Author name: Charles E. Yallowitz
My two biggest publications are Legends of Windemere and War of Nytefall. The former is a 15 book adventure series that takes place in the fantasy world of Windemere. I published the final book in December and I’ve just released the first volume of my vampire series, which takes place in the same world. Both series have plenty of action, humour, and colourful characters.
What have you found the most challenging part of the process?
As strange as it sounds, I find the most challenging part to be the later editing stages. I’m always having a blast with outlining and writing the first draft, but I’ve found that I hit an odd mentality when I’m doing my 3rd or 4th readthrough. I begin making changes for the sake of making changes, which makes it difficult to do a true editing run. So, I guess the biggest challenge is my own insecurity and doubt here.
Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?
75% plotter and 25% pantser. I used to be more of the former, but I realized that so many of my character bios and outlines didn’t survive the first draft. So, I come up with a general idea of what I’m doing and key points that I want the plot and characters to hit. Everything in between is up to what strikes my fancy while I’m writing.
What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work?
I used to think the Perma-Free idea was a mistake. Not that it demeaned the author or the work, but that it didn’t serve a purpose. It wasn’t until I sat down to think of ways to help promote my own series that I realized a free Volume 1 could help get people into the rest of the books. Creating a low or no risk introduction is a great way to attract readers, especially those who might not normally read your chosen genre.
How do you deal with bad reviews?
I eat an entire cartoon of ice cream and yell at myself in the mirror. Kidding since I can’t do that without making myself sick these days. I read the bad reviews to see if there are any good points that I can use to improve myself. If not then I shrug, talk to a few friends about it, and move on. You’re not going to please everybody, especially in this business.
Sort these into order of importance:
This is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I’m going with Great Characters, Awesome World-Building, Good Plot, and Technically Perfect, but they’re all coming in very close. I think the first three on the list influence each other too much to really put one above the other. A good plot can stem from a great character while helping to forge an awesome world. With the technically perfect part, you do need to get close to that, but I think you’ll also always get someone pointing out mistakes. Then again, I’m a Present Tense Third Person author, so my entire style is sometimes called a typo.
How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?
With my fantasy books, I don’t do a lot of research beyond monsters and weapons that exist in the real world. Most times, I find myself looking things up in the spur of the moment because a scene doesn’t feel believable. This happens a lot when I have a character who uses poisons or I’m trying to make a monster act like a certain real world animal. As far as the wildest subject, I’ve had to look up a lot of anatomy to see if a character will survive certain blows and to make sure a villain that enjoys torture knows what they’re doing. With that second thing, you’d be surprised how quickly it can go from cringe-worthy evil to groan-inducing comedy.
How influential is storytelling to our culture?
I think it’s more influential than people realize. We run into stories every day that cause us to think and act in response to them. It isn’t always a grand tale of adventure or the in-depth story of a real event. Some stories are nothing more than a person telling you about their day. They might not have the same impact as a fantasy adventure, but people who listen will walk away with something new in their heads. That can lead to changes in the culture, especially if the story reveals an area of society that needs to be worked on.
If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why?
Rip Van Winkle because I could use a good night’s sleep. Seriously, I think I’d like to be a griffin, but the more docile kind that will allow people to ride on their backs. That way I won’t be seen as a threat and I can still fly around whenever I want to. As much as I hate heights, I like the sense of freedom that I feel when I imagine flying without a plane. Almost like you’re part of the world, but still isolated with your own thoughts until you return to the ground. Typing on my laptop might be rather difficult, so I’d have to go with a human who can transform into a griffin.
What is your writing space like?
I switch between two writing areas because I don’t have a designated spot to call my own. One is sitting on my bed with my laptop and notebooks while the other is the dining room table. The second choice doesn’t have as much privacy as the first, but it’s easier on the back. I’m hoping to have an office one day, but I work with what I can get for now.
Tell us about your latest piece?
My latest work is called War of Nytefall: Loyalty and it’s the first volume of a new series. It takes place in the magical world of Windemere like Legends of Windemere, but a few hundred years earlier. The Great Cataclysm has just struck and changed the entire world, including transforming a vampire named Clyde. Having been buried for fifty years, he has returned to discover that his people have been in an endless war against the hunters and sun priests. It is not long before Clyde realizes that the strange events that buried him also gave him unique powers. He no longer loses his strength in the sun and physical strength that surpasses even the vampire nobles, which he fears will make him a target. As he fights in the war alongside his old friends, he starts to uncover more changes, including one that kicks of a vampire civil war between the Old World Vampires and the newly arrived Dawn Fangs. As with my previous series, there’s a lot of action and colourful characters to drive the plot along.
Are indie/self published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this?
I think there is still a stigma about indie authors being of low quality and it might never go away. Many readers think indie authors refuse to edit or are so unskilled that no publishing company will touch them. A lot of people also look at the indie author scene as easy money and crank out a simple book to make a few bucks, which seems to get more attention than the majority who take the trade seriously. Those who are sceptical of the self-publishing world will always point to the lower quality works as examples of the whole too. It really comes down to the exposure one has to the indie scene and where the majority of attention goes to. If the community is painted in a negative light then the stigma will remain, but if you have a positive reputation then it will go in the other direction.
How important is writing to you?
Writing has been an important part of my life for a long time. It’s how I relax and what I love to do. If I’m not working on a full-length book then I’m fiddling with my outlines. Some days the only time I feel like I have any control over things is when I’m writing, so it acts as a stabilizer in a way.
Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. Truthfully, his tales of adventure are much more interesting than his real life, so skip the bio and dive into the action.