Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Guest Blogger, Riley Carney

Today's guest blogger is Riley Carney, a sixteen-year old author who has published a five book fantasy series, The Reign of the Elements, and is now working on a new trilogy for young adults. In addition, Riley has started a nonprofit for children's literacy, Breaking the Chain.

You can read Chris Brett's November 27th review of Book I, The Fire Stone at: http://thepiratebounty.blogspot.com/2009/11/review-of-fire-stone-by-riley-carney.html . At the end of Riley's post you'll find purchasing information, her website, and also the website for her nonprofit. And now..., Here's Riley:

"For as long as I can remember, I have been a storyteller. Throughout my elementary school years, I thought of myself as an author and I wrote an extensive collection of books – stacks of paper, words, and drawings all stapled together. None of these works were literary masterpieces, but they were the first manifestation of my desire to be a writer.

"I actually came up with the idea for The Fire Stone, the first book of The Reign of the Elements series, when I was in fourth grade. I love fantasy adventure stories and one evening I was sitting with my family around a fire, and I started thinking about how mystical the flames were. I began thinking about the elements and their properties and weaving those into a story about magic. Eventually the story began to take shape. During the three or four years that followed, I would begin to write the story and then I would stop and eventually begin again. I tried numerous versions of the story, but I wasn’t able to get it quite right.

"Finally, when I was fifteen, I sat down and wrote a very detailed outline of the story. After outlining, I wrote the book in about a month. I spent about six months editing the manuscript before I began sending it to agents and publishers.

"I wrote the other four books in the series in quick succession; the second and third books, The Water Stone and The Wind Stone, while I was still fifteen, and the last two, The Immortality Scroll and The Final Alliance, when I was sixteen. All together, it took me about fifteen months to write the entire series.

"I think the biggest inspiration behind my writing is my love of reading. Many authors have inspired and influenced me! In terms of originally making the fantasy genre so appealing to me, I would have to say that T.A. Barron and Brian Jacques are two of my favorite authors. I was reading those authors at around the same time that I decided I wanted to be a writer. Now, I would also have to add writers like Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, Eoin Colfer, Cinda Williams Chima, C.S. Lewis, Rick Riordan, Orson Scott Card, and J.R. Tolkien.

"My love of reading is partially what inspired me to create my nonprofit for children’s literacy, Breaking the Chain. I believe that the way to help people, especially children, break the cycle of poverty and exploitation is through literacy.

"I created Breaking the Chain, when I was fourteen, after learning that there are 120 million children around the world don’t have the opportunity get an education and that there are 800 million adults that cannot read or write, two-thirds of whom are women. These women and children are very vulnerable to exploitation. They are unable to get jobs and they cannot feed or clothe themselves. Only through education do they have the opportunity to make their lives better.

"The mission of Breaking the Chain try to eliminate the bonds of poverty and illiteracy for children and their communities through education and sustainable development, both domestically and internationally. Building schools in places where the government cannot or will not build schools for their citizens seemed like a good place to begin. Breaking the Chain has built three schools in Africa, two of them in villages that we adopted where we also provide a water purification system, alternative income for the adults, like goats and sewing machines, and basic medical supplies. We’ve also created a children’s literacy center at a women’s shelter in Colorado, and bought over 1000 new books for children in low-income neighborhoods.

"This year, Breaking the Chain achieved tax-exempt status and my older brother, Nick, who is twenty, joined me (I wasn’t old enough to sit on the Board of Directors or to file the paperwork with the IRS). We are currently developing, and raising money for, a program to put new children’s books in U.S. schools with low literacy rates.

"I believe that Breaking the Chain is making a difference in children’s lives and I hope to continue to provide that hope and opportunity to children in the U.S. and around the world.
I have learned through my experiences with my nonprofit that one person really can make a difference if they persevere.

"A portion of the sales of The Fire Stone go directly to Breaking the Chain.

"You can buy my book at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, indiependentbooks.com (they have autographed copies), local independent book stores around the country, and you can read it at your local library. It is distributed by Ingram and Baker and Taylor."

Author Website: http://www.rileycarney.com/
Breaking the Chain Website: http://www.linkbylink.org/

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