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Update 9/28/12: Local author M. W. Fowler Tweeted us to let us know that his young adult book, Ezra Sound: How I Became a Giant will be free this weekend.
Fowler is offering up his Ezra Sound: How I Became a Giant, the first book in a trilogy for free on Kindle from today, Friday, September 28th until Sunday, September 30th.
So grab it this weekend, and if you like it, buy it for a friend or relative and help out a local author.
Check out some of the reviews below and one more here.
Update 1/30/12: The Sun News has a positive review of Ezra Sound: How I Became a Giant in their 'Reading Corner' segment.
Reviewer Caroline Evans likens the magic and mystery to another über famous wizard, Harry Potter. Hop on over to The Sun News to read their review.
First Report 1/1/12: The first student of Coastal Carolina University’s Master of Arts in Writing recently received his diploma. To accompany this noteworthy honor, M.W. Fowler also published the first of three projected novels only months before graduation.
The book, Ezra Sound: How I Became a Giant, is a mixture of humor, sarcasm, magic, and the unexpected.
Fowler’s wit and unbelievable imagination come to life in the 372 pages of this tale as readers become immersed in the adventures of Ezra Sound, his companions, and a beautiful, red-haired love interest. The troupe must act fast as they attempt to assemble clues from a past that Ezra can no longer remember before the dark wizard, Malleus, disrupts their plans and discovers the secret himself.
I had the chance to uncover some of the inspiration, writing secrets, and behind-the-scenes details from the Ezra series as Fowler opened up about his past, and future, as a local writer.
Congratulations on your recent graduation. It’s quite an honor to receive the first graduate diploma from Coastal Carolina’s Writing program. How did you balance writing your first novel with the constraints of work, school, and family?
I am not sure I did. Plenty of essays and class assignments suffered scholarly when I was in the mood to revise the novel. I even cancelled a few dinners with friends in order to finish the novel. I would wake up in the middle of the night and write notes on characters, chapters, things that had to happen with questions. Work is easy, though, because I am dedicated to a paying job, except the occasional “write that down!”
You mention making notes on characters. There certainly are a lot of them in the pages of Ezra Sound. How did you go about developing and keeping track of them all with their various powers, spells and locations? Not to mention the separate quests that all take place in the book.
I kept many different computer files and scraps of paper. Rules had to exist for which characters could do what, why, and how in comparison to others.
Where did you come up with the names for your characters and the idea behind Ezra Sound?
Many writers claim names are everything, that they should have meaning and reveal something about the character. I’m not in that camp because it’s not real enough. People have names, but those names do not and should not characterize them. However, I did make use of some names as insights to the characters with Ezra Sound. Ezra has no particular meaning. I just like the name. Sound is the idea that Ezra has sound knowledge and makes sound decisions. Lauren is named after a dear friend, whom the novel is written for. Malleus is taken from the Malleus Maleficarum, the medieval treatise on witchcraft, used for, among other things, to provide a systematic way to spot and convict a witch. Other characters are named for what they do in life.
What hurdles did you confront before seeing Ezra in print and how did you overcome them? What process did you go through to get your book published?
Every day is a new problem. Mainly, I spend my time asking, “How can I get the book out there, so people can enjoy it?” Knowing people enjoy the novel is what keeps me going. I wrote the novel in six weeks over the summer of 2010. I spent the next year revising the novel and designing the print version. I learned how to make e-Books along the way as well. That was a nightmare.
What advice would you give to authors considering independently publishing their book(s)?
Independent publishing is difficult. It requires money, luck, and networking. You occupy all positions that a major publishing house would have. My best advice is to be skeptical of your own work and find readers who will give you truthful and insightful feedback during the processes. If you’re serious about writing and publishing your own book, then be patient and make it as good as possible. Independent authors are swallowed by the market. Your work has to be able to compete professionally with the other titles.
Tell us about the artwork on the cover of your first book.
I wanted a cover that would say “this is what the novel is about”—two people, a couple, against a dark figure much larger than both them. Let’s not talk about the earlier drafts.
How do you typically begin the writing process?
As typical as it sounds, I begin with an idea. That could be a place, line of dialogue, situation, or object. Ezra Sound began with an idea that a man was writing down everything he knew before a dark wizard took his memory away. I wrote extensive notes for Ezra Sound—chapter by chapter, character, and overall themes and plot.
What do you enjoy about writing for the fantasy genre?
I write fiction, and I recognize most of what I write has some fantasy elements; but I never write with a particular genre in mind. I like sticking to the story and not caring whether it fits a genre. That’s probably why Ezra incorporates history and known myths in addition to my own search for Ezra and his hero’s quest. I’m not anti-genre either. I just don’t go into writing any piece with genre in mind. What fantasy and sci-fi offer us, though, is a way of looking at our own world, ourselves, through artifices of the other.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’m not sure I ever wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be an artist, and for me visual arts and writing go hand-in-hand. One does what the other cannot. Writing began taking over as my pastime about six years ago. It’s cheaper than canvas and paint, takes up less room, and doesn’t make as much of a mess, except in the head. My head is a messy writer’s journal.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received and how does it affect your work?
This is a difficult question. I can tell you that from the Master of Arts in Writing program at Coastal Carolina University I have learned the importance of distancing yourself from the work in between revisions. Otherwise, I recommend that you once you start writing you don’t stop. When you’re stuck, write ahead. That was a personal lesson I learned from screenwriting, and I’ve heard it from other authors in recent years.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
Write! Read! And learn how to read. A writer reads first to enjoy a piece. A writer reads a second time to understand how everything was put together. Sentences, word choices, paragraphs, sections, logic—all of these things have to be studied before being applied. Every new piece is different. Learning to write a short story is a different beast from a novel, and the same goes for plays, screenplays, and poetry.
Thanks so much for your time, Matt. I greatly enjoyed your first novel and am anticipating the release of the second. I know you have already begun working on the next novel but can you ease my curiosity and give me a hint at what Ezra fans can look forward to next?
I don’t want to spoil anything, so let’s just say Ezra will do some travelling. And nothing in Ezra’s world is ever what it seems.
Print and electronic versions of M.W Fowler’s Ezra Sound: How I Became a Giant are available at Amazon.com and most major book retailers.