Grace Awards Launch – Kenneth Winters
THE LOST CROWN OF COLONNADE – Interview by Tammy Doherty
I’m pleased to have this opportunity to interview my friend and fellow author, Ken Winters.
When I was a teen, Ken Winters and his wife Connie played a big part in the foundation of my faith. Back then, Ken was the Youth Minister at my church; he led a musical group (made up of many of my friends) called True Direction. I did Ken the favor of not singing. Later, Ken joined the Navy Chaplain service and we fell out of touch for a number of years. When he retired and came back to my church as Associate Pastor it was a great joy to learn that Ken had become an aspiring novelist.
In the last few years, Ken and I have both grown in our writing abilities, each helping the other. Now, Ken’s dream has reached fruition with the publication of his young adult novel THE LOST CROWN OF COLONNADE. I LOVE this book! It’s got action, adventure, a touch of romance, humor, and (most important?!) talking bears. Here’s a blurb about the book:
A Strange New World…Faithful Friends…Impossible Quest!
Davey Johnsen is a physically challenged fourteen-year-old from a wealthy community in Connecticut. In a moment he exchanges the comfort of his beautiful home for the rugged terrain of an unknown land.
There he meets six faithful companions who join him in the perilous journey to reclaim “The Lost Crown of Colonnade.” One of them is the most beautiful young lady he has ever met, the teenage Princess Alisande.
Is it all a dream, or are his new friends and the enemies he faces very real? Will this band of seven accomplish their quest, or will they fall victim to the overwhelming forces of the Evil King of Necrus and his Master, Dagron?
And now for the interview!
Tammy: Seems like youth ministry is near and dear to your heart. Can you touch on that?
Ken: Yes, Tammy. As you know, from 1976-83 I served as Youth Pastor in North Brookfield. Then God led me into the Navy and for twenty years I primarily ministered to and counseled young adults and young families. So, the societal changes that affect them have been obvious and important to me.
Tammy: Is that what led you to write a young adult novel?
Ken: It was a part of it. Of course, this book “developed” over many years. I don’t think it would have ever been completed if it weren’t for the encouragement of the Writers’ Group at our Church, and friends like you and Kay Combs. My hope was that this book might get some teens or young adults to re-think their values and beliefs. I have to mention that, while I did write this book with that audience in mind, the book has been read and enjoyed by people from 11 to 92! The 92-year-old, a dear friend named Mike, read it in a couple of days about 2 months before the Lord called him home.
Tammy: In THE LOST CROWN OF COLONNADE, Davey comes from a dysfunctional home where he has all the worldly goods a boy could want but is missing the most important thing – love. Do you see this as a common problem with today’s kids?
Ken: The American family today is in big trouble. At least Davey’s parents are still together. Unlike him, many of the teens and young adults I have met come from broken homes. Sometimes there have been multiple relationships that parents have had with multiple other spouses and/or “significant others” over the years. That doesn’t create a very stable place to grow in and learn about what a family should be.
I do find that, even among less affluent families, “THINGS” have become way too important. The biggest HDTV, the newest cell phone or I-Pad bring a temporary thrill, but no deep meaning. When obtaining and playing with things supplants building loving relationships with others, or the God who created us, the results are emptiness or hurt or both.
Tammy: Some of the characters and scenery in your novel are reminiscent of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. I like the conversational voice of the writing, almost as if I’m sitting by the fire in Bundiggle’s trading post, listening to you tell the story. Your humorous author interjections are much like Tolkien in THE HOBBIT. Were these authors an influence in your writing style and/or the choice of setting?
Tammy: Davey comes from Connecticut, where you were last stationed with the Navy. Colonnade, however, is a fictitious land. Are there any real-world influences on the setting? For example, Davey arrives in a cave and crawls through a tunnel to exit, finding himself on the side of a dead (or sleeping) volcano. Is that a bit of Hawaii?
Ken: No, it’s a bit of Colonnade’s Northern Reaches. Obviously, there are things I have used from my own personal travels to the Rocky Mountains, Europe, the Dominican Republic and even Caverns here in the Continental US. But I did not consciously model Colonnade after any one of those places.
Tammy: THE LOST CROWN ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but can you share a little about book 2?
Ken: Hmmm. Book 2 is a work in progress. Many of the key characters return to take their respective places in the next adventure. I won’t tell you which characters. I believe there will be some surprises in store for those who have enjoyed The Lost Crown. The working title right now is “The Enchanted Bride” Book II of the Journeys to Colonnade.
Tammy: Wrapping up on a lighter note, my daughter wants me to ask this question – quoting from the novel: Most of the talking bears I know prefer small quiet farm villages, or just living in the woods like Snuffles.
How many talking bears DO you know?