About the Books:
The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One
Authors: Christopher Hansen, J.R. Fehr
Published by: Wondertale, California
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Magic
Ages: 12 and up.
Length: 85,000 words / 290 pages
Amazon * Goodreads
Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.
Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.
Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.
Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.
The Magician’s Workshop, Volume Two
Authors: Christopher Hansen, J.R. Fehr
Print Length: 273 pages
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Magic
Ages: 12 and up.
Amazon * Goodreads
Return to the world of The Magician’s Workshop: Where Dreams Become Reality.
In Volume Two, the Festival of Stars has finally arrived, and the Color Ceremony is about to commence. As children from all over the islands gather to stand before a puller, one question remains: who will have a Color, and who will be found void?
Rejoin your favorite characters as they step forward and receive a label that will have the power to dramatically alter the course of their lives forever.
Chit-chat with the Authors:
When did you decide to become a writer?
Jon: I don’t know if I ever “decided” to become a writer. I think it was something that I just always did. Storytelling came as naturally to me as talking. I remember going on long rides with my parents and spending a majority of the time making up stories with them. We’d each take turns continuing the narrative. It was one of the most fun ways to interact with them. That love of storytelling followed me into my teen years. Much of my time during school recess involved gathering with my friends and making up stories with them. We’d laugh and laugh at the silly things we’d create, and then I’d write it all down to remember for later. I think once I understood that it was possible to do this kind of thing for work, I was enraptured by the idea and I’ve wanted to tell stories on a professional level ever since.
Chris: I decided, attempted, and failed several times in my life. The first was when I was still in school. The second was around when I turned thirty. The third time came when I was in my late thirties. This was the attempt where I gave it my longest, most dedicated effort. I spent five years writing, and I completed two novels. Neither was something I considered publishing. After this I let go of my goal of becoming a writer. I stopped altogether, I thought, for good.
Then, in November of 2014 I sensed something had changed in me. I didn’t really want to try writing again, but I couldn’t shake the sense that I was supposed to give it another go. I decided to make one more attempt, for one year. If, after that my writing skills hadn’t dramatically improved, that would be it. Incredibly, they did improve. In all honesty, I consider the change that occurred in my ability to write to be a miraculous one.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Jon: My ambitions are to reach the widest audience of readers that I can for the purpose of sharing with them the Wonder of life. I want to bring joy to children in the things I write. There is so much literature out there that is dark, gloomy, depressing, or negative. I want to be someone that kids can read and know they’ll laugh and have a good time, and that parents can trust and rely on for quality literature. As I’ve said before, I desire to make the world a better place one word at a time.
Chris: I aspire to write stories that inspire people, and I want to create characters that people think about long after they finish the book.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Jon: The Magician’s Workshop is different in that there isn’t one specific main character. There are several point of view characters who our readers can relate to in different ways. The two who get the most attention in the stories, though, would have to be Kai and Layauna. Both of them have unique talents and have a grandparent with grand expectations. But while Kai wants to do his own thing and have fun with the magic he creates, Layauna is terrified of her creations and seeks the approval of her elders.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Jon: I find my writing is better and of higher quality the earlier I start in the day. For the last year, I’ve been writing just about 8 hours a day, five days a week. This has been incredible, though difficult in the beginning. It required a lot of discipline, routine, and time management to a level that had been previously impossible for me.
Chris: When I’m in a writing season I generally write for six to eight hours each day. My schedule is rather routine. I start work at around 8:30-9:00 and I write until 5:00.
Where do the ideas come from?
Jon: Good question. I wish I had a better answer. My mind is always working and imagining things. It seems that creating stories is as natural to me as breathing. If I’m not doing some creative, I generally feel pretty bored or tired.
Chris: I’m an easily inspired person. I have a long list of books I’d love to write. For this book, I was inspired by creativity. I find it monkey flipping incredible that we have the ability to create things. For me this ability has led to this novel. But it could have been a poem, a drawing, or a video. Creativity led me as a little kid to go out in rainstorms and make little rafts out of sticks that I placed into the stream of water that flowed down my street. My son is building a light saber right now, and my daughter is making Play-doh. Some people express their creativity in business, others with numbers, and still others with clothing. We can design giant skyscrapers or decorate our small dorm room. The expressions of our creativity are endless, and I find it mega inspiring.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Jon: I’ve done both. Sometimes, you need to just sit down and start writing without fear or abandon. I think what matters the most is knowing what story you want to tell. If you can identify and keep your eye on the story you’re telling, the plot falls into place so much easier.
Chris: Each story is different. But, in general I start by building the world of the story. This involves creating all the rules for that world, the locations, the history, the economy, the major events, the politics, the ecology and geology, and a whole lot more. After the world feels solid I start looking for characters who live in this world, exploring a wide variety, looking for ones who interest me. Then I start to get to try to get to know them. I’ll write out sketches and short stories with them. I’ll write dialogue and try and figure out what they sound like. Then, once I have a good sense of who they are, I start thinking of the sorts of things that they care about and are driven by. I imagine a various problems they might face. Then out of all of this a plot generally comes into view.
All this happens before I start writing the actual story. What I get to this stage I have a fairly clear idea of what I’ll be writing. I generally create a plot outline in my mind, and while I try to keep to it I always keep an eye open for the unexpected.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Jon: I think the best way to deal with writer’s block is to identify the source of the problem. It seems that it is usually caused by a lack of knowledge about the characters or the world. There’s a question in the story (Who is this character? What does he/she really want? What are the rules of this world?) and the answer is unknown. Until you know the answer, you can’t write. So the best thing to do is to go back a step and take some time to solve the questions. Once you know the answers to the world or character problem, the plot solutions come much easier.
What can we expect from you down the line?
Jon: A lot more stories. Volume One and Two of The Magician’s Workshop are just the beginning. We plan to write a total of six volumes for this story. Yup. Six. This is going to be an epic tale!
Chris: I like to alternate writing fiction with non-fiction projects. Before working on the Magician’s Workshop I wrote a Creative Writing Curriculum for Junior High and High School students. Now I’m working on a non-fiction project on a subject that I call “Soul Story.” The basic idea is that when you want to learn something about your physical health you go and see a doctor who can use tools like stethoscopes and x-rays to look inside your body. But, what if you want to take a peek inside of your soul? Are there any tools you can you use for that? I believe there are and that telling stories is one of the best ones we have. The fictional tales we tell somehow have the ability to let out something of what is going on inside us. In order to understand what our stories are saying about us, all we need to do is understand how stories communicate these soul stories to us.
About the Authors:
The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday. “Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all the time and all around us, if you know where to look for them.” Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris began searching for this magic, prepared to be surprised and amazed by it. And he was: he found Wonder! Now he’s chosen to write stories about it.
When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.
Contact the Authors:
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