Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
AGW: Anthony G. Wedgeworth. I’m old enough to have played Pong when I was a kid and it was the only video game available.
Fiona: Where are you from?
AGW: I grew up all over. My father worked for NASA and we moved frequently as he worked on various projects. We lived in a fair share of the United States as well as some time in Madagascar, Aftrica. Eventually my mother stopped the constant nomad lifestyle and had us settle down around Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Moving around exposed me to a lot of cultures and thought processes as well as how to adapt to them. I was always the new kid in school and had to adapt into a new social group.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
AGW: I grew up with severe learning disabilities. Back then I was told I wasn’t working hard enough or I was stupid. Knowing that I was trying my hardest, I refused to accept that I was a dumb kid. I was placed in the “Special” classes when it came to reading and wasn’t diagnosed with Dyslexia until in my latter school years. Even with the diagnosis the school system (and society in general) didn’t know how to deal with this and how to modify the training to support this demographics. In an effort to avoid reading and wanting to feel valuable I got involved in sports, choir, art, dance, & theater. It was my way of creating self-worth and coping with my feeling of inadequacy compare to my two very intelligent siblings. My father took that bait and was finally proud of my sports ability. My mother, however, was my rock that always had my back regardless of what I did. It is because of her that I continued to persevere and overcome my challenges.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
AGW: I’ve recently completed my first series of 6 books and have even published the first book of the second series. Both of these series will be 6 books and the stories will intertwine with each other without repeating the same events. I’ve also recently come off of a long Comic Con tour where we hit events from 120,000 attendees down to 400. It was great to see all the fans of the series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
AGW: At the time I had been working on this series for 30 years and had compiled a huge database of history and stories in this new realm. I finally realized that no one was going to take this information and write these adventures, so I decided that I needed to before they were lost forever. Based on my decade of playing Dungeons & Dragons, and my love for the stories of Lord of the Rings, Dark Crystal, and Star Wars, I wanted an entire new ream with all new species, races, history and landscapes. I wanted to create an easy-to-read adventure that didn’t talk-down or over simplify the depth of the realm. I wanted it to feel real and solid but without having the reader struggle or keep notes in order to enjoy it. I believe I’ve accomplished this after three decades of development and another decade of writing. I may be a little slow on getting this accomplished, but I wanted to make sure it was something that would withstand the test of time.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
AGW: I think it was while I was writing the fourth book in the series and I started noticing a fan base who would reach out to me with questions about specific characters and events in the stories. I started showing up to events where people were wearing t-shirts form my series. It was starting to grow organically through word of mouth… or even skin. Last year I was sent a picture of the Runestone (from the cover of my first book) which had been tattooed on a fan’s arm! Then another fan showed up at a recent event and gave me a handmade leather book cover with one of the characters from my series on the leather cover. It’s overwhelming to know my writing has touched others, especially knowing how hard it was in overcoming my reading and writing challenges.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
AGW: My own challenges. I have a tendency to run toward my fears instead of away from them. I had been embarrassed and fearful of others reading my writing long enough. It was time to kill this beast that haunted me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
AGW: As with all the hidden puzzles in the series, the Thorik Dain series would all be named with consistency to each other. All 6 books are titled with three words including the word “of” as the second one. “Fate of Thorik” was the first book, because this was the coming-of-age story of Thorik and what his critical part was for the realm. After that, the following books in that series described the meat of those stories. Sacrifice of Ericc is clearly as story about the attempt to sacrifice him. The rest in the Thorik Dain series continued on the same pattern. The Santorray series is different. The first book in his series is called “Outraged” and fits his character better. He is more of a Marvel Comic “Wolverine” type character with fewer words and more action. The other book titles in his series will be one word titles as well.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
AGW: I want these books to be an exciting and yet simple read that pulls at your emotions. Not that these are simplistic stories, I just don’t want my readers to have to work to get through them. I want them to get lost in this realm. Now, with that said, I’ve spent a lot of time engineering the wording so that many of the parts have multiple meanings. This was done so that it fits perfectly into the storyline. However, after you read other adventures from the realm you can come back and read the original story again only to find out that the story took on a different turn that you originally thought. Basically I’ve changed your frame of reference which causes the situation and dialog to take on new meanings each time you learn more about the backstories.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
AGW: I was always told to write what you know. Clearly I haven’t lived in this fantasy realm…as far as you need to know. However, the characters, relationships, and struggles they have are pulled from my life and those I have met. I’ve been on one side or the other of nearly all the emotional issues these characters go through. I’ve then talked at length to friends who struggle with challenges for the events that I haven’t personally endured.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
AGW: My wife says my mind is always traveling off to the unknown, and she’s not completely wrong about that. We do travel periodically and I’m always looking at the cultural and environmental differences in a way that provides depth to my own stories. I see something unique and I’ll immediately multiply that exclusive characteristic into something massive and then contemplate the ramifications of it. It’s a wonderful creative exercise that I do far too often, instead of listening to my wife who is providing driving directions on how to get to our next event.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
AGW: This is the part that I got lucky. My brother, Rick, is a genius at math, science, and computers. I described the concept for the Runestones which Thorik Dain uses.Rickthen designed & constructed them on his computer and rendered them in 3D. Yes, that sounds simply in today’s environment, but back then we didn’t have the need software. So he literally calculated all the vectors and created these complex Runestones by typing in the values and then rendering it at the end to see if they all fell into the right locations. It was amazing. My brother created the covers for all 6 Thorik Dain books and the 4 Nums of Shoreview books (Pre-teen series). Then I found a great artist in the UK, named Jamie Noble, who is now creating the art for the Santorray series. Yes, I’ve been very fortunate on this part of the writing & publishing experience.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
AGW: There are several, but I’m hoping these are secondary to an overall good story and deep relationship you’ve created with the characters. In Thorik’s series, his coming-of-age story allows you to watch him overcome his challenges with various relationships including the most important one which is his being honest with himself and his personal insecurities. Santorray, on the other hand, is very self-assure so his character must learn to deal with his anger management, his struggle to deal with cultures and people he doesn’t agree with, and so on. There are many layers to the books, but the key is to have these be subtle and not preachy.Based on my fan mail, I find that everyone gets something different out of each book.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
AGW: To be honest I still love reading Charles Dickens. There is something about his style that I find magical.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
AGW: I became involved in a local writer’s group who inspired me to write more. I tapped into their network of people and companies that helped me past several unknowns about publishing. That said, the greatest thing that came out of that was a friendship created with another guy there by the name of Lyle Ernst. We immediately hit it off as though we were old friends. He passed away this past year, but his memories will always be treasured.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
AGW: For me, absolutely. It’s my drug of choice and want to make this my life’s work. I also plan to take this realm onto the big screen and work on the movie sets. That’s the dream and direction I’m heading!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
AGW: Every time I read my published books I always nitpick things to death, but in general I like where the story went and am glad I had the opportunity to express that adventures.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
AGW: Yes. After spending so many years working on the Thorik series and getting the voice of the storyline to feel like his character, I wasn’t sure the challenges I would have with writing for a different protagonist. At first it felt too much like Thorik’s storyline, so I scrapped it all and took a new approach. I started using storyboards to help me visually see it play out like a movie. Once I was pleased with the movie version I then rewrote the entire manuscript. It was such a great technique that I plan to use it on all future books.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
AGW: There are so many great young actors that could play Thorik. The first one that comes to mind would be Asa Butterfield. The way he played his role in Ender’s Game reminded me of several aspects of the protagonist, Thorik Dain.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
AGW: If you plan to sell books, treat your writing like a business. Educate yourself on the industry and the techniques. Practice.Practice.Practice. Join a support group that gives you feedback and expands your network. If you don’t have a plan that you follow, then don’t be upset if you’re not reaching your goals.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
AGW: Enjoy the Adventure… not just of the book series, but your own adventure in life. Before you know it another month, year, and decade are gone. Enjoy the experiences along the way instead of waiting for some event to happen that will then magically make you happy.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
AGW: I find myself reading specific parts of many reference books as I continue to study the human response in various stressful conditions. It’s important to me to understand the subject I’m writing about.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
AGW: Yep! And I read it to my grandchildren all the time. Green Eggs and Ham is still a showstopper at our house. I do the voices and make a big production out of it. It’s something you really should see.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
AGW: I love a good laugh and that includes everything from a Monty Python or Mel Brooks movie to a fun evening playing games with my family. As far a crying, nothing breaks me down like canine story. Our 3 little dogs recently passed away after 15 years and it simply broke my heart.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
AGW: I would love to have time to talk to my grandfather on my mom’s side. I was so young when we went to visit them and I remember so little. Although I always felt an overwhelming calmness when I crawled up in his lap. I wish I could have got to know him better.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
AGW: Aside from the addiction I have to writing? Yes, I enjoy photography, walking, and exploring places I’ve never been. Now, when I put those three together it makes for a pretty spectacular day.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
AGW: I typically veer towards the action or comedy. Life has enough drama that when I finally take a break, I want to be entertained by something that will amaze me or make me laugh.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
AGW: I do love a shredded beef burrito swimming in green chile sauce… Now you’ve done it. I’m craving one as we speak.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
AGW: Whoa, hold on there. I’m addicted to writing. I may have to go to a rehab of some sort. Hmmm… Well, there are many other artistic activities that I do enjoy. I love photography, painting, sculpture, software designing. Yes, software. You’d be surprised how much artistic creativity is needed to develop something powerful and yet easy to use.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
AGW: It would have to either be, “He enjoyed the Adventure” or “If you want to get to know me, read my stories.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
AGW: Absolutely. The best place to start would be my series website at www.AlteredCreatures.com and then you can follow the links to various social media and internet book stores.
Website for the series: www.AlteredCreatures.com
Book Series on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B0173OS3RC/
Author Page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Anthony-G-Wedgeworth/e/B002BOHNZ8/