Chris Kempling enjoys making walking sticks in his spare time.
The newspaper columnist, poet, songwriter and author has been busy, having written and published a fantasy trilogy, work that began just as the pandemic arrived.
Kempling was out cutting a stick in the hills near his Juniper Ridge home when his saw slipped, producing a gash on his hand.
“I thought, ‘Ooh, that stick didn’t want to be cut.’ It was like it was fighting back,” he said.
“A stick that fought back? Kempling thought about a scenario in which that could happen.
”Well, if a wizard put a spell on it and this stick-cutter trespassed onto his territory to get this stick,” is what Kempling thought and the germ of a tale began to form in his mind.
A mere five months later, his story was finished.
The Blood Hammer trilogy series — Quest for the Crown, Black Hand Rises and Ghost Singer’s Prophecy — landed at Amazon and Chapters Indigo this past August, published by Tellwell Talent.
Kempling said there was no plan to write a trilogy. He knew he had to have a good villain and some engaging characters.
His plan was to kill off the villain at the end of the first book, but realized the antagonist was so “deliciously bad” that he had to keep him around to make life miserable for the hero.
Kempling wanted someone ordinary for the main character — a common theme in book writing.
That character is Genneset, a humble tinker-man, a roving knife sharpener wandering the towns and villages of Zutheria.
Following a chance encounter with the wizard Astaran, Genneset’s walking stick is given an unspeakable power — Blood Hammer.
Kempling said he drew inspiration for characters from both everyday experiences and from his own past.
“I remember this tinker, this knife-sharpener,” Kempling said, as he recalled his childhood.
“He would wander around the neighbourhoods and ring his little bell and the housewives would come out of their doors with their scissors and knives and he would sharpen them all.”
Other characters appear from Kempling’s daily encounters. Thompson Rivers University student Tamba Kemoh from Sierra Leone was one of those whose impressive physique inspired the character Dzulhcho, a broad-shouldered bodyguard.
Working as a transit bus driver, Kempling met Kemoh on his route, Kemoh’s impressive physique was hard to miss.
“[He is] a huge man. He would give me a fist bump with a fist the size of a ham every time he got on the bus.”
Significant to this fantasy series, Kempling has woven his knowledge of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation language into his storytelling, incorporating words from all three Carrier dialects.
Having lived in Quesnel for more than 25 years, Kempling learned First Nations Carrier from an Ootsa Lake elder.
The Northern B.C. Indigenous dialect of First Nations Carrier appears in place names of rivers, mountains and regions and in many of the names of tribes and peoples in the story.
To find the Blood Hammer trilogy series, go online to amazon.ca or chapters.indigo.ca.
For signed copies of the Blood Hammer trilogy, you can contact the author by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.