February means Valentine’s Day is on it’s way–bleck, forget about all that icky love stuff and check out this month’s featured author, Charles E. Yallowitz, author of the incredibly popular Windemere Series!
About the Author: Charles Edward Yallowitz hails from Long Island, NY with his wife and child. His favorite pastime is reading, mostly works of fantasy and science fiction, but he also enjoys an eclectic variety of movies as well as television series. Charles admits he would be a serious gamer if he had more time and money. Charles is a sports fan, especially of fencing and football (NY Giants, of course). His favorite foods include calamari, Ghost Pepper Wings (which I have no idea what those are) and Asian-themed salads . . . I think I’m starting to see a theme. He also has a weakness for jelly beans and his wife’s chocolate chip cookies. And, might I point out, he’s afraid of spiders and getting eaten while swimming, as well as family gatherings and a certain actress who will remain nameless.
About the Series: The Legends of Windemere Series is a 15 book fantasy series (6 currently published on Amazon) that follows the adventures of young Luke Callindor (and company) as he evolves into the role of hero. Not that the story is that simple . . . oh, no. There are lots of twists in the plot, multiple subplots, heinous villains, and well-developed side characters to keep things complicated and interesting. Check out the entire series (or rather what’s completed so far) on the author’s page. Books are available for purchase through Amazon.
On with the interview!
Lit Chic: Many authors have pen names to hide their secret identities. Tell me, Charles, is this your real name or is Charles E. Yallowitz an alias?
Charles E. Yallowitz: It is my real name and the middle one is Edward. I toyed with the idea of doing a pen name and several people suggested it because my last name is supposedly rough. Two things changed my mind. One is that it would be too easy to find my real name through social media, so the effort of picking one would be wasted. The other is that if Schwarzenegger can make it on that name and even be accepted by Microsoft Word spellcheck then I shouldn’t have to worry. Seriously, it’s in the Word dictionary and I didn’t add it.
Lit Chic: Tell me, what was the inspiration behind the Legends of Windemere series you’re so well-known for?
Charles E. Yallowitz: This series is based off a Dungeons & Dragons game that I started playing in my freshman year of college. At the time, I was trying to design a fantasy world and characters when I saw the fun we were having. The other players and the guy running the game were fine with the idea. The series isn’t going the same way since the players changed as time went on and not everything translated to the book. We also solved the original quest in two days, which meant I would have had a 3 chapter book. So I learned early on that additions and changes had to be made between the mediums. Still that game is what birthed Legends of Windemere and set the stage for all the other books I plan on doing afterwards.
Lit Chic: The newest installment, Curse of the Dark Wind, launched in December of 2014. I’m sorry to say I’m behind on my reading and haven’t had a chance to read it yet, so tell me what it’s about?
Charles E. Yallowitz: This is the 6th book of the series, which I’m sure just had some people running for the hills. One of the more sadistic villains is trying to get his hands on Nyx, so his plan is to infect one of the other heroes, Luke Callindor, with a living curse. The story is about Luke struggling to survive and being truly helpless since his debut in the 1st book, Beginning of a Hero. The others are doing whatever they can to keep him alive while searching for a cure, so it really demonstrates the friendships between the main characters and how they’re becoming a family. It’s a big character evolution story and ends with a set up for the next book, which is going to be rather messy.
Lit Chic: Any news you’d like to share with us about the next installment? What do readers have to look forward to most?
Charles E. Yallowitz: The next book will be Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue and there are quite a few things that will happen. Nyx will learn a secret about her own abilities and origins, which have been hinted at for a few books. A new hero will be fully introduced along with a big surprise about the champion prophecy that they’re tied up in. I’ve been looking forward to debuting this character for a while and ‘it’ came out differently than I imagined. The personality and quirks came out of nowhere, but they work very well. Finally, a long-running subplot will come to a head in an unexpected twist and a character is going to be broken.
Lit Chic: From the Windemere series, who is your favorite character and why?
Charles E. Yallowitz: It actually changes depending on my mood. I enjoy writing all of the characters, so I actually have a favorite reason for each one. Right now, my favorite is sitting on Delvin because The Mercenary Prince is all about him. The guy finally got a time to shine and I was happy with what I found beneath his surface. I guess if I had to pick someone who routinely ends up in my spotlight it would be a tie between Nyx and Luke Callindor. I always have a soft spot for Luke and Nyx is simply fun to write because of her growth and dimensions.
Lit Chic: I saw in an interview, you were planning on writing a vampire series? Okay, tell me about that. I’m curious.
Charles E. Yallowitz: There are two types of vampires in Windemere. The weaker old world species that lose their powers in the sunlight and are true undead. When the Great Cataclysm hit, a new breed is born called the Dawn Fangs. They are stronger, faster, and more powerful than their predecessors, but they’re also alive with a heartbeat and some humanity. Though that second part gets a little skewed due to them still having a bloodlust. The series is about the civil war that breaks out between the two breeds and how the Dawn Fangs created their currently society. You’re basically rooting for the violent anarchists instead of the violent established rulers, but enemies from every corner leap into the battles that span a few centuries. One of the characters and aspects of their culture get introduced in The Mercenary Prince, so I’m hoping that whets people’s appetites for more. It won’t be an easy series since the main character is extremely powerful and people might not pick up on the idea that it isn’t if he’ll live or die. It’s about if Clyde will turn on the rest of the world or retain his humanity throughout the war.
Lit Chic: You are an extremely successful indie author. Tell me, what is the secret to your success so that others might tap into the awesomeness that is Charles E. Yallowitz?
Charles E. Yallowitz: I wish I had a clear answer, but I’m as surprised as everyone else some days. You have to make friends and help other authors promote their books. This creates networking and support for when you have a book to release. I have a tight group of supporters that I know I can depend on, which really helps me push forward. One of the biggest things for a first time author is to promote and you’ll find venues when you talk to other authors. I have a page where I listed marketing sites that I use and I’m always willing to let someone do a guest post. It does get harder and harder to find interviews and guest post opportunities as you move on. So you have to keep an eye out for chances while working on your next book.
Lit Chic: You mentioned in a blog post that you are considering a more traditional publishing route? If you don’t mind my asking, what is the motivation behind that?
Charles E. Yallowitz: I’ve always wanted to go that route to some extent. As an indie author, I can’t get my books into the local libraries or bookstores. I’ve tried, but there’s no interest. So I’d really like to work with a traditional publisher for the paperback option while retaining my digital rights. That seems to be a more common deal than before and it would be the ideal that allows me to continue with more ease. I don’t mind being an indie, but there are days where I wouldn’t mind the level of support one gets from a publishing company. At least in terms of marketing and getting into the arenas that have been routinely blocked off to me. (Makes sense).
Lit Chic: On that note . . . The e-publishing (and publishing world in general) are going through major upheaval. What do you see in regards to the future of e-publishing and publishing in general?
Charles E. Yallowitz: I love this question because I never get tired of saying what I think should be done. That was more egotistical than I thought, but hear me out. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of head-butting between the various camps because everybody fears that the changes will destroy them or knock them done the ladder. What I hope to see happen is that the indie authors are treated like a talent pool for the traditional publishers. It would be the novelists’ version of open mic night and auditions that other artistic ventures have. One of the most common rejections I got when I was submitting to agents and publishers was that I had no experience. Now I have a fan-base and proven sales, which I should think reduces the risk that comes with putting faith in me. (I love this answer!)
Lit Chic: Just for fun, tell me about your family. How do they motivate and inspire you to succeed?
Charles E. Yallowitz: This one can get me in trouble. My wife has the full-time job, so that helps and lets me go full-time author/parent. Really the big thing is just them giving me time and quiet to work. My wife was in some of the games that I was in, so a few characters were played by her like Nyx. She reads my first drafts for continuity while other family members buy the books and quickly notify me about typos. I can’t really say my son does much to help since he’s five and hasn’t figured out that ‘daddy is working’ means to behave. He does help me relax and keeps me active, which is a plus. I’m actually surprised I made it this far in the interview without him charging in to play. I think I should check on him. (Living with my 6 yr. old nephew, I totally relate!)
Lit Chic: Coffee? Tea? Beer? What is your drink of choice?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Out of those three, I would say tea if it’s cold or beer if I’m relaxing. Outside of those choices, I drink a lot of seltzer. Specifically, Polar brand because I love the variety of flavors. They have a Vanilla Pear one that I get a few of whenever I find it. Going into the alcohol area of drinks, I’m mostly a vodka drinker.
Lit Chic: What is the most random thought on your mind right now?
Charles E. Yallowitz: It actually just went blank when I tried to focus on the thoughts. Though earlier I was wondering why there are no plushie Metroids. At least on Amazon. Also, why are anime DVD’s so expensive and most of them aren’t even full series? That isn’t that random since I was looking for a new series to watch between projects earlier today.
Lit Chic: Okay, so you’re a Muppets fan. Then you would be the one to ask: Kermit the frog or Gonzo? In a boxing match, who would win?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Gonzo is my favorite, but I would have to give it to Kermit. He is more likely to take it seriously and not goof off. Gonzo would try something ridiculous that involved chickens and/or explosions that would take himself out. Probably destroy the ring too and Kermit would win by default. You also have to figure that if Gonzo won, he’d be promptly beaten by a very angry Miss Piggy. (Good point).
Lit Chic: Last question: What is your advice to aspiring authors who want to become the next Charles E. Yallowitz?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Don’t try to become the next Charles E. Yallowitz. Aim to become the first of whoever you are. We seem to get caught up in connecting ourselves to others and finding ways to say we’re like them. This runs the risk of you being seen as a copycat or even being overshadowed by the ‘original’. Just write your story the way you want to and be yourself to promote it. If you don’t feel comfortable doing a certain advertising venture then don’t do it and find something else. Maybe you’ll do it later when you have more experience under your belt, but people can tell when an author is being fake.
I hope you all enjoyed this month’s feature! Please take some time to follow the links to learn more about Charles and his works. Fun fact: he’s the first indie author I ever read, so I’ve been looking forward to featuring him on my blog.
Anyway, I’m off to visit my students and then it’s off to the Ivy Tech Community Event Center to see Levar Burton’s “Do the Dream 2015!” For you fellow Star Trek or Reading Rainbow fans, I think you can join me in saying SQUEEEEEEEEE! For more updates and fun photos relating to that visit my Twitter page.
Happy Friday, everyone!