Caleb Wright: The Odyssey of the Dragolitha

Hi again! I’m Scarlett, and this month’s Indie Spotlight features Caleb Wright, author of The Odyssey of the Dragolitha series. Breaking Point, the third book in the series, will be released March 1st!

When did you first start writing?
October 8th, 2018. I started with practice writing, to see if I could even make a logical structure with the words that came to my head. After a few pages of what I thought to be a simple story. Funnily enough, that’s when I fell in love with it. I went back to my first paragraph and thought, is this my best opening. A really amazing hook? After rewriting the opening a few times I sent that paragraph to about forty people and I had a beginning and a plot idea.

What inspired the story in The Odyssey of the Dragolitha?
A large fashion of influences interjected their way into this series, the largest I would say would be: The Legend of the Dragoon, a PlayStation 1 game. The movies Harry Potter, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Percy Jackson. Lastly the tv shows, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Zoids. These all gave me the imagination to stretch what was possible in my book series.

How much do you think your time in the service influenced your writing?
According to a few friends, my writing shows direct time, one point action sequences, and other elaborate scenes that made them feel as the military was a influencer on them. Me personally… time in the service changed my whole life around, so I would gander a large portion is derived from it.

What inspired the character of Xirow?
Bullies. School was hard, as I am sure it was for a large number of children. The idea bullies want the attention, they want to feel powerful, they want to show dominance… but in my story, Xirow is only a pawn to Ramathule, the real power driven character.

How does Xirow’s past affect his actions?
That is actually going to be a separate book of its own. In book four, I take a few chapters to dive into what turned Xirow into the evil mage he is in this series.

What do you think makes a good story?
Any good story? Hmm, the ability to get lost in the idea. If you are trying to predict everything, or you don’t finish the story, then what you are writing isn’t capturing the reader’s attention. The cover is always the first eye catch, as it pulls them to pick it up… maybe. Then your ability to summarize the story in a way to pull them further on the back of the book is next unless they skip that. Let’s say they do, then that first paragraph has to have you hooked because if it doesn’t the person has to be nice to keep waiting to get hooked. After the reader is head first into it, then you have to consistently drag them along the journey as if they entered the story themselves.

What do you hope your audience takes away from this series?
Break the standards, across all fields, all tropes, all industries, all friendship, and all social cues. I’m hoping that this book can transcend the thoughts of people all ages and show them that with friendship, sacrifice, love, empathy, patience, and determination we can change everything for the better.

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
You’ll find that I tend to go off the beaten path. Not because I want to make it harder on myself, but because everyone can do the same thing over and over again. We don’t evolve by repeating things. We don’t create unique ideas by following suit to others. Instead, we make our own way. Now with that said, your content shouldn’t be offensive, it shouldn’t be targeting, and it shouldn’t be hateful. That’s the last anyone in this world needs. Your story, your art, your creations should depict what you want the future to be. I will love your story, with formatting issues, and grammar issues, and structure issues, as long as you are really attempting to challenge my mind on what is possible with imagination. Besides, there are thousands of people willing to help you with editing and formatting to present it to the world. Please, focus on your story, leave all of the presentations to the end of it all. I started with a few paragraphs in October, now I’m dedicated to write an entire universe of connected stories instead.

Interested in finding out more about The Odyssey of Dragolitha series? The first two books are available on Amazon now! This interview has been a special segment as part of the blog tour for the third book in the series, Breaking Point.

For updates from the author himself, you can subscribe to his website or follow him on Twitter!

W.B. Welch: Author of your new nightmares.

Hello, hello! I’m Scarlett, and welcome to my first author interview! This is the first segment in my Indie Spotlight series, and today I’d like to showcase the wonderful W. B. Welch.

Blood Drops is very different than your debut novel, Brenna’s Wing. Why did you decide to publish a horror anthology?
Horror is my genre of choice, Brenna’s Wing was a one off, actually, I had a random inspiration moment in the car one day, but I have always been a horror fan. I saw my first scary movie when I was 7 or 8 years old.

I originally kept most of my horror to my blog, because I didn’t have as much of a reach. The manuscripts that I’m querying are spec fic and suspense, and have more of a mass appeal, but I found the writing community and just decided that, one day, I’m going to pull all of my short stories together for an anthology.

When did you decide to pursue writing?
[For] fiction, it’s been almost 4 years now. My inspiration to just start it, I’d read Stephen King’s book On Writing in college. I read it again about 4 years ago. His story from his childhood up until he sold Carrie inspired me. When it got to his craft itself, he’s the first person who said you don’t have to outline. Journalism was easy for me, you sit down and write notes and write a story from it. I started with some short stories on Instagram. I would write the short story with a photo and got a good response from people reading them.

Do you have a set writing schedule?
I do not have a schedule. I’m probably the worst example for a writer that is out there. Sometimes I sleep in the middle of the afternoon, sometimes I sleep at 3 in the morning. And I really love to spend time with my family.

I make time when I know I have 3 or 4 hours. I tune everyone else for awhile. When I’m taking time off, I don’t write at all. I’ll read, but I’ll take time off from writing. I’ll work pretty solidly when it’s a bigger project. If I take too much time off from it, I’ll lose track.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can be a little OCD, so I know that works in there somewhere. Let me just think about that for a moment. (laughs)

I don’t know how much of a quirk it is, but when I’m working on longer projects, when I sit down to write, first of all I have to clear out all of my notifications, so I sit down and I respond to them. Then I have to go back to reread what I’ve written before. I read several pages to get myself back into that mood to make sure that I’m feeling the character. If I’m not feeling the book, then I don’t work on the book. On those days, it’s just bad writing and it feels forced. Also, I don’t like to be interrupted when writing. My family has gotten some evil looks.

I think we can all relate to that. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
The thing that surprised me the most about finishing a book was that it wasn’t as sucky as I expected it to be. I am not a patient person. I don’t start a lot of long projects, I like to try a lot of new stuff. I expected it to be really hard to finish a book and it’s not. It’s just like writing a short story but it takes a lot longer.

What do you think makes a good story?
I think whoever can pinpoint that into a teachable item will change the industry. Good writing is good writing, accurate writing is accurate writing, good grammar is good grammar, but when you’re reading a good book it draws you in. It’s not something you’re able to say…

Most of that is going to be based on the person that’s reading it. I’ve read books that I fell in love with, one of them was “The Light Between Oceans,” by M.L. Stedman. I loved this book so much, and I couldn’t believe when I got on Goodreads and people were dissing it. It’s all going to come down to the person reading it, and if it has mass appeal it’s because a lot of people shared the same opinion on that subject.

There is significant social commentary in Blood Drops. How would you say your background in journalism influenced the tone of your writing?
I feel like journalism actually gave me quite an edge in all of this. It’s something that I haven’t talked about in public because I haven’t had the opportunity yet, so I’m actually really glad you asked this question.
The biggest thing, taking away from journalism, was how to be in a room and observe the important details and write a story about it. Sitting down to write a big book or a big project, it was easier to think of all of the big pieces to make people believable or set a scene. Because I would have to be in a room, and take these pieces to make people feel like they were in a room at a press conference. Also researching, researching in journalism [is key].

You focus on the darker side of human emotions to ground your writing in reality, but there’s often a supernatural twist. Why add the supernatural elements?
I don’t have a certain reason for that. I guess just because I enjoy it. It’s something that I like. It’s kind of like my nod to honor the genre. I like to include realness and characters that people can relate to. I also want to take them down a spiral and make them think “Wait what? What just happened?”

The Look is a bold story and based on a volatile topic. Why did you decide to include it?
It’s one that a lot of people that have read it really liked it. It was inspired by me recently having read Lolita. It’s a taboo topic, and it’s a very real thing. It happens a lot. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they’ve been through this. I sat down to write it, and it surprised me where it went.

What do you hope your audience gets out of reading Blood Drops?
A whole bunch of different things. I like to hear when people say that they have to put it down in between stories so they have time to absorb. I like when people tell me that they couldn’t put it down…
From their own perspective, they’ll take something out of it. I like to touch people. I like to gut-punch people. I like to make people feel.

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
I wouldn’t mind putting a statement out there that I’m eternally grateful to the writing community. It completely changed my life. Anyone who is a writer, and is considering utilizing Twitter, should do it. It’s not even for the resources, although there are so many resources. Six months ago, I was doing this by myself and now I browse through thousands of peoples writing advice , and writing we know is lonely work. I’ve found so much support on Twitter, and am happy to give my support back.

Final notes: I highly recommend Blood Drops to any fan of horror. W. B. Welch’s voice is refreshingly modern while paying tribute to the giants that came before her. The stories in this anthology will make you feel, think, and reconsider the world around you.

For updates from the master herself, you can subscribe to her website or follow her on Twitter!