Over the last twenty years, Matt Campbell has been putting his love for fantasy down on paper. He began writing at the age of 11, but he has been telling stories long before then. With interests in writing, woodworking, parenting, comic books, movies, and video games, Matt always has something new to write about and to inspire him.
Matt’s passion for love for the fantastic inspired him to write his debut novel, The Chosen of the Light. At a staggering 400,000 words, Matt was forced to split his novel up into three books, the first of which,Spirit Summoner, is due later in 2013. He lives in Western Washington with his wife, Jen, and son, Jacobi.
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Spirit Summoner: The Chosen of the Light: Book One
Darr has the ability to hear the disembodied voices of the spirits. Unfortunately, the spirits have nothing useful to say. A young, inexperienced Spirit Summoner, Darr often wonders at the purpose of such a useless ability. When an unnatural fire sweeps through his village, Darr sets out on a mission of self-discovery and curiosity.
As a Spirit Summoner, Darr learns he can enter the spirit realm. There he has access to the elemental magic contained within the Sephirs, legendary artifacts that once promised balance for a world turning towards chaos. Now, the Sephirs’ powers are dwindling since their untimely disappearance, and Darr is at the center of the quest to find and recover them. Suddenly, Darr’s curiosity is a whirlpool threatening to drown him, but his compulsion to see things through locks him into a journey attracted to disaster.
For the Sephirs do more than restrain the primal forces of magic. The Devoid, an evil long caged and hungry, has begun to loosen the bars of its prison. If the Sephirs fail, the Devoid will escape and feed on the Light of the living until nothing remains.
And the Devoid knows Darr’s lack of confidence is the key needed to free itself completely.
How would you describe Spirit Summoner: The Chosen of the Light’s protagonist, Darr? Can you tell us three things about him that you won’t find in the book?
Darr has an ability that allows him to hear the voices of the spirits, an ability that many liken to a handicap. He’s comfortable enough with his abilities and his control over them to live a perfectly normal life, but he lives wanting to know more about the power that can leave him disabled at times. Once he discovers the true power at his fingertips, he finds himself way in over his head.
Darr loves exploring the country around his home, he’s fascinated with Ictarian history and geography, and well, let’s just say he has a long story ahead of him.
Now tell us three things about yourself that we won’t find on your website.
I’m pretty open about myself on my website, but here it goes. I love playing with Legos. The absolute worst food I ever ate was macaroni & cheese mixed with cooked (canned) spinach. My all-time favorite gift came as a complete surprise from my best friend…it was a full size replica for the Buster Sword from Final Fantasy VII.
What characteristics / interests / personality traits do you share in common with Darr?
Darr and I share a thirst for exploration, but for both of us, this is a double-edged sword. As great as it is to explore, it takes you away from home.
Another important trait we share are the techniques we use to calm and focus ourselves. I learned deep breathing techniques in college to help with stress and mood changes, techniques Darr uses to keep himself separated from the spirit world.
How did you come up with the Spirit Summoner, the Sephirs and the Devoid? Are these unique takes on mythological entities or did you create them from scratch?
The Sephirs have always been the most fascinating to me because they’re based off the classical four elements. Of course, it only seems natural to have a person who can harness these elements. Enter the Spirit Summoner and the Devoid, two entities who can control the elements and who can do so for very different reasons. I always try to stress how fragile the line between good and evil can be.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What genres do you like to read?
I tend to read within the fantasy genre because that’s what interests me. I try not to limit myself to my sub-genre though. I loved Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby. Both authors are great storytellers of the fantastic.
When you are not writing, reading or working, what do you do to refresh and relax?
A have a few different hobbies I bounce between. Reading comics, woodworking in the shop and at home, and going for bike rides are all great fun. However, none of them holds a candle to a good RPG video game. I love games with deeply involved stories.
Every night since the Archon’s departure, Darr had gone into the Currents and searched for him. He tried calling out to the spirit creature, but his voice didn’t carry in the Currents like it did in the physical world. One other option remained, but the thought of it terrified him.
Darr chewed at his lower lip and stared across the room at Erec and Jinn. The bright flame of a candle danced on the table beside the bed, sending up shadows across the walls. Jinn glanced over at him with a questioning look.
“What’re you thinking, Darr?” she asked.
Darr relaxed and gave a faint smile. “I have to try something, and I want you two to watch over me for a moment. Just watch. I’ll only be gone for a second.”
“Gone. Where are you going?” Erec asked with skepticism thick in his voice.
The Summoner didn’t answer. He closed his eyes and breathed into his stomach, his mind and body calmed. Carefully, he opened his ears to the voices of the spirits, and…
…he entered the Currents in a smooth, soundless rush.
The wisteria light of the spirit realm spread out before him, laced with the blues and yellows, reds and greens of the Four Elements. The beauty of the place radiated so much awe it made him want to cry. His brother and sister were there, mirrored by the Light giving them life. Darr wanted to reach out and touch them, to feel what they were feeling, but he resisted the temptation.
He quieted his mind and expanded his senses further, yet another lesson he’d learned from Racall. In doing so, the forms of Erec and Jinn receded into the wisteria light, leaving him alone with the fuzzballs of illumination that were the spirits. They danced and swirled all about him, their voices faint and indistinct. Darr prepared to reach out to them. How should he address them?
–Welcome, Darr Reintol–
–Welcome, Summoner of the Archons–
–Welcome, Walker of the Currents–
The voices startled him. Racall had taught him how to shut out their voices until he was ready to hear them. Somehow, his preparations had failed.
“Hello,” Darr greeted, though he remained wary.
The spirits swirled around him, their listless forms coalescing all about his insubstantial body.
–Do not fear us Summoner–
–Your fear is not necessary–
–What do you require of us–
–What do you desire–
A faint tugging sensation pulled at Darr’s mind, a warning perhaps. Emotions welled up inside him, and he fought to push them down. He couldn’t panic now.
“I’m looking for the Archon of Earth. Where can I find him?” Darr asked.
“Yes, where can I find the Archon of Earth?”
The spirits began to spin madly about him. Fragmented images tumbled into Darr’s mind. Mountains and trees and shooting blades of grass. Boulders rose out of rich soil and flowers and other plants sprouted from choking overgrowth. He saw rotting tree trunks fresh with green moss, and rockslides plunging down mountains, flattening grasses and trees only to renew them.
Darr gasped in shock. In all of these images, he saw Racall. The spirits were showing him the ways in which Racall spread the magic of his Sephir out across Ictar, his physical presence by the loosest definition. The Summoner struggled against the images flooding into his head, trying to find an end to the web the spirits wove into his own Light. The images didn’t stop, they increased in intensity and frequency. Darr’s emotions rose to the surface.
“Please, stop,” he cried in panic. “This isn’t what I meant.”
The spirits didn’t hear him. The white pinpricks of light came swarming out of the ether. They touched him, weaving their minuscule bodies in and out of his own Light, a repulsive sensation. They were feeding off his emotions, and in turn, he began to feed off theirs. The memories and emotions of the spirits poured through his mind and soul, and in doing so, he had difficulty remembering anything about himself.
The calming hue of the Currents, and the spinning white lights of the spirits, were all he was aware of. He could barely remember why he’d come here. Did he have a family? Did he have a purpose? What was his name?
His questions no longer mattered. He gave in to the memories and emotions of the spirits driving him onward. He reveled in their wisdom and in the countless lives they shared. He danced with them, swirling about the ether as they did. The Summoner shared all his feelings of exhilaration and joy and…
He froze. Something clicked in his mind, a tugging sensation. The spirits closed in tight, choking off his suspicions. Something was wrong, but he’d fallen too far into the Currents to figure it out. He couldn’t even remember his own name. Yet, another name had been preserved in the depths of his mind, a name he knew would free him. But he mustn’t speak it. He must will it.
A jolt of certainty coursed through him as he uttered the name, an utterance he made with only his Light. The spirits crowded over him in mad defiance, but their efforts were in vain. Wisteria light gave way to green and a massive shape exploded between the Summoner and the spirits. The ethereal forms scattered in every direction across the Currents. Darr’s memories cascaded down into his head, returning him to himself. First and foremost, he heard Racall’s lesson that the spirits were not to be trifled with for they would make him one of them.
Racall’s broad shape materialized out of the green light, reflecting a number of emotions Darr didn’t know the Archon possessed, worry and relief.
“I hope you have learned a valuable lesson, young Reintol,” he said in the familiar harmonized voice.
Darr was still shaken from his experience. “I should’ve taken greater care when I approached the spirits. How did I reach you? My voice was so strange.”
A trace of satisfaction radiated out of the Archon. “You are learning, Summoner. You are learning how to navigate the Currents as you are meant to.”
Racall motioned towards a light spot in the spirit realm. The forms of Erec and Jinn appeared before them, their Lights unchanged since Darr began his journey into the Currents.
“It is time to return, young Reintol. You have found what you came here for.”
The Summoner looked back at his brother and sister, and he drew his mind out of the Currents…
Spirit Summoner is available in paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com. Kindle, Nook, and most other ebook formats also available.