Regular visitors will surely recognize Charles Yallowitz, author of Legends of Windemere. Charles is one of the top commentators over here, and I am always looking forward to his witty, thought-provoking comments. As such, I consider him one of the great new friends I’ve made since publishing my epic fantasy series Pearseus a little under a year ago.
Thinking it’s high time we got to know a little more about this lovely gentleman, I asked him to be interviewed and he kindly agreed. You can also watch him live on Sally Sue Ember’s show CHANGES on Wednesday Oct 22nd, from 10-11 AM (EST).
The Usual Questions
This book series is loosely based on a Dungeons & Dragons game that I played in college. At the time, I was working on earning a degree in Creative Writing and toying with my own fantasy world. Then I saw how the characters in the game would be a great inspiration. I asked the other players for permission to do it and Windemere kind of blossomed from there.
But you didn’t start writing at college, right? What was the first thing you ever wrote?
A low-quality joke book. We’re talking terrible puns that I’ve blocked from my memory. The thing is stored away somewhere along with the other joke books and animal books I wrote at the time. To be fair, I was only 7.
You did have an early start! 😀 What other writing have you done? Anything else published?
Besides Legends of Windemere, I’ve published a fantasy poetry book and two novellas. The poetry book is called Bestiary of Baltherhorn Vale. Each poem is about a different creature that lives in this mysterious valley. One of the novellas, entitled Catalysts, is an attempt at gory horror. The other is a combination of fairy tales and post-apocalyptic journal entries called The Hopeteller. All three are experiments to clear my head after finishing a book in my fantasy series.
Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?
Whatever my 5-year-old son wants to do. Currently that’s playing with trains and watching Frozen. Occasionally we play on a trampoline and swing set. Beyond that I watch a few TV shows and, when in season, the NY Giants (American Football).
Ooh, I love Frozen. And trampolines. And trains. I don’t suppose you’d be interested in adopting me? 🙂
I don’t know. The downside is you’d have to be in bed by 7 and eat all of your vegetables. That tends to be a deal breaker.
That’s just cruel, man. Changing the subject, what are you working when not torturing children? Tell us a little about your current projects.
I’m currently getting my 6th book ready for a release in a few months and using some new writing tricks to improve the style on my previous books. Nothing major, but I have a better understanding of dialogue tags now. After all of that, I’ll probably start writing the 9th book of the series since I already have the first 8 either published or in the editing stage. I could keep going, but all I’ll say is that I have 30+ series that take place in Windemere. So I take a break from one by toying with another. It helps keep all of them fresh.
Blimey, that’s a lot of books! How about inspiration? What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?
I tend to predominantly read fantasy books. I’m still working my way through Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan. I’m at the point where part of me doesn’t want to finish the series. For quick bursts of reading, I dive into my comic, graphic novel, and manga collection. I love Fullmetal Alchemist.
As an Indie author, do you have any advice for other indie authors?
All I can say is stay strong and keep writing. It’s really hard to go it alone because you see all of your numbers, reviews, and lack a publishing company to ‘protect’ you. That might sound bad, but the payoff is that you control everything and get to adjust what you’re doing quickly. There’s a lot of pride in seeing your monthly numbers and you can use that success to help fuel your future projects. At least that’s what I do.
That’s great, since it means your numbers must be quite healthy. Have you got any help with this? Are there any sites or writing tools that you find useful and wish to recommend?
I use a lot of advertising sites like AskDavid.com and Goodkindles. I actually keep a listing of what I use on my blog, so it would probably be used to simply put a link to it here: http://legendsofwindemere.com/links/book-advertising-sites/
Thanks, that’s very useful! Tell us more about your website/blog. What will readers find there?
My blog is the foundation of my social media platform, so you will find a lot of stuff about Windemere on there. I write a lot about various aspects of writing, my inspirations, some poems, and the occasional flash fiction/skit. There are also random things in there like if I cook something interesting or want to talk about my son. I’m actually looking at dialing back how often I post and streamlining it next year because it’s a lot of work to maintain and I need to focus more on my actual book writing.
A conundrum I understand very well, believe me… 😀 How would you like to be remembered?
Preferably in a positive light. Since I’m pushing to create a vast fantasy world, I would like people to remember me as creative and an agent of escapism. Not really an author who changed the face of literature or even his genre, but a storyteller that can draw the reader out of reality.
Choose a male and a female character from your book and tell us about them. Who inspired their characters? Would you like to meet them? What would you tell them if you did?
One of my favorite characters is Nyx, who is a female, half-elven caster with incredible power. She can cast spells without words and only minor gestures, but even those are simply needed to aim. She was the character of a first-time player in the game who kept forgetting that she was a sorceress. So Nyx would charge into battle, get punched in the head, collapse, and the rest of us would have to save her. I kept the stubbornness and aggression, but gave her the power to level a small village right at the beginning. It’s interesting because Nyx can be the badass and still fall into a vulnerable state without seeming like either side is a stretch.
The first thing I tell her if we met is that I’m sorry for Hero’s Gate . . . and starting her off as an orphan . . . and for making her a living weapon . . . I think I’ll owe her some more after the series finishes too.
Nyx, as in Greek for Night? A fitting name, indeed. Best if you don’t piss her off too much, if you ask me! 😀 If you had to describe a theme or thread running through your life, what would it be? What’s your life theme?
Keep moving forward and the chaos should end eventually. Not sure how clear that is, but I have a habit of walking into life upheavals. So I have to constantly adjust what I’m doing to factor the new stuff in. It probably doesn’t help that I’m trying to be a fulltime author and fulltime father. Those two roles don’t always match up and author rarely wins.
If only our days had more hours… Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Where are you from?
Omicron Persei 8.
Isn’t that the one right next to Omicron Persei 7? A lovely place! Did you get to visit when you were abducted by aliens?
That was just a rumor. It was actually gnomes from another dimension. They had questions about the inner workings of tacos.
Name your claim to fame.
As lame as it sounds, I grabbed my dream by the throat and ran with it instead of sitting around waiting for an opportunity. I’ve had decent success with my books and I’m really proud of that. Coming in second is being able to cook an amazing homemade vodka sauce.
I’m very happy to hear about your success. Honestly, you inspire me. I’m disappointed you’re not sharing your recipe here, though. Recipe, please!
It’s actually very simple. I’ll put it in steps:
- Simmer 1/2 Cup Vodka and 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it because vodka CAN evaporate before you know it.
- Add 1.5 Cup Heavy Cream, 28 ounce can of Crushed Tomatoes, and 3 ounces of Tomato Paste. Bring to a low boil and then simmer for 30 minutes with occasional stirring.
- Combine in a bowl with pasta. You can eat it immediately, but it actually tastes better if you let it sit for a day.
See. Really easy.
I’m so trying this tomorrow… I’ll probably add some bacon, though. I suspect it will go really well with it! Moving on, which one do you prefer: Elephants or tigers?
Tigers. I’ve always loved tigers because of their power and beauty. Also there’s the poem The Tiger by William Blake that I heard as a child and loved to listen to.
I love that poem, but it’s been ruined for me since watching The Mentalist! 😀 If you had to live over again what would you change in your life?
Can I be taller? If not that then I’d have made it so that I went for my writing earlier in life. I always wanted to do it, but I keep fearing that I put it off for too long. I’d also try to establish some type of interest in exercising and eating healthier at a younger age. I’m far too pudgy for my height and I’ve been away from doing any kind of sports for so long that it’s hard to get back into it.
Sorry, you had it right at the beginning, then you got confused. You’re not too pudgy, you’re just too short for your weight. I suffer from the same condition, so I sympathize, but let’s not get the two mixed up, shall we? Now, where in the universe would you live if you could travel anywhere?
If I could find it, I’d live on Windemere. Sounds lame to choose my own fantasy world, but I escape to it so often that it would be great to live there. It is a lot more dangerous than Earth with the dragons, undead, and other monsters. Yet I like that there’s more nature and interesting types of people wandering around.
Ah, but you already live there most of the time, don’t you? How about an actual place?
If I have to pick an actual place, I’d go with Pluto. Poor thing looks so lonely and it reminds me of Mickey Mouse’s dog.
You remind me of our first landlady in Edinburgh. When we went to sign the lease, she had her young grandson with her. “This couple is from Greece,” she told him. “You know Greece? It’s where Pluto’s from.” I assume she meant Plato, not the dog… 🙂
Thanks so much for the interview, it’s been great getting to know you a little better!
Who is Charles, anyway?
Author Bio- Charles E Yallowitz has spent the last year as an Indie Author and he can say with assurance that he’s still not sure what he’s doing. All he knows is that he is having fun sharing his fantasy stories with the public and making friends with fellow authors. From his home in New York, Charles will continue to entertain with the Legends of Windemere series.
The Compass Key (Legends of Windemere Book 5)
Note: The Compass Key is the latest book in the Legends of Windemere series.
With Sari captured by their enemies, the champions of Windemere are determined to get her back and destroy the Lich’s castle. Little do they realize, their battles in the Caster Swamp are only the beginning of this adventure. Trinity and her Chaos Elves have invaded the city of Gaia in search of a relic called the Compass Key. Rumored to be the key to rescuing Sari from a magical island, our heroes are in a race to find the mysterious artifact.
Which side will claim the Compass Key? And, what will our heroes do when they’re faced with an enemy whose evil power overshadows anything they have ever faced?
Buy Charles’ books