Welcome All Book Lovers

Welcome All Book Lovers

Friday, August 21, 2015

Q & A with the author of The Camelot Shadow ~ Sean Gibson


Sean Gibson is not a professional mini biography writer (if he were, this would be much more compelling). Instead, he’s a marketing professional by day, hangs out with his amazing wife, son, and daughter by night, and writes somewhere in between. He holds a BA in English Literature from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, but he really wishes he had been able to matriculate at Hogwarts (he would have been in Hufflepuff for sure). Sean is a fan of sports teams from Detroit, a distressingly large number of bands that rose to prominence in the 1980s, and writing in the third person.

Sean has written extensively for Kirkus Reviews, and his book reviews have also appeared in Esquire. The Camelot Shadow is the first of what he hopes are many novels to come.

  “A chance to save her. Improbably, impossibly, inconceivably.”

Lord Alfred Fitzwilliam spends each day in much the same way: caring for his terminally ill wife and trying to lose himself in the dusty tomes that fill his library. Everything changes when he receives a visit from a man representing a clandestine organization operating with the backing of Queen Victoria herself. The group seeks his aid in finding an Arthurian artifact that, legend holds, can cure its bearer of any wound or disease.

Skeptical but desperate to help his wife, Alfred is convinced that the fabled item might actually exist after witnessing a seemingly impossible display of power by the organization's leader, James Nigel. He decides to pursue the treasure, accompanied by an eccentric scholar, a deadly druid, and his best friend, a sardonic bookseller who is far more than he seems. As he follows an arcane trail of clues from the gas-lit streets of London to the wilds of Scotland and deep into ancient catacombs in Italy, Alfred becomes enmeshed in a web of hidden agendas, secret societies, and ancient enchantments. Along the way, he learns a dark secret about Nigel’s past—and the true power of the artifact he seeks.

Steeped in a compelling mythology and filled with unexpected twists, The Camelot Shadow will leave readers stunned, breathless, and wrestling with an impossible question: what do you do with an object that has the power to both save the world and destroy it? @goodreads
 1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

  Sometime during high school, I started to fully realize the powerful effect stories had on me, and I felt a desire to do for someone, in some small way, what my favorite authors had done for me—make me laugh, make me cry, make me think, and, above all, given me hope and courage and strength when I needed it most. That sounds horribly cheesy and melodramatic. Really, I’ll be happy if I can just entertain a few people.

2. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
My writing time is rather scarce these days, with a very busy job and two young kids. I tend to do most of my writing during my commute, sandwiched between hopefully friendly and clean-smelling strangers. Incidentally, the nattily attired gentleman to my right says hello. The frowning woman across from me does not. And I’d rather not talk about the guy to my left who is LITERALLY CLIPPING HIS FINGERNAILS RIGHT NOW. Ah, the joys of public transportation. Not exactly optimal for concentration, but certainly provides ample inspiration for quirky characters.

3. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

My inability, or perhaps I should say my reticence, or just my hesitance, to use one word when I can artfully deploy five (or more) utterly unnecessary words instead of, or perhaps in addition to, that single clear and concise word.

 4. Where do you get your ideas or information for your writing?

  I find inspiration in a lot of places—it might be a character or scene in another story that sparks an idea, or something I read in a non-fiction book, or even a snippet from a song. Sometimes an idea pops into my head while I’m walking around or drifting off to sleep. Depending on the nature of the story, I’ll do a fair bit of research to get ideas, but, for better or for worse, I’m not slavishly devoted to that information—I’ll pick and choose the pieces that are useful and make up the rest. While I love to give stories as much accurate historical flavor as possible, my goal is to tell an entertaining story, not be a historian (a declaration that has historians everywhere breathing a sigh of relief given my occasional blatant disregard for facts). 

 5. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Technically, I was 8—in second grade, I penned and illustrated the glorious Cheesecalibur. But, I was 22 when I wrote my first novel. While the concept was, I believe, decent, the writing was…terrible. It’s unlikely a mountain of dead skunks would mask the stench if I released it into the world. Consequently, it has been jettisoned into deep space. I’m given to understand that it is the reason there is no longer life on Mars.
6. Hang out with my family, which is fortunate, because with two young kids, that’s about all there is time for when I’m not working! But, I’m also an avid reader, big sports fan, and gym rat. At some point, I’d love to tithe my inner geek and get back into role playing games, which is a hobby I haven’t had time to partake in for many years.

6. Do you hear from your readers much? What kind of things do they say?

Mostly, they want to know how such a ruggedly handsome apex of masculinity can be so clever and loquacious, as it hardly seems fair to the rest of the humans.

Well, no, that’s not true. Really, they want to know why I’m such a wordy rambler and why I can’t just hurry up and get to the point, and why my nose is so disproportionately large.

Okay, so, that’s only partially true. Truth be told, I have been overwhelmed by the supportive comments and constructive feedback I’ve received from people who have read The Camelot Shadow, especially people who are active on Goodreads. I’ve said this to more than one person, and I’ll continue to say it—there are a billion amazing books in the world, so it’s incredibly humbling when someone spends some precious reading time reading something you wrote. I feel so fortunate to have found such a passionate and engaged audience, especially as an indie author. 

7. As a child what did you want to do when you grew up? 

I was in kindergarten, I was obsessed with dinosaurs, so I wanted to be an archeologist. When I was 8, I wanted to be a Ghostbuster (still do, actually, though apparently it’s not an actual profession, which I find both disappointing and ridiculous). When I was a freshman in high school, I wanted to be a forest ranger. By the end of high school, I wanted to be a writer. And now I work in legal marketing. Life is weird.

 8. Is there going to be a sequel?

When I initially set out to write The Camelot Shadow, I conceived it as a stand-alone tale. As I wrote, however, I became so enamored of the characters and the world that I started noodling on ideas for a sequel. I decided not to do one as a matter of course, but only if I came up with a good idea that offered a legitimate reason to continue the tale, as I think the story concludes in a way that doesn’t leave any loose ends. I have, however, hit upon an idea that I think would be a lot of fun for a sequel, so I’m in the outline phase now. 

 9. Just a little different for a mix up, what is your favorite movie?

Bar none, the greatest movie ever made is Ghostbusters. I’ll brook no debate on this point because any dissenting opinion or contrarian view is factually incorrect. As a writer, what I’ve taken away most from Ghostbusters is the tremendous value of chemistry between characters in an ensemble cast. Alfred Fitzwilliam is nominally the hero of The Camelot Shadow, but there are several characters who get as much ink as he does, and I tried to do each of them justice and give them the spotlight in a way that made them shine, just as Messrs. Ramis (RIP) and Aykroyd did in scripting Ghostbusters. I won’t pretend that I succeeded in any way that approximates what they achieved, but it’s a heck of a good template to work from, and will forever be my gold standard. 

 10. What are your favorite genres? 

I’m a fairly omnivorous reader, but I tend to read a lot of historical fiction, fantasy, classics, and history. I gave alien smut a shot one time, but decided once was enough. Or perhaps one time too many.

 11. What influenced you to write this book?

One of the first chapter books I ever read was a ripping yarn about King Arthur and his knights (basically a simplified retelling of pieces of Le Morte d’Arthur), and I’ve loved Arthurian lore ever since. I’ve also had a thing for Victorian supernatural and adventure tales since I discovered Dracula in second grade and Sherlock Holmes soon thereafter. My love for fantasy tales grew exponentially in high school, and my love for legitimate Victorian lit blossomed further in college. As I was drifting off to sleep one night, I envisioned the opening scene of Chapter 1, where Alfred sits pensively in his library. I had to know why he looked so thoughtful, so melancholy, and what was going on in the world around him, so I started probing the depths of my imagination. There, I found the answers I sought, all of which were shaped by the tales and genres that I’ve grown to love over the years. I didn’t want to leave anything out, so I basically just mashed them all together and, voila—instant story (one that only took about 7 years to get out to the public).



https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1291029717               4 STARS

I was given a copy of this book by the author for an honest review.

OMG! This book was so sad. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have started off with that :) The sad things are the people that die and the fact that Alfred is looking to cure his wife Ellen. Poor man almost drinks himself to death.

An evil man named Nigel and somewhat normal people come to Alfred saying his wife can be cured if he helps them find Excalibur. Yep, that's what I said. They say it has the healing abilities to cure his wife, so even though Alfred is skeptical, he is on this crusade like a dog with a bone!

Some of my favorite characters were Trusty John, Will and Stephen.

I loved the atmosphere of the book, all of the background the author put into the book. I felt like I was in Alfred's library at times or outside looking in from the beautiful grounds that I imagined.

There were even some undead in the book :) I thought that was a really good edition to the story. Ok, I have to add a **SPOILER** Especially when Trusty John kills one of the bad guys and remarks he guesses he will have to kill him again when he gets brought back as a zombie and has to fight him all over again. :)

The Epilogue is both comical and sad at the same time. I hope Alfred gets better.

The story is very rich in history of Camelot or more so Arthur, Merlin and the gang. I enjoyed it and I look forward to any more books from this author! 





  1. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity participate in this Q&A, Melissa! You have a fantastic blog, and I always love reading your reviews!

    1. Thank you Sean for such kind words. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do a Q&A with you and for you answers in which most got a good chuckle out of me! Your a nice person and a great author!

  2. Hi Melissa! Great review. I loved the interview, too!