Hello everyone and WELCOME to the first in a series of Author Interviews. I will posting a new interview with an author, illustrator, or photographer every Friday, as long as I have people willing to be interviewed (and eventually I hope to agents and or publishers to the list). If you would like to be interviewed for this segment, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get you set up.
Without Further Ado, let’s get this party started with the one, the only, Charles Yallowitz. Author of the Legends of Windemere series and blog, as well as many other interesting things (don’t want to give anything away too soon here), Mr. Yallowitz has provided us with a great set of answers today.
Author Interview Questions: Charles Yallowitz
- What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write?
I write under the name Charles E. Yallowitz, which is my real and only one. I considered a pen name before I published, but I couldn’t think of anything. Also, I’d been told that it’s a lot harder to keep your real identity secret on the Internet. Figured it wasn’t worth the trouble.
- Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.
It was in 10th grade and I had just finished reading The Books of Lost Swords by Fred Saberhagen. The story and characters really grabbed my attention. One day I was reading a few of my favorite parts and the idea that I could write a story clicked in my head. I’d always enjoyed telling and listening to stories, so I set out to put pen to page. The whole thing has been a bumpy ride since then, but worth it.
- What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
I primarily write in Sword & Sorcery fantasy, which is also called Epic Fantasy and High Fantasy. I really enjoy the freedom of imagination within the genre because the world is pulled out of nothing. There’s no Earth or existing planet to work off of, so my world comes from the ground up. Just the evolution of Windemere has been exciting. I do occasionally get the urge to dabble in other genres. So far, I’ve tried poetry, fairy tales/journal, gory horror, paranormal thriller (not published), and I’m fiddling with the outline of a post-apocalyptic comedy action thing.
- What genres are your favorites to read? Why?
Fantasy for the same reason as above. I love escapism and drifting outside of our world. The specific type is the adventure and character-focused stories like Ranger’s Apprentice and Lord of the Rings. I’ve found that I don’t have much interest in the darker fantasy tales as I get older. This is probably why I throw a lot of humor and upbeat moments into my stories. At least when they fit because sometimes you have to go dramatic in a series to help a character grow.
- Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.
These are both tough questions. A favorite character of mine that someone else wrote could be Spider-Man, Ender Wiggin from Ender’s Game, and Horace from Ranger’s Apprentice. Right now Horace is in the lead because I’m still reading through the series. I like him because he’s got a different kind of smarts than the quick-witted, creative ones. He’s definitely a warrior, but has these charming moments of genius that really stand out.
Hard to choose a character of mine as a favorite. Each one has a special place in my heart and I try to give them all equal time in a book. At least a big scene for each one. My attention does tend to drift back to Nyx a lot. She’s a powerful caster who starts with a temper and mellows out. Somewhere along the line, she became the character that all the others take their confidence from. If she says it can be done then they believe it. There are some days where I think she’s taken the main character role even though it’s an ensemble cast.
- There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
I’ve pondered this question a lot along with the one about casting that shows up from time to time. I think I’m at the point where I’d play it by ear if it ever happens. My concern right now are the books, which sounds rather lame. Just like with any deal that involves my stories, it would have to depend on the specifics. I’m really just dancing around an elaborate ‘I have no idea’ here.
- How do you handle writer’s block?
With a jackhammer, which usually means a shot of Jack Daniels and pizza. I’m sure there’s a hammer somewhere in the house when this happens. Honestly, I don’t really hit writer’s block in the traditional sense. I get confused with a project and move to another while I let my subconscious handle the issue. Then I come back a few days later to see what I’ve got. Since I started writing, I’ve done a combination of focusing on details and drifting with whimsical ideas. Much of this happens when I do detailed outlines, so I have a clear path when I get to the actual book. I feel strange saying this, but I haven’t had a problem writing creatively since my middle school days. I did have a scare when I was so stressed and exhausted that I thought my imagination disappeared. Fixed that with a few poems of the goofy and dark varieties.
- What inspires you?
This, that, and everything in-between. I never know what will set off an idea. Sometimes letting my mind wander while in bed will work and other times a show, movie, or book will trigger something. I try to observe a lot around me to file away for world and character creation, so I try to never close off the possibility of a random thing inspiring me. This does have a habit of getting me into trouble in public. Apparently staring blankly is a problem if somebody is in your line of sight. Doesn’t matter if you were daydreaming about what would happen if a dragon mated with a scorpion.
- How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
Most times I’ll move on to talk about my son because I know the person is uninterested. I leave it at the statement and only return if the person has a question. No sense pushing against a brick wall. The thing that causes me to stumble is the ‘Great that you’re an author, but I don’t read fantasy’. This one stuns me only because I don’t know if I should keep explaining my books or fake a stomach cramp. You have a combination of interest in what you do, but not in what you write. Sometimes this leads to talking about the marketing and business side of things, which can be fun. Though most times it turns into awkward silence for a bit.
Only thing worse is being told ‘I bought your book even though I don’t like fantasy and probably won’t read it’. Uh, thanks and I’m just going to proudly limp over to the opened bottle of chardonnay.
- Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!)
**all pictures provided by Charles Yallowitz**