It’s a December Author Spotlight Flood! Clearing out my backlog and getting these authors into the spotlight.
- an actor, playwright, producer, and author of The Kalib Andrews Chronicles
Readers, thanks for checking out another Author Spotlight Interview. Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
John Wells III is the award-winning author of The Last Angel Warrior, The Heir of Ambrose, and The Invisible City. Born and raised in San Diego, California, John grew up loving the beach and would go to questionable lengths for a taco.
John attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, and obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from California Baptist University.
Since graduating college, John has worked full-time in live theatre, public speaking, and education. When he is not writing, he speaks in school assemblies, visits conventions, and tries to resist eating too many sweets. He has not been successful.
John has been obsessed with fantasy since grade school when he had an extremely difficult heart-to-heart with his parents when they told him that he would not grow up to be a superhero (he’s still not convinced).
John, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most author spotlight interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
Well first of all, I have two wonderful pitbull mix breeds who are both the best dogs a guy could ever ask for. But if I could have any mythical creature, or familiar?
Hmm, let me think about this.
I’m thinking a phoenix or a hippogriff, honestly just about any familiar in the Harry Potter Wizarding world. A bowtruckle would be nice too. I do not know if I could choose a pet. I think the pet would have to choose me. But whatever it would be, I think I want it to have just as much personality as me, and ultimately become a friend.
I love puppies and the classics, but a bowtruckle sounds delightful! (After I googled, because it’s been a while)
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write YA Contemporary Fantasy.
When I was a kid, I LOVED fantasy. Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, the Lord of the Rings, and even the Percy Jackson series (though I was a little older when that came out). But the one thing I never saw as a kid was a hero that looked like me. As an African American, I wanted kids to see heroes that looked like them among the myriad of eurocentric protagonists. I wanted BIPOC kids to know that they are more than just the sidekick. So I wrote one.
When people tell me they read my books, they tell me that they were inspired by the diversity represented in my books. And this inspires me to keep writing.
I’m so glad you get to share your stories and put them out there — for kids like you were and the rest of the world.
What do you like to read?
I like to read the same genre that I write. Contemporary fantasy and Magical Realism. I love books that bring magic to my world in a believable way. When I was a kid I was always fascinated with the possibility that what I was reading could happen in the real world. We just don’t know about it.
When I choose a book I look for a book that will take me on a journey with the protagonist. I love underdog stories or coming-of-age stories. I also really enjoy a sympathetic character that is forced to go through extreme circumstances. I suppose Dystopian and Post-apocalyptic stories also fit the bill of what I enjoy, Basically, just give me a good fast-paced story with witty dialogue and I am happy.
I read a lot of Urban Fantasy, Contemp fantasy, and magical realism myself. That secret world has a great appeal.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you
The idea that you have to be a fast writer in order to be successful. It has never worked for me. I try to focus on writing a good story, rather than writing a fast story. That’s no to say that Rapid Release doesn’t work. It just doesn’t seem to work for me. Not yet anyway.
It is definitely easier for some writers and some genres, and I know indie writers who swear by it, but I’m with you. That’s not my style, either. That’s the hustle life.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice they can pry out of your cold, dead hands
I pantsed my first book. Lightly plotted my second. And Thoroughly plotted the third. I find when I do the work on the front end It is a lot easier (and quicker) to finish the book. I truly admire the people who are just able to write their story without an outline and have a quality book. But I find that when I don’t have a plan it takes me YEARS to complete the book. But when I have a detailed outline I can finish writing in a matter of months. (6-8 weeks is the goal)
I’m working on finding the right balance for me of having a direction to go in, but keeping the story flowing naturally, rather than jumping from planned scene to planned scene.
Do you have any reoccurring themes in your writing?
I accidentally write a lot of characters with daddy issues. I never realized this until someone pointed out all of the father themes in the first book of my series. I guess that is something that I am going to have to really explore. Ironically, my relationship with my own father is great.
I write a lot of adoption stories. And friendship is a big theme in my books. Also, identity is a big theme in my writing. Coming of Age and learning who you are.
Family and found family are big themes in most people’s lives, and definitely things we can relate to.
What does your editing process look like?
Editing is my favorite part of the process.
It starts off with my mentor and coach. I send him a draft and he will critique it until the manuscript is begging for mercy. I will make changes, and then he will go back and correct my changes, and I will go back and correct his, and we do this a couple of hundred times (I am only slightly exaggerating.) Once we feel good about a draft, I will send it to beta readers, they’ll send back notes, and I will implement the ones I agree with. And then it is off to a proofreader.
That almost sounds like a co-writing experience. I’m so glad you have a mentor to work so strongly to bring out the best in your words.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
The Kalib Andrews Chronicles
The Last Angel Warrior (book 1)
Kalib Andrews leads a typical teen life. He loves his job at the local diner, his childhood bestie keeps things lively with his conspiracy theories, and a girl he likes at school may actually be interested in him.
Yet, Kalib is anything but typical. In fact, he has no idea who he really is—a point he would not argue since he knows he’s adopted. But when those he is supposed to trust turn out to want him dead to fulfill an ancient prophecy. He is thrust into a war- a thousand years in the making- and is forced to face his destiny.
The Heir of Ambrose (book 2)
Kalib Andrews thought he knew who he was. But six months ago, that all changed when a stranger from his past revealed that Kalib is an Angel Warrior, one of the most powerful beings ever to exist. But what happened to the original Angel Warriors? How could such powerful beings simply disappear? And why?
Legend has it that “Ambrose,” the first Magicborne, was behind their annihilation. Now, Kalib fears that the mysterious Heir of Ambrose is determined to fulfill Ambrose’s vendetta against him and his kind.
Destiny has named Kalib as the Destroyer of Worlds, but can he stop Ambrose’s heir in time? And even more perplexing, should he stop him?
Check out John W. Wells, III across the web!
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