Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island–C.K. Volnek Author Interview

on October 14, 2011

October is my favorite month. Crunchy leaves. Halloween. Ghost stories. And, today, I’m very excited to have C.K. Volnek on the blog talking about her newest book for tween readers, GHOST DOG OF ROANOKE ISLAND.  Thanks for joining us today!

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island by CK Volnek

Can you tell us a little bit about your book, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island?

Hi Mindy, thank you so much for having me. GHOST DOG OF ROANOKE ISLAND is a tween ghost story, with some chilling Native American folklore thrown in, and based on a true mystery that has never been solved…the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. Here is the blurb for my book:

In 1587, 117 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island without a trace, leaving behind not only unanswered questions, but a terrifying evil.  Now it’s up to twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the age-old mystery and save his family from the hateful beast that haunts Roanoke Island. With the help of newfound friend, Manny, a Native American shaman, and an elusive Giant Mastiff, Jack must piece together the clues of the Lost Colony to discover what really happened. Shrouded in ancient Native American folklore, it’s up to Jack to uncover what the evil is and why it haunts his island. But can he destroy it…before it destroys him?

Watch the book trailer for GHOST OF ROANOKE ISLAND!

Where did you get the idea?

I love ghost stories. And I love a good mystery, especially when that mystery is linked to a real life event. When I happened upon an article about the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, I was fascinated by the mystery and my muse went wild coming up with a story of what she believes might have happened to the missing 117 colonists. I was also appalled by the actions of Sir Richard Grenville and Ralph Lane. They destroyed an entire Native American village simply because Grenville thought one of them stole a silver cup from his ship. This reaction from Grenville warranted my muse to create a story evoking the value of acceptance and tolerance and the power of forgiveness…coupled within a good, chilling ghost story.

Can you talk a little bit about the process of writing a book from a boy’s point of view? What were the challenges?

Jack is almost 13. And he reminds his father of this often. I pulled most of Jack’s character from my own two boys as they grew up…their moods, dreams, desires, and wants. Being a tween is a challenging age for a boy. They are on the threshold of becoming a man, but feel the world still sees them as a little boy. They want to fight to prove themselves, sometimes with consequences they never expect.

Writing from a boy’s perspective can be challenging. My main concern was to make my character believable and honorable, while keeping the interest of my reader. My middle son is one reason I write for tweens. He hated to read. This challenged me to create a story tween boys would want to read and learn a little something about history as well.

You also have another book, A HORSE CALLED TROUBLE, coming in December 2011 from MuseItUp. Can you tell us a little bit about this book?

Thanks for asking about A HORSE CALLED TROUBLE. This book is a horse story geared for tween girls.Having grown up with horses, I have a great love for these magnificent creatures. I know from personal experience how a horse can turn an irritable, scowling teenager into a calm, caring softie.  In this novel, a troubled teen must overcome her abusive past to save the defiant horse that taught her to love and trust again…

Tara Cummings hasn’t had an easy life. Abandoned by her mother at the young age of seven, she’s been passed from foster home to foster home, not wanted anywhere by anyone. At thirteen she finds herself skeptic and suspicious, with no family, no friends, and forced to participate in horse therapy.

Horse therapy ‘will teach trust, perseverance, respect, and the value of teamwork,’ or so says the program’s instructor. Tara is unconvinced. Trust only got her heart broken. Perseverance only gets her put down. And no one respects or wants to team up with the misfit foster kid.

At the horse farm, Tara meets Trouble, an angry and defiant horse, bent on destroying everything and everyone around him. At first Tara is afraid of Trouble, until she realizes he’s as misunderstood and untrusting as she is. She pushes aside her fears and a special relationship is formed as she alone manages to calm the wild horse, much to the surprise of everyone at the farm. Trouble trusts Tara and Tara in turn finds hope and acceptance as well as the will to love and trust again herself.

Tara’s self-esteem grows through the therapy program as she begins to work through her shyness and reservations. But her confidence is shaken as an even greater challenge looms ahead. Trouble’s manipulative owner, Alissa, is determined to have him destroyed because of his ‘dangerous’ nature. Tara must overcome her own limitations and fight to save the horse that has freed her heart and given her life value and meaning. But can Tara save the horse, or will Alissa destroy them both?

Watch the book trailer for a HORSE CALLED TROUBLE

What is one piece of advice you would give to young people who want to write?

There are two important elements I would like to stress to young writers…

One – Believe in yourself. We are our own worst enemy. I still find times where I will doubt myself. I’ll read a really great book, one so good I can’t imagine my stories ever comparing. But that’s when my characters jump in and give me a good kick in the behind and remind me of one of my favorite quotes … To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. Your story might be the saving grace to one person out there. YOU have a story to tell and no one else can tell it for you. If you don’t write it, it won’t get written.

Two – Never give up! No matter what. Write, write, write and write some more. Put one story to bed and move onto another. Don’t let your muse shrivel up. She can cause you great distress if you don’t let her out to play and she will starve if you don’t feed her.

Thanks for joining us today! Where can readers find you?

Thanks so much for having me today. I’d love to have your readers contact me at ckvolnek (at) yahoo (dot) com.

They can join me on my web page: www.ckvolnek.com, or visit me at my blog: www.ckvolnek.com/blog.html.

They can also find me on Facebook (C.K. Volnek) or Twitter (CKVolnek), Good Reads and Jacket Flap.

My books are available at:

MuseItUp Book Store:


and many other fine book locations on-line!


6 responses to “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island–C.K. Volnek Author Interview

  1. Well done, Charlie. I have a ten year old granddaughter who now has her Nook and loves to read. I’m going to recommend both your books to her. She reads at a twelfth grade level, but she has wide interests, and loves historical writing. Good luck with the release of these wonderful reads.

  2. First, beautiful site Mindy! Love it! Now for Ghost Dog – What perfect timing for Halloween! I’ve already started it and can’t wait to finish! This one’s a winner C.K.!!! Jan

  3. Marva Dasef says:

    I’m reading the book right now. I also had sons, so know a bit about them, or at least what they didn’t successfully hide from me.

    I’m enjoying the book, and what I do remember about 13-year-old boys, Charlie is spot on in delivery.

  4. C.K. Volnek says:

    Hi all. Thanks for joining me here today! And thanks to Mindy for hosting me. It’s such a joy to meet such wonderful friends! You guys make me blush, but I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book. It was a lot of fun to write. Thanks again to all of you!
    C.K. Volnek

  5. Sue Perkins says:

    I have the Ghost Dog sitting on my computer waiting for me to read it. Sounds wonderful Charlie and I’m really looking forward to it.

  6. Mindy says:

    C.K, Thanks again for stopping by to visit with us and talk about your new book! I’ll look forward to another interview with you in December about A Horse Called Trouble!

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