Good afternoon Mr. Wear, my name is Lori (Lototy) and I want to welcome
you to Coffee Time Romance. Thank you so much for taking the time to
interview with me today! It is with great pleasure that we get to speak to
you today about your book Castle, The Fall to Domum.
It is great to speak with you as well about my writing. By the way, please call me Jack. I use J.H. as a tribute to my grandfather who had the same initials as myself.
First off, let us get to know a little about J.H. Wear himself. I see you hail from Alberta, Canada . Such a beautiful part of the country! Have you lived there your whole life, and what makes is special to you?
Thank you for the compliment about Alberta . It is a great area to live, except for our overly long winters. The kids love the skating and sledding winter brings, while the adults love the chance to fly south for a vacation. One thing I love about Alberta is that we do get 4 distinct seasons and there is no question when summer or winter arrives. I was born here, as was my father. My grandfather came to this area when he was 14 years old from England . The girl I married came from a farm about an hour’s drive from Edmonton , so our roots are pretty strong here. One thing I love about living here is the long summer days, 20 hours of daylight to do what you want. We also have a great river valley where I like to walk some of the 80 km of trails.
I see that you are a father and grandfather. How does your family fit
into and feel about your writing career? Are they also an inspiration for
your characters, and their exploits?
By the time I seriously started to write our three sons had left home. My wife Laurie has been great about the amount of time I spend on my laptop writing, though she makes a few remarks on my typing speed. I use the Columbus System; first I discover and then land. As far as how my family feels about my writing, it probably is a bit of a surprise for them. My sons likely saw me as a man who worked with tools and liked to play chess. I guess to them writing was a well-hidden talent. My sons had plenty of friends over at our home and I used bits from all of them to form characters in my stories. As far as some of their exploits, maybe some deeds are best left untold no matter how interesting they might be. Boys will be boys, comes to mind to describe some of the situations.
I have also read that you are a wine maker, and importer of New Zealand
wines. I am a novice when it comes to wine, but very much enjoy our local
wineries. What types do you specialize in? And how did you get started in
such an interesting enterprise?
Laurie and I went to visit a friend in New Zealand several years ago when I was still working as a Xerox technician. It is a beautiful country and we enjoyed driving the winding roads taking it all in. We also discovered they made wine- a lot of it and very good. When we arrived back home we found a lot of it wasn’t available. I decided when I retired I would import New Zealand wine if for no other reason I would have a good supply. While they can grow almost any grape, New Zealand is known for their Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. My favourite comes from Central Otago while Laurie loves a sparkling muscat made there. On that trip to New Zealand I had an inspiration for my first novel, Talnut. So in a way New Zealand is responsible for both my new careers.
Can you tell us why you chose Ireland for the backdrop of your Castle
series? Have you had the opportunity to visit there?
One reason I choose Ireland is that when you think of the Irish people you quickly come to the conclusion they have interesting traits and can make fascinating characters. Ireland is also known for having mysteries, such as leprechauns, so the stage is set for a story in Ireland. Like a lot of people I can claim a bit of Irish blood in me, from my grandmother’s side, so I have a bit of leaning towards choosing Ireland. I have not made to Ireland yet, but hope to do so in a couple of years and visit a castle. Hopefully it doesn’t have strange creatures lurking in the shadows.
Most male authors I have read fall into just a few categories: mystery,
adventure, or horror. It is very seldom I see fantasy romance written by a
man. But your work incorporates so much more. Bravo!!! I love to get a man’s perspective on the ins and outs of feelings and relationships. What
made you choose to write within this genre?
Science fiction and fantasy is my favorite genre to read, so it is not a surprise that I wanted to write in this area. I wanted to create a world I found interesting and had a lot of fun doing so. I had in my mind first the fantasy world of Domum, and then I worked out the characters. I wanted to make my characters real; that is with a few flaws, a desire to better themselves, and a need to have relationships. People are social creatures, and a lot of what we do is influenced by those around us. In the case of Jon, his fall to Domum began when he did the typical male response when Liz announced someone (Gilbert) stole something of hers- he chased after the intruder and increased his efforts when Liz told him it was her underwear (then it became something very personal). To me you cannot ignore the chemistry between people when writing a story. It is one of the basic driving forces in our lives and had to be present in Castle. Of course it can’t be the only reason we act, for example when Jon was fighting a dragon he wasn’t thinking of Liz at that time. I know how women react a lot of the time to a situation, but to be honest as a man I still don’t know how they think. The logic women use at times baffles me, but I suppose it’s true the other way as well, when women wonder “what the heck was he thinking?” I guess that’s what makes life so interesting.
Castle, The Fall to Domum takes place on an alternate world; somewhat
like Earth, but with enough differences to really make things interesting. Was this a concept that you worked from right at the start, or did it
develop along with the storyline?
When I developed the world of Domum I had a strong desire to have magic, dragons and other unusual features. But I am also a stickler for making what I write about plausible, and that gave me some difficulties. I read a lot, and one of my choices in literature is science and physics, so I use my knowledge such that the laws of nature weren’t destroyed in Castle. So the concept of Domum was there first, though I added different elements as they were needed. I do get annoyed when I watch a TV show that shows a full moon change someone into a werewolf, and then a week later there is still a full moon. I can give a dozen examples though most people ignore whether it’s plausible or not. As my wife gently answers when I point out a flaw in a movie, “Whatever.”
There are so many facets to this story, what with the magic, medieval
beings, and time frame of the two worlds. Did you find it difficult to keep
the timeline straight, and how do you strategize a story such as this?
The timeline was difficult at first to keep straight at first. At one time I considered having time move at a different rate on Domum than on Earth, but rejected that because it would make it too complex. To work out the events in the proper order I made a flow chart for each of the main characters and placed them side by side. Then, for example, I could easily tell Liz was doing this when Jon was there. I also had several key points in the story. I knew at this point Jon had to be there and doing this, Liz had to be there and something else was happening. Besides the flow chart I made a small map to understand the location of the events and the time it took to arrive from one point to another.
Gilbert is such a trip, and probably one of my favorite characters! Sort of like the comic relief, next to the drama of Jon and Liz. Was he as
fun to write as he was to read? And did you have a particular inspiration
for his persona?
He was a lot of fun to write about, and I intended for him to add a bit of humour. I wanted to put him in more situations, but it would have disrupted the story too much. In a way he was an exaggeration of different people I’ve met. They would put themselves in a situation, and not see it as a consequence of what they did earlier, blaming it on a misunderstanding. I had worked out the personality of Gilbert before he took a physical shape, but his personality dictated his manner of dress and his looks, such as a beard. I made him small so that he could easily transverse between Earth and Domum. In book two Gilbert has an even larger role and I show more of the reasons why Gilbert is, well, Gilbert. I don't want to give too much away but Gilbert, in a moment of frustration, calls out "Gilbert is not meant to be a hero."
Jon makes a dramatic transformation from his personality on Earth to
that of Domum. What made you decide to “beef” up his character in one world
as opposed to his personality type in the other?
I have noticed that a lot of people change their personality under different conditions. A mild person will suddenly take charge during a crisis. After the crisis is over they often revert back to being quiet. Maybe another way of looking at is how a person is perceived at work, and then seems to switch to someone else when at home or with friends. I made Jon as the type of person who was quite content to let others take over and be in charge. In his family he even allowed his sister to boss him around. But when he arrived in Ireland and Liz took interest in him he began to change to someone who she saw him as, an interesting American with an accent. Then when he arrived on Domum he didn’t have a choice; if he was going to survive and return to Earth he had to take charge of his own destiny. He was in a crisis situation and he shed his quiet and meek nature.
Jon and Liz have their work cut out for them if they want to make their
relationship work, and their story does not have a concrete ending. Can we
expect to see more of them in the upcoming books? And do you intend to
continue the series with the same characters, or will we be introduced to
even more enticing people and places?
I promise to have Jon and Liz resolve their relationship and not leave the outcome open by the end of the series. They will return in Castle 2 (Return to Domum) and Castle 3 (The New King). They love each other, as is apparent in Castle 1, but there is a major issue that has to be dealt with first. There are some new characters in the series, but some of the previous ones are given a new role to play. The relationship between the characters will get a bit more complicated and some difficult decisions will have to be made. In real life, people want to have a partner, and will go to extraordinary lengths to obtain that. In Castle you will find that is the case as well, so we can expect that some of the characters will want to have companionship that can put them in trouble. Some of them may not be satisfied with having just one partner either.
Jack now has book two out in the Castle trilogy, and is currently
working on the third, as well as having another book soon to be released
called Dragons in the Water. So much for retirement! I bet you are busier
now than when you worked a “regular” job.
Lori, it was wonderful to talk to you, and next time we meet I’ll bring the wine. As far as retirement is concerned, I guess it’s more accurate to say I changed careers. I don’t work any harder, but I’m sure having a lot more fun. I’m trying to figure out a way to have a book signing and a wine tasting at the same time. Now that’ll be a great way to spend an evening.
Please be sure to check out Jack’s website for all of his works, and his beautiful photos. Thank you again for spending a little time with us today. It was a pleasure getting to know a bit more about you!