Interview with Charles Franklin – Author of Children of the Forgotten

This Fall, I had the opportunity to serve on the launch team of Charles Franklin’s debut novel, Children of the Forgotten, a post-apocalyptic story about a city of adolescents and new adults that is facing extinction.  Those of you who know me know that post-apocalyptic/dystopian genres are not my usual cup of tea. However, this one intrigued me for two reasons:
1. It included Knights.
2. It takes place several hundreds of years after the “apocalypse” had taken place. Most post-apocalyptic stories that I am aware of take place in the recent years after said apocalypse.
These two elements added some interesting dynamics to the Story World and I enjoyed watching them play out. If you are interested, you can read my entire review on Goodreads or Amazon, where you can also order your own copy!

In the mean time, and to whet your appetite, the author himself has allowed me to interview him about his book. Check out his bio and his website for more information about Charles, his writing, and his inspiration.
Charles was born and raised in Texas. From there, he joined the United States Army and has traveled the world. Along the way, he saw the most beautiful set of eyes he had ever seen. They belonged to a girl … and he married her right away. Twenty years later, they have three children and are finally headed back home to Texas for good.
Upon retiring from the Army after 23 years, Charles will continue to serve others as a teacher in the town he grew up in. When he’s not in the classroom, or spending time with his family, Charles writes stories about faith, love, hope, and adventure. 
His debut novel, Children of the Forgotten: The Anistemi Book I, will release in August and he has already begun work on the second book in the trilogy. Charles is also writing an action thriller, and has begun outlining another series set in the Anistemi world.  
You can get in touch with Charles on his websiteFacebook, or Twitter if you’d like to follow along with his journey.
(Taken from his website)

1. What was the inspiration for this story? Did the plot come first or the characters? 

The plot definitely came first. Post-apocalyptic stories are some of my favorites, and I always enjoy how the characters fight against whatever foe has caused this end-of-the-world scenario. As a fan of these stories, though, I found myself wanting to tell my own tale and fill it with faith. Plenty of authors have done it and done it well, but I hope I put a bit of a different twist on it!

2. Which is easier for you to write, plot or characters? 

It’s funny that the plot came to me first, and now I’m going to say that characters are so much easier for me to write. I can’t remember how many times I’ve had to go back and fix a timeline or completely alter a scene because I left out vital information, so I really struggle with plot! But with characters, I feel like my writing just flows and I–sadly–end up having to cut out a lot of stuff. There was a scene with a character named, Bliss, where something takes her back to a horrible time in her life and she lashes out. The intensity of that scene left me trembling for quite some time afterward. It was a quite sad, yet amazing experience!

3. Who was your most difficult character to write and why? 

I’d have to say, Felicia. When I got my first edits back from my publisher, they said that Felicia was too perfect. After reading back through, I agreed. I really wanted her to be an inspirational, strong female character, but I had to go back and give her some flaws and struggle to make her more relatable. I guess the difficult part was having to be a little mean to her at times … I hope she forgives me!

4. If you can answer this without spoilers, what was your hardest problem to solve plot-wise? 

There were many, but I think the hardest was finding an appropriate climax. The story builds and builds (well, I hope it does) to something that I wanted to be a furious clash between opposing forces. And not only did I wanted it to be an epic clash, I also wanted to show each main character’s growth throughout. I pray that I was able to do that.

5. Which character do you relate to the most and why? 

Collin and I have both lost our parents, so we share that right away. But, I also relate to his feelings of inadequacy and fear. It was once a great struggle of mine–even though I was a Soldier–of feeling like I just wasn’t good enough. I guess you could say that I went through a bit of a wake-up, just like Collin, and I realized I have a strong, mighty God right next to me. In fact, God taught me so much as I wrote Collin’s story, and I grew right along with him!
6. What surprised you while writing this story, either about the characters or the turn of the plot? 

There’s a certain point in the story, where two characters are reunited, that I never saw coming! It’s a pretty big twist, so I won’t spoil it, but in the middle of them seeing each other for what I honestly thought was the first time, a line just came to me that altered the rest of the story. From that point on, a million ideas flooded my brain and I’m really excited for everyone to meet these two and follow their adventure through CotF and the next two books. It’s going to be quite a ride!

7. What message do you hope your readers come away with? 

I want them to know that, even when it seems like the world is ending, it’s not. Each of us is fighting a battle, and some days the enemy seems to be winning. But, this is not true. We serve an awesome, powerful God, Who only has good things in store for us. One of my favorite lines from the novel is, “All is lost. All is gone. But this one thing: hope.” I hope my readers remember that when things sometimes seem too much to bear.
8. The concept of the society’s government was super interesting to me (medieval knights, but also very democratic, etc.) What were your inspirations for setting up the government that way? 

Since the story is set a century after the fall of the modern world, I felt like firearms would have been extinct for a long time…I mean…they’re extinct in this story, anyway! Once I started exploring the need for hand-forged weapons, I wanted to add some pride to being a defender of the city. So…the knights were born. There is also a lot of history with them and the symbols that some of them wear, too. I hope to explore that more in future stories. As far as the government, I didn’t like the thought of some sort of dictator, or king, and I wanted the struggle that takes place between an elected leader and a council. There is so much potential for drama there! And so much more to come!

Thank you so much for joining me on my blog, Charles! I look forward to reading more about these wonderful characters and settings in your future books!

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