Thursday, November 8, 2012

Caleo by James Crawford: Review and Author Interview

Dont Forget! Giveaway at the bottom!  


Blurb:
Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn't even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleos life forever.

Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as Leeches, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn't mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem...He is that weapon!

Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He's now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the LEAST of his worries.




MY THOUGHTS:
The paranormal aspect of this novel is very fresh and original.  Imagine if you will, that you are different, in more ways than one, and you find out that you have magical powers but you can use anyone essentially as a power supply to activate them.  This is just one of many things that Caleo learns about his new life.  He is already suffering the angst of being a teenager, and one that is viewed as a freak already because of his appearance, but he is also struggling with his sexuality and now powers that he wasn't aware he possessed. 

The powers that Caleo possesses are unique and I was enthralled with that particular aspect of the novel.  He becomes an endearing character, as whether you are homosexual or not, you can identify with him and his struggles to figure out his life, even if it is nothing more than remembering one of the people that you yourself went to high school with.  At times he comes across as a bit of a weenie, but there is a streak of snark in him a mile wide that tends to get him into more trouble than normal and seems to enhance how different he is from everyone else.
 
There are many trials and tribulations that this young man has to endure in the novel, but endure he does, for he is different from all of the other Leeches and the fate of the world rests in his young hands.  I would recommend this to all of my friends to read, as it is a fantastic novel, but if you have issues with the sexuality of the character, than this is definitely not a book for you.  If you, like myself, can see past one aspect of a person in order to see the whole, then you will find yourself on a fantastical journey through our world.  



Interview with James Crawford, author of Caleo!
Is there anything that you would like our readers to know about you or your writing?
james crawford: This is kind of a tough question and I know the normal answer should be to promote your work and tell people how awesome you are and that they should read your book because everyone will love it... Unfortunately, that will not be the case for my work. All the stories I write will have a gay character. I know not everyone likes that idea and some people will think that it is wrong to write Young Adult books with gay characters being the heroes/ heroines. I would just like to tell those people that my work is not for them.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
james crawford: I am actually not sure. I can safely say that I decided that I wanted to actually publish Caleo somewhere between the third and fourth round of editing but as far as when I decided that I wanted to be a writer; I cant say that it was ever a conscience decision. I have never been good at the whole spelling and grammar thing and growing up I would never have imagined me becoming a writer. One day, after I had a series of dreams about a pale skinned boy with the power to freeze things, I decided to start writing details about the dream down. Those details became pages of notes, those pages of notes turned into little stories, and before I knew what I was doing, all the little stories became the novel that is now Caleo.
Are there any books or authors who inspired you to write a book of your own?
james crawford: Perry Moores Hero. I love his story of Thom Creed; the gay teen who becomes a super hero. When I read his story it made me feel like there was finally a superhero that I could relate to and it made me feel more comfortable with myself. After finishing his story I went on a search for stories just like it but found very little. So I decided that I would take up the challenge to write a young adult story that I hope Perry Moore would be proud he inspired.
How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
james crawford: I would have to say that Caleo is my favorite out of all the books I have published. Of course I just have the one book at the moment so that is a very easy answer, lol. I am currently working on book two of the series and hoping it will be released early in the new year.
What do you think is unique about your book?
james crawford: I think what is unique about my book is that although my main character is a gay teenage boy, the story has very little to do with his sexuality. Its a story about a bullied kid who discovers he has magical powers, and must run for his life as he leans how to use his powers. Him being gay, I feel, is a very small part of the story which is the case in most GLBT peoples real lives.
Are any of your characters inspired by people you know in real life?
james crawford: a few of my characters were inspired by real life people but the characters kind of took on a life of their own and now looking back I can barely see the original inspiration that started the character.  Grandma was inspired by my own mother. Growing up my mother was always the mother hen type and tended to treat everyone as if they were one of her own children; The hugs, feeding them if they were around for dinner, and even fussing at them when they did something wrong, and although Caleos grandmother kept some of those qualities, I think she kind of went off on her own personality and became her own person.
Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
james crawford: Interesting?hmm I dont know if its exactly what people would consider interesting but my Writing Room is empty except for a twin sized bed. I know most writers have offices with trinkets, books, radio, maybe even a TV. I find all those things distracting. So my writing room is empty, just plain green walls that I can stare at and imagine my stories playing out, and a twin sized bed where I sit propped up on pillows while writing on my laptop.
What do you like to do when youre not writing?
james crawford: I am a big TV fan. If it wasnt for my DVR, I dont think I would get any writing done at all if I had to watch commercials or schedule my writing around my TV schedule.  Just thinking about it gives me the chills.
What advice would you give to other writers who are hoping to one day get their work published?
James crawford: Dont give up. I know that advice seems so silly but its one of the problems I see the most. People tell me about their great story ideas they have and how they are going to write a book. Weeks later I find out that they have given up. I know life gets in the way sometimes but you should never give up. Take smaller steps if you have to, but never just give up.
Do you hear from your readers much?  If so, what kinds of things do they say?
james crawford: I actually do hear from a few of my readers and enjoy talking to them. Most say they love my book and go into detail on which characters they love and why.  I have also had some readers contact me asking for advice or just needing someone to talk to about their problems.
Fun Questions:
Favorite Color: If we are picking from standard Crayola crayon box, its Mountain Meadow.
Favorite Food: Without a doubt, Pie. Do I have to limit it down to a certain type of pie? If so, it would have to be chocolate pie
Favorite Animal: I have always had a thing for tigers.
Favorite Vacation Destination: vacation? Whats a vacation? The closest thing I get is going home to visit my family in P.A.
Favorite Season of the Year: Fall
Favorite Book: Eragon
Favorite Drink: Diet Coke! A must for writing.
Favorite Genre: Science Fiction.

Stalker Links:
 Website 
Buy Links:  
 Amazon 

GIVEAWAY!
James has been so wonderful and is giving two lucky winners, who leave a blog comment, a chance to win his book in eformat!  1 winner will win the e-copy as well as a magnet, and the other winner will win an e-copy of his book! So what are you waiting for? You dont want to miss this!