February 21st, 2020
I asked David where he would like to chat:
You walk cautiously into your destination, a mystical pub of some renown and ill-repute. Your senses are immediately allured and repulsed by the aroma of roasting meat and an entangled scent of beers, sweat, and dark magics. A well-dressed and wary orc with intelligent eyes scans you from behind the bar, offering an appreciative nod for the ray of sunshine that has entered his infamous establishment. To the orc’s left, a grizzled, armor-clad gnome stands upon the edge of the bar, scanning the floor for shenanigans. Yes he is the bouncer and no longer do any of the patrons question his credibility as such. Somehow, through the grit and grime, you feel welcomed by the camaraderie and cantankerous nature of the pub.
Manipulating your way through the rowdy crowd of magical creatures, you are waved to a table in the corner. Your ears are quickly filled with snippets of legendary adventures and hilarious mishaps. A handsome bard school dropout begins playing a bawdy little ditty on his mandolin as a chair is procured for you. A cleric with rage issues quarrels briefly with your host as you receive a wink from the dashing elf rogue seated at the bar. Upon the scarred oak table are coffee concoctions swirling with a magical life that would not be FDA approved back on Earth.
Holding up enchanted glasses of swirling, caffeinated mischief, a warm toast is made as a brawl ensues and the gnome tosses a patron across our table.
“Welcome to Elsewhere,” I say with a grin and a shrug. “I promise it only gets weirder from here.”
Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?
David Partelow: Oh lord, that’s a loaded question for me! I don’t think I ever needed to be inspired to write. I have always gravitated to it from a young age. I always enjoyed the assignments in school that had us writing stories. In fact, the basic ideas for two of my biggest works, the Vallance War Series and the Crescent Moon Saga occurred to me in the sixth and fifth grades respectively. Before I wrote novels, poetry was always a big part of my life and I have written hundreds of poems and song lyrics. I think what was often missing was the realization, knowing that I was writing and wanting to tell stories. When that finally hit me I never looked back.
L: How long have you been writing for?
D: Oh, dear…well definitely for as long as I can remember! I am 40 now and I started writing poetry around twelve and little stories here and there for most of my life. But my first novel didn’t arrive till my mid twenties. It has certainly spiraled gloriously out of control since then and I find myself embracing caffeine and denial more and more.
L: What are you currently working on?
D: Well this answer will certainly give you a glimpse at the scope of insanity that I embrace! Let’s see here… Currently I am diving big into multi-tasking and hopping back and forth between different phases of writing. I have spent the last year and a half refocusing on my writing and trying to offer readers a better and better product. Before that I mostly spent roughly three years just writing stories and released nothing. I now have a trove of stories that need released. I started by re-releasing my Sci-Fi books of the Vallance War Series. The first two have been put back out with updated info and covers with book three on the way. Before the end of the year I will release book four as well as book one of a steampunk branch-off series that connects with it.
This year, I have also started a one-shot Post Apocalyptic Fantasy known as The Last of Kel’Thara. I am halfway through that and hell bent on keeping it one book, which would be a first for me!
Also I am focusing on my fantasy saga of Crescent Moon. I have released four stories so far and I am preparing the next installment, the Rowan Tales, for release. It will consist of four books each with three adventures within them.
Adding to that I am in the final stages of editing the new book one for my horror-comedy series. That one is fun because it started out as creative therapy and turned into a hilarious bout of misadventures and series.
If that was not enough, I also started outlining the core of an upcoming fantasy-comedy called Epics and Elsewhere that will be a continuing journey of books in the fashion of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Since making the commitment to it I have outlined six books and showing no signs of slowing.
I’ve other books to tackle, including a magic series for my daughter, a supernatural series, and a superhero series, but I think that is quite enough to take on for the moment!
L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?
D: Absolutely! I mean as an author now there had better be! I always have to give a shout out to Stephen King as he has constantly engaged me with his stories. The Stand, Eyes of the Dragon, and the Dark Tower Series all had a profound effect on me. I was always fascinated with Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles when I was younger, especially how captivating her imagery was. The Star Wars X-Wing Series by Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston captivated me with their characters and made me really want to try my hand at a novel. And Christopher Moore…well he has made me laugh out loud repeatedly with his comedy stuff and his influence got me writing my horror-comedy and also ending the worst case of writer’s block I ever had.
L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?
D: Honestly, I think it has been the battle with time. There is never enough of it. I feel that more than ever as I get older. I have often had to make big sacrifices in sleep to get writing in, like having to stay up late to write as not to be bothered or caffeinate heavily. Four of the books I have written were done so while I was working at least 75 hours a week. Not good wear and tear on your body and mind for sure. The problem is I continue to escalate as well as have other loves I dabble in. I have so many stories to tell and often the stories turn into sagas. I fear now that I may not live long enough to tell all of them.
L: What is your favorite writing trope? Least favorite?
D: I have truly never given it much thought actually. I have simply focused on the story I was trying to write and I try to offer the same focus when I read. I agree there are tropes that are worn a bit, and that’s when it is the writer’s job to breathe new life into it. To me sometimes it is a fun challenge to push the envelope and try to find a new level with it.
L Besides writing, what is it you like to do?
D: Another question I cannot answer simply! When I am not writing, I have a myriad of interests that interest me. I am an avid cosplayer. I love dressing up for kiddos, especially at charity events. I am often most asked to portray Spider-Man or Deadpool. I tend to craft nerdy things too, from shields to wands and magic staffs. I really enjoy fishing. I absolutely love to cook and eat and try new recipes. I am a big fan of martial arts and used to teach self-defense before a neck injury slowed me down.I certainly dig tabletop RPG’s and gaming and I am all about embracing the inner dork in many of its forms.
L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?
D: Well since you are making me narrow it down to just one… I would have to say the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. I loved so many things about it. The story, the characters, the epic journey…it just sucked me right in. And I loved how Mr. King connected it to so many of his books. To me it was just epic. It took a lot of courage and endurance to finish that story and I have always admired him for it. King always made me want to write for myself.
L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?
D: I always regret the self-doubt I held when I was younger. It affected my confidence greatly, especially in terms of writing. I had these ideas for stories when I was twelve and I enthusiastically shared them with people who couldn’t or didn’t know how to support that enthusiasm. And so I shelved book writing for longer than I should have. I wish I would have realized sooner that what matters is what I think and I am supposed to tell the story I want to tell. Once I got over that doubt, my writing exploded and now I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.
L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?
D: I have done both actually. I unfortunately had a bad experience with the traditional publisher I had. I was young and didn’t know what I know now. The contract was bad and the company was out for themselves and it turned me off of the whole thing for a while. I have had my trials and errors with self-publishing, but I like the freedom it gives me and the control I keep with my books. And now, if a traditional publisher ever wants to pick me up down the road, I can use my experience to make sure it is a better fit. Bottom line, you are going to have pros and cons with both methods. What is important is that you find what works for you. Some people excel at self-promotion. Others can belt out books one after the other etc. But do your research and find the road you want to take.
L: What are you currently reading?
D: Right now I am revisiting some old friends in the works of Christopher Moore. The man is witty and hilarious. And he comes up with some of the best off the wall stories that will have you laughing out loud or shaking your head. Often both at the same time. I love his work because it reached me at a tough time in my life and reminded me to hold to my sense of humor. My sense of humor has gotten me through a lot of rough patches in my life. Never underestimate the importance of laughter.
L: What genre do you read?
D: I certainly love fantasy and science-fiction, but I try to delve in varied genres. I think it’s important to keep your horizons broadened and your mind open to new possibilities. Most books have something you can learn from them and you never know when one is going to surprise you with its story or its grip on your heart.
L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?
D: I don’t often have a “typical” day per say, though I have blocks of time set aside for writing and I do my best to keep that time sacred. My only ritual must haves are caffeine and music. As for the rest, I try to keep myself free of set paths or rituals. Case in point so that I never press myself too hard I have different books that I write depending on the mood I am in etc. Sometimes I set up shop at my desk at home and other times I hit the coffeehouse. If my computer is not available I will outline or work on scenes from my notebook. If you have a rigid ritual, that can be disrupted and mess with your work or throw you out of your mindset. A little flexibility can keep you writing when it feels like the world is trying to keep you from it.
L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?
D: I pretty much always try to create soundtracks for the story I am working on. It keeps me motivated and allows me to see that particular world/story in my mind like a movie trailer. And that can certainly drive you to write up a storm. I am definitely a fan of finding 8-10 hour fantasy music videos on YouTube to play while I write. Certain artists do cover multiple stories for me. Two Steps From Hell is phenomenal for when you are writing. I am also in love with the music of M83 for a few of my works. But I certainly find what matches the tone of my story and compile the music that will nurture the journey.
L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?
D: I don’t know if any particular word or phrase bothers me per se. I do tend to not like it when people use a phrase completely wrong though. Stuff like that can get to me, especially if that person is being a snob about it. But hey, that is just me.
L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?
D: I truly cannot narrow it to one because books and characters resonate and move you in different stages of your life. But I can say I have always been a fan of Roland Deschain from the Dark Tower Series because of his conviction. He would never cease or relent, and along his journey he reclaims his humanity. Lestat De Lioncourt from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. He is just this vivid, loveable pain in the hind end that you can’t help but like. Atticus Finch is a character love I shared with my grandfather. And also the loveable and profound character known as The Little Prince.
L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?
D: Everywhere, and I think that is important. If you are truly looking and listening, if you keep yourself open to it and entertain the possibilities, then you can find inspiration in so many things. Ask yourself “what if” a lot. Take an idea in a different direction. Watch and read new things. Listen to music. Talk to people about your ideas. Give your imagination the chance to flourish. I am inspired by stories, music, people, situations, and news. It certainly keeps me working and writing.
L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?
D: Give yourself a chance to write and above all, write! It sounds simple enough, but you have to press on through adversity, through doubt, through judgment, and more. You have to give yourself a chance to find your voice, cultivate your style, and be comfortable writing as you. Because that is your job, to tell your stories in the way only you can tell them. In this you will gain confidence and hopefully courage. And you will need these things, because you will face your own doubts and demons along with critics of your work. Remember that even the best and most famous writers have been turned down. There are people out there that want your stories and are waiting for them. So spin your tales, create your worlds, and never forget the love of the craft as it will see you through your journey.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, David Partelow is an avid poet, novelist, crafter, cosplayer, lover of life, sarcasm advocate, connoisseur of all things nerdy, and all around pain in the hind end. He is the author of the of over 30 books, including the LORE: The Vallance War Series, the Crescent Moon saga, the fantasy misadventures of Epics and Elsewhere, the insanity that is his Horror/Comedy series of So NOW What, and many more, including a volume of poetry.
When not writing, he tends to do other stuff. Included in this are martial arts, dabbling in further dorkery, making beer, and pushing the limits of caffeine and denial while finding new ways to get in and out of trouble.
Ashener’s Calling (LORE: The Vallance War Series Book 1) – The country of Vallance shines as a stalwart beacon of hope for all of mankind. At great cost and bloodshed, its people now stand united, savoring a golden age of prosperity. Vallance is also the only world that Norryn Ashener has ever known. As his father Alderich faithfully leads from their nation’s great capital, Norryn is still too young to yet realize his own importance. But soon he will be forced to face his destiny as the world he loves begins to shatter. And it all starts with a gift, the blessing and curse of an amulet known as Ashener’s Calling. A talisman of untold power, it is the ultimate symbol of leadership within Vallance, forged to reveal and protect a legendary bloodline. From father to son, this amulet is passed to Norryn who must accept his fate and the gravity of such a burden. For little does he know, the bordering country of Thorne holds sinister plans of conquest and destruction, plans for which there may be no stopping. As tensions mount and Thorne brings its strength into the borders of Vallance, the greatest weapon they possess is a bold traitor poised to strike at the worst possible moment. As an epic struggle descends upon the Vallance capital town of Bannar, Norryn must endure a vile treachery as it hits close to home. With Ashener’s Calling in hand, he will use his skills and wits in an attempt to uncover the traitor, save his loved ones, and preserve the future of his country. Through the darkest hours Vallance has ever known, Norryn shall make a stand where his choices and actions will decide the fate of thousands. But with all that he knows and loves in the balance, the young heir soon realizes the cost of valor in a dark and painful revelation.
The one life he may not be able to save is his own.
Buy it here!
Crescent Moon – Mathias Engleborn was rarely considered a normal boy by any standards. A dreamer at heart, his endless imagination made Mathias a joy for some, a curiosity to most, and an outright nightmare for the local librarian. But all the enthusiasm and creativity in the world cannot prepare him for the day that he discovers Crescent Moon, an ancient book full of reluctant secrets and exciting adventures.
Through the pages of Crescent Moon, he is introduced to Lunaria, a magical world of forgotten lore, dreams made real and untold possibility. Mathias is quickly taken upon a journey with the Prophet, a mysterious figure who calls upon fate to gather champions for the next chapter of an ageless battle between good and evil, darkness and light. Heroes rise, and destiny is shaped as Lunaria prepares for the inevitable conflict, holding to the hope that their greatest champion shall soon return.
But until then, Lunaria must endure at all costs as every moment becomes more precious than the next. And as the story unfolds, Mathias realizes that the magic of Crescent Moon extends far beyond the confines of its aging pages. Somehow, he has become part of something bigger and this is only the beginning of the growing tale.
Buy it here!