My latest interview is with author Andrea Buginsky who has enjoyed writing since she was a kid. When she got to college, she decided to turn it into a career, and earned her BA in Journalism. Andrea has been freelance writing for several years now. She had always wanted to write a book, and decided she wanted to write for children. Andrea loves fantasy movies like "The Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter," so she decided to try her hand at writing one of her own. She was very excited to announce her first publication, "The Chosen," a young adult fantasy she worked on for about three years.
She is also happy to announce the release of her second book, "My Open Heart," her autobiography of growing up with a heart disease. This is a project that she has been working on for years, and is very close to her heart. Andrea wrote it for adolescents growing up with heart disease and other chronic illnesses to show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and they can make it through the rough times. It's also for parents of children growing up with heart disease.
She lives in the Tampa Bay, FL area, where she grew up. Andrea is originally from NJ.
Books & Writing: Where do you get your inspiration from to write?
Andrea Buginsky: I’m inspired by different books I read, movies I see, and games I play. I’ll really be inspired if I’m watching a movie or TV show that involves a writer and his/her work. It will make me want to get to my own writing.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book “The Chosen”?
Andrea Buginsky: “The Chosen” is about a group of warriors who are sent on a quest to defend their world from an evil lord trying to take over and destroy it. The group must learn to work with a new healer, named Halli, who has just learned of her powers. She trains for the quest with the others, and must find her place amongst the group.
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?
Andrea Buginsky: The idea came from a role-playing game I was involved with with my family. I decided to take our characters and create stories around them. I created a world for them to live on, and the story grew from there. I’ve written a second book in the series, and am currently working on the third.
Books & Writing: Have you always been interested in fantasy?
Andrea Buginsky: Yes! I love fantasy. It’s my favorite genre, which is why I finally decided to try writing it. It was a perfect fit.
Books & Writing: Tell us something about the main character Halli.
Andrea Buginsky: Halli is a dwarf who grew up sheltered in her small village. She is very shy and quiet. She has no idea that she’s a holy paladin with the power to heal until Queen Laurali of the elves comes to see her about the quest. Upon learning her true calling, Halli must come to terms with it. Throughout the book, Halli starts to grow and mature, and become her own person.
Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?
Andrea Buginsky: I’m currently working on the first draft of the third book in “The Chosen” series. I also have plans to write a fourth one, and I’d like to finish a draft of a different story I started writing a few years ago, that is separate from the series, but another YA fantasy.
Books & Writing: Where do you see yourself in a couple of years in relation to writing?
Andrea Buginsky: Continuing to write more books in “The Chosen” and see them published. I hope to have a wide range of readers who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next book in the series, like I am with the series I read.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Andrea Buginsky: Never give up your dream. If you put the effort into your writing, you can accomplish your goals. Reach for the stars, and make your dreams come true.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Below is an excerpt from The Chosen : Halli’s mom, Er'ika, and Queen Laurali of the elves are telling Halli about her true calling.
Er'ika took another small breath. “Halli, you have a wonderful calling. You are a Holy Paladin, with powers that can heal the sick, and even raise the dead in certain cases. Holy Paladins are very rare, and very coveted. To protect you, we agreed to come to Drumple to live with the other dwarves, so we could blend in, and appear to be no different than them. We all planned on telling you of your calling when you were done with school, but as Queen Laurali has said, Prince Gastle’s attacks have made the day we tell you come sooner than we planned.”
Halli sat staring at her mother as she heard the tale. She knew all about The Castle of the Elves, it’s subjects, Priestesses and Holy Paladins from her studies and readings. She grew up hearing stories about them all. She absorbed everything she could find and read about them. It was as though somewhere inside her, she knew she was a part of it all. But hearing what her mother was telling her was surreal. She started to shake her head.
“This can’t be,” she whispered. “You can’t be serious. How can I possibly be what you say I am? You know me, Mom. I’m not strong and powerful. I’m shy, I’m quiet, I like to be alone and not around a lot of people. I have problems facing confrontations, and do everything I can to avoid them.”
Queen Laurali smiled at Halli’s description of herself. “Halli, everything you just said are the classic traits of Holy Paladins, from a certain point of view. They don’t get involved in conflicts, but rather keep those that are involved alive from a distance. They don’t get directly involved in confrontations and arguments. They think things through and come up with solutions that will work for everyone. In essence, they keep the peace in the groups they’re involved in. From a distance, this can make them seem quiet and shy, but anyone who knows them knows it is their quiet ways that keeps this peace.”
Halli stared at Queen Laurali as she listened to her, and again began to shake her head. “I don’t think that’s how I am. I am shy, I do avoid confrontation. And even if what you’re saying is right, how can I possibly do anything to help the fight against Prince Gastle? I’m just a student!”
“Halli, this is your destiny,” Queen Laurali assured her. “This is what you’re meant to do. I know it’s a shock to hear all of this, but it’s your birthright.”
“I don’t know what you expect of me.” Halli began crying. Her mother sat next to her, and held her.
“Halli,” Er’ika said gently, “Queen Laurali is right. This is what you were born to do. You’ll be trained, and your instincts will kick in, and you’ll know exactly what to do. You always have. You don’t realize it, but you’ve been doing it your whole life. Every time you stepped in to help someone in need, or defended someone who was being hurt, that was your Holy Paladin instincts kicking in. You’ve always behaved like one, even if you didn’t know it.”
Halli stared at her mom, tears still coursing down her face. “I don’t know what to do Mom,” she whispered.
Er’ika kissed her gently on the forehead. “Go to The Castle of the Elves with Queen Laurali. Let her show you who you really are. I promise you, you’re ready for this. Your father and I know you are. You have been for a long time. We’ve been selfish keeping it from you all these years. We were hoping we could wait until you were older, but the time has come. You must go fulfill your destiny.”
Halli took a deep breath and dried her eyes. “OK, what exactly do I have to do?” she asked Queen Laurali.