Name : Walter Rhein
Where are you from: Wisconsin
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I have a BS in English Literature with a minor in Physics. I’m certified to teach high school English and Physics. In 2001 I moved to Lima, Peru where I lived for 10 years teaching, writing and translating. Currently I’m writing for Perseid and Harren Press. Perseid is scheduled to release a travel novel of mine about my time living in Peru. That should be available in March or April of 2015.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest fantasy novel, “The Reader of Acheron,” is currently in the running at the Preditors and Editors best of 2014 poll. Please click here and vote for “Reader,” it would be really exciting to factor in to the final results!
Also, I was recently featured on the Roundable Podcast along with Chris and Janet Morris, Tom Barczak and Uvi Poznansky. That was a very fun discussion that you can listen to for FREE here. I’d love to hear some feedback on this…I have a hard time listening to podcasts that I’ve done.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I had my first story published when I was a Sophomore in high school and I’ve been hooked since then. I think writing is just a really nice way to straighten out your own way of thinking. It’s very therapeutic. I’ve got journals and journals filled with illegible chicken scrawl. That’s OK though because I’ve only been writing stuff that’s worth preserving for the last five years or so.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose I’ve stopped resisting calling myself that, although it’s not usually the first thing I mention when I meet new people. Lately I have run into people who have read something of mine, so then I feel it’s fair to talk about writing. I guess the first time I really considered myself a writer was when somebody walked up to me and was excited to meet me because they’d read one of my books.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote my first book in my last semester of college. I’d always wanted to write a book so I sat down and did it. The biggest inspirations were probably a combination of the films “The Wonder Boys” and “Fight Club.” The book I wrote was pretty terrible…
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write both fantasy and a memoir style. The memoir style is usually in first person. I would hope people would find the books to be funny, thought-provoking, and entertaining. Reviewers commonly say I’m good at pace. I don’t like to give readers an excuse to put the book down.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title of your upcoming release?
The newest book is titled “Reckless Traveler.” I’ll be glad when this one gets released because I’ve been working on it for probably seven or eight years. That said, the current incarnation bears very little resemblance to the first version of this book. It’s had a lot of titles, “Viajero,” “Memories of Dreams,” “Streets of Peru,” but I like “Reckless Traveler” best of all. I knew I had the right title when I stopped losing sleep over it.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, but I don’t know if I can tell you in a succinct paragraph. The whole book kind of grooms the reader into a couple of very important statements, but those statements lose their power if they’re separated from the novel. I always try to put a couple nuggets in everything I write so that readers can, hopefully, carry something away from the experience. These days I write a lot with my children in mind. It’s tough to convey information to people. I don’t have all the answers to life, but I’ve made enough mistakes that I certainly know what not to do in a lot of circumstances.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It’s all based on real things that happened, although a lot of them are told in a way that takes quite a bit of artistic license…you have to be interesting after all.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Mostly me or people close to me.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
“Fight Club” was really big, but probably more for the movie than the book (I did read it, but I thought the movie was better). I revisit “The Brothers Karamazov” from time to time. Also, I always mention “Danny the Champion of the World” when asked. Roald Dahl stays with me.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“The IX” by Andrew P. Weston. I was sent an advance copy to provide a cover blurb, but I’ve been lagging on this duty. I’m glad you asked me this question because it will make Janet happy to see this book mentioned here. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of “The IX” so far, it’s a grand action fantasy worthy of Perseid Press. Unfortunately the demands of the holiday season have been keeping me from finishing it
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Absolutely, and I’m sure I’m going to leave some names out. Tom Barczak is tremendous, JP Wilder, Travis Ludvigson, S.E. Lindberg, Alex Butcher, RA McCandless, Shane Porteous, Donny Swords, Teel James Glenn, Cas Peace, Simon Williams, Douglas Brown, Jesse Duckworth… I’m sure there are more, I meet a lot of great writers on the Heroic Fantasy Writers Facebook Group, please join!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m writing the sequel to “The Reader of Acheron.” This was supposed to be done for publication in January of 2015, but I’m about two months behind. The title will be “The Literate Thief.”
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The greatest support I’ve received is from Chris and Janet Morris of Perseid Press. It has been a wonderful learning experience working with them.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It’s more of a calling I’d say. I can’t imagine not writing. I think most people who pursue the activity of writing are deeply passionate about it. A career is just for making money, writing is who you are.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I might change some things in my earlier releases, but with Perseid nothing gets released until it is how we want it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Stories. I remember getting a copy of “The Collected Works of Jack London” when I was very young. It was one of those leather bound books with gold paint on the edges of the paper. There’s something about a magnificent edition of the collected works of a classic writer…even the pages of that book looked expensive. And, of course, “The Call of the Wild” is a great story to entice a young boy into a love of reading.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“The Literate Thief” takes place a couple months after the events of “The Reader of Acheron.” Many of the reviewers who looked at “Reader” came to the correct conclusion that a main purpose of that book was to bring together the characters of Kikkan and Quillion. In “Thief,” these two characters clash a little bit. It takes them a while to figure out how much they need each other, or how they can use each other. The battles they fight are fun to witness from the sideline.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My own laziness is the biggest problem. Sometimes you want to push through, or you want to see “progress.” In the past I used to set numbers for myself, like I had to write “six” pages in a day to feel good about what I did. Now I’m happy if I write one paragraph as long as I know I’m not going to have to change that paragraph again. There’s a big difference between “right” and “almost right.” “Almost right” makes you lose sleep.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’ll say Roald Dahl. The fact that he figured out how to be captivating for readers who were between 10 and 13 or so is amazing. It’s hard to tell a story that’s so engaging that very young children will read it to the end. Roald Dahl doesn’t get enough credit in my opinion.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
A little bit, I got to speak at the Library of Congress last summer. I’d travel more if I were invited to more places. The invites seem to be coming more frequently, and I think that’s good.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’ve done some of them, some were in house at Perseid, Rhemalda, or Harren Press. Most of the time it’s a group effort.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part used to be finding a publisher, but I’ve got some wonderful people that I work with now, fortunately. It’s nice not to have that hanging over you when you’re trying to create. Every book brings its own challenges, I guess the hardest part is overcoming the obstacles that inhibit the book from reaching its full potential.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
With “Reckless Traveler” I’ve learned to slow down a lot more in the writing process. I cut my teeth writing articles and stories for online audiences, and you simply can’t take your time with that format. In a novel you have a bit more time to stretch your legs, set the scene, and produce a richer work. I’m finally feeling relaxed enough to do that, and the result is much better writing.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The big key is to keep in contact with your readers and encourage them to write reviews and spread the word for you. Develop an email list and guard it with your life. Listen to your fans, and treat them well.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! Please don’t hesitate to contact me, I love hearing from you! Walterrhein@gmail.com. Also, please leave your reviews of my work on Amazon!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first fantasy I can remember reading was “The Sword of Shannara.” I read “The Call of the Wild” prior to that.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh a lot. What makes me cry…I’ll keep to myself.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’ll be consistent and say Roald Dahl. He’d probably appreciate hearing how much I enjoy his work. I know I’d like to hear that from a writer from the future in regard to my work.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Here lies a good father.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I run and cross-country ski. I did 7 marathons last summer. My purpose is to pass my physical every year, and keep my health more or less under control.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like most movies. My wife and I burned through “Breaking Bad,” and “Game of Thrones” recently.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Thai, Green, Pogues
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Some kind of artistic pursuit. I do a little graphic design and I enjoy that a lot.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Also, look for me on the Heroic Fantasy Facebook Group.
Thanks for having me!