Saturday, 16 November 2013



Writers chatting to each other on writing. Tedious or devious? Let’s have twenty questions, and find out. In this guest-spot, READ TUESDAY participant Charles Yallowitz delivers the answers... 

1. Fire rages in your house. Everyone is safe, but you. You decide to smash through the window, shielding your face with a book. What is the book?

I would grab my thick compilation of Edgar Allan Poe works because it could protect me the best. Also, if I die using it then people can make a creepy story about it.

2. Asleep in your rebuilt house, you dream of meeting a dead author. But not in a creepy stalkerish way, so you shoo Mr Poe out of the kitchen. Instead, you sit down and have cake with which dead author?

Funny since I didn’t read ahead. I’d have cake with Fred Saberhagen just to tell him how his Book of Lost Swords inspired me to become an author.

3. Would you name six essential items for writers? If, you know, cornered and threatened with torture.

Chair, pencil, liquid refreshment, paper, laptop, and a bed to pass out on.

4. Who’d win in a fight between Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster? If, you know, you were writing that scene.

I would go with Frankenstein’s Monster because Dracula wouldn’t be able to drink his blood. It wouldn’t really be an honest win for the Monster though because it would end with Dracula being frustrated and not realizing the sun has come up. He gets weakened enough for the Monster to crush his head.

5. It’s the end of a long and tiring day. You are still writing a scene. Do you see it through to the end, even though matchsticks prop your eyelids open, or do you sleep on it and return, refreshed, to slay that literary dragon another day?

If I’m near the end, I’ll try to finish it off. Otherwise, I try to make a stopping point that I can easily jump back into. For example, ending a conversation portion and writing the first line of an action or description paragraph.

6. You must introduce a plot-twist. Evil twin or luggage mix-up?

Evil Twin’s luggage gets mixed up with the Good Twin, who has been a ghost the entire time. Also, the Evil Twin is their own grandpa.

7. Let’s say you write a bunch of books featuring an amazing recurring villain. At the end of your latest story you have definitely absitively posolutely killed off the villain for all time and then some. Did you pepper your narrative with clues hinting at the chance of a villainous return in the next book?

If I had no intention of bringing the villain back then I wouldn’t do that. Doing so would be so mean to my readers and I’m a big fan of closure.

8. You are at sea in a lifeboat, with the barest chance of surviving the raging storm. There’s one opportunity to save a character, drifting by this scene. Do you save the idealistic hero or the tragic villain?

The idealistic hero because the tragic villain might be angry that I ruined his greatest scene ever. Besides, for all I know, he was supposed to die this way. I’m going to retain my right to toss the hero overboard if the character is highly obnoxious.

9. It’s time to kill a much-loved character – that pesky plot intrudes. Do you just type it up, heartlessly, or are there any strange rituals to be performed before the deed is done?

I’ve only done this once and I just typed it up. It had to be done like ripping off a bandage. Then the healing can begin.

10. Embarrassing typo time. I’m always typing thongs instead of things. One day, that’ll land me in trouble. Care to share any wildly embarrassing typing anecdotes? If, you know, the wrong word suddenly made something so much funnier. (My last crime against typing lay in omitting the u from Superman.)
I do ‘form’ instead of ‘from’ a lot. I’m trying to think of my greatest spelling mistake, which is hard to remember. My best grammar typo of all time is: “He was thrown clear across the clearing.” My friend who helps me with editing was about to beat me to death with her Kindle for that one.

11. I’ve fallen out of my chair laughing at all sorts of thongs I’ve typed. Have you?

Quite a few. Most times I just groan and hang my head in shame. If a person catches me, I go into this ‘I swear I’m good at what I do’ speech. Kind of sad really.

12. You take a classic literary work and update it by throwing in rocket ships. Dare you name that story? Pride and Prejudice on Mars. That kind of thing.

Of Mice from Mars and Men from Mercury.

13. Seen the movie. Read the book. And your preference was for?

I’m rather flexible with this because I understand that not everything transfers well from book to film and vice versa. I do get annoyed if there are major changes during the transfer like Elves at Helm’s Deep or novelization having plot central conversations to fix plot holes.

14. Occupational hazard of being a writer. Has a book ever fallen on your head? This may occasionally happen to non-writers, it must be said.

A few times when I’m at the library. Thankfully, they were all paperbacks.

15. Did you ever read a series of books out of sequence?

I don’t believe I have. The moment I realize I’m not reading the first book, I stop and hunt down the beginning of a series.

16. You encounter a story just as you are writing the same type of tale. Do you abandon your work, or keep going with the other one to ensure there won’t be endless similarities?

I would keep going for a little while to see if it diverts from the other. If it doesn’t then I’ll put the idea aside and return to it with a fresh mind. Maybe there’s another direction I can go with it.

17. Have you ever stumbled across a Much-Loved Children’s Classic™ that you’ve never heard of?

I hear a lot of people tell me about these, but I don’t remember the exact titles. I always wonder if the books are really popular classics or just popular in a certain circle that I happen to step into. Kind of like the Saturday morning cartoons of the 80’s and 90’s. A lot of those are known to only a handful of people because there were so many.

18. You build a secret passage into your story. Where?

I would have the passage bring me to Visindor Forest and take a relaxing hike to the nearest city. That way I don’t appear in the middle of a busy city and have to explain myself. I write fantasy and the guards can be a little edgy.

19. Facing the prospect of writing erotica, you decide on a racy pen-name. And that would be…

Richard Longfellow.

20. On a train a fan praises your work, mistaking you for another author. What happens next?

I politely mention that I’m not the author they think I am and work to cover the embarrassing situation. I’d take a picture with the person and post it on-line with the story to try to get that author’s attention.

My answers to my own questions can be found on the Windemere blog here...TWENTY QUESTIONS.

Blog - www.legendsofwindemere.com
   Twitter. @cyallowitz.
   Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/CharlesYallowitz
   "The book I'm putting into Read Tuesday is Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero, which is the first of a series. Third book is coming out December 1st, so I'm driving myself nuts with hype."



  1. I'm ready to read that twin story. :-) These Q&A sessions have turned out even better than I had been anticipating. You guys (and the many others I've read) are really good at this.

  2. The evil twin/luggage thing comes from watching too many movies. Asking writers for variations on the theme was my way of trying to inject a bit of life into dead fictional ideas. As I keep answering my own set of questions in different ways, I struggle to vary the replies. Question three is just killing me. Answering that twice was okay... ;)


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