Love high fantasy like Lord of the Rings? You’re going to adore Legends of Windemere series by Charles E. Yallowitz. He sat down with me for an interview. My favorite part is when he reveals what he wants put on his tombstone. LOL! Classic! 🙂 Take it away, Charles!
- Do you have any odd writing habits?
I few habits I have is that I need music or a bottle of seltzer nearby, but I don’t know if those are odd. I write in present tense third person, which many people have pointed out is an odd style. In high school, I kept jumping tenses and was told to pick one and stick with it. The result was that I went with present tense and nobody told me it was odd until 2012 when I published my first book. That’s probably tied with the lucky stapler I’ve had since college that doesn’t even work. Last time I tried, the thing didn’t really work and I had to bend the stapler by hand.
- How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Names are very important in my books and that’s usually one of my starting points when I create a character. I have a vague idea of their role, but I hunt through baby name books and sites to find a good name with meaning. That ends up locking down a surname and helping with the personality. Being in fantasy, the name also needs to make sense for the species of the character. For example, having an Orc named Luigi VonKillemall would be more of a joke and all seriousness would be eliminated as soon as he was introduced.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m hoping to have finished and self-published Legends of Windemere and maybe the next series by that time. I plan on continuing the full-time author career. If I’m lucky then I might have a traditional contract at that time, but I’m content with staying as an indie author. I really would like to be in a position where my wife and I can have our own place too.
- Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I’m more of a plotter than a pantster, but I definitely have some of the latter in me. I make character profiles, plot summaries, and outlines before I sit down to work on the actual book. Yet, the outline gets altered as I write because that’s where the character personalities come out and the world takes on more details. So I always leave space for changes because what is a good idea in my head during an outline might not make any sense in the book.
- Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
I do have trouble with sex scenes, which is why I tend to do the lead up and aftermath only. The flirting and making out parts feel like they’re where the real emotion and heat can be felt. The actual act is rather unnecessary in my stories since they are focused more on action and character development outside of a bed. Kind of connected to this, I have a lot of trouble writing scenes that involve or refer to rape. It’s a very uncomfortable situation to write about even when it ends up getting thwarted.
- What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I’m currently working on the book in the Legends of Windemere series while taking breaks to jot down notes for future series. I have up to Book 8 written and in the various stages of editing. So the next project will probably be tackling Book 9 after my son’s Holiday Recess is over. If I’m feeling up to it, I might even start writing the prologue before the forced vacation.
- Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
I drink every now and then, but I’m not big into it like I was in college. I’ve tried cigars a few times with terrible results. I simply don’t like it. So my big vice is fast food like pizza, Subway, and anything that comes in a combo meal.
- What do you want your tombstone to say?
Either “He died as he lived. Eating pizza.” or “Here lies a man who crafted a world of dreams.” Right now I’m preferring the first one.
- If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I’m always torn between telekinesis and winged flight. Telekinesis would be cool because I could use it to mimic other powers like flight and invulnerability. Though I might be thinking of psychokinesis since I always get those two mixed up. Winged flight would just be fun because it seems like it would be peaceful up there. I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic when I go out to do errands too.
- If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Some kind of dog. Mostly because I have a bizarre level of loyalty that is rather difficult to break. I’m usually willing to help friends even if I have to put my own stuff on the back burner. The exception is if it causes a conflict with something I want to do with my son who tends to get top priority. The downside of this is that I also tend to remain loyal to negative people for a lot longer than I should. I also like belly rubs.
- Do you have any scars? What are they from?
I have a scar on my left wrist and right forearm. Both are faint and are from cooking incidents. I caught myself on the edge of the oven while taking dinner out.
Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero
Take a step into the magical world of Windemere where history is forged by brave adventurers.
Luke Callindor was born into Windemere’s most decorated family of adventurers. Since his birth, he has been treated with the greatest amount of respect and awe. Now, with a lifetime of training and the reckless cockiness of youth, Luke has set out to prove that he deserves the admiration that comes from being a Callindor.
Luke gets his chance when he convinces a royal messenger to hire him to protect the heir of Duke Solomon. This future leader is secretly attending Hamilton Military Academy, an esteemed school run by the former mercenary, Selenia Hamilton. It is a dangerous secret mission requiring that Luke pretend to be an average student while keeping an eye out for any sign of danger. Unfortunately, Luke has no idea which student the heir is and a demonic assassin is already several steps ahead of him. Finding himself in over his head and constantly in trouble, the young warrior realizes that the only things he has on his side are some new friends and his unwavering courage.
Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower
The action-packed, humor-filled, dramatic sequel to ‘Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero’.
Battling through a demonic assassin and an army of monsters, Luke Callindor has survived his time at Hamilton Military Academy. Now, Luke and his friends must leave the safety of the academy to escort Duke Solomon’s heir down the L’dandrin River and into the safety of the city of Gods’ Voice. Joining them for this journey is Nyx, a powerful caster apprentice of Rainbow Tower. With her talent for combat magic and her short temper, Nyx will prove to be a challenge for Luke and all of their enemies.
Who will survive the harrowing trip down the L’dandrin River? And, who will be the one to break Luke’s trust?
Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies
The adventures of Luke Callindor and Nyx continue after their journey down the L’Dandrin River in Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.
Reeling from his failures in their previous adventure, Luke leads his surviving friends to his hometown. With his mind frayed and his confidence fractured, Luke must face the family and fiancée he left behind. It is a brief homecoming when the vampire Kalam attacks the village, forcing Luke and Nyx to break into his lair for the key to resurrecting a fallen warrior. It is a quest that will force both young heroes to reach new heights of strength and power that they never knew they had.
Can Luke and Nyx escape the lair of Kalam? And, what role will the orphaned gypsy Sari play in their looming destiny?
Legends of Windemere: Family of the Tri-Rune
The magical adventure continues after Luke Callindor and his friends recover from their battles in Haven.
Nyx still has nightmares about casting the genocide spell in Hero’s Gate. Every night her heart is gripped by the sensation of hundreds of goblins dying by her magic. By the request of Lord Highrider and Duke Solomon, she is returning to fix the damage she caused. With Luke Callindor and Sari by her side, Nyx is ready to face the vengeful goblins and opportunistic thieves that plague Hero’s Gate. Yet, there is a darker threat that was born from her violated magic: The Krypters.
It is another action-packed, character driven story that will reveal one of our heroes has been lied to for their entire life.
Legends of Windemere: The Compass Key
Swords will clash and spells will fly in the newest adventure of young warrior Luke Callindor, Nyx the magic-flinging caster, and their friends.
With Sari captured by their enemies, the champions of Windemere are determined to get her back and destroy the Lich’s castle. Little do they realize, their battles in the Caster Swamp are only the beginning of this adventure. Trinity and her Chaos Elves have invaded the city of Gaia in search of a relic called the Compass Key. Rumored to be the key to rescuing Sari from a magical island, our heroes are in a race to find the mysterious artifact.
Which side will claim the Compass Key? And, what will our heroes do when they’re faced with an enemy whose evil power overshadows anything they have ever faced?
Charles has given us an excerpt to savor. Please read for yourself why he is one of my favorite authors right now:
Excerpt from Prodigy of Rainbow Tower
The closest demon is a few yards away from the doorway when it hears a low hum from behind the wooden portal. Nimby is just as shocked as the creature when a stampeding Bessaria bashes through the door. The sheep is covered in metal armor that includes a studded steel plate on her head. It is this molded metal that sends all of the wooly fury of Bessaria along the spine of the demon when she collides with her enemy’s forehead. The creature gurgles and flails from the impact as its broken body swiftly repairs itself.
“I’m not being left out of this one,” Fritz announces from atop his noble steed.
The gnome is also covered in armor plating and he has a large shield connected to the gauntlet on his left arm. His main weapon, which is on his back, does not resemble anything that the sailors and his friends have ever seen. The device has several triggers that look like they came off multiple crossbows, but the weapon resembles nothing more than a collection of long pipes attached to a curved handle. A thick cylinder with a plus sign at both ends is fitted into a groove above the triggers.
“The hell is that, old gnome?” Nimby asks.
“My daughter and I never got around to naming some of these things, but I know most of this stuff explodes,” Fritz proudly declares as the sheep rears back and kicks at the confused demons. “Bessaria! For the honor of invention!”
The gnome kicks his steed in the sides and the sheep charges toward its enemies. One of the demons attempts to hit Fritz with some ink while another leaps to knock him off Bessaria. The sticky projectile splashes against his shield before he feels the other demon pounce on him. He hits a boot-shaped button on his belt as Bessaria collides with the demon it previously hit. Fritz lets his leg armor stay with the saddle as he slips off his mount, the gnome making sure to keep the shield between him and the slavering monster.
“The leg armor saddle release sticks for a second, but it’s still usable. Commencing test of shield,” Fritz says as he pushes against the shrieking creature.
“Tests? Is that Fritz? What’s going on?” Luke asks before his fingers slip from the slick wood and he falls into the cold river. The half-elf is barely able to keep his head above the water as the defense spell continues to deflect him off the side of the ship.
“Luke!” Nimby screams, feeling the rough pull on the rope.
“I can’t get out of the water!”
The halfling braces his feet and pulls on the rope with all of his strength. “Hurry up, Fritz!”
The gnome slaps a button on his shoulder and the shield makes a wild screech before launching into the air. The demon is still holding the metal disc, which flies passed the crow’s nest and explodes with a thunderous blast. Proud of the successful test, Fritz ignores the twitching monster parts that replace the rain falling from the sky. He whistles for Bessaria to get out of the way before he swings his strange weapon off his back. The device releases an onslaught of silver streaks into the nearest creature until it is covered in hundreds of Gnomish throwing disks. The smell of oil carries on the wind as Fritz flips the weapon onto its side and puts his finger on another trigger.
“Too bad this gear is one time use. I’ll have to work on that.”
A pull of the second trigger releases a tongue of white fire that ignites the demon. Its brother watches in fear as the panicked monster twitches and burns where it stands. The remaining demon turns to leap off the ship into the calm river when Bessaria stomps her foot and a dart from her knee armor hits the creature in the back. The dart does not stop her target from diving off the ship and trying to escape.
“You’re going to let it go?” Captain Higgs asks in irritated confusion.
“Good job, Bessaria!” Fritz says, unaware of the sea elf’s question. “Commencing final test and initiating the Ram Cannon. I think we’re at a safe distance.”
The push of a button on Bessaria’s rump plate causes the pieces of her flank armor to swing up and out. They click together to form a stubby cannon that the poor beast struggles to keep steady. Fritz reaches for the weapon and aims it toward the open space in front of the ship before ripping a flint cord out of the cannon’s backside. A deafening boom shakes the River Scout as a ball of fire leaves the weapon, the projectile arching toward the river. The force sends Bessaria flying backwards where she crashes into Nimby, the sheep bleating in fear and discomfort.
Thank you, Charles, for sharing your series with us and for sitting down for an interview. I, for one, have the first three books on my kindle just waiting patiently for me to dive in.
His latest book in the series, Curse of the Dark Wind, is available today! Check out the amazing cover and blurb:
After their battles in Gaia and surviving the Island of Pallice, the champions of Windemere are off on their next adventure.
In his quest to be a hero and help others, Luke Callindor has jumped into danger countless times and would do so again without hesitation. So when he is infected by the toxic Dark Wind, it is up to his friends to find a cure and keep his courage alive. With time running out and their enemies in the shadows, one ally will make the decision to share in Luke’s suffering and forge a bond that runs thicker than blood. Such a sacrifice might not be enough when the truth behind this living curse comes to light.
Will Luke find the strength to defeat the Dark Wind? What ghosts from his past will appear during his weakest hour?