Your book has been on my radar for a while but it wasn’t until recently that I realised what a journey you have been on and how similar our journeys are to each other.

What can readers look forward to in the series?

Swimming Sideways, the first book in The Cantos Chronicles, is the catalyst for the other two books, The Ugly Truth and The Bones of Who We Are. A YA Contemporary, it follows Abby Kaiāulu as she begins at a new school where she gets caught unwittingly between two young men—former best friends Seth and Gabe—who need to face their own struggles to find healing. Abby’s story is about her personal journey to understand herself as a young Hawaiian woman, but it also  inspires change for all of the characters. While each story is in and of itself its own narrative around  each of the characters, the series explores the series of events through their different perspectives. It’s a love triangle in some ways, but the love triangle isn’t the focus.

Are there similar series to yours?

Swimming Sideways has a Hawaiian cultural element that is very unique which I’m not sure comps very well, but I think Randy Ribay’s Patron Saints of Nothing has a gorgeous cultural element and Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer is a lovely title that looks at how love can inspire individual growth. I had a reviewer compare my writing style to John Green and Brigid Kemmerer, so that’s awesome.

Tell me about the main character Abby?

Abby has moved with her family from Hawaii to Oregon; it’s a last ditch effort to save the family from what looks to be a divorce. Abby, though, is leaving behind a secret in Hawaii and is glad to be starting over and leaving that part of her life behind her. Oregon provides an awesome opportunity. She’s trying hard to redefine herself in this new place trying to be a good big sister to her twin brothers and a good daughter to her parents. She thinks that if she can just do things “right” then she will be able to control the outcome of this move. But secrets never stay hidden and Abby is going to choose whether the mistake controls her or if she’s ready to forgive herself?

The books in the Cantos Chronicles came to you out of order and you published book 2, The Ugly Truth, first. What was it like when you realised your first book in the series wasn’t book 1?

So frustrating and one of those forehead slap moments. But I also think that had I not written Seth’s story, The Ugly Truth, first, I wouldn’t have come to understand the other two stories. So while I made the rookie mistake, that mistake brought understanding and growth and helped me eventually finish the series.

Originally you published exclusively to Amazon but then moved to publish wide with Ingram Sparks. What motivated this change of direction?

After I finished The Bones of Who We Are (the third book in The Cantos Chronicles), I wanted to get them into local bookstores. After lots of phone tag, I finally got to talk to someone who in a very direct (but helpful) way said, “Why do we want to carry our competition?” (meaning Amazon). The question was eye-opening for me and made me reexamine my goals as a writer. What did I want? What was important to me and my author journey? Who did I want to be as a creative for the long haul? The answers to those questions helped me refine my ideas about my career as a writer and “authorpreneur.” That was the impetus behind the shift.

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Cami (C. L. Waters)?

Up early (usually around 5am give or take thirty minutes in either direction). I spend time journalling and reflecting on my faith walk. Then it’s getting the family moving for the day. When they are gone, I’m working on the business side of writing: blogs, newsletter, beta-reads, editing, catching up on email, planning and implementing marketing strategies, whatever needs attention. In the afternoon I’m working on creative writing and wherever I am in my process. Currently, I’m rewriting my 6th novel. I wrote a blog describing this. Here’s a link: https://www.clwalters.net/blog/2020/11/4/indie-author-life-a-day-in-the-life-of-

Can you share a snippet of the book?

Sure! How much do you want?

Here’s a moment when Abby “meets” Gabe for the first time:

I slink out of the room, head down, and run right into somebody walking through the hallway. Ass on the floor and Good Abby can’t contain the bad one any longer: “What the hell!” I snap. “Watch where you’re going!” I look up at the culprit. The anger catches in my throat. I’ve bumped into a boy the size of a wall.

“I could say the same thing about you,” he replies. His voice has the lure of the ocean surf in the distance, a gentle and relaxing rumble. His bright blue eyes are the Hawaiʻi Pacific Ocean, intensely bright set in the golden glow of his bronze skin. His black hair is longish, curly, hanging over his sharp features though his lips are soft and full. He holds out a hand, the sinew of his muscles hinted in the exposure of the brown skin at his wrist.

He helps me up.

Someone in the hall passes and jostles him with a shoulder. The Wall loses his balance and knocks against me as I stand, but I don’t fall a second time. His arm wraps around me and keeps me from falling to the floor again. We’re so close that I smell the clean scent of him like soap and a hint of something spicy. My hand still in his, an arm around his solid and unforgiving shoulders, electricity winds up my arm straight to my heart and flutters with the current.

“Freak,” a passing voice in the hallway says.

I pull away regretting the loss of the connection but unwilling to go back to the social dump. Been there. Done that. This is me starting over.

Good Abby rule: Selectively choose your friends.

The Wall looks at me. His eyes have narrowed, the color now flinty, and the energy I thought I felt retreats somewhere safe. I notice the knowing look on his face, and it’s a knife in my gut. His jaw tightens. He recognizes this current version of me all too well. I identify his awareness because I was him, after all, the one they called names. It may have not been freak, but slut or whore did the same kind of damage. I knew a version of this new me too, and it makes me feel ashamed.

“Sorry,” he mutters and pulls his black hood over his head as he walks away.

Good Abby coaxes the bad one not to look back, not to watch him walk away. Bad Abby wants more than anything to turn around, say she’s sorry and let him know she’s been there. But she listens to Good Abby and goes to her next class. I walk away wondering which one is good Abby and which one is bad?

Excerpt from Swimming Sideways (2020) by CL Walters

Where can we go to discover more about you and your books?

My website is probably the best place to find out everything you need to know. www.clwalters.net

If you enjoyed this post, you will enjoy other behind the book posts. Check out:

Behind the Book: 2020 Collection

Behind the Book: Agent: Undone by Cassidy Reyne

Behind the Book: A Heart of Salt & Silver by Elexis Bell

Book Review: And the Stars Were Burning Brightly

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