Please welcome my special guest, Jack Whitsel, whose debut fantasy novel, SHADOWS OF KINGS will be hitting bookshelves tomorrow!
Jack is a native Californian, but has made Oregon his home since 1982. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Finance from Portland State University, but studies medieval history in his spare time. His favorite genres are fantasy and historical fiction with a medieval emphasis. Shadows of Kings, the first novel of the Dragon Rising Series is the love child born of these two passions. Visit his website at http://www.jackwhitsel.com.
Connect with Jack at:
Facebook fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shadows-of-Kings-Book-one-of-the-Dragon-Rising-Series/119975978113722
ABOUT SHADOWS OF KINGS:
Steel and sorcery clash as the Harhn incursion sweeps through the Hugue. Mankind faces its greatest peril without the Order Knights of legend to defend them. Crusading deep in the frontier, the Order is unaware of the savage beasts threatening their homeland as the Hugue realms muster their armies for war.
Between a cunning Harhn sorcerer, and an alliance forged with the decadent Darkfey, the horde threatens to extinguish the domains of men. Only Lord Baudouin and Lady Lucia, a Dragon Maiden from the Order, stand in the enemy’s path. One must find the strength to unify the realms. The other must discover the strength within her, while coming to terms with the agendas of her Order. But only together will there be any hope to repel the onslaught, and preserve the future for a mysterious girl they do not know.
Chapter excerpt: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ShadowsofKings_ch1.html
Thanks for this interview, Jack! Tell us, do you consider yourself a born writer?
No. I have always labelled myself a storyteller. Though I was putting my thoughts on paper at a young age – it was all about storytelling.
When did your love for fantasy fiction begin?
Tolkien changed everything. I was eight years old when my dad began reading the Hobbit to me. After being exposed to Goblins, Elves, and wizards…I was hooked!
What was your inspiration for Shadows of Kings?
Of all the questions that are thrown at me, that one is always the most difficult. There has never been a solitary idea or moment that brought Shadows of Kings to life. However, I have three passions in my life – medieval history, all things fantasy, and my sons. Between the three, Shadows of Kings morphed into existence.
What was the greatest challenge when writing your novel?
The discipline to keep focused on this novel, while knowing it was just a small piece to the saga. I have a tendency to jump from book to book, so I often had to pull the reins to keep me on Shadows of Kings.
What makes a great fantasy novel?
Mechanically…stories that are character driven and have an excellent pace. But what really makes a fantasy novel great are the elements that readers can identify with on a personal level – whether they be characters, settings, or circumstances.
Are there any authors who have influenced you as a writer?
J.R.R. Tolkien, George Orwell, Herman Hesse, Leon Uris, and Anne Rice – all of which cover a wide variety of genres.
Are you a disciplined writer? What is a typical writing day for you?
There is no true formula. Sometimes I write, sometimes I edit. But I’m up at the crack of dawn, committing my morning hours to the craft. My trusty sidekick – a full pot of coffee.
Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a panster?
I just write. I don’t even know what panster means. I never took a writing class in college – except the mandatory prerequisite courses. I have never read a “How to write” book. And I never spent a dime at a writing workshop. And I never concern myself with grammar…that’s what we pay editors for. It may be different for non-fiction, but to write fantasy, it comes from the heart – its creation forged by imagination and passion.
How long did it take you to finish the novel?
That is hard to measure. Like I mentioned earlier, I have always worked on more than one book at a time. As a matter of fact…I’m a three-booker. One is my main focus and the other two are my side projects.
There is a lot of world building in your work. How did you create it? Do you have a system?
Avalla is a mosaic of various historical snapshots that were then twisted by my imagination. But the foundation and all future creations begin with real places from various eras.
How was the publishing process like for you?
Twilight Times Books felt right for my debut novel. After signing with them, I found that I was able to maintain a lot of control over the process. They work with fantastic editors and artists and have a full stable of award winning authors, who I’ve had the pleasure to converse and learn from over the past few months.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
Thanks so much for allowing me to visit your site, and a big hug to Mayra for taking the time to put this interview together. Writing is an incredible journey, and the fact this is my debut novel, I feel like a babe in the woods – consumed by both fear and excitement.
To all the aspiring authors out there – Just write! Don’t worry about potential publishers, critics or agents. When you are ready and they are ready…the deal will come. Until then, just write and enjoy it.
To those about to read Shadows of Kings – Prepare for an exciting ride. I’m going to give you knights, magic and mayhem until you can’t take it anymore. I’m not here to impress you…but to entertain you. Shadows of Kings is the perfect blend of medieval grit and High Fantasy – and I’m thrilled to share it with you.
Oceans of Love,
Be sure to watch the book trailer and don’t miss my review of Shadows of Kings tomorrow!
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