Author Interview with Charles E Yallowitz

Posted on October 31, 2013

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Do you write under any other names? 

No.  I use my real name.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the Legends of Windemere series.  I’m editing book 3 of the series with a close friend when she is free and book 4 when I’m on my own.  I’ve already finished the first draft of book 5 and will edit that once I’m done with book 4.  It probably sounds more complicated than it actually is.  Even worse if when I mention that I use weekends to outline future series.

How many (if any) books do you have published and what are their titles?

I currently have three books published with Amazon Kindle:

Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero, which is the first of my high fantasy series.

Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower, which is the second of my high fantasy series.

Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale, which is a small collection of fantasy poetry.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I’ve like telling stories.  There’s something about entertaining people with words that has always appealed to me.  In high school, I read The Book of Lost Swords by Fred Saberhagen and the desire to be an author clicked in my head.  I set about designing my own fantasy world and used the few creative writing courses in my school to hone my skills.

Do you have a specific writing style or one that you prefer?

My writing style is present tense third person, which is not a popular style.  It really goes against the tradition of past tense writing and can be jarring to readers.  The strange thing is that I’ve been writing in this style since high school and it was only pointed out to me this year after I published my book.  I never knew it was that much of an issue, so I’ve had to take my lumps on being dedicated to my style.  It certainly gives a sense of urgency to my suspenseful scenes and my actions scenes.

How did you come up with the title of your book(s)?

The overall series was simple enough.  I took the name of my world, Windemere, and put ‘Legends of’ in front of it because this series is what kicks off the Age of Heroes in Windemere.  The heroes will be seen as legends, so the title sticks pretty well.  Beginning of a Hero stems from Luke Callindor setting out to prove that he’s worthy of his famous surname.  He comes from a long line of heroes, so he is very stubborn and determined.  This adventure is his first path to becoming a great hero, so the title appeared in my head from the start.  Prodigy of Rainbow Tower was a little tougher because I was focusing on the traveling adventure that takes place.  When I switched focus to the debut of Nyx the spellcaster, I saw that I should have the title be about her.  She is a magical prodigy that was trained in Rainbow Tower, so that’s where the title comes from.

Is there a message in your writing that you want readers to grasp?

I might have a few messages in there unintentionally, but I really want readers to have fun with my stories.  I write mainly for escapism and entertainment with messages being a secondary focus.  I have been told that Luke’s storyline is a message about earning what you have instead of settling for being handed things for free.  So, the character storylines definitely have some personal messages in them.

How much of the book is realistic/true?

It’s high fantasy, so the book is entirely fiction.

Are the experiences in your writing based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The books stem from a college Dungeons & Dragons game.  Technically, the experiences in my stories are from those events in my life.  The game never made it to the end, so I took a lot of liberties with what happened.

What books have most influenced your life most?

The Books of Lost Swords by Fred Saberhagen as previously stated.  Other books are The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Ender’s Game, Ranger’s Apprentice series, Treasure Island, and Jurassic Park.  There’s a long list because I take a little from everything I read and watch to improve my own skills and style.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a “mentor”?

It’s hard to pick one.  Writing fantasy people expect J.R.R. Tolkien, but I’m going to have to give a third mention to Fred Saberhagen.  His books are watch sparked my desire and there is something about his series that I really wish to capture.  I believe it’s the memorable characters and the vast world that is still somewhat relatable.  I remember stuff from his books more often than Lord of the Rings events, so I’d definitely go with Saberhagen.

What book are you reading now?

I’m making my way through the Ranger’s Apprentice series.  I’m currently on the eighth book ‘Kings of Clonmel’.  I’m reading slow because of all the editing and book promotion that I’m doing for my stories.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

The WordPress blogging community has been extremely supportive.  Many times they’ve been more supportive than my family because there is a better understanding of what I’m trying to do.  Several bloggers have become some of my closest friends over the last few months and I couldn’t see myself moving forward without them.

Do you see writing as a career or a hobby?

It’s a career and I plan on making it a very successful career.  Writing books is what I’ve wanted to do for over half of my life and I believe I’m well on my way to making it the full-time job.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I might have improved the romantic plotline a bit, but my latest book has been getting very good reviews.  I spent nearly ten years editing Prodigy of Rainbow Tower, so it’s hard to say if I would change anything major.  I’d have edited one more time to catch a phantom equal sign that showed up in there.  That was embarrassing.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Going further back than high school, I showed an interest in writing during second grade.  My teacher had learning centers that we cycled through and one of them was a writing center.  I wrote joke books, this is my life books, and animal books since I didn’t know any better.  I began experimenting with storylines and was bordering on figuring out subplots when I got myself temporarily banned from the writing center.  I decided to hide under the table to write more stories instead of going back to my seat.  I would have gotten away with it for longer if I didn’t answer a question from my hiding place.  After that, I decided to be more low key on the writing and focus more on reading.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

This is the book blurb from my up-coming book Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies, which I’m aiming to debut on Halloween:

The epic adventures of Luke Callindor and Nyx continue after their journey down the L’Dandrin River in Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.

Reeling from his failures in their previous adventure, Luke leads his surviving friends to his hometown. With his mind frayed and his confidence fractured, Luke must face the family and fiancée he left behind. It is a brief homecoming when the vampire Kalam attacks the village, forcing Luke and Nyx to break into his lair for the key to resurrecting a fallen warrior. It is a quest that will force both young heroes to reach new heights of strength and power that they never knew they had.

Can Luke and Nyx escape the lair of Kalam? And, what role will the orphaned gypsy Sari play in their looming destiny?

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

If you mean challenging to the reader then it would certainly be getting used to the present tense writing.  I’ve been told by a few people that it takes a few chapters to adapt to the style, but many people have taken to it with ease.  This style removes the use of flashbacks and depends a lot more on character dialogues to give various types of information to the reader.  I explain it as the reader learning about the story and the world as the characters learn about it themselves.  The present tense style really requires a reader to think as if they are standing with the characters as events unfold instead of reading about events that already happened like with past tense.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I’ve already talked a bit about Saberhagen, so I’m going to talk about another of my favorites, Orson Scott Card.  I try to read Ender’s Game once a year because I love the characters he’s created.  There is a a sensitivity and vulnerability to many of the characters, which I don’t find very often.  To put it into basic terms, the characters of Ender’s Game seem amazingly human to me, which is what I look for in a book.

Who designed the covers of you books?

My covers were designed by Jason Pedersen at http://www.jasonpedersen.com/index.html

What was the hardest part of writing your any of your works?

The biggest challenge is keeping continuity and subplots going throughout such a long series.  I have 15 books planned and have to think several books ahead when I’m doing anything plot related.  I have everything tentatively outlined, which helps to some extent.  Yet, there are many times I will do something in a book and have to note a change to a future outline because of the events.  I’ve become a very aggressive note-taker since I started this series and set out to be published.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I have three pieces of advice for other writers:

1. Keep writing even after you’re published. People want to see an indie author with more than one book, so keep writing and releasing proof that you are working on your next book. Progress reports and excerpts on a blog can help here.

2. Never give up on your style because it isn’t popular. I’m not talking about typos and terrible grammar because those aren’t parts of a style. I mean if you write past tense, present tense, simple sentences, flourished sentences, etc. If you have faith in your personal style then it will show through your words.

3. Make friends with other authors of various levels. You can do this on the WordPress blogging community or through writer’s groups. Indie authors need to work together to get the support and success that they are striving for.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for taking a chance on my stories and I hope you enjoy the adventures.  Also, I apologize for any mean things that I do to your favorite characters.  Really sorry about that, but it has to be done.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your stories to to life?

I didn’t have much of a problem bringing them to life because I dream about my stories all the time.  I spend a lot of time thinking out the scenes before I write them, so they are well-formed in my head when I start.  The challenge comes from editing and tightening everything up to make it flow better.  Repeated word usage, skeletal scenes, and other issues are there in the first draft.  I guess you could say I have an easy time bringing my stories to life, but a challenging time nurturing them to maturity.

What character from your writing is your favorite and why?

This changes for me every few days because it depends on who is the focus of the scenes I’m writing.  Today, I’m paying a lot of attention to Nyx because she is a very strong and vulnerable character.  All of the main heroes have depth, but Nyx has a lot of layers to her, which I’m very proud of.  She has that tough exterior and temper while her sensitive core is slowly coming to the surface.  Nyx has the power to level a city with ease, so it’s interesting to writer her being scared.  There’s a scene near the end of my 5th book where she is terrified by one of the villains, which I wrote over a month ago and I still get chills from thinking about it.

Additional Information you’d like to share:

Be on the lookout for Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies set to debut around Halloween.

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