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. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is the 10th volume of my Legends of Windemere epic fantasy series, which sees that the heroes have been forced to split up. The story focuses on Timoran Wrath, an honorable and wise barbarian who has been a constant source of stability for his friends. To continue their journey, the champions must travel to Timoran’s homeland of Stonehelm and gain entry into the Snow Tiger Tribe’s holy land. There’s just one big problem:
Timoran is an exile and returning home means he must stand trial for his sins that could lead to his execution. Unwilling to do more harm to his people, he is ready to accept judgement and die for his crimes, which puts the champion prophecy at risk. Lucky for Timoran, Luke, Nyx, and Dariana have their suspicions that something is not right in Stonehelm and refuse to let their friend die without a fight.
If this delay is not bad enough, the chaos elf army is on the march and the only way for them to return home is if their leader can claim Nyx’s head and raze Stonehelm to the ground.
IAN: Is Tribe of the Snow Tiger published in print, e-book or both?
Charles E. Yallowitz: E-Book
IAN: Where can we go to buy Tribe of the Snow Tiger?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Amazon.com
IAN: Do you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
Charles E. Yallowitz: I’m a big planner when it comes to my stories because I want to make sure I lead up to certain plot and character evolution points. So, I make outlines that break the chapters down into sections and use character bios to know where I want to go with them. Do any of these plans stay intact when I start writing? Not really, which means there is a ‘winging’ aspect of the first draft that makes sure the story flows naturally.
IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Yes and it’s Present Tense Third Person. *ducks barrage of rotting vegetables* It isn’t really a common or popular style, but it’s what I feel most comfortable writing in. This came about in high school because I was always switching tenses in my stories. A teacher sat me down to help me realize where I was going wrong and break the habits. This involved choosing one tense to stick with and I happened to pick Present Tense, which nobody told me was odd until I published my first book in 2013. Honestly, this works best for my stories because I see them as visual scenes in my head. This is why I use a lot of action and dialogue, especially since flashbacks and info dumps don’t work very well in Present Tense.
IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Be even better if they’re excited for the next volume. I write to entertain and draw out the proper emotions for the scenes. So, I’m happy if a reader laughs at the jokes, tears up at the sad parts, and is on the edge of their seat during the action. For me, one of the best things to hear from a reader is who their favorite character is or if a scene really stuck with them.
IAN: How much of the series is realistic?
Charles E. Yallowitz: I write fantasy, so there is a lot of magic and monsters along with flashy fight scenes. The realism comes about from how the characters react to events. For example, I have no problem having a character cry when something makes them sad instead of them remaining the ‘stoic hero’. Beyond that, the story is realistic within the rules of the world. Writing fantasy requires that you make some basic laws and stick to them because consistency is key to world building.
IAN: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Charles E. Yallowitz: Fellow indie authors and bloggers. Starting a blog was the best thing I did for my writing because it helped me connect with people in the same situation. Unlike family and friends, these are people that have a full understanding of what I’m trying to do.
IAN: Do you see writing as a career?
Charles E. Yallowitz: If you’re asking if I’m a full-time author then yes. Beyond that, it’s a rather complicated answer because ‘career’ sounds very sterile to me. Writing is a path that I take a sense of accomplishment from and enjoy every day. I guess I would say it’s the dream job more than a career. Again, this is because the word has typically been used in a rather dull, just-earn-a-paycheck towards me by those that consider writing nothing more than a hobby.
IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Charles E. Yallowitz: I loved writing and telling stories when I as 7, but my skills in other subjects were falling. So, I always had a mild interest in telling stories that was kept to daydreaming and a few school projects until I turned 15. My desire to be a zoologist died when I realized I would have to work with blood. Around this time, I read a fantasy series called ‘The Books of Lost Swords’ by Fred Saberhagen. Something about the world and how it came to life in my head made me want to do the same thing. I spent a lot of my free time in high school designing my first fantasy world and the stories that would go along with them. This ended up becoming Pre-Cataclysm Windemere instead of the main world.
IAN: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Only in my head. Being a fantasy author, I don’t have any places to go to since the stories don’t take place on Earth. Yet, I do try to make the environments realistic and work off my own experiences from the few trips I’ve taken.
IAN: Who designed the covers?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Jason Pedersen who is a tattoo artist out of Arizona. He’s been doing the Legends of Windemere covers since the beginning.
IAN: What was the hardest part of writing your books?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Since this is the 10th volume, the hardest part is to keep the characters evolving and make sure there is consistency with the previous books. I have to keep a lot of notes to avoid creating any incongruities in Windemere, which readers seem to pick out really quickly. This can be a reused monster that looks and acts differently with no explanation, characters forgetting previous learned information, location descriptions not matching up, and a lot of other traps that I would fall into if I simply wrote without thinking of what came beforehand. Recently, I began going through the new outlines and making a file of any information that I would need to include from previous volumes. This really helps with the monsters and locations.
IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Charles E. Yallowitz: Have fun with your stories and listen to your gut. If you feel like something isn’t going to work for the book then step back and think. You might only have a partial idea that will evolve with a little more focus. This goes for promoting your book too. It’s good to step out of your comfort zone, but you need to make sure the promo is right for you. People can tell when an author is uncomfortable, but might not mistake discomfort for not having faith in the product.
IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?
Well, I just finished a paranormal thriller that I’m going to post bit by bit on my blog in October. Not really my genre, so I’m not confident enough to publish it. Still, it makes for a fun series to do for a month. Beyond that, I’m editing Legends of Windemere: Charms of the Feykin, which will be the 11th volume of the series. This covers what happened to the other group of champions, who were left on a cliffhanger in the last book. Those who survive Tribe of the Snow Tiger must go on a rescue mission to the southern jungles, but they are going to be surprised by what they find. Their friends will not be the same people they remember and a new enemy will come closer to tearing the entire group apart than any other adversary. One of my favorite parts about this story is that it brings closure and focus to many of the relationships that have been brewing for a while.