Friday, January 18, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Fantasy Author Clarissa Cartharn

Clarissa Cartharn, Author
Welcome fantasy adventure fiction author Clarissa Cartharn, creator of Spassenia a place:  full of different worlds and awesome characters,” as described by one reviewer. Cartharn herself calls it “the ideal fantasy world.” She features Spassenia in her recently released DYNASTY O’SHEA: THE THRONE OF GAMMALON—“a fantasy of two worlds” with a family as “unlikely heroes.”

When Cartharn isn’t creating her fantasy world, she is “basically” doing everything else – like music, reading, gardening, learning new languages, going to movies and theater, and, well, whatever “calls” her. Don’t miss the exciting excerpt from DYNASTY O’SHEA at the end of this interview.

Q: What inspired you to write fantasy about the world of Spassenia?

Clarissa Cartharn: I suppose it was the child within me. And of course my children. I wanted to give them a world in which they could have an adventure. It was my way of telling them a story about a world I had created. Spassenia is the ideal fantasy world in which I would love to escape to and simply have fun.

Q: What makes your readers care about your characters?

Clarissa Cartharn: The main characters belong to a close-knit family although they would rarely confess it. So much like our own real families. You have the serious, protective elder brother, the clownish younger one or even the quirky, eccentric sibling; every family has at least one of these and many would relate to them.

It is also the way in which these characters love each other, protect them, I believe that’s what makes readers care about them.

Q: In a fantasy world, what pulls in your readers? Characters? Back story? Suspense? How important is believability?

Clarissa Cartharn: In DYNASTY O’SHEA, I think it is a little of each that draws in the readers. Each is important to make a story as believable as possible. I don’t think one is any more important than the other.

Believability is very important. It is the crux of the story. It’s what gets the reader excited, sad, amused and all those emotions that you want the reader to connect with.

Q: Do your characters push you around and make you write what they want? Or are you in control?

Clarissa Cartharn: Sometimes they do push me around. I have to make sure the acts or thoughts of the character is what the character would be prone to do. That is, it must reasonably be attributed to their characteristics and traits. Even though I want to drive them to do/say something, I have to make edits and calls to ask myself if that is natural to him/her.

Q: What makes a hero/heroine? And on the flip side, what makes a villain?

Clarissa Cartharn: What makes a protagonist and what makes a villain- In my opinion these are elements of our spiritual nature personified in a piece of writing. The battle between good and evil. So what makes a hero/heroine are all those factors that we would identify as good. Love, honesty, humanity, strong either physically or in willpower.

But what makes a villain is what interests me even more greatly. Anything evil could amount to a good villainous character. Lying, cheating, dubious, manipulative etc. Although it is the sinister ones that really make a good villain. Those who appear to be a hero/heroine but has the inner workings of a villainous mind.

Q: How important is delivering a message to your stories?  Or are they purely for entertainment?

Clarissa Cartharn: For me the story is more important than the message. My aim as a storyteller is first and foremost to entertain. If there is a message in it, all the better. But I am mindful of not letting it overpower the narration.

Q: Tell us something about yourself.

Clalrissa Cartharn: When I’m not writing, I’m basically doing everything else. Whatever calls to me basically. I love reading and this again is almost anything. Sometimes its fiction, other times its educational articles or simply researching the basis of most conspiracies floating on the web.

I also love music. I do everything with music playing in the background including writing. I also love learning about cultures and languages. I love flowers, garden, nature. I love movies and theatre.

In fact there I feel there is still so much to love and learn about, the list is endless.

About Clarissa Cartharn

Clarissa Cartharn is the author of fantasy adventure fiction DYNASTY O’SHEA: THE THRONE OF GAMMALON.  Clarissa holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Literature and Language. She was a high school English teacher until she gave that up to become a solicitor. Currently, Clarissa is undertaking Mandarin Chinese lessons.

In the perilous world of Spassenia where magic and power prevail over all who live in it, a battle rages for the throne of Gammalon. But what happens if those who can save the torn kingdom live in a world across dimensions?

When Jack O'Shea reveals an eighteen year old secret, his four children never imagined that they would be thrust through a magical gateway and into Spassenia. Their simple world is shattered as they realise that evil Lord Dravidor of Dark Vale is on a vindictive mission to kill their father, the man who stands in his way from claiming the throne of Gammalon.

But Jack will not return home without saving Gammalon and his children will not go back without their father. So when their names are also added to Dravidor's death warrants, the young O'Sheas must now take matters into their hands.


Jack straightened up with a sudden jolt. He found what he was looking for. A breeze blew across his face adding to his nervousness. He held onto David’s arm and ran towards his family like a mad man, pulling David along with him.

Rachel was enjoying the cool wind nestling on the sides of her neck when another strong breeze blew onto her. She straightened up alert. She wasn’t sure of what she had just heard and tried to sift through the sounds of the wind again. But they were lost. She looked at her two eldest children who had been quiet all through their trek. They were still sitting, perched on small rocks, each in deep thought, probably analyzing the events of that morning, she thought. She then turned in the direction of her husband and David. Jack was running frantically towards them with a bewildered David right behind him. He pointed furiously towards the woods. It suddenly occurred to Rachel that she had heard the sounds correctly. She held Bronwyn’s arm and rushed towards Ally and Alex.

“Come on!” she called out and ran into the army of sensitive grass. “This way!”

Alex and Ally ran after their mother, not comprehending what had just gone wrong, only that something had.

“Mimosa Pudica, Mum!” cried Ally feeling the thorns pricking into her ankles.

“I know!” shouted back her mother in annoyance.

“It hurts!” Ally cried out again.

“You think!” her mother answered, annoyed that her sanity had just been questioned.

“Can’t we go around it?!” shouted out Alex

“No time!” said Jack breathlessly as he caught up to them. “Soldiers!”

“Dravidor!” cried out David as he shot past Alex and Ally and almost into his mother.

“Good god!”  Alex and Ally let out and sped up to reach for the cover of the woods.

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  1. Great interview, ladies! Good luck with your writing, Clarissa. :D

  2. Lovely interview. Sounds like you've made a fascinating place with your writing.