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Interview with Wayne Turmel

He is a writer and speaker. He’s the author of 14 books and writes fiction to save what’s left of his sanity. Originally from Canada, he now lives and writes in Las Vegas, where he lives with his wife, The Duchess, and Mad Max, Defender of the Realm and most manly of poodles.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
As a younger man, I spent almost 18 years as a professional standup comedian. That’s why I left Canada for Los Angeles-to be a big star. You can see how well that worked.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
The sequel to Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk will be out in December 2022 named Johnny Lycan & the Vegas Berserker. Our boy has to leave Chicago on a simple retrieval job and winds up dealing with witches, a psychic pawnbroker, and something even bigger, hairier, and scarier than he is.

Q.3 What inspired you to write Johnny Lycan & The Anubis Disk?
I love werewolves! Have ever since I was a kid. I’m also a fan of hard-boiled detective stories like Jack Reacher and Spenser for Hire. So, what if this blue-collar, slightly shady kid wanted to be a detective but he also had a monstrous secret?

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I am a big fan of women (which sounds silly, but it helps) and want to get it right. Whenever I have to have a female character say or do anything I struggle to forget I’m a man (and the author. Sometimes characters don’t say or do what I want them to!) and really put myself in their shoes. How would my wife or daughter process this situation? Fortunately, my writer's critique group has a majority of strong, opinionated women who aren’t afraid to set me straight.

Q.5 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I don’t know that there’s a set formula, but I usually start each book by going through the exercises in The 90-Day Novel by Alan Watt. That at least gives me the major story arc and the primary characters. After that, I pants my way through, three chapters at a time.

Q.6 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I’ve written 14 (soon to be 16) books. Most are non-fiction, business books. Of my 4 novels, with one more due for release in December, it’s impossible to pick just one because they’re in different genres. 

The character of Byron de Prorok in The Count of the Sahara is my favorite, but he’s a real-life person I’ve been obsessed with for years. I think the Lucca Le Pou Stories (Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans) are my best writing. Of course, Johnny Lycan is the most fun because it’s set in modern times and I can include more humor and I’m not restricted by pesky things like facts.

Q.7 What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The Johnny Lycan books are written in first person (as is almost all my fiction.) This is great fun. I get to pretend to be a 30-year-old werewolf, but it’s tough sometimes to put in plot points that the character isn’t directly involved in or doesn’t know about.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Therapy. I’d be in therapy. Probably two sessions a week.

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
 This is tough, but for Johnny, I would want either Robbie Amell or Alberto Rosende from Chicago Fire. 

For Nurse Ball, it’s always been, Yancy Butler. I've had a crush on her since Witchblade.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
I’ve actually struggled with Johnny, partly because it’s the first book I’ve written in this genre. It’s also because it sits between genres: part urban fantasy, part horror story, with some detective noir. Indie books need to fit solidly in a genre.

That said, my best success has been interviewed like this and especially audio and video interviews. If people get a sense of who I am they know what to expect, no matter what genre I’m writing in.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
I would be a Lycan but in the Underworld series. Only I would refuse to shave my chest. Why do the guys who become werewolves on fantasy covers never have any body hair???

Q.12 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
I think a lot of people assume we write fantasy because we don’t want to deal with the real world. I disagree, for most of us it’s a way of coping. 

The true stereotype for me is that I spend a lot of time staring into space, picturing the action like a movie, and then transcribing it. I sit on my back deck, having a cigar and watching hummingbirds and call it “writing”.

Q.13 Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
I’m a research geek. I can go down some very deep rabbit holes. There’s a scene in Johnny Lycan involving a Tarot reading that took two weeks and three trips to the library to get where I wanted it to get. Because I am a huge skeptic of anything psychic or supernatural, I need to get in the heads of those who believe.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your book, who is dear to you and why?
I love my supporting characters. Nurse Ball, a fifty-ish nurse with a kinky streak is my favorite. Gramma Mostoy, an old lady with a filthy sense of humor and way more wisdom than she lets on was fun to write.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select him/her?
The Johnny Lycan books are published by Black Rose Writing. Their covers are designed by Dave King. I like the cover for The Anubis Disk, I’m eagerly awaiting the Vegas Berserker.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
Sometimes they are obvious. The Romanian word for wolf is Lupul, so Johnny’s pre-adoption name had to be Lupul. A lot of times I find someone’s ethnicity or background then spend far too long on websites finding authentic first and last names that would be appropriate. I try to get it right.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
Of course, I read them! I’ve been a performer since I was 17 years old, so I’m used to criticism. You have to read them with an eye to improving… if someone liked something, why? If they didn’t, is that a legit criticism that you can learn from?

The biggest thing is not to get too high with the good reviews, or too low with the bad ones. Not everyone is going to like what you do. If they just found out the genre isn’t for them, no big deal. If there’s something specific they hated, is that something I want to fix the next time out?

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I would love to meet Byron de Prorok, the protagonist of The Count of the Sahara. I've been fascinated by him for 20 years. Of course, he’s been dead a while. Of living people, I think I’d like to meet Barack Obama.

Q.19 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
My all-time favorite novel is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. It has sword fights (swords are so much cooler than guns), humor, and a young man finding out he’s more than he thought he was. It changed my life and I’ve probably read it 12 times.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
It’s been a long, weird trip. I started out writing jokes and humor for my act. Then I figured I’d become a screenwriter. After some close calls, that didn’t work, so I went into the business world, published a number of books, and got some notoriety. 
Then at 50, I decided I’d never be a “real writer” until I did a novel. It’s been 5 novels in 8 years and I’m not stopping yet. 

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