Thomas Rottinghaus has been an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, as well as a student of the written Word, since becoming enamored with J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” as a freshman in high school. Drawing from influences as varied as Tolkien, Stephen King, and Isaac Asimov, he wrote his first foray into the publishing world, “Graywullf: Book One of the Dragonspawn Trilogy” Thomas studied literature and journalism at Colorado Mesa University before pursuing other interests. He resides in beautiful Western Colorado with his wife, Lisa, a herd of barn cats and their friend Scout, a shepherd and Labrador mix.
About the Book
Graywullf is the story of the adventures of a band of gunslinging lawmen known as magii’ri Warriors from a land called Norland. The Warriors are the enforcers of the Code, a set of laws handed down from their deity, Aard the Mountain god. Norland is ruled by the Wizards, who become corrupt and start a chain of events that leads to a Revolution and the separation of the Warriors and the Wizards. However, those who are true to the Code band together to fight the Dark and eventually come to the conclusion that they must create the Dragonspawn, a dangerous combination of the qualities of a magii’ri Warrior and a Dragon.
Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about your writing background?
I began writing as a teenager for purely entertainment purposes. I studied literature and writing in college but left before I obtained a degree.
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
I’m not sure anyone actually decides to become an author. I decided to try to become a published author nearly twenty years ago, but didn’t really pursue it until I published Graywullf.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Absolutely. The term starving author is very accurate and I like to eat, so I have a full time job.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
Yes, I read everything I could find as a child. I enjoyed Westerns and adventure stories.
Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
Graywullf is a gritty adventure with some truly unique and enjoyable characters set in a fantasy world called Norland. I was inspired by my love of westerns and fantasy.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
I employed both techniques. I knew what I wanted to accomplish in the book, and with those concepts in mind I filled in the action.
What was your goal when writing this book?
To tell a story that would engross and entertain the reader.
Who is your target audience?
My audience is adult readers who love adventure.
What will the reader learn after reading your book?
They will learn about the land of Norland, which I created for Graywullf, and the history and legacy of the Graywullf family.
What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?
A little of both. Some of my writing in Graywullf is derived from actual experience while most is obviously fantasy.
Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?
I get most of my ideas while driving a tractor at my real job. Most of the time I can let my imagination run wild while still performing my given task.
Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?
My muse is elusive, but when she wants me to write she is generous. So, if she refuses to help I simply give her the day off.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
Too long. I spent a lot of time being discouraged and doubting my abilities so I wasted time I should have spent writing.
Describe your working environment.
I like it quiet, somewhere I can see outside for the most part. But sometimes I like to blare hard rock from the 80’s to stir things up.
They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
That’s an easy one…I’d hunt down the reviewer and pound them…no, I’m kidding. I realize my story isn’t for everyone so if I get a negative review I assume it just wasn’t that person’s cup of tea.
As a writer, what scares you the most?
Not being taken seriously.
Are you a disciplined writer?
No, I am terribly undisciplined. I write when I feel like it.
When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?
More of an early bird, but I prefer to write in the middle of the day.
Do you have an agent? How was your experience in searching for one?
I have no agent. My search for an agent was frustrating and left me with a bad taste in my mouth about the profession.
Do you have any unusual writing quirks?
I like it completely silent or blaring loud rock music when I write. Nothing in between.
Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle the most when writing? How do you tackle it?
The only thing I really struggle with is finding the time to actually write.
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
Don’t ever expect a publisher to “discover” you.
What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?
Print ads seem to work the best for me.
What is(are) your favorite book/author(s)? Why?
Tolkien and Stephen King. I like Jim Butcher too.
Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
Sure, I’m working on revising the remaining two books in the Dragonspawn Trilogy.