Good morning everyone! Each month I will post a two part feature. The first part will be an interview with the month’s author and include a short bio. The second part of the feature is a sample of the writer’s work. Sounds fun right?
Everyone give a big welcome to November’s writer. *claps*
Meet Jeff Wheeler.
Jeff took an early retirement from his career at Intel in 2014 to become a full-time author and is published by Amazon Publishing’s 47North imprint. He is, most importantly, a husband and father, a devout member of his church, and is occasionally spotted roaming hills with oak trees and granite boulders in California or in any number of the state’s majestic redwood groves. He’s best known for the Kingfountain series, Muirwood series, and Mirrowen trilogy.
Now onto the interview…
If you could pick one word to describe your writing, what would it be and why?
“Consistent—I believe that writing is a craft that you practice not a random act of inspiration. By having and sticking to a schedule, I’ve managed to keep pace.”
I read on your website that a favored theme of yours is fantasy meets history. Do you think there is a lot of fantasy literature that has been lost over the centuries?
“I was a history major in college and when you read writings from the past, they very much believed in the magical and fantastical elements we consider fantasy today. So yes, I think this notion of magic has been lost but it was alive and well in the fifteenth century and earlier. Some of my inspiration comes not only from medieval history but also from Greek and Roman legends. They helped invent that mythological stuff!”
Why did you choose to write fantasy? Did as a kid a particular movie or book inspire you?
“Yes, when I was in Junior High, I stumbled across one of the Shannara novels by author Terry Brooks. Reading that book ignited the spark of imagination in me and I began writing seriously in high school. I wrote five short novels by my senior year just for fun.”
Your new series, The Kingfountain Series, came out this year. Was it hard writing a series that spanned over time longer than say a three months?
“This was a departure from my previous books, for certain, and required taking some risks. The main character ages quite a bit between the books of the series. I also knew the readers would want to know what happened to him during the intervening years so I had to provide details in a way that didn’t bog down the story. But I needed to do this because the characters were facing an ancient magic that they only slowly began to understand and unravel.”
What advice do you have to fellow fantasy writers when it comes to creating new worlds from scratch?
“I find inspiration through traveling. Many times a particular scene in one of my books came from visiting someplace new. Because it takes weeks and months to write a novel, my travels impact the project I’m working on. An example—in my novel Poisonwell, I happened to be at a tech conference in Phoenix at a resort and while wandering the grounds came to a pond with koi fish. Later that night, I wrote a scene in my hotel where one of the characters falls into a brackish pond and has some nasty sucker-like fish begin attacking him. That scene was directly inspired by conference setting.”
You called writing a “lonely profession,” an expression I am familiar with. What advice do you have for fellow introverted writers when it comes to interacting outside of their created worlds?
“I think it’s too easy for writers to stay inside their heads or lurk inside a den. For me, I have to go out and have lunch with my wife. I also like to people-watch and so it’s important to get out, go for walks, and observe things. Family and friendships are the most important things we have, not our words. I’d be devastated if any of my kids, or my wife, felt that my writing was more important to me than they were. Being active in a church, in a social organization, or something else also becomes a source of inspiration for characters. Did I mention I was a people watcher?”
If you had to pick a fictional world to live in, what would it be and why?
“I would have to choose Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. I love the blend of magic and reality that JK Rowling puts in her work. I’d only hope and pray not to be a Muggle though.”
Why did you choose to start-up your old e-zine Deep Magic again?
“I learned a lot about the craft of writing by publishing Deep Magic. After achieving some success with 47North, I wanted to be able to give back and help other authors find a market for clean fantasy and science fiction. I’ve found a lot of readers who comment in their reviews that they prefer books without sex, swearing, or graphic violence.”
You can find Jeff here!
Jeff’s Blog: jeff-wheeler.com
Deep Magic e-zine: www.deepmagic.co (.co not .com)
Thanks Jeff for your time!
Check back tomorrow for a non-fiction blog post entitled “Creative Emotions.”