Welcome to Walter Rhein
Please tell us a little about yourself. I was born in Wisconsin and went to college at UW-Eau Claire. My degree is in English with a minor in Physics. People think that sounds strange until they remember that Physics was once called Natural Philosophy. After college, I moved to Lima, Peru for 10 years. Initially I was just going to go for a few months in order to learn Spanish, but I got a lot of work teaching and writing so I stuck around. Now I’m back in WI with my lovely Peruvian bride and two adorable daughters.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. In Peru, my main writing income came from sci-fi and fantasy stories. Lately, I’ve been far more successful placing adventure and travel articles like this one (http://cyclova-xc.blogspot.com/2011/07/running-inca-trail-with-two-olympians.html). My best selling book is best described as humorous travel writing, you can read more about that here (http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Birkie-Fever-ebook/dp/B00FEPQ212/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1314120830). I have a new fantasy book coming out in a couple months with Janet Morris of Perseid Press. (Please see the post here https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/guest-post-from-walter-rhein-fantasy-and-the-chance-to-win/)
Where can readers find your book? Amazon is the best place, but there are a smattering of book stores in WI that carry my stuff. Also, the New Moon ski shop is going to place “Beyond Birkie Fever” in their 2014 catalog and I’m excited about that.
How long have you been writing and what made you choose the genre in which you write? Oh, my writing addiction has been going on forever (as is the case with many of those unfortunate enough to write 🙂 ). I’ve always loved fantasy which is mostly influenced by Tolkien (like everyone else), in my other writing I’d say the biggest influence is Bukowski.
Can you name a both a positive and a negative experience from your writing?The positive stick in your mind more. I’ve been fortunate in that “Beyond Birkie Fever” was popular enough that people actually sought me out to tell me how much they liked it. That’s really great, although it’s still hard to wrangle reviews out of people, even when they go to great lengths to meet you and shake your hand.
The negative side is when a work gets rejected for completely absurd reasons. For example, I had a manuscript sent back to me that started on a beach in Seattle. One of the people who evaluated the book said, “the author obviously didn’t do his research since there are no beaches in Seattle.” Thing was…the book was a true story. I could take her to the beach. Seattle is on the coast! I don’t know why this person found it so hard to believe there was a beach there! But that was her opinion, so the book got sent back.
Have you experienced any hostility when you told people you are a writer? I usually don’t tell people.
How much research do you do? Why is this important to your world building? I would say very little. I’ve always been surprised when I’ve received compliments on my world building. I hate coming up with the “name” of the place my characters are having their conflicts. Do we really need the name of another magical kingdom? Can we truly improve on Middle-Earth, Oz, or Neverland? I’m more concerned with my characters and their issues.
With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? Every time I’ve looked for a publisher I’ve always wanted one that did a print version. These days that’s not that difficult though, create space will give you a print version for free, and for $25 you get their worldwide distribution upgrade (worth it). Yes, I’d say print is still important, but just for something you can hand out at speaking engagements. I’ve made more money from speaking engagements than from my writing actually.
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? I didn’t used to, but now that I have kids I find myself doing it more just because something is always making noise. It used to bother me to get interrupted, not so much now!
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Depth of emotion and complexity of theme. A movie is limited to a couple hours and the medium simply can’t hold attention for more than that. The exception would be TV series which actually can get pretty deep. However, I always get the impression that TV shows are made up on the fly, which keeps them semi-superficial. I only made it through season 3 of “Breaking Bad” so I could be wrong on this. I don’t play enough video games to comment fairly on them. It could be that video games and movies/TV are the equal of books. I just haven’t seen it yet personally.
What advice would you give new writers? Start up an email list of people who like your writing and keep track of them. Write a quarterly newsletter so those people don’t forget you. These people will represent your core readership that will get you publishing contracts and make sure your books sell
What are your best marketing/networking tips? Hound people for reviews, create networks with other writers, maintain a dialogue with your readers through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. I’m not so high on public appearances. Oh, and always be polite to people. A person who loves your book will forget about it instantly if they meet you and you act like a jerk.
Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? I always say Roald Dahl when I’m asked this question. Dahl just impresses me.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? When I was in high school I got the rumor started that I could put an orange in my mouth and peel it with my tongue. The rumor spread.
If you are having a sale, new book release do please mention it.
I recently obtained the rights to the first book I wrote which was accepted for publication. I decided to make some changes to it and publish it on Kindle. It’s available here for .99 (http://www.amazon.com/Seed-Vyldur-Chronicles-Tainted-ebook/dp/B00FG9L748/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380917307&sr=8-1&keywords=fawkes+paz). I used a pen name because I feel I’ve come a long way since that book and I didn’t want to confuse my regular readers with it (although a lot of them have been curious about it). I think .99 is the right price for this book. There will be two sequels coming before the end of October 2013. I have also plotted out a 4th book, but not sure when I’ll get around to polishing that off.
Also mention your own blog/website if you like.
Here’s my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wrhein