Camille S. Campbell of Scottsdale, Arizona, is a 15-year-old homeschooler and author of the #1 Amazon bestselling Wishner Prophecy book series. Homeschooled since the third grade, Camille has always had a passion for writing. Her poetry has 30,000 copies in print, and she has won several awards for her written works.
Camille recently released a book called Teen’s Guide to Fun Social Distancing During COVID-19, which gives advice on how to be productive at home, keep up with studies, take on new hobbies, get along with family, stay in touch with friends, and live your best life—all while safely social distancing.
Homeschooling Teen had the pleasure of interviewing Camille for this article. We asked questions about her writing, homeschooling, hobbies and more. Enjoy!
- What is a typical day of homeschooling like at your house?
I like to establish a consistent routine. I follow it every day, which I talk about in the Teen’s Guide to Fun Social Distancing During Covid-19. I’ll write down my daily goals before starting my day and schedule time for both school and extracurriculars (mainly writing, but also guitar and painting). I leave about half an hour for physical activity, such as dancing or walking.
- What type of curriculum do you use (literature-based, classical, online, etc.) and what are your favorite subjects?
I used Abeka’s curriculum through elementary to middle school. I now use AP exam textbooks from different publishers and Khan Academy for supplemental explanation. My mother teaches me a foreign language, and my father teaches me science with experiments we conduct at home.
- What things have you learned from homeschooling that have been helpful in your writing?
The ability to have a more flexible schedule and study independently are two things that have benefited my writing. Being able to unleash my creativity (whenever it may strike) is an advantage of homeschooling. If I feel particularly inspired, I can write the entire day, but then make up the schoolwork on Saturday.
- Who are your role models? What books or authors have inspired you the most?
My mother is my biggest role model. She’s an inspiration to me and supports me so much with writing. Some of my favorite authors are Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, Chris Colfer and Marie Lu. I also love Madeleine L’Engle books. The first writing contest I won (at eleven years old) was for a biography about Madeleine L’Engle, who is such an inspiring author with an interesting life story. Her book A Wrinkle in Time is one of my all-time favorites.
- What is the Wishner Prophecy series about, and how did you come up with the idea?
The Wishner Prophecy series is about a girl who visits her grandfather in Egypt. She discovers that she has magical flame powers and must stop the Thief of Hearts from replacing all Wishner hearts with Scarab amulets. She goes on a journey through the Wishner Kingdom with a mindreader and many twists and turns happen along the way. The story was inspired by a dream I had one night when I was around ten years old, where an enchantress in an enchanted Egyptian cave said she would unleash a curse in fifty years. That idea became the basis of my prologue, and I wrote the main story at twelve and thirteen. I finally published it at fourteen years old and released The Wishner’s Masquerade this summer.
- Did any real people, places, or experiences influence your story?
The character Gildon, a noble griffin who has a close connection to a selfless enchantress named Clementine, is inspired by my dog Reno, who sadly passed away in 2018. Including a character inspired by him was my way of immortalizing him in the pages of the book. Another character, Arobithia, who is an enchantress with a stolen heart, was inspired by Cleopatra.
- How many books do you expect to be in the series, and are you working on the next one yet?
The Wishner Prophecy is a planned trilogy, and I am working on the third book currently. The main characters will battle in the Trials to determine who is the Chosen One. If my protagonist, Janet, loses, all Wishner hearts will be turned into Scarab amulets. A new character will appear in the third book whose role will be crucial for the outcome of Trials.
- Do you write every day? Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I try to write something every day, whether that’s part of an article, a poem, a book I am working on, or editing a piece I wrote before. Other days, I may do some research, like reading mythological books for worldbuilding. I love to do my writing on an antique French desk from the 1800s. Above the desk, I have a print of a painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard called “A Young Girl Reading.” I think it’s helpful to have a designated place that puts you in the right mood for creative work.
- What is your secret to maintaining your creativity and productivity even in difficult times?
Hold yourself accountable for reaching goals. Sometimes, I will tell myself that I want to finish writing a book or enter some writing competition at a certain time. If you hold yourself to big goals, then you’ll find that you can achieve them better. These difficult times are an opportunity to become a better version of ourselves. We can work on our passions and take this time to immerse ourselves in creative projects.
- What made you decide to write the Teen’s Guide to Fun Social Distancing?
Some of my friends were struggling with the big change in their lives, and I felt that I could give them and other teens advice to help them make the best out of this situation. When writing the guide, I wanted it to contain important things such as communicating with family better, staying in touch with friends, self-studying, and finding fun activities. I also wanted to incorporate my own experiences (learning music, doing different forms of art, studying astronomy) into the book. I also wanted to bring positivity in times where it is easy to feel down.
- How do you get in the mood for writing?
Sometimes, I like to act out scenes to get more involved and write better dialogue. In the background, I play music, including epic fantasy music for action scenes. To get in the mood for writing, I can look at interesting artwork on Pinterest or listen to a song that reminds me of the character I’m writing about.
- How did you go about getting your first book published? Who designed the cover artwork?
After writing The Wishner’s Curse, I wasn’t sure how to go about getting it published but, when I read about self-publishing, I felt that (for this book) it was the right option for me. So, I decided to get feedback from editors, find a formatter, and prepare a book promotion plan. After seeing Kelley McMorris’s gorgeous artwork on StoryBird, I felt like she would do a gorgeous illustration depicting the Wishner World. I emailed her with definite ideas of what I wanted the cover to look like. I was so lucky to have such a renowned illustrator as Kelley McMorris to do my cover. Communicating with her is also such a pleasure, and it’s exciting to see what creative illustrations she comes up with.
- Where have your poems been published? Do you plan on making a book of poems someday?
My poems have been published/recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing and Bow Seat Ocean Awareness awards (bronze award), as well as their anthology of Ocean Awareness art. In the future, I would certainly consider publishing a poetry book. Right now, I’m mostly focused on full-length middle grade and young adult books, though. I found that, with poems, the writing process is different for me. When a strong idea comes into my mind, the poem will take only a short time to write.
- When you’re not busy writing, what other hobbies or activities do you like to pursue in your spare time?
I love painting on silk, which is an Eastern European form of art. My favorite things to paint are masks from masquerades, orchids, and landscapes. I also enjoy playing classical guitar (which I have been doing for six years now), reading books in different genres and taking a walk in the evening.
- What are a few of your favorite movies and/or TV shows?
I enjoy watching Downton Abbey, Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Father Brown.
- What are your favorite comfort foods?
My favorite foods are banana bread, lasagna, gelato and dolma (which is a cool Mediterranean dish).
- Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
One day, I would love to visit France. Besides walking through the streets of Paris and going to the best art museums, I would also like to go to Le Mont Saint Michel castle in Normandy, France.
- What are your future plans and aspirations?
I want to continue writing books and write in the young adult and mystery genre. I’m interested in earning a business marketing degree and want to pursue a career that will help others achieve their dreams.
- What is your favorite quote?
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison
- Any closing thoughts you’d like to share with other homeschooling teens?
Make time for things you love to do and pursue YOUR passion. Everyone has different strengths, and it’s essential to find what you’re good at (and enjoy doing). Also, remember that you can start reaching for your dreams NOW, even as a teen.
Thank you so much, Camille, for taking the time to do this interview, and allowing us a glimpse into your homeschool and writing world. 🙂
Visit Camille’s website at camillescampbell.com
Buy Camille’s books on Amazon.