Gather ’round ye lords and ladies, and give approbation to the builder of worlds, the scribe of Windemere and many other worlds yet-unknown, Charles E. Yallowitz.
D: Give those who may not know Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower a quick snapshot:
C: Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower is the sequel to Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero. While the first book took place in Hamilton Military Academy, Prodigy of Rainbow Tower is a journey down the L’dandrin River. Luke Callindor and his friends are escorting the heir of Serab back home, but their enemies know their route. So, they have to survive a gauntlet of traps, demons, and there’s this whole betrayal thing that seems to have earned me a few ‘Damn you!’ emails. Joining the established characters is Nyx, who is a short-tempered battle magic caster and one of my favorite characters to write. She brings a new level of magic, drama, and action to the story because of her power and lack of restraint.
D: Angry letter-inducing betrayal and a powerful woman with a lack of restraint. . . sounds like my kind of world.
D: Writers meet their characters in a variety of ways – and you have a variety of characters. Tell me about the strangest character introduction you have experienced.
C: Most of my main characters were part of a Dungeons & Dragons game, so I was introduced to many of them by their players. The strangest character introduction would have to be Kira Grasdon. She had a single scene in the first draft with no depth. After that, she started slipping into other scenes when I was editing. One day I finally noticed she was popping up and gave her a big scene that was kind of related to the plot. I guess Kira got hungry for more because she earned more scenes and rose from her ‘barely there’ beginnings to a major factor of Luke Callindor’s story.
D: Without giving too much of the series away, do you have a least favorite character in your world of Windemere – or another world of your creation? Whose suffering do you enjoy the most?
C: I put my characters through the wringer a lot after the first book. For some reason, I love traumatizing them and making them cry. They grow stronger from it and it makes their victories a lot sweeter.
As for least favorite character, I recently introduced one of the new villains in my 5th book and he’s kind of blown all other hated characters out of the water. I knew this guy was going to be evil and sadistic, but I expected a buildup. Right out of the gate, he’s torturing the happiest of the heroes, turning on his own allies, and his has this interest in doing horrible things to Nyx. By the end of the book, I really wanted to kill him off, but I need him for certain plot points and character development.
D: Where do you think you get sadistic characters like that? Is his inhumanity dredged up from your mind, or is it something else – something separate?
C: I’ve thought and worried about where the sadistic characters come from. The best answer I could come up with is that I’m using the parts of human nature that I despise. The character in question is disloyal, sadistic, and turning out to be a sexual predator, which is the aspect that scares me. All of these are things I hate in other human beings, so this character came stepped out of that area of my morality. Not the darkness, but what I attribute to the worst of the darkness. I had to go philosophical on this in order to put my mind at ease.
D: Which character do you wish you were more like?
C: There are a few characters that I wish I had some traits of, but each one is flawed. I’d love to have Luke’s confidence and courage, but he comes with a bloated sense of responsibility. I already have that. Nyx’s defiance is appealing too, but she has the temper that would get me in trouble. Maybe Aedyn Karwyn since he seems to be the more balanced if not a little on the bland side of the personality spectrum. Wait! I’d be Fritz the womanizing gnomish inventor.
D: Nice choice, Charles. I knew a fellow like that once – he had all the fun.
Now, you and A know the gaming lingo (what the heck is a cantrip anyway?), so to call you a gamer would not be too far afield. What is it about gaming that you love, and has that element made it into your books at all?
C: I’m leery of calling myself a gamer these days because I’ve been out of the games for so long. (A cantrip is a minor spell that takes very little energy and does something mundane like change the color of something.)
D: (Cheers – no more lording it over me, A.)
A: (Can it, D.)
C: The gaming element definitely makes it into the books with the help of my use of present tense. A lot of the games I played in revolved around humor, action, interactions between the players, and humor.
Trust me that humor has to be in there twice. I put this into my books in the hopes of creating the same relaxed atmosphere for the reader that I felt during the games.
The downside to this tactic is that you have to deal with people getting annoyed that your book reads like a D&D game. Can’t please everyone and that seems to be especially true in the fantasy genre.
D: Conversely, do you have a favorite part of gaming that has not made it into your books?
C: Not really. I was always more interested in the story and characters than the stats when I played the games. So, I’ve brought that over to my books. If anything, I had to cut out some fun scenes from the game because they didn’t translate very well. There’s a big ‘you had to be there’ factor that an author has to remember if they write books off a D&D game. For example, I couldn’t really add in the fact that Nyx in the game had a habit of charging face first into battle and getting knocked out. It was hilarious and became a running gag, but the book version of Nyx wouldn’t do that. She’s too powerful and cunning. So, comedy caused by the player had to be dropped.
D: Of the Windemere books that we have yet to see, which one do you look forward to debuting the most? Why?
C: Out of the Legends of Windemere series, I’m really looking forward to the 6th book debuting because it’s a big change for Luke. Though, I could just be interested in writing it since it’s my next book after I edit 4 and 5. It’s really hard to pick a favorite out of the series.
Out of my non-Legends of Windemere books, I would have to say it’s a tie between ‘Tales of the Slumberlord’ and ‘Sin’. ‘Tales of the Slumberlord’ will be interesting for me because the hero is a foolish halfling caster named Darwin Slepsnor. I’m going to be trying to work a series with a main character who is also comic relief and kind of a sidekick at times. It will be a challenge after the grand heroes of Legends and the anti-hero of my following vampire series. As for ‘Sin’, I’m going to be using a 4 Act structure with multi-tiered villains and world spanning adventures in each book. Through the series, I get to take the readers on a major tour of Windemere.
C: I do believe in it, but I also think we have free will. It’s a balance where we are destined to do something and given the tools to do it. Yet, we have the free will to attempt another path or miss our destiny entirely. I do feel destined to be an author because of my imagination and always thinking up new stories. I also know that I have to work hard for it and there’s always a chance that something could go wrong. Destiny can only take one so far, which is something I point out in the books. It’s stated at one point that while the heroes are destined to make it to the final battle in some shape or form, they aren’t destined to win or survive. That has to be earned, which is how my personal philosophy works.
D: As one who has created his own prophesied destiny out of myth, I understand you completely.
D: So, you’re hard at work on the third book in the Windemere series – care to share a spoiler-free sneak peek?
Sure. This is the initial meeting between the reader and Sari the gypsy:
The ground rushes to meet her beautiful face after Sari trips over a tree root that she could not see through her tears. Dirt joins the twigs and leaves that are caught in the dark blue waterfall of hair that cascades down to her thighs. She scrambles to her feet before wiping the dirt and tears from her puffy eyes. Their emerald glow, that her partner had written songs about, is barely a glimmer amid a cloud of terror. A tear down the arm of her dirty, white blouse makes her grumble incoherently as she rips the sleeve off. She whimpers at the sight of her bright red skirt, shredded up to her knees by the forest’s underbrush.
Sari takes a moment to rub her bleeding feet before sprinting forward like a hunted rabbit, ragged breaths escaping her smooth lips. Her direction is a mystery even to her. Her only hope is that her path takes her away from the slaughter. Sari can still hear the final scream that ripped through the air and announced the demise of her kin. It took all of her strength to leave her hiding place and run for her life.
D: All right, scribe: me and a character of your choosing. Who would you pick to attempt to take down this time-traveling, god-impersonating Druid?
C: Very good question, D. Unless you’re fireproof, I think Nyx would have the best chance. Even then, she’s definitely the most powerful of the Legends of Windemere heroes. After all she is a CENSORED SPOILER, which is really hard to fight against. Then again, the villain I truly despise has time-based powers, but I’d end up rooting for you in the fight. So, Nyx and her powers of destruction will be my champion.
D: I do love those flaming hands of hers on the cover of Prodigy. She is a worthy champion, Charles. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your words with us. It has been a great pleasure.
A: Yes, thank you Charles. Now, everyone, go read! Go buy! Charles, the World Builder has created something fantastic!