Once again, we’ve got another great author for you to meet in today’s author interview. Tom Fallwell joins us from the windswept plains of Oklahoma. Tom, why don’t you get us started with a little bit of history about yourself.
- I was a mostly self-taught computer programmer for over 20 years. I earned an Associate Degree from a community college, but I really learned programming from actual experience. I am single, divorced. I have a great family with lots of aunts and uncles, and tons if cousins. I recently retired from the programming field.
Have you always been a writer, or is there a specific instance you can point to that is the start for you?
- I have always been a story teller. I have been a fan of table top role playing games for many, many years, and I loved creating adventures for players to experience. I had always wanted to be able to write novels, but never had the time or felt that I was qualified. After retiring from programming, I had the time, and a friend encouraged me. So, having had several stories in my head for a long time, I decided to start writing them down. I found I had been missing out on something I now felt I should have always been doing.
- When I finished my first short story, A Strong Tower, I realized I could do this. Then I wrote Dragon Rising, my first novel. The feedback I got from that book convinced me I was now an author.
Do you remember the inspiration for your first book?
- It was a story I had in my head. It actually started several years ago. I imagined a character, Delina from Dragon Rising, and had a general plot about her story. It played in my mind, parts of it anyway, like a movie. So I started writing down what I saw, and the story just seemed to flow out and write itself. It was an amazing experience.
- [It started back] from my gaming days, when I and my friends would gather to play Dungeons and Dragons. I was a Dungeon Master, who created adventures for the players to play in with their characters that they had created. I loved doing that, and seeing the players enjoy the tale as it revealed itself.
Another gamer turned author! Such a rare breed, it seems. Now I’m curious about the authors that influenced your life. Wonder if we have similar tastes. Will you share?
- Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, the Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, Dragonriders of Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey, and Chronicles of Amber trilogy by Roger Zelazny are the ones I remember the most.
Definitely Tolkien. I enjoyed reading his works. With such a nice group of favorites, have any been a mentor-like figure for you on your writing journey?
- Tolkien, definitely Tolkien. I want to create a world that lives on as he did.
- The sheer amount of lore and history that backdrops his stories I find utterly fascinating. The world building is what intrigues me so much.
Have you come across any new authors that have compete with your favorites?
- Yes. I recently read the first novel in The Phoenix Ashes trilogy, Karnage, by A.J. Leigh. It was an amazing book and I am anxiously awaiting the next book. Awesome writer.
Has your favorite writers helped you develop your own style of writing, or did it evolve from something else?
- I like to build complete fantasy worlds. Sometimes I tend to get too detail oriented while I am writing. Due to my programming experience, no doubt. But I like to bring life, not only to my characters, but to the world in which they are set as well. I like to have maps and details, lore and history, behind my stories.
With your love of world building, how did you wind up with the title Dragon Rising? I’m sure there’s a story in the title’s selection.
- I honestly don’t know. It sort of popped into my head and fit what I was writing. The story of a woman who discovers she has the blood of dragons within her, and that she has the ability to become a dragon. But she must first learn what it means to be a dragon before that can happen. Thus, a Dragon Rising.
What about the cover? Did you design that yourself, or work with someone else?
- I found and purchased the image from an online source, and designed the cover myself.
And, they say authors can’t be artists. ::Snorts:: It looks awesome!
Going back to your gaming experience, I’m curious. How much of your books draw from reality, or at least from your own experiences?
- I try to make things logical and believable, but not realistic. I see stories like Dragon Rising as a way to take a vacation from the real.
- I don’t specifically try to make it so, but there is no doubt that some things within me will appear in what I write. The characters are not based on people I know.
As a fellow author, I know that there’s always some project on the burner being worked on. Are you to a point in your current project you can share anything about it?
- I am starting a new series, Rangers of Laerean. The series will be kicked off by a trilogy. The first book, A Whisper In The Shadows, is going to be published in April.
- I have created the world of Hir, mapped it, and added history and lore to it. I am at this time finishing up the first book of a planned trilogy set in this new world. In the long term, I plan many stories based in this setting, about different Rangers and different time periods within their history. The first books will center around a Ranger named Baric, who will be predominate throughout the entire series.
- A Whisper In The Shadows will be an epic adventure. The Rangers of Laerean are a renowned group that are considered the Protectors of the People, the Heroes of Hir. The first novel finds Baric helping a female assassin of another race who is plagued by nightmares that are drawing her to a distant place. What they soon discover is that it is more than just dreams and that the fate of the world is at stake. Like I said, epic.
In and among all the other projects, do you find time to read?
- [Yes. I’m reading] The Return by Christy Newman
I can’t imagine how you are managing to keep everything running smoothly. Do you have help beyond your family for when things start to feel overwhelming?
- My friend Jeri. We met online and have spent time together. She has been a very vocal and encouraging supporter since I started writing, and was instrumental in encouraging me to start in the first place.
That makes sense. Now that you have started writing, do you see writing as your career?
- I see myself writing for as long as I live. As a career, that will depend on sales. But if I never sold another book, I would still keep writing.
Sounds like a labor of love. Do you have anything you can share from what you’ve learned anything along the way, or challenges you’ve over come?
- So far, no. I do think I have much to learn and feel that I will adjust the more I write.
- I learned a great deal, and I am still learning. I went into this without any real knowledge of what self-publishing entailed. It has been a magnificent journey and I will use what I learn as I continue to grow as an author. There is so much I learned, it is hard to say what without making a long, long list.
- I think the hardest thing was having to wait to see the final draft myself. Yes, the waiting is the hardest part.
Agree. Waiting is never easy. Did you ever doubt any of your decisions you made for your book while you were waiting?
- No. It is what I wanted it to be.
By any chance did you hide any messages in your work for readers to find?
- I think there will always be a message in all the stories I write. For Dragon Rising, the message is that no matter how dark things may seem, no matter how bad it may be, there is always hope. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Always a silver lining to every dark cloud.
And, the last question before we wrap up. What advice would you give to other up and coming authors?
- My only advice is, if you truly desire to write, then do it. Write to please yourself first. If you are treating it like a job, then you will not last. Have fun. Enjoy it.
Definitely. If you don’t love what you do, it shows in the work. Tom, thank you so much for stopping by. It has been wonderful to learn more about you, and to introduce you to my readers. Any last words?
- It is my hope that whoever reads my stories, finds them enjoyable. Anything more is fine, but mainly I just want them to enjoy the tale.
If your books are anything like this interview, I’m sure many of them will.
Thank you everyone for stopping by. Let’s give a big thank you of “likes” to Tom for coming out today.
If you want to connect with him, you can find him through his website here, where he has a blog and forums for site members, and look forward to meeting those who read my books. Or, you can find him on his YouTube Channel here, Facebook here, and Goodreads here, Twitter here.
If you enjoyed the interview, and wish me to host one for you, feel free to hop over to my offered services page, and send me a submission. I’ll be glad to discuss details with you.
And, mark your calendars. Tom will be returning in a couple of days with Baric from A Whisper in the Shadows, so be sure to come back and listen in. If you are eager to meet Baric, you can click on the title, and pick up your copy today from Amazon.
Until next time…