Mirror Interview #3 Charles E. Yallowitz

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What is one of the most difficult questions I have ever been asked in an interview?

There are a handful of questions that always turn up, so it becomes challenging to give a unique answer. These come down to some creative replies or choosing from a list of possible answers that all hold some speck of truth. Yet, the most difficult question is the following: Who would you want to play your characters in a film version of your book? Wow. I never know the answer because my knowledge of current actors and actresses is limited. So I spout whoever comes to mind, which doesn’t always make sense. The truth is that I’d be so obsessed with the movie being good that anyone who takes on my characters will get the same treatment. Yet, this isn’t an answer that really works because it sounds like a cop out. So, I really hate this question and fear it rearing its head in an interview.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Which of my characters would I love to see being cosplayed at a convention?

For the people who don’t know, cosplaying is when a person dressing up as a fictional character and it isn’t for trick or treating. That’s the general idea, but the point is that someone takes the time to make a costume of a character and walk around as them. I’d love to see someone walking around as Sari because her wardrobe and appearance is more in-depth than the other heroes. Still, the one that tops them all would be the Hellfire Elf. The demonic assassin would demonstrate a lot of detail and I’d be honored that someone would take the time and effort to do such a thing.

As the work-from-home parent, how do I balance writing and tending to the toddler?

First, I take advantage of my son being at school and use that time to do errands. This way I don’t have try to do everything with him and waste his afternoon. Now, the amount of work I get done while he’s around depends a lot on the weather. If it’s miserable outside, I can do a little writing or editing while he plays in the room. If it’s good weather then I’ll get very little done and have to settle for jotting down notes on my iPhone while he plays outside. I’ve developed a habit of writing a few paragraphs or a big exchange in a scene then take some time to play with the toddler. This lasts until I reach a point where I can comfortably stop. I spend the night going over what I did while my son was around to fine-tune what I did. It isn’t easy, but the alternatives are to either ignore the little guy or stop in a place where I might not remember where I was going with the scene.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

How did I get into using a Present Tense 3rd Person POV writing style?

Yes, I know this is a rare, difficult, and typically unloved style. Yet, it feels more natural to me and I like it. So neener neener! Seriously though, the development of this style came about by accident. I started trying to write my first book in high school and used excerpts for creative writing projects. Well, I kept leaping from one tense to another and was told to pick one before I hurt myself. I chose Present Tense and fine-tuned that over the ensuing 10 . . . 15 . . . damn I’m old years. The odd thing here is that I was never really told that I was honing an uncommon style until I self-published in February 2013. I received one warning in high school and that was it. Nobody ever tried to talk me out of this style, so it’s become ingrained in me. I’m playing around with present tense writing on the side, but it feels like I’m trying to run a marathon in floppy clown shoes. So I still need practice and confidence there.

What personal comforts do I need to get into the writing zone? Certain foods, drinks, music, etc?

I hear a lot of authors talking about their special treats and idiosyncrasies when it comes time to write. All of us have at least one quirk that helps us in our trade. Long ago, I used to always have one glass of wine while writing. I stopped when I could be called to pick my son up from school at any moment during the day. So, I drink flavored seltzer when I’m writing. No glass or ice. Just chugging from the wine-bottle sized container and going through 1-2 a day. Besides a drink, I need music playing for me to focus. Otherwise, I drift to the ambient sounds of the house and neighborhood. Music has always put me into a comfort zone and I listen to a combination of video game music, rock n roll, instrumental, random ringing of the phone (dang it!), and whatever else Pandora grabs.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

How do I balance writing and blogging on a daily basis?

Poorly. I’ve been doing 1-3 daily posts every day since I started blogging in December 2012. At least I think I have since I’ve had to have missed something. If not then I should probably look into getting help. The real problem I have is that I read through a lot of other blogs, which takes time from writing. I’m not very good at balancing, so I’ve done more ‘liking’ than ‘commenting’. I still read them to see if a response pops up and there are times in the day that are betting for blogging than others. My advice to anyone who does this is to find a pace that works for you and not feel bad about having to adjust as your writing situation changes. Also, the scheduling function is a life saver. I always take a few days aside to set up posts about a month in advance by using a weekly theme. Though I might be reaching a time where I settle back to 3-4 posts a week. We’ll see because I truly enjoy blogging and the interaction it gives me while I’m hunched over my laptop typing away.

What is the challenge to taking a role-playing game like Dungeons & Dragons and turning it into a book series?

Let me initially explain that this isn’t about copyright infringement. Legends of Windemere came from a D&D game I was part of in college. Everyone knew what I was up to and agreed to the idea. Then I started writing the books and realized just how much the two mediums differed. In a game, you have multiple people instead of a single author and you can’t spend a lot of time on one-on-one or even small group adventures. Subplots are rather limited because of this and that’s where a lot of book content comes from. The personal journey of the heroes is very important to me, so they need solo time and evolutions. This required that I use the game as a suggestion and add a lot of character-specific things such as romances, deeper secondary characters, and more villain scenes. A final note on characters and development here is that not every player is in it for the characters. Some want only to goof off and others are focused entirely on the numbers, so transferring these characters to the book meant a total revamp. For example, Aedyn Karwyn in my books had no personality in the game and was included because he was ‘there’. There is a lot more too him in the books and his recruitment into Luke Callindor’s adventures is more than ‘I am another player character so you are stuck with me’.

Another big difference is that a game relies a lot on the roll of dice, so luck factors in. An author has full control over the results of an action, but you don’t get that in a D&D game. You also have experience points and levels, which makes sense for a game. In a book, you can have your characters improve over time, but they should have more skill than your typical Level 1 novice to make the adventure interesting. Unless part of the story is about getting trained. For example, Nyx in my books has an amazing amount of magic in the books. It’s more about her keeping control of it and not hurting innocent bystanders. In the game, she started with a pitiful amount of magic and developed a habit of charging into battle with a dagger. Then she would get knocked out and we’d scold the player for being underfoot. The day Nyx learned fireball was when she was finally effective. Also a danger to her allies because she kept forgetting what ‘area of effect’ meant. Thankfully, the book version knows this from the beginning.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

If I could change one thing about the writing industry, what would it be?

I still consider myself a novice, but one thing I would love to undo is the idea that this is a cutthroat sport. Sure there is a little butting heads within genres and you will always have those people who think they can only succeed by trampling someone else. Yet, I firmly believe that the success of an author can help others. This is especially true with Indie Authors because we don’t have the power and influence of traditional publishers. It’s a lot easier for us to harm our reputation through childish fighting on forums because there is already a stigma of Indie Authors being unprofessional. Working together and showing a face of community to readers denotes a level of seriousness that can help boost the platform and all associated authors.

Say you’re curious about reading a fantasy book and you’re looking for something to cut your teeth on. You come across several authors who seem to be spending a lot of time attacking each other, so you get the feeling that the entire genre is full of immature people. You walk away and never look back. Now if you come across a fantasy author who seems to be working with others then you might have hit the motherload. After trying one author, you might be inclined to read the ones they’re friends with as long as you enjoy the genre.

Social Media:

Blog- Legends of Windemere

Twitter- @cyallowitz

Facebook- Charles E Yallowitz

Amazon Author Page

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14 thoughts on “Mirror Interview #3 Charles E. Yallowitz

  1. Loved the interview. I do music, write in the present tense and guzzle tons of tap water over ice. Even though, we have these habits in common I’m afraid I will never come close to Charles’ skill and output.

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