Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Charles Yallowitz

Conversations with ColleenThe October Edition (1)

Hello everyone! This week I’m happy to bring you a fantasy author I’ve known for a few years now. I asked him to pick three or five questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from Charles and his characters when writing fantasy.

Please meet my guest, Charles:

Author Photo

Author, Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State.

When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day.

Truthfully, his tales of adventure are much more interesting than his real life, so skip the bio and dive into the action.

Thanks, Colleen, for letting me be a guest on your blog.  So many fun questions to choose from, but these five questions just called to me. Before I forget, this is my newest release:

Hi, Charles, I’m glad to see you again. You have a huge series of books. Did you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I typically write a series, so I definitely want there to be connections between each volume.  This is why I focus a lot on continuity and keep notes to make sure I don’t change core pieces of the story and world.  This required that I come up with various tools to make sure things were carried over.  For example, when I was writing Legends of Windemere, which reached 15 volumes, I began keeping a file of notes that covered descriptions of people, places, items, and monsters that were used repeatedly.  This way, I didn’t make a mistake and cause any confusion for the readers.

This isn’t to say that I don’t want there to be storylines that stand on their own.  Each volume has its own contained plot that helps to push the overarching story and character development into the next adventure.  I found that this helped give each hero a chance to be in the spotlight instead of cramming all of them into one storyline.

For example, Delvin Cunningham was the focus of The Mercenary Prince (Volume 9) while Timoran Wrath took the stage in Tribe of the Snow Tiger (Volume 10). The main story continued, but now these two heroes had more individual growth.

This tactic also enhanced the world building of Windemere, which I plan on using for many of my series.  In fact, I would say that Legends of Windemere acts as the foundation of my entire fantasy career because all future stories in that genre will be within that world and help to give it more depth.

Your world building is what makes these stories so fabulous. So, what was your hardest scene to write?

This is a really tough question because I’ve tried to challenge myself a few times by touching on sensitive topics.  These always came with some trepidation because I worried about audience reaction.  So, I second-guessed myself a lot with these topics and may have shied away from going too deep.  Even with all of that, I don’t know if I would call any of them the hardest scene I ever wrote.

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Thinking about it, I think the most emotionally difficult scene for me was the final one in Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age.  It brought out a lot of tears and I had to walk away a few times to calm down. I had been working with these characters for 19 years and it was me trying to say good-bye.  Those who survived may have cameos in future series, but they will never be in the spotlight again.

I had to get used to the idea that the next book I write will be me getting to know a new cast and storyline.  Even editing this scene was difficult because it was one more step to the last good-bye.

Charles, I’ve been teaching myself to plot out my scenes in my novels. Do you begin with a plot written out in detail or do you prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I call myself a plotter most times, but I’ll admit that I end up doing a lot of flying by the seat of my pants during the actual writing.  Years ago, I wasn’t able to get more than a few minutes or maybe an hour to write.  That didn’t give me much time and I got frustrated, so I started doing more outlines and character biographies.  This allowed me to set up multiple series and note various connections when I couldn’t work on my main project.  It gave me a sense of progress during a busy period of my life.  Once I gained more writing time, these habits developed into a more regimented process where I did the following:

  • Write character bios, list locations, and do a book plot overview. Repeat for each volume.
  • Leave for a few months and then do chapter-by-chapter outlines for the entire series.
  • Leave alone for a while and edit the outline before doing the actual writing.

This is very organized, but then the actual writing throws a lot of my plans into the dumpster.  Characters will take on habits and personalities that aren’t’ exactly as I’d imagined at first so some plot points won’t work.  The noble hero becoming more of an anti-hero means that his actions have to change.  For a series, this also meant that I would have to rework future outlines to accommodate changes in the previous volumes.

In your professional opinion, is writing a book series more challenging?

Since I’ve primarily done series, I find them much easier to work on than stand-alone books.  I always have this temptation to make things bigger.  Every character needs a moment to shine and I love following subplots down rabbit holes.

This isn’t to say I will put anything into a book, but I tend to see ways that I can flush out a hero or villain that adds either another chapter or another volume entirely.  For example, 3 of the 15 volumes of Legends of Windemere weren’t part of the original plan.

I came up with Merchant of Nevra Coil, The Mercenary Prince, and Path of the Traitors because there were 3 characters who were falling by the wayside.  They had more story to tell and I needed to add volumes to do that.  Such a mentality makes stand-alone books much more difficult for me.

That isn’t to say writing a book series is easy either.  Maintaining freshness and continuity is a real nightmare at times.  Unlike a stand-alone, you run a high risk of the story getting stale and convoluted.

As I said before, I had to keep notes on the details and follow the doubt in my gut whenever I felt it.  If I wasn’t 100% certain that I had the right description then I went looking for the previous examples.

Another thing that helps is writing an ensemble cast instead of a single heroic lead.  This allows me to cycle characters in and out of the spotlight to create new adventures within the big one.

A story that focuses on Nyx the powerful caster will feel different than the one that highlights Dariana the immortal telepath.  So, there is a big balancing act involved in writing a series that brings in its own challenges.

 Thanks for all the great tips. I have to know… How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?

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I’d love to say that I partied or relaxed for a week, but there’s an odd comedy that ensued within a few days of me publishing Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero.  The day that I hit publish, I went out to enjoy some pizza and watch some television.  This was more to relax and prepare for the marketing stage, which I didn’t have any knowledge of or experience with at this time.

That night, I worked with what I had and got a lot of my friends to pick up their copy and share the release on their social media sites. Of course, I wanted to sit back and plan a real celebration for myself.  This is where the comedy comes in a few days later.

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My wife and I were watching TV with some popcorn.  I put a handful in my mouth, took a bite, and suddenly felt something weird happen.  There was a crunch, which I figured was a kernel and then I swallowed something solid.

My brain had no idea what had happened, but my tongue went right for one of my wisdom teeth.  An entire chunk and cracked right off to leave a rough edge that made it uncomfortable to chew.  This was a Friday, so I spent the whole weekend in pain because I couldn’t find a dentist that took our insurance until Monday rolled around.  That resulted in me spending the week getting it taken care of instead of enjoying my big accomplishment.

I needed to have both wisdom teeth on that side taken out, which meant I couldn’t eat much.  By the time I had recovered, I needed to prepare for a trip to my old college to run a merchant table at a convention, so there was never an official celebration outside of the pizza.

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That’s probably why I celebrate nearly every release with pizza, so I can’t say it’s a tradition that I’m entirely against.

Oh, wow! I remember that incident when you broke your tooth. Look how many books you’ve written since then! Thanks again, for sharing your writing expertise with us, Charles.

Legends of Windemere Collage

Amazon Author Page HERE

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How to connect with Author, Charles Yallowitz

Blog HERE

Website HERE

Twitter HERE

Facebook HERE

 

k luv u bye Thanks for stopping by to meet Charles Yallowitz. If you love fantasy with lots of action you will love his books. Check them out! ❤

The Merchant of Nevra Coil is LIVE!

Cover art by Jason Pedersen
Cover art by Jason Pedersen

When the mischievous and random Goddess of Chaos gets angry, all of Windemere becomes her plaything.

It all starts with a collection of toys that have taken the populace by storm. People of all races flood the marketplaces to gather figurines of the champions whose adventures are starting to spread across the land. Stemming from the flying city of Nevra Coil, these toys bring with them a terrible curse: Fame. Every town becomes a mob of fans that hound their new idols and the delay is bringing the world closer to the hands of Baron Kernaghan. Perhaps worst of all, the creator of these toys forgot to include a certain exiled deity who is now out to earn herself a figurine.

Who would have thought a bunch of toys could cause so much trouble and lead to the breaking of a champion’s confidence?

Sound exciting?
CLICK HERE TO GRAB IT ON AMAZON FOR $2.99!
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Welcome to Nevra Coil Excerpt

A screeching alarm goes off inside the vessel, signaling for everyone to pay attention to the pilot. Jo flicks a few switches above her head, amplifying her voice so everyone can clearly hear her. “We’re coming to Nevra Coil. Get ready for docking at Inspiration Tower instead of one of the Ring Houses. If you want to see the city then come to the front, but you better not complain while I’m giving the tour. I’ll be going too fast to repeat myself. We’re starting with the bottom, so don’t be scared. There hasn’t been a crash in a month. Two months since a fatality.”

The champions gather around Jo’s chair and watch as the clouds part to reveal the underside of the flying city. The steel gray earth has several narrow tubes of yellow crystal spread along its gleaming surface, the enchanted objects creating a spiral that leads to a red, metal rod. An occasional spark falls from the central pole and dissipates into the clouds, giving the illusion of lightning. Jo has the vessel steadily rise to give everyone a clear view and she taps her ear to silently get her passengers to listen. Beneath the sounds of the ship’s rotors, the champions hear a dull hum whenever they pass close to a crystal. Those with keen eyes can see a sapphire orb that flickers like a flame inside the yellow tube’s core, but the strange object is definitely solid like a rock.

“The flight crystals are designed to push off and ride the waves of the ocean. The outer tube is the reflector and the ice gem is the controller,” Jo explains as they flip around the far side of Nevra Coil. She scowls at the whimpering gypsy and begrudgingly slows the vessel down. “The central rod is what keeps us in a small area as we spin like a very slow top. Without that, we’d be floating all over Windemere’s oceans. You’ll feel the rotation at first, but the awkwardness will pass within a few hours. Before you ask, the system does nothing to the ocean below. We keep ourselves at a great height to prevent that and we turn off the crystals if we have to drop. That’s only in case of severe damage, so they would probably be malfunctioning in such an event anyway. Our backup system is a small army of pedaling stone golems that we activate in the core of Nevra Coil. Let’s get to the real event. Hey! Watch where you’re going, you son of an oil slick!”

The vessel swerves out of the way of a small, windowless craft that is powered by a pedaling gnome. Once their heads stop spinning, the champions get their first look at the city of Nevra Coil. Glistening towers are everywhere with a vast collection of flying devices and beasts moving among them. Several structures are missing pieces, revealing metal beams and hardworking gnomes who are trying to finish the construction. The city is a beautiful creation of metal, stone, and glass with nothing on the earthy ground besides several colonies of orange slimes. The burbling creatures feast on the garbage that falls out of hatches, which are built into the lower floors of every tower. Compared to the enormous buildings, Jo’s vessel feels like a rowboat as it weaves among the chaos. Several times they come close to hitting another ship, their skilled pilot meeting each encounter with a slew of insults and curses. They hover when a claxon goes off and the circular tower ahead opens one of its floors to reveal another ring-shaped ship.

“This is where we would normally dock, but you’re wanted on the one-hundred and eighty-sixth and a half floor of Inspiration Tower,” Jo says while waving to the other ship. She waits for them to leave before rising to the higher sky lanes where there is more space. “If you look to the right, you’ll see the Lizard. It’s used by those of us who don’t have a flying device due to no interest, accidents, revoked license, or whatever else can go wrong. I’ll swing by to give you a better look, but don’t stare directly into the golem’s eye. You never know if it’s going to be friendly or . . . churlish.”

Dipping toward a metallic rail, the ship comes alongside a green-scaled reptile with seats grown into its wide back. A throbbing bubble covers the sitting area, the oily membrane protecting riders from the elements until the transport comes to a stop. Gnomes are comfortably sitting in the chairs, most of them reading notes or sleeping. The creature’s tail is merged with the track to prevent it from falling off while it pulls itself along using powerful front legs. A driver on its head opens a hatch in the top of its long nose to drop in a shovelful of screeching beetles. The Lizard slows down while everyone hears the insects getting crunched in the construct’s mouth. When the strange transport hisses at the ship, Jo pulls away and heads for where a trio of metallic birds are sitting on a windowless tower.

AND DON’T FORGET!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Click here for the $4.99 Bundle to start your journey into Windemere!

Charles E YallowitzAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com