Meet Chaynna Campbell, Spring 2015 Flash Fiction Runner Up
Chaynna’s work has previously been published in the Athol Daily News: “The Power of Words” in dedication to Martin Luther King Jr., and “A Soldier’s True Colors” as a tribute to our heroes. Chaynna is also an aspiring writer for Children’s books. She currently has developed a chapter book geared for children ages 7-11, and has strong ambitions for its publishing future. Her passion to help children better understand diabetes education while also enjoying an entertaining story led her to write her recent manuscript. Among her many charitable activities, Chaynna is diving into the world of Diabetes Awareness Activism. She recently participated in Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes Event this September, an event near and dear to her heart. With a spritely attitude she’s excited to discover her next story.
Please take a moment to enjoy Chaynna’s winning entry, Best Friends, and return here to meet this aspiring author!
WOW: Hello Chaynna, Congratulations on your honorable mention in WOW’s Spring 2015 contest! Many of our readers here at WOW are pet lovers; I’m sure they’ll enjoy reading Best Friends. What was your inspiration for this story?
Chaynna: My fiancé Michael and I were talking about our past pets and how they moved on. Some who knew they were dying would find a hiding spot and go alone. Others died unexpectedly and with some we were fortunate enough to be there for them.Writing this story helped me bring closure to my fury friends I couldn’t be present for when their time came.
WOW: I don’t know of any pet owner that could read this and not get choked up—we’ve all been there! What prompted you to write from the pet’s perspective?
Chaynna: I read a circulating post online of a dog’s “10 Commandments” and the last commandment truly resonated with me, “Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, I can’t bear to watch it; or Let it happen in my absence. Everything is easier for me if you’re there.” While I’m a lover of all animals I wanted to specifically focus on a dog’s POV. I wanted to further that point and emotion by writing their story.
WOW: You did a fantastic job! Tell us about your experience writing Best Friends; was there much editing, changes, input from Toothless?
Chaynna: Yes, Toothless had a great influence in my writing. Even though I wrote from a dog’s perspective, I painfully visualized myself going through the same ordeal with her. I imagined bringing her favorite mousey to comfort her, and how she’d look at me with an instinctual feeling. The most challenging part was making sure I articulated certain things that would apply to both characters until the reveal at the end.
WOW: That’s what made the story, I think. I had to read it twice before I realized the POV.
Switching topics, we’d love to know more about your children’s book and how that came to be!
Chaynna: My children’s book that I’m actively seeking representation for is about a young boy, Terry aka Diabetic Boy and his friends who venture out on Halloween to complete an assignment from their mysterious Tree House Master. Their mission, should they choose to accept it, “Observe and Report Obi City’s supposed haunted house of Glucose Glutton.” Things turn foul though when one of his friends goes missing and worse, when they discover something is still living there. Watching. Waiting.
Filled with adventure, humor, a hint of suspense and sprinkled with a few play-on-words diabetic terms, Diabetic Boy’s Spooky Adventures is a chapter book for an ideal target audience of 7-11 yr. olds. Don’t let the title fool you though. This book is not limited to only readers facing diabetes. My publishing goal is to help children comfortably learn about diabetes while enjoying an entertaining story.
Inspiration struck me to create this character because of a family tragedy involving my diabetic cousin. Fortunately he survived two hyperglycemic comas, but perhaps if he had been better educated about this disease they could’ve been avoided.
WOW: I agree with you on the need for more education, especially considering there are over 200,000 people under age twenty with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes!
Charities, and activism, are obviously close to your heart; what books or authors have touched this part of you?
Chaynna: As I mentioned in my bio I look forward to my annual Random Acts of Kindness Birthday List. Every year whatever age I turn, that’s how many “A.O.K.’s” I do.
Cue my nerd mode: I drew up this idea after reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s "The Fellowship of the Ring." One of my favorite excerpts is the celebration of Bilbo Baggins’ 111th Birthday where he hands out presents to his guests and loved ones. All Hobbits give presents to other people on their own birthdays as their own celebratory “Thank you”.
I fell in love with the idea of my birthday serving more of a purpose than: Yeah, it’s my birthday –get me stuff! "The Fellowship of the Ring" turned this idea of a tradition into several charitable opportunities currently leading to my involvement with Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes.
So as much as I would love to be a fair and graceful Elf, I am a Hobbit to my very core –minus some physical attributes.
WOW: I take it you’re happy not to have fuzzy feet (smile)! Seriously though, I think that sounds like a worthwhile tradition.
Thank you for visiting with us today, Chaynna. I hope you’ll keep us posted on your publication of Diabetic Boy’s Spooky Adventures.