Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Meet Authors of "The Magician's Workshop"

We have reviewed back to back two books of this author duo, Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr. Currently they have published two books under 'The Magician's Workshop' series. Fantasy and magical genre lover has accepted is well. Let's try to know them better.

Can you tell us about your educational background?
Chris: I went to a pantsy fansy Ivy League college and got a degree in Film Studies as well as European History. It was a total waste on me. Graduation day was one of the happiest days of my life.
What were you like at school/college apart from studies?
Chris: I love learning. This may sound strange after I just said graduating from school was pure bliss. I studied a lot and learned some in school, but after I graduated I continued to study and found that,without the pressure of grades, I learned a whole lot more. But, I got off track. You asked me what I was like apart from studies.
 In short, I was a goof ball. I loved dressing up in odd clothing and having fun doing silly things. For some reason this usually involved modifying my hair in some way. If I lived in O’Ceea (the world of our novel) I certainly would learn to use my magical skills to dress up in costumes.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Chris: My first job was going door to door selling rocks to my neighbors. For some reason, it worked. After that I delivered papers. Then I worked at Disneyland, which was great. Another favorite job was being a camp counsellor. After that, my jobs got steadily more boring. I did construction, followed by a stretch as a real estate agent, followed by being an asset manager and fiduciary for estates and trusts. Then I ran several small companies. People called me Mr. CEO. Ha ha, that was a really silly costume I wore for a long time.
When did you start writing?
Chris: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Actually, that’s not true. I remember eating sand at the beach before that. And I remember reading. I read a lot as a little kid. (Sorry, I lied when I said I didn’t read at all.) I started by writing little notes that I gave my mom, then little stories, and then in high school I went off the deep end and started writing angst-ridden poetry. Boy, that was a strange experience.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Chris: I don’t know how to “become” a writer. I don’t think of it as a label. Instead, I see writing as an action. My first major work of fiction was a feature length screenplay I wrote in the early 90’s. I was pretty happy with how that turned out. Then in 1999, on the eve of the new millennium, I decided to write a novel. It kicked my butt; I had no idea what I was doing. But I enjoyed it so much I kept learning and growing.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Chris: When I worked at Disneyland I had the opportunity to see little kids experience things that caused them to open up their eyes in wonder. I hope that some of the things I write will do the same.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
Chris: I have a family, so I write during normal work hours.
Is this your debut work? If not so, what have you written?
Chris: It’s my first published novel. Before this, I’d written all kinds of things. I wrote screenplays for a number of years. I’ve written three other novels and a tremendous number of short stories. I partnered with an illustrator to turn one of them into a graphic novel. I ran a writing fellowship for many years, so I’ve been fortunate to know and collaborate with a lot of incredible writers.
What genre are your books?
Chris: I like to write for children and young adults. Everything I write seems to have some whimsical and fantastical elements to them. I guess this is because I tend to see life through the eyes of a young kid.
Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
Jon: The Magician’s Workshop is about a group of kids who live in a world where everyone has magical abilities, and anything they can imagine can come to life. Volume One is about several children who live in that world, and the struggles they encounter in the season leading up to the biggest day of their lives: the Color Ceremony.

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Give us an insight into your main character(s)
Jon: There are several main characters. I’ll describe three of them briefly here. Layauna is the first one we introduce to the readers. Magic is different for her. While other kids might love using their powers, Layauna has trouble controlling hers. Bad things happen whenever she tries to use her abilities, so she is afraid to do much with them. But everything changes when she has an encounter with her grandfather, a powerful magician.
Kai is another main character. Unlike Layauna, he loves using his powers. Unfortunately for him, nearly everyone on his island views him as a problem, based on the actions of his father several years ago.
Then there’s Kaso, an orphan who feels called to become a magician and save the Workshop from what he perceives as coming doom. But, as an orphan, his options are much more limited, and he’s required to make some hard decisions to do what he thinks is best.
Where did you get idea for this book?
Jon: Well, that is a bit of a story. It all started when my cowriter, Christopher, was up visiting me at my home. One day, we decided to meet with another artistic friend of mine who had just completed a new project. And, much to his dismay, the initial reception was not great. This friend was deeply discouraged and was on the brink of giving up his art altogether.
This encounter left a lasting impression on Chris and myself. Without saying too much about it, this experience ended up being one of the key pieces in the formation for the original idea of The Magician’s Workshop.
How much research did you do for this book?
Jon: We spent almost six months brainstorming, drafting up ideas, and researching for this project. As this was a completely different world, it took a lot of work to build all the rules and design the systems that had to be in place to make everything work. The magic we created is quite different than traditional magic.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why? (If applicable)
Jon: We love them all, and designed them so that every reader would hopefully have one or two who they could connected well with.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Jon: The hardest thing was probably going over the story over and over and making sure that all the threads we were weaving together worked and made sense. There are so many layers at play in this series, and it took a lot of time to get everything in place.
Release date.
Kindle version: November 2016; Paperback version, May 2017
What are you working on at the minute?
Jon: We’re working on Volume Three, in stages. We’re definitely excited to share the rest of the series with the world.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
Jon: Writing a book series is a really big commitment. It’s hard to understand that when you begin. But there’s so much work involved in the process of creating a whole new world and system, crafting a narrative, weaving together story lines, being true to the characters and their desires, and ensuring it all comes out as intended. Whew. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love this wild ride.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Jon: The best thing I can suggest is that you write, and write often. Not just a little on weekends, but every day. In order to be a writer, you need to be writing.
Links for your book readers
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