My guest today is Charles Yallowitz, author of the Legends of Windermere series. Thank you Charles for being my first featured author!
If you are interested in participating in the program, you can submit here.
Charles E. Yallowitz
Charles E Yallowitz. I can be found at www.legendsofwindemere.com.
- How many books have you written? This can include both published and unpublished works. Describe each of them in 1-2 sentences apiece (if published, feel free to include the links as well).
I have written the first 4 books of my epic fantasy series, Legends of Windemere. The series follows the adventures of a band of young heroes who have been chosen to protect Windemere from a coming darkness. The story focuses on how they evolve and handle the difficulty of becoming a hero in a world of magic.
The first book, Beginning of a Hero, is already published through Amazon kindle here. It introduces the readers to Luke Callindor, a young warrior from a famous family. He lies to get his first adventure to protect a royal heir at a military academy, but he forgets to get the heir’s identity and has a demonic assassin after him.
The second book, Prodigy of Rainbow Tower, will hopefully be published in the next few weeks. It continues the adventures of Luke as he escorts the heir back home and meets another of the chosen heroes, Nyx the prodigal spellcaster. Luke and Nyx travel through a gauntlet of traps, monsters, and betrayals while they try not to let their egos clash.
The third book, Allure of the Gypsies, is waiting on cover art like the second book and involves Nyx and Luke returning to Luke’s hometown of Haven. This book is the debut of Sari, the seductive and charming, gypsy kill whose clan was killed and attaches to Luke and Nyx as her new family. It also has a main character die and return from the dead.
The fourth book, Family of the Tri-Rune, was just finished last week and the story involves Nyx returning with her friends to Hero’s Gate where she made a mess in Prodigy of Rainbow Tower. She struggles to make amends for her past mistake while the secret past of a hero comes to light.
- Tell me a little bit about your current WIP.
I’m really just working on the Legends of Windemere series for now. The series is slated to be 15 books long, so I’ve got my hands full with it. I have about 40 other series in various states of planning.
- What does writing preparation look like for you? Do you do full outlines and character profiles, or do you just start with a general idea and write?
Writing preparation for me starts with a brief paragraph describing the basic plot of a story and the main character. After that, I usually spend days or weeks designing all of the main and secondary characters. This helps me create a set of subplots that can help characters evolve and bring them more depth. Once I have the characters down, I make blurbs for the individual books if it’s a series or a basic outline if it’s a stand-alone book. Eventually, I make an outline that has each chapter divided into 2-5 sections.
- Editing is a challenge for many writers. Give us some of your tips for editing efficiently and well.
I read through my previous day’s work before I start writing new things. It helps me maintain continuity in the story and makes the first full editing run easier. I print out the full manuscript to do hand edits because, personally, I find it easier to focus on paper than on a computer screen.
When I started writing, I had a checklist that I would use to help me with my editing. It would list areas to focus on like continuity, contractions, repetition, and character description consistency. I’ve since memorized the checklist, but I still make sure to do a few editing runs very carefully. Then, I hand it off to my wife and ask her to read it over as if she’s someone that hates me.
- Research is another challenge writers face, but is an important part of the writing process. What are some of your research tips?
I write fantasy, so there isn’t much research beyond reading other books in the genre to get an idea of what’s been done. The two areas that I do research are names and monsters. I use a baby naming book to help me find names for characters. These names can help guide the creation of a character’s personality. Also, I think using some real names helps with the believability of a fantasy story.
The monsters I use come from various mythologies and folklore. I create some unique ones, but I like to use pre-existing monsters too because there is so much to work with on them.
- If you have been published (self or traditionally), what type of marketing did you find worked the best for you? What was the least helpful?
I used various websites after I self-published my book. I’ve actually listed the advertising sites on this blog page. Using a combination of all of these helped me get onto the Amazon Top 100 list for my genre, which helped with sales and got me onto the Hot New Release list. I used all of the sites within a week of each other, which gave me a strong debut.
I couldn’t really say what was the least helpful. I tried to run various contests through my website and Facebook, but nothing really worked. That’s just me though because I’ve seen a lot of authors run successful contests. I would say to an aspiring author that it comes down to personal taste and strengths. The advertising techniques that you’re most comfortable with will work the best and you have to strive to get comfortable with as many as you can. Yet, there’s always a chance that you’ll have an area that you can’t get to work. For me that’s contests.
- What genre do you write in? What are some of the challenges to writing this particular genre well?
I write fantasy stories, which is difficult because it’s a very saturated market. It takes less research and experience than other genres, so anybody can whip up a magical world and throw heroes into it. There are a lot of standards in the genre that create pitfalls. If you follow too many of them then you’re a copycat, but if you follow too few then you’re a hack. Then there is the problem that many fantasy readers will compare you to those that came before you. They tend to focus on if you will be the next Tolkien or Lewis instead of if you’re bringing anything new to the genre.
- What advice would you give to a writer who is starting out?
Never give up and stick to your guns. You will find many people trying to discourage your or flat out hate your writing, but ignore them. Your goal should be to find your audience, which is out there somewhere. Also, make contacts and friends through blogging, twitter, and other social media. There is a community of authors out there and many of them are more than willing to help an aspiring author. Don’t wait for your book to be out before you do this. Make friends and talk shop months or even years before you publish.
- What are your writing, editing, marketing, and research goals for 2013?
My writing goals are to finish up to book 6 or 7 of Legends of Windemere since everything is outlined in detail. I hope to have at least the first 4 books published on Amazon, but that’s going to depend on the speed of my cover artist. Those are the big goals. To just keep pushing forward.
- Pretend I am from a publishing house and you are looking for me to take on one of your books. Pitch it to me in 1-2 paragraphs.
Enter the world of Windemere where adventurers pave the future and magic is in everything. In Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero, follow Luke Callindor as he sets off on his first adventure. From a family of heroes, he is determined to prove that he deserves the fame that he was born into. Unfortunately, the only adventures he can find while hiding his famous name are a few undead hunts.
Luke’s path changes when he saves a royal messenger and lies to get his first big adventure. Now, he is off to Hamilton Military Academy where he will protect the royal heir of Serab. That is as soon as he figures out which student is the hidden heir while trying to keep his mission a secret from the ex-mercenary headmistress. When Luke learns that a Lich and its demonic assassin are after the heir, he swallows his pride and gathers a small group of friends to help. Can the young warrior and his new friends protect the heir? Can they even protect themselves?
- Finally, is there anything else you would like your readers to know?
I’m having one of those moments where I don’t know what to say. I feel like I should say something deep and meaningful here, but nothing is coming up. I got it. Whether you’re an aspiring author, a casual writer, an avid reader, or a reviewer, just have fun with books. They are one of the best ways to escape reality for a little bit of time and return a wiser, smarter, happier person