January 25th, 2019
I asked Forest where he would like to chat:
It was an odd pile of rocks, that appeared in the middle of the forest as if someone had dropped them there. For all I knew they had, but I wasn’t about to question it. I only knew it appeared to be sturdy enough to hold my weight. The full moon above cast a glow so bright, only daylight could have done better. Yet the forest was dead… completely quiet, aside from a soft rustle as a breeze disturbed the trees. Equally soft, musty scents announced the dampness left over from a recent rainstorm. Despite this, this wild land was warm, as if the very air had become a blanket to keep me company. I thought I saw a grey colored wolf among the shadows, with silver hackles that appeared to glow in the moonlight, though I never got a good enough look to be sure. I did hear a howl in the distance, though somehow, it didn’t sound entirely normal for a wolf.
Off to the side, a brick-red star fighter sat on the forest floor. She was obviously a combat vessel, with a twin Gatling-gun turret sitting on either side of the cockpit. How she’d found the room to land was another question I didn’t bother to pose. She was there, impressive, and didn’t seem interested in my presence. Though for a moment, I could have sworn I saw some sort of gold colored fox through the cockpit windows. I brushed it off, climbed on top of the rock pile, got rasped at by a mocking bird, then settled in to wait for Laura.
Laura Mae: Good evening Forest, how are you doing today?
Forest Wells: Hi Laura. I’m a nervous wreak, but doing okay besides that.
L: Aw, I’m sorry to hear that. Have you had a chance to get any writing done today?
F: Oh don’t be. It’s the fun kind of nervous. As for writing, not as yet, but I only just got off my day job, so I haven’t had the chance to stare at a blinking cursor yet.
L: What are you working on right now if I may ask? What’s it about?
F: Well, the one I’m actively writing on is an incredibly complex military sci-fi. Still working out some kinks, but the short of it is, after 40 years of off again on again war, peace may finally be coming. However, a new enemy may be changing that. Worse yet, it may not be “new” enemy at all. This is separate from my YA novel that’s on a path to self-publication obviously.
L: Nice! I had no idea you were working on two books. Could you tell us what the YA one is about as well, since that one we may be able to read sooner? Haha!
F: To be fair, one is writing, while the other is publication/marketing. So some debate if it counts as “working on two”. 🙂 Anyway, the YA is called “Luna, the Lone Wolf”. That one is about a wolf who everyone was sure would be pack alpha once he grew up, but before he got there, he was banished for a crime no one committed. Now forced to live alone, forever, he understandably turns bitter, yet he’s about to go through a lot more that will see him return to the alpha he was born to be, or turn away from it forever… assuming he survives.
L: I love that! How did you come up with this story? Any inspiration behind it?
F: I don’t remember all of it. I just know it started as a sneaky protest story, showing what might happen if the protection for all wolves was removed. Then, as is often the case with me, lightning struck, and I was like, “oh look, here’s a story for me to tell”. My ideas often just come in a flash like that. That said, somewhere along the line, the story took over, borrowed all the feelings of isolation and loneliness I felt growing up, and instead, made it entirely about Luna. The humans are still there, but they’re more a catalyst for Luna’s journey, rather than the primary problem. Though they are still a bit of a problem.
L: Interesting. I like how you started the story by wanting to bring awareness to wolves. I’m a huge animal lover myself and love the perspective you’ll have in this book. How long have you been writing Luna?
F: Heh, over 17 years. I want to say October 2001, MAYBE November, is when I wrote the first words of the story. I had a lot of maturing to do as an author, and a person, to get where I am today. Oddly enough, despite all that time, very little has actually changed about it beside the craft.
L: That’s cool that you are still invested in it though and still wanting to publish it. Most writers don’t get that far, so good for you! And I understand what you mean about maturing; I know I’ve changed a lot too. Haha! What would you say your favorite part about writing is?
F: Seeing it live, because that’s where all the other good parts come from. I call myself a “master of emotion”, but if the story isn’t alive, there’s none to be had. So I live for the “I got it good moments”, because that’s when I know I’ve given life to something that will use that life to touch people, make them feel something. And from there, I get to see the characters be true to themselves, visit places that are wondrous, or just simply cool. Even the events are worth sharing, like any good story of somone’s favorite trip. All of that is only possible when the story comes alive. So seeing my stories live, that makes it all worth while.
L: Lovely! I love that, Forest! Emotional connections are so important in stories and you seem to really have a grasp on that. I can’t wait to see it, either! Are there some books you love that you may have drawn inspiration from?
F: In that area, I’m a bit of a sponge. It doesn’t come from any one place. Wolf perspective from Jane Lindskold’s “Firekeeper” series – plus some story telling aspects, telling the purely animal perspective from “Warriors” and even “Guardians of Ha’hoole”, emotional impact from “Where the Red Fern Grows”… about all I can think of right now. I’m sure I’ll think of more tomorrow or next week or something. Oh, “The Foxes of First Dark”. Really showed me how a story with no active magic can still have a fantasy feel to it. Helped with some of the “mortar” parts of the story to help it all come together.
L: Great! All of them have animals, which makes sense for your story. That’s awesome! What about authors? Any favorites?
F: Jane Lindskold; who is actually a good friend and mentor as well, David Weber; love how he does space combat. And Kathryn Lasky; I really need to get around to reading her other works, not just Ga’hoole.
L: That’s awesome about Jane! You know them personally, that’s so cool! So you mention you are also writing a sci-fi novel as well, but as far as reading goes, what genre do you typically read and why?
F: Well, as you can see, I kind of run the gambit a little. I like animal fiction, young adult stories – such as the Hunger Games -, but also fantasy and sci-fi, or just a simple tale about a world where Gryphons live in modern times. Really, it’s all about a good story. I need it to have a good story, and for it to have good writing. After that, I’ll read several genres.
L: I agree! I love the Hunger Games. So what do you normally need to do before you sit down and write? Any music or snacks to get in the mood?
F: Now that’s a complicated can of worms, because I have a learning disability called “Drysgraphia”, which makes it hard to write. It’s actually the primary reason I can’t “just write” every day. So, first, I need calm and comfort. I need a quiet space, and I need to be comfortable in it, which is why just going to the library doesn’t work. Need to be REALLY comfortable. Then, I need, as I put it, to have my thoughts aligned, not so scattered. Now sometimes, this is the state I’m in, and I’m good to go. On the other end of the spectrum, it can take up to two hours to get me there. To get there, I may read if I can, play a game, watch a TV show or movie, putter around on the internet, or any combination there in. It’s all about getting my mind settled and aligned so that everything is moving in one direction mentally, which is a state I don’t think I can explain. Once there, I do sometimes use music to help get me into the mood of the scene, but not always.
L: Interesting! I know what you mean though, sometimes you just need to be in the right mindset, otherwise, writing just isn’t fun. And you don’t want to do it if it’s not fun, ya know? Are there any tropes in fiction that you dislike or are just tired of seeing?
F: *laughs* Sorry, I’ll explain that in a second. Oh yes. The hero who is massively flawed. He’s arrogant, a jerk, mean, flippant, condescending, whatever, he’s got a ton of flaws. Or, the hero that is broken, defeated, a mist-fit, “one suspension away from fired”, or made some huge mistake that haunts him and/or his career. Or, the hero that is an out-right criminal, and still is, even as he saves the day. The laugh is because I got tired of it all. I wanted heroes like that line from Duck Tales. “Real heroes just do their jobs.” Or as I put it, I wanted a hero “simply being heroic.” So I made one. You’ll see him when I finally finish that sci-fi.
L: Great answer! I agree with you on that too and I love that quote. Just doing their job! Can’t wait to see that one either! Alright Forest, besides writing, what is it you like to do in your spare time?
F: I’m a gamer, though mostly League of Legends these days, plus a spattering of RTS (Real Time Strategy) games like Starcraft and Dragon Commander. I’m also an assistant Girl Scout Leader, though I do more behind the scenes stuff these days. And, as my bio mentions, I’m a sports fan. Chargers for the NFL, Coyotes for the NHL, and Counter Logic Gaming for League of Legends E-sports. I’ve decided that when it comes to fandom, I’m a masochist, lol.
L: Ooh another gamer! Love it! Great story telling in games as well. So you have an all-time favorite game?
F: Don’t know that I can pick one really. The closest I can come is Dragon Age, but even that one is not ab absolute. Though as you said, many games have good stories, and those are the ones I go for. Bit of a dying breed now-a days, but there are some hold outs.
L: Dragon Age is a good one! Anything with dragons in it though, am I right? Haha! Do you have a favorite literary character? Whether in books or elsewhere, and why?
F: Not even gonna try. If I did, I’d end up with a list of a dozen or more before you could stop me. Each has their own charm for that particular story. Best I can offer is a slight carrot for you; my favorite movie remains an old one that it feels like no one has heard of; “The Happiest Millionaire”. But it’s total package I love, not any one character in it.
L: Really? Never heard of it! I might have to check it out for myself. As far as the self-publishing route goes, are there any regrets so far or things you wish you knew sooner?
F: No regrets. A couple of mistakes, but I learned well from them. Though I wish I’d known how to actually use Twitter like I do now. Can’t tell you how many things have come my way since joining it.
L: Yes! Me too! I wish I would’ve joined way sooner! Haha! It’s such a great community. Alright, last question, Forest. Give us some of your best writerly advice for aspiring authors out there.
F: Try multiple methods, but find what works for YOU. I don’t care if that’s how Steven King writes, you’re not Steven King. You’re you, so tinker with different ways to write, until you figure out how YOU write. Once you do, stay true to it, and stay true to your story. Even if it doesn’t make sense, if the story is adamant, might want to listen. Most of the time, it knows better than we do. Though keep a leash handy, for the times it doesn’t. 😀 Also, it took me 17 years to get from first word to publication, and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, only that you keep plugging along.
L: Excellent Forest!! Well thanks so much for chatting with me today! It’s been great!
F: Thank you for having me!
Forest Wells is an author with a deep passion for all things wild canine, as well as pro football (Chargers), hockey (Coyotes – I know, big shock), and e-sports (CLG). He likes to call himself a “master of emotion” when it comes to writing, though time will tell if he deserves the title. He has authored a short story, as well as several poems, all published in the 2015-2017 editions of the “Wolf Warriors” anthologies. He is self-publishing his first stand alone novel, which he expects to release in Spring of 2019. He currently lives in his home town of Thermal, California.
Luna was destined to be alpha once he became an adult, but before he got the chance, his own brother, Rajor, framed him for a crime no one committed, leading to Luna being banished from the pack. Declared a lone wolf, never to know the company of another wolf, Luna turns bitter as he learns to accept his new fate. Yet even as he does, other wolves, strange two-legged creatures, and one mockingbird, force themselves into his life, driving him through a gauntlet of trials where he must reconnect with the alpha he was born to be, or turn away from it forever – assuming he even survives.
Pre-order his book here!