more time to heal from the pain in their pasts. That was the starting point. Then I added the mystery, the suspense, and the quirky love story….
Jamie is a fascinating character and his relationship with Brie becomes something more than he expected. Did you plan their relationship or did this happen organically as you were writing?
For the most part it was planned because I outline everything! I know my beginning and my ending and everything in between. Now while the story evolves and I discover things along the way (especially how characters act and react to each other), the basic narrative remains intact….especially the ending.
I think about my ending much more than my beginning. The ending is often the first thing I write. Even if it’s only a paragraph or a few lines of dialogue, it sits there the entire time while I write everything else. Then when I reach that ending, I only have to tweak it. If I don’t have my ending, I don’t start writing!
However, having said that, yes, Jamie and Brie’s relationship did change organically too. I mean, every scene and every conversation had its theme or drama that I had to convey to the reader, but I didn’t always know exactly how I would convey that.
So with their voices firmly in my head, their conversations came quite easily. But in some scenes, yes, I did have to change direction because I knew that Jamie or Brie wouldn’t say or do certain things. It eventually became down to a scene-by-scene litmus test: “What would Jamie do?” or “What would Brie say?”
This book highlights some fascinating historical and architectural sights. What draws you to the history of Spain?
Because I write what I call fictional travel memoirs, I need locations that are rich in history, filled with local, colorful characters, and steeped in adventure. And now in two of my books, I’ve been drawn to Spain for all those reasons and more.
The first time was in my book, Bulls, Bands, and London, where I ran with the bulls during Pamplona’s San Fermin Festival. London was the primary focus of the story but Pamplona was where the main character was truly challenged and had to make a life-altering decision—while risking his life being pursued by a half-dozen frightened bulls.
Now in my current book, Shadows, Shells, and Spain, the adventure itself is far less dangerous but it still challenges you physically, mentally, and for many pilgrims, spiritually. To outside pilgrims scattered across the globe, the Camino is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some serious soul-searching. To Spanish pilgrims, this 800 kilometer trek is almost a rite of passage: a journey every Spaniard must make in order to test his or her body, free his or her mind, nurture his or her soul—and truly understand what it means to be Spanish.
That’s what draws me to Spain. It doesn’t matter where you live, what you do for a living, or how much money you make, every citizen embraces their heritage and takes a moment to re-connect with the land and dig deep inside their hearts to re-focus their minds to what’s truly important in their lives.
Is there any message you might like to leave with your readers?
Whether you read my new book or not, I really encourage everyone to walk the Camino at some point in their lives. It really does inspire you and gives you plenty of time to contemplate your life while you meet many other friendly, likeminded souls marching across Spain—just like you! Sure, you can contemplate your life while sitting on your couch as well… but only by leaving all your distractions behind can you really experience some form of positive growth. Plus you’re going to lose a lot of weight! And that’s a pretty good deal too…
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
Lost and listless on the island of Mallorca, Jamie Draper searches for his estranged wife, Pam, who has left him without any explanation or warning. Exploring her last known location, Jamie stumbles upon an urgent letter from his missing wife promising full disclosure as to her sudden departure and her current whereabouts. There’s just one catch: her mysterious adventure is disclosed in a series of letters she’s left hidden along the ancient Camino trail across northern Spain. Now armed with a list of clues to track the letters down, Jamie retraces Pam’s footsteps, while being both entertained and challenged by the many colorful Camino characters he meets along the way—including the enchanting Brie, who harbors her own secrets that just might compromise Jamie’s intended reunion with his wife.
Posted in Interviews
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The Hunters Sign
Posted by Literary Titan
Jason Hubbard brings readers back to his world of magic in The Taming of Adam Part 2: The Hunters Sign, the sequel to his first novel in the Taming of Adam series. Adam tries to move on from his past dealings with the monster Ellen from Envale, so he moves to a new college in Almin to continue his studies as a black mage. Here he ends up with several roommates of which Ricky Grater is introduced. Ricky ends up playing a big part in the novel and in Adam’s life. This novel takes the reader through Adam’s experience as he falls in love with Amy Graine, learns about old and darker magic, and becomes involved in Entercor Contracting massive community rebuild project.
Most of the novel takes place in the Union of Altoria, in the city of Almin. It is like any city you would find around the world. This world sounds a lot like earth, but has magic and two moons. Hubbard uses a lot of plays on common names, words, movies and such that the reader can identify with current pop culture to get a feel for what he is saying and trying to convey. A lot of the social topics that are discussed are also relevant to modern times making the book very relatable even though Earth is not overrun with mages taking jobs, there is the constant concern over jobs going away due to technology and the high costs involved with getting services that the novel covers. Hubbard does a good job with explaining the social structures and pushing his view that those with more abilities need to be more compassionate and work for the common good and not focus on personal wealth.
The first half of the book is mostly character development with little action and a lot of psychological musings on the part of Adam and Ricky. Both are black mage’s, though Adam is much stronger and is dedicated to his studies. Ricky however is a womanizer with little care for anything beyond his own desires. Hubbard spends a lot of time on Adam’s relationships with women, namely Delhi and Amy. Both women offer different perspectives on his personality and bring out different things in him. Ricky never stays with a woman longer than it takes to score with her, but he becomes attached to the character Cameron who is the quintessential playboy living in the casino and always having money and women.
The second part of the novel is when the action starts and we learn what the Hunter’s Sign mentioned in the book title is, and what it is for. Entercor is making this happen with the help of a man named Alec that is believed to be a strong mage with the gift of prophecy. Adam is left with determining if the Hunter’s Sign is something to use for the good of the city or not. As Adam learns more about the magic surrounding and his connection with the shadow world he must make hard decisions that will affect not only him but those he loves and the entire city.
Overall The Taming of Adam Part 2: The Hunter’s Sign is an entertaining continuation of Adam’s growth as a black mage, his understanding of the shadow world and his own personal growth as person. The novel ends with a lead into the third book that Jason Hubbard has published.
Pages: 343 | ASIN: B00WRWHPYS
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
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