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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meet My Guest Author, C.K. Volnek

Last week we met Jack Dahlgren, the brave boy who is the main character of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island. Today I am very pleased to have the author of this tween novel, C.K. Volnek, as my guest. 

Not many people stopped by to visit with Jack, but I'm hoping more will come to learn about the author. C.K. is giving away your choice of two free gifts if you win the drawing. You need to leave a comment for her and you will be placed in the drawing. One is a tee shirt and the other is a promise of a copy of her book once it is published in September!!

Here is her interview with me:

Hello! And thank you for having me today, Barbara. I appreciate you inviting me to your blog. 

It is my pleasure! Your character was very polite and left the blog spotless.:) He did try climbing all over the furniture, though. But to his credit he took off his shoes.:)

In your bio it says you have three grown children. Did you write while they were growing up or did your writing come later?

My children are the light of my life. My husband and I are so lucky. I did write while they were growing up, by my writing was limited to short stories, article and magazine pieces. It was about eight years ago I wanted to get serious about writing novels. My children surprised me for Christmas and gave me my very own laptop. They wanted to show me they believed in my writing (and give me my own computer since I hardly had any time on our family computer.) Because of their support, I was determined to finish my books and get them published. I can only hope every writer has such great support.

Tell me a little about what is like to live in Nebraska? Have you ever lived in a city and which do you like better?

I have lived in small towns in Nebraska for most of my life. But I have also moved around a little as well. When my husband and I were first married, me moved to Iowa and then to Knoxville, Tennessee following his job. But after four years there, we were anxious to get back home and grabbed the first opportunity to move back to Nebraska. We lived in the city of Lincoln for many years, before moving our children to the small town of Seward. It was the best move we ever made.

There is nothing quite like living in a small town in the middle of the US. Rolling hills. Cornfields. Pastures filled with cattle. Peace and quiet. Friendly neighbors. My husband had a co-worker down from Minneapolis to help with a job and he was stunned that people would smile and wave at a complete stranger driving down the street. Life in small-town USA might not be exciting but it is the best place for me.

Have you done anything other than writing? Were you able to write during the time you worked it you did? (Skip this question if you didn’t work outside of your home.)

I have a degree in Commercial Art and have always worked outside the home. I still maintain my day job and will continue to do so until my writing provides an income on which I can thrive. Which will hopefully be soon!

Would you please tell us what it is like to raise fur-kid Papillon puppies? I am not familiar with this breed, but they sound cute.

I have to laugh with this question. I tell everyone I have four Papillons because they’re like potato chips, you can’t stop at one. Paps are very smart and don’t know they are little dogs. My first Pap, Noah, is actually a certified therapy dog. We have visited nursing homes and he often accompanies me to teach my 5th grade CCD class. He teaches many lessons of unconditional love, patience, tolerance, loyalty and obeying. I truly believe there is a reason that God spelled backward is dog. He gave them many qualities to teach us about Him.

Please describe a typical day of writing for you.

I wish I had a typical day of writing. Even though my children have grown and are mostly on their own, my days are never typical. Between work, my volunteer projects at church, family and friends, there is always something trying to tear me away from my writing. But I try to claim my evenings for myself. Most nights find me in my comfortable chair in the front room, laptop on my lap, and at least two or three of the pups in the chair and on the ottoman with me. There I will write, research, or market until I can’t stay awake any longer.

When you begin writing a new story are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?

Actually, I’m a little of both. I generally have a good idea where my story is going when I start. But I can’t completely plot out the story or my character will get mad and change it all. My characters always drive the story. I do plot as I write, though, and jot down notes for future chapters, helping my characters keep on track.

What made you decide to write Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island?

Ghost Dog was started when I read an article about scientists finding a piece of wood they believed came from the mysterious Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. I was intrigued by the mystery and Jack took control of my muse and didn’t let go until the story was told. I still find it a little surreal the story flowed out as easily as it did.

In the story, Jack Dahlgren, your main character gets into a lot of trouble on his own. Is any of this based on your own or your children’s experiences?

Ha. You must be a mother. Of course Jack is modeled somewhat after my middle son. I love my boys. They are fun. They are bold. They are real. And I took those qualities, good and bad, to create a character kids can identify with. Jack doesn’t get along with his father and feels his dad treats him like a baby. Within the conflict of the story, Jack comes to realize the value of tolerance and forgiveness to save his relationship with his father, as well as stopping the evil that haunts Roanoke Island.

How much research did you have to do for this book?

I did quite a bit of research for this book, even down to finding the manifest of the original colonists and using many of those names in my book to keep it as authentic as I could. It was quite an interesting story and one that I as an American can be both proud and angry with. I am angry with Sir Richard Grenville for burning a whole Native American village because he suspected one native had stolen a silver cup. But I am proud of the colonists for their bravery in coming to a new land and make a new life. I can only hope that the mystery had a happy ending.

How are you planning to market this book? Will you be doing any book signings or blog tours?

There are many ways I’m marketing this book. Blogs, groups, facebook, twitter, Good Reads, Jacket flap, etc. etc. But I also plan to take it to the schools and am working on a teacher’s guide to go with it. I love meeting and talking with kids and hope to just get them interested in stories and reading. If they learn something about history along with it, then that’s a bonus.

Do you have any new books coming and any WIP’s you might be thinking of publishing?

I do have other books coming. Thanks for asking.

A Horse Called Trouble will be available in December 11. It’s a tween story of a troubled teen who must overcome her abusive past to save the defiant horse that taught her love and trust again.

I also have The Secret of the Stones coming in April, 2012. This is the first of a series called The Lost Diaries of Northumberland. In this first story, a Merlin-loving tween is thrust into magic mayhem when the gift he’s been entrusted to protect turns out to be the enchantment object detailed in a mysterious prophecy.

As for works-in-progress, I have three books in the works. The second book in the Lost Diaries series, a paranormal YA romance, and a YA story based on the true events of a school bus crash from my home town. That one is a very tough story to write, but with the many miracles that came from this horrible tragedy, it’s a story that has to be told.

Thanks again for having me today, Barbara. I’d love to hear more from my readers. They can contact me at They can join me on my web page:, or visit me at my blog: They can also find me on Facebook (C.K. Volnek) or Twitter (CKVolnek), Good Reads and Jacket Flap. My book trailer is on youtube - My book will be available at the MuseItUp Book Store:
as well as Amazon and many other fine book locations on-line.

Thanks again to everyone for visiting.

Thank you, C.K. for telling us all about you. I know that after reading the excerpt I wanted to read the book and I plan to review it as soon as I finish it.:) I can see how Jack could get hold of you since it's hard to stop reading about him.:)

Until the next time when my next guest on the blog will be Dale Thompson, and please tune into my Blog Talk Radio Show, RRWL Tales from the Pages next Thursday at 3PM Central Time and 4PM EST to hear R. Jeffrey and Richard Jennings, the author of Ghost Town, who will be my guests. 

Thank you to all who visited last week and the comment drawing will be this weekend. You still have time to go and leave a comment for the free upcoming book, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island. If you haven't seen the trailer, go over to see it and read Jack Dahlgren's account of the mysterious events on that island on the last post: Meet Jack Dahlgren from Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island.


  1. Hi Barbara and Charlie. I love the cover for Ghost of Roanoake and can't wait to read the whole story. A Horse Called Trouble also is on my TBR list, as you know I'm a horse lover too.


  2. Hi Nancy! So glad you could visit. Did you see the trailer for the book? I think it captures the book's essence. I'm in the middle of reading it and you can cut the suspense with a knife. The drumbeats do that. They create suspense.

  3. Hi Emily, thanks for leaving a comment. So glad my books are on your TBR list.

    And thanks again, Barbara, for having me on your blog. I'm glad you are liking my book. You're the greatest.
    C.K. Volnek

  4. Charlie, no I'm just enjoying your book:) Okay, I am pretty great.LOL If you insist!

    It is always a pleasure to have you on my blog.

  5. I enjoyed Charlie's interview about her writing life. Jack wants to tell us about his mystery, but we don't have to wait long now!

  6. Hi Charlie,

    Love the interview and so excited for more books. I have seen the trailer, and it's worth watching. I have spoken with Charlie about her book, but watching the trailer really intrigued me even more. Congratulations!

  7. Thanks for visiting, Beverly. Yes, but he was sworn to secrecy by his author. So we have to wait until September to find out what it is. At least some of us do, because I am reading it now to review it.:)

  8. Hi Charlie. I loved the interview. I have watched the trailer, and it really intrigued me to read your novel. So excited that you have more stories coming out. Congratulations!

  9. Hi MerryM. Thank you for visiting. The trailer was awesome and didn't you love the drumming in the background? Interviewing Charlie is always a pleasure.:)

  10. Hello Barbara, Your meanderings seem to lead you to guide us toward wonderful authors and stories.

    CK, I enjoyed your interview with Barbara and look forward to Ghost Dog of Roanoake Island. Not only do I look forward to reading it, it could make great Christmas gifts for my tween grandchildren. I'm looking forward to you next editions.
    GK Fralin

  11. Loved the interview, Charlie and Barbara! Can't wait to read Jack's story. And I'm so impressed with your writing output, Charlie!

  12. Hi Bev and Merry. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving me a message. Good luck in the give-away! The book birthday keeps getting closer and closer! Yay.
    Thanks again.
    C.K. Volnek

  13. Yes, Charlie! We are going to be celebrating our book birthdays together!!!

  14. Hi Rosemary. Thank you for visiting and Charlie's amount of writing is impressive. I think if you check any writer you will find there are plenty of manuscripts hanging around just waiting.:)

  15. Hi Glenda! Just saw your comment and thank you so much! Mostly I have been highlighting the excellent writers of my publishing house, MuseItUp Publishing. In the coming weeks I am going to be showcasing more of them and I'm delighted that you are appreciating their work.

    I'm in the middle of reading C.K.'s book and I think it would be a wonderful read for your grandchildren.:) I will be reviewing it here soon.

  16. Hi Barbara, thanks for the great interview with Charlie.
    Hi Charlie, I'm so looking forward to reading your book. As a North Carolinian, I have always been interested in this mystery.

  17. Hi Barbara! You're welcome and Charlie is so easy to interview! Thank you for visiting. I am also interested in the mystery.

  18. Hi Glenda and Rosemary. You must have snuck in as I was writing a message. Thanks so much for stopping by. It's great to hear from new friends.

    And hello to Barbara B. I think North Carolina is such a beautiful place. We lived in Knoxville Tennessee for a few years and visited North Carolina and the Biltmore castle a few times. The mountains are so gorgous.

    Thanks again to everyone who's visited.
    C.K. Volnek

  19. MerryM, I think you posted two comments very similar. If you don't see your first comment right away it means I didn't see it either. I have comment moderation, so it may show up right away or later if I 'm busy and don't get to my email. So please wait awhile and then if you don't see it for a few hours you might comment again.:)Actually, double commenting or triple commenting does give you an advantage in the drawing. I will put in two papers with your name on them.:)

  20. Congrats on your book(s). I think writing for this age group would be special and I would love the school visits. Kids are so honest too. Great people work full time, have families, and still manage to turn out great stories is beyond me. You go, Girl!!

  21. JQ as always thank you for visiting! I know!! When my kids were growing up I had barely enough time to do anything. They were always having to go somewhere and of course there was the usual comings and goings for a woman who is taking care of kids and a family. I am in awe of how Charlie was able to write with all this. I waited until my kids were grown and in college before I tried it.:)

  22. Okay, comments are now closed! Thank you all for your comments and now for the drawing!!!!

  23. What I mean is you can continue to comment, but you won't be in the drawing. Sorry:)

  24. Her books and the author sound delightful. I love good tween reads and buy them for my nieces and nephews all the time. These are at the top of my list.



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