I am very excited, and admittedly nervous about being a part of the Keldane The Cursed Blog Tour. This is the first time I’ve participated in anything like this (My maiden voyage you might say). Let me say that I most definitely will purchase Keldane The Cursed and keep it safely stored away until my grandson’s and my granddaughter are old enough to read it.
Despite the fact that our interview might very well tell us a lot the same, I’ve included his author biography. So without further ado, I present to you Jeff Hollar, the master mind behind Keldane The Cursed.
Author Bio: Jeffrey Hollar was born in Lima Ohio. Developing a love for reading in his early life, Jeff read anything and everything he could get his hands on. Graduating from Lima Sr. High in 1980, he joined the army where he found a career in communications. Jeffrey remained in the army for 14 years, traveling the world to places like Germany, Turkey and England.
Jeffrey moved around the United States as well, living in Arizona, Iowa and Missouri before moving back to Lima where he met his wife. Jeffrey works in the security field during the day and writes by night. He also has a love for cooking and practices his culinary skills on his family.
uuu Stop by the Keldane The Cursed Blog Tour page on Facebook or my blog at jeffreyhollar.com uuu
Quinn – Please tell us a little about yourself? Are you married? Do you have any children? Whatever you’d like to share would be awesome.
Jeff- I was born and raised in Lima, Ohio (nothing like Glee) and left at the age of 18 for the US Army. As a Russian linguist, I travelled all over the world and had a lot of really cool, if classified, experiences. When I left the Army, I kicked around St Louis for a dozen years or so doing anything you can imagine to keep the wolf at bay. In 2007 a series of unfortunate circumstances led me to return to my birthplace where I met my wife, Lisa. I was doing security at the store she worked at and one thing just led to another. I have a 20-year-old son, Aleksandr, from a previous marriage and Lisa came with three daughters, 20, 19 & 10. Caleb was the latest addition to our herd and will, almost assuredly, be the last.
Quinn – That’s so nice Jeff. Family is so important, the core of most of our lives. The Hollar family makes me think of a modern day Brady Bunch; The Hollar Bunch! At what age did you realize you wanted to be an author and why?
Jeff – I don't think the idea of transitioning from writing to become an author came to me until my wife, Lisa had already self-published her first couple of short stories and it occurred to me, "Hey, I could do that too, y'know."
Quinn – And what a revelation that turned out to be! Your fans are appreciative of your decision and judging by Keldane The Cursed, it’s just the beginning! How many books have you written/published? What genres do you write in?
Jeff – To date, I have published a YA fantasy collection (Keldane The Cursed obviously) and a collection of dark-themed holiday stories appropriately entitled Dark Holidays. It might be fairer to ask what genres I do NOT write in. In the early days of my blog, I was searching for a niche...a pigeon hole to fit myself into. Then, I realized the only limitations to my creativity came from me. So, to that end I have experimented with many, many things. My current works-in-progress span science fiction, fantasy, dystopian, paranormal thriller and even a vampire western. I think that covers the major stuff.
Quinn – A huge John Wayne fan, you’ve peaked my curiosity, a vampire western. Now that sounds interesting Jeff. What’s it like being married to another author? Does it affect the writing process? Exchange of ideas? Any competition?
Jeff – Being married to another writer can be both awesome and challenging. We both have a pretty full plate dealing with the foibles of life so finding time for both of us to work on projects can be difficult. It is great, though, to have an immediate sounding board available for ideas and "Hey, how does THIS sound?" We don't tend to write very similar stuff so the exchange of ideas depends on a lot of factors. I would have to say we are, at once, both fiercely competitive and infinitely supportive. It's a nice mix.
Quinn – When the time comes that Lisa and you pass on, but not for a very long time mind you, you should have that engraved on you headstone “Lisa and Jeff – In life and death, they are a nice mix! That would get people talking. HaHa. Are there any recent works (books) that you admire?
Jeff - I am ALWAYS reading something and my tastes can be very eclectic. I would be hard put to select anything particular. The Kreelan War books by Michael Hicks and anything by J.R. Rain would be worthwhile to recommend I think.
Quinn – I haven’t read anything by Michael Hicks, I’ll have to check him out. But I know J.R. Rains work, definitely worthwhile! So that said, who is your favorite author? (Other than Lisa that is)
Jeff - Again, this one would be a tough call. I don't limit my reading to any particular genre anymore than my writing so there are just way too many folks out there with the surge in electronic publishing to single out one.
Quinn - Are there similarities between you and your favorite author?
Jeff - If there were any similarities to be noted between me and another author, I would like to think that it would be that we both spin a good yarn, in a well-thought out and consistent manner with as much attention as possible given to quality and accuracy.
Quinn – Good answer Jeff. J What is a typical working day like for you?
Jeff - Now, that is an interesting question. My typical work day is an evening or a night. I work in security and so I'm working either when nearly everyone else is leaving for the day or home in bed. I am usually up with Lisa to get the kids off to school and deal with my 3-year-old spawn. With any luck I might get a cat nap in before suiting up for my paying job. Also, my typical work day is a weekend...not my ideal situation.
Quinn – I totally understand Jeff. Time is such a limited but valuable commodity these days, with work and family obligations and the desire to spend time with them it’s hard to get it to balance even the slightest. Now that we understand time restraints, what kind of research do you do for your books?
Jeff – I have been known to have 4 or 5 windows open on my laptop to various sources JUST for a 500-word flash fiction piece. I am VERY meticulous in my research because, as a reader, there is little I hate worse than factual errors in a tale.
Quinn – That’s wonderful, that even with a busy schedule you take the time to make sure you know what you are writing about. As a writer you can most surely weave an internal struggle into your storyline and the reader may not realize it until the end. That's when your audience has that sudden realization; Oh yeah, I didn't see that coming. Do you know what I mean? Is that something you do often? A writing style you prefer? Or are your stories an “open book” so to speak?
Jeff – I relish in ending my stories with something of a "shovel to the face" aspect. I've been told by regular readers of my blog that, even when they "know" where a story is headed, it still managed to slap them in the back of the head. I like that.
Quinn – Yes, I like that. That’s an experienced author at work, BAM! didn’t see that coming, is always exciting when you are the one reading. What is your favorite part of a book?
Jeff- It depends on the genre. In general, I don't like for a really good read to end. If it's a thriller/mystery/suspense read then I enjoy seeing all of the sub-plots and strings tied up into a cohesive ending.
Quinn – That’s exactly how I feel when I read books by some of my favorite author’s-I don’t want the story to end! What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Jeff – The hardest aspect of writing to me is just getting myself to sit down and do it. For a very long time, I did almost nothing creative whatsoever. Old habits die hard and so I suppose overcoming my laziness is my biggest challenge.
Quinn – Trust me, I don’t believe you are alone in the lazy department. And yes, I agree, old habits die hard! What is the best thing about being an author?
Jeff – I think the coolest aspect of having authored and published a book is knowing I have, in some small way, gained a measure of living beyond my days. It is a legacy and a gift to the future.
Quinn – Nicely said Jeff. I hadn’t thought of it that way-a gift to the future, I really like that premise. Many authors listen to music while they write, do you?
Jeff – No. Usually background noise is in no short supply around our place and so introducing another auditory distraction would be unwise. Additionally, I think I'd have concerns something from the music might bleed into my writing unintentionally.
Quinn- I need quiet around me when I write. I see your point about the music possibly inadvertently winding up in what you’re writing. What and/or who inspires you?
Jeff – I like to think that I draw tiny bits of my inspiration from everyone and everything around me. A writer needs to be attuned to the world around them in such a way that the smallest thing or the briefest encounter has the innate potential to inspire them.
Quinn – I never knew you were such a prolific philosopher Jeff, that’s nice. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview but never have?
Jeff - I have only done maybe a total of three interviews and, in spite of what many might tell you, I'm just not all that comfortable talking about me. Being under the microscope, per se, makes me want to get off of the slide and back into the wild so to speak.
Quinn - How would you answer that question?
Jeff – I wouldn't.
Quinn - Honest and to the point, you don’t beat around the bush Jeff, I like that. What do you consider your best accomplishment?
Jeff – My life has experienced many highs and lows and led me to places and opportunities I could never possibly have imagined. To pick a single one would be quite a task. I think, in a general manner, just surviving to the age I have without annoying someone to the point they do me in has to rank highly.
Quinn – Well put Jeff! Lastly, tell us about “Keldane The Cursed. What inspired you to write about him? Enlighten us about his conception and take us on the journey from that point to his birth, so to speak. In a short synopsis, can you describe Keldane The Cursed.
Jeff - Keldane began as a character in a flash fiction story of, I believe, 150 words. Lisa Stull, briefly, sponsored a flash fiction challenge wherein the winner from the previous week got to provide the prompt for the next week. My wife, Lisa, came up with a prompt of "frogs, cats & vampire bats" and from that camne the first appearance of Keldane. Like so much of my flash fiction, humble beginnings have often had the potential to be much more involved works and Keldane proved to be the first. I mentioned playing with writing in different genres and so further installments of Keldane appeared from time to time. I moved on to other distractions and gave Keldane no further attention until I became a member of the Visionary Press Cooperative. We are a coalition of writers, editors, cover artists, etc all working for the common profit and good. Blaze McRob, one of the founders of the co-op, thought it wise for us to diversify our book offerings and I brought up that I had a YA fantasy serial on tap. The rest, as they say, is history.
Keldane is the quintessential case of a kid who is the victim of the expectations of others. As the son of the most powerful wizard the world has ever known, great things are expected of him. Sadly, whether it is from nervousness, pressure or simply lack of talent Keldane never quite does things right. He does survive his experiences and tries to learn from them so I think he might be an understandable character to many young readers.
Quinn – Will there be a second, third or more Keldane stories to follow this edition? What are you currently working on?
Jeff – The possibility of future volumes of Keldane certainly exists. I am a ridiculously slow writer so don't hold me to a time frame. In general, I don't see myself ever writing the great American novel...I'm just too scatterbrained. What I do write is in the tradition of many very celebrated and successful authors...serialized fiction. (Think Conan, Tarzan etc) As such I have no less than 3 series that are only an installment or two away from sending to the editors. So, keep an eye out as my goal is to finish up ALL of those works within the year.
Quinn – Good luck with all endevours Jeff, we look forward to reading what you’ve penned up to date and future works. By the way, who created the fabulous book cover?
Jeff - Thomas Arensberg is one of the madly skilled cover artists from our Cooperative. I have great respect for Thomas and his prolific output. The cover for Keldane went from a loose concept to a pen and ink sketch to a finished product in under two days. Thomas is just awesome that way.
Quinn – Oh yes, I admire Thomas’s work as well. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Jeff - Nope. That's about it. The blog tour will be going on for the entire month and will hold all sorts of secrets and surprises. Stop by the Keldane The Cursed Blog Tour page on Facebook or my blog at jeffreyhollar.com to see what's up next. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to get the word out.
sssThank you for allowing us a glimpse into your personal and professional life Jeff. It’s been fun getting to know you better. Best of luck with your wonderful story, Keldane The Cursed!sss
Jeff’s Blog: The Latinum Valult http://www.jeffreyhollar.com/
Jeff’s Blog: The Latinum Valult http://www.jeffreyhollar.com/