Drawn by Chris Ledbetter‏


Drawn by Chris Ledbetter
YA Paranormal Interracial Romance
Released: June 5, 2015

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.
After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.
To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.
If he fails… they both die.
Evernight Teen Amazon Print ARe

I slide into art class right before the bell tolls. I sit down and flip open my sketchpad. Today’s warm-up is retraining on shading properties. A sphere the size of a basketball, but with the color and texture of a Ping-Pong ball, sits on the front table with a desk lamp shining on it. I tighten my grip around the obsidian shaft of my graphite pencil and produce long sweeping arcs, punctuated with short scrawls on my sketch paper.
Our task is to draw four similar spheres and shade each one using a different technique: tonal, scumble, smudge, and crosshatch. Shading is the key to chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and dark in art. It’s how the artist turns flat, two-dimensional objects into three-dimensional beings.
With my hand whirring on the mundane warm-up activity, I shoot a glance toward Jameson Scott across the room. My mind drifts briefly to the online video game based on the U.S. Navy SEALs we’d played the previous night. We play DEVGRU: War On Terror, on a team with two guys who live in other cities––Charlottesville, VA and Charleston, SC. In gearing up for a tournament, we had a good run last night. Still amazes me that we can play on a team together and reside in three different places.
Jameson flashes me a DEVGRU-based hand signal. He motions his hands overhead in two sharp flicks forward, which basically tells me the equivalent of get your ass back to work. His large, seventies-style Afro bobs back and forth when he returns his attention to his work.
After the warm-up activity that I could’ve done in my sleep, Mr. Jaques stands at the front of the class in his signature slumped posture. “When beginning a work from scratch, as artists, we project images in our minds of what we wish to sketch, right?” He grabs a handful of his long, graying hippie hair, looking like he just stepped out of Woodstock. “In our minds, we view it clear as day. So why is it harder to draw an image from our minds than one on a physical plane before our eyes?”
No one answers. He walks between our drawing tables and continues, “The biggest hindrance is scale. We can see a picture in front of us and gauge it against its canvas, right? How far it is from the top, and sides, etc. The image in our minds has no direct, translatable scale. It changes and shifts… fog rolls in and out… lines blur, sharpen, and then haze again. It’s amorphous.”
God, but that man can ramble. I rest my chin in my hand and glance over at Jameson. He takes two fingers and points at his eyes and then to the teacher. He’s taking this DEVGRU team leader role a bit too far.
The Jaques monologue, or as we say, his sermon, continues. “The best of us can manage that internal image so that sketching from our minds is like copying from a physical picture. That’s why we work on shading, light against dark, as a means to convey substance and structure… in short, reality.”
I spin my pencil around my thumb, waiting for him to get to the end of this massive address. I should be used to it.
“All right, my little Van Gogh’s and Goghette’s, I have a challenge for you,” he says in his best British accent. Lord knows why he does this. He’s not British. “For the next twenty minutes of class, you are to recreate a picture that I will flash on the overhead for exactly five minutes. After that, you must recreate from memory. Whoever does the best shall receive a homework pass. Pencils at the ready.”
The wheels squeak as he rolls the overhead projector into place, and then turns out the light. Each student turns on his or her desk lamp. I think the strength in each bulb is something like three watts. Maybe two and a half. Mr. Jaques flips the switch and then a gorgeous picture of Taylor Swift pops up. She stands with her hands on her hips, sheathed in a black licorice-colored bandage dress. Two-thirds of her body is turned away and her hair is a waterfall of citron and goldenrod curls.

Author Interview

Hi Chris! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
It’s about a boy who unwittingly endangers his crush’s life, and then must risk his own to save her.

What inspired you to write it?
Almost all stories that I write begin as a “what if?” The very first “what if” that occurred to me was what if drawings came to life? And then the rest of the story developed from there.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
I had sketched a few ideas about what I thought the cover could look like. But, I’m no digital artist. So I gave my ideas to Jay Aheer, a very talented artist. And she developed the gorgeous cover.

If it were made into a movie, whom would you like to play the main characters?

Hmmmm, good one. Maybe Jaden Smith for Cameron and Bella Thorne for Farrah. ☺

Is it part of a series or is it a stand-alone novel?
It stands alone nicely, but I am working on a sequel.

Where is the novel set and why did you choose to set it there?
The real world setting is Wilmington, NC. I live here, and wanted to write a story that I could hang my home city onto. The setting within the book is based on Italy circa the Renaissance. I chose that place and time because it was one of the most artistically creative periods in history.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
I love the transformative stories in YA. I love seeing my characters come through the fire and emerge stronger for it. Additionally, I think like a teenager most of the time, so it’s natural.

What made you want to become an author?
I just really enjoy the process of creating stories. It makes me feel alive.

How do you come up with character names?
The character names typically come to me after I inhabit their heads for a period of time. Cameron Shade came from two aspects. There is a Cameron Art Museum around the corner from me. Shade reflects his artistic nature as well as his skin tone. Farrah Spangled came from the fact that I wanted her to have a non-standard name. Spangled came from how Cameron views her.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Where is your favourite place to write?
HAHA! At the beach, actually. But, I can sink into my worlds almost anywhere

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Casino Royale

Name two of your favourite authors.

Kimberley G. Little and Martina Boone

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I played bass drum in my college marching band.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
photo credit: Cuba Gooding Junior via photopin (license)
HA! Cuba Godding Jr.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
Wilmington, NC is nestled between the ocean and a river.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I’ll keep churning out stories and hopefully they’ll all be greeted favorably.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
Travelling to Italy.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
I lovvve ALL Greek myths. Choosing a favorite is akin to choosing a favourite child. (See what I did there? I used your spelling of favorite. Possibly British. Or perhaps Aussie). One of my favorites has to be the story of Jason and Medea. It’s passionate and disturbing at the same time.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I actually wanted to run a Fortune 500 company. Then I wanted to be an entrepreneur.

Christopher S. Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After graduating high school, he attended Hampton University, where he promptly joined the best marching band on the east coast, without having one shred of experience.
He taught high school and coached football for six years in Culpeper, VA. He enjoys the occasional Spartan Race, and is working toward a triathlon.
As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year.
He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family.


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