Friday, March 10, 2017

Interview with YA authors Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

Two special guests are with me today. They are young adult co-authors Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr. We’re all talking about their new coming of age fantasy novels, The Magician's Workshop, Volume One and Volume Two.

Christopher Hansen:
Christopher Hansen
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. 

J.R. Fehr:
J.R. Fehr
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.

Welcome, Christopher and J.R., please tell us about your current release.
Christopher (CH): It’s about a collection of young adults who all have the same magical power. Over the course of the story we follow the journeys they take as they use their magical powers to try and earn the title Magician and work in the Magician’s Workshop. 

J.R (JF): Yup. Everyone in O’Ceea can create magical things called ‘projections.’ These things stimulate all five senses and give the illusion of real things, just like augmented reality. It’s a fun power, as it allows of all sorts of creativity to come out of the characters. Imagine being able to project outfits on yourself, or change your hairstyle whenever you wanted, or mask the taste of foods you don’t like with that of something yummy. The options are endless.

What inspired you to write this book?
CH: I’m inspired by the fact that we have the ability to create things. This can be anything. We can sing a goofy song or build a tall glass office building, we can stitch up a yellow sundress or draw a picture of a sunset out of chalk on the sidewalk. The dedication to the first volume in the series is to “those who make and love their blue wallaroos.” This won’t make sense unless you read the story, but it’s for people who make things and love the things they create, even if they don’t turn out the way you expect.

What exciting story are you working on next?
CH: When I was in college I had a job at Disneyland where I worked as a Disney Character. It was an incredible experience and ever since I’ve wanted to write a story that takes its inspiration from this. The book I’m working on is set back in the early days of the theme park when Walt Disney is still alive. The story is about a ten-year-old girl who sneaks into Disneyland and manages to stay hidden for a few days before being caught. Just as she’s about to be reported to child protective services Walt Disney steps in. Somehow, he knows about her, and he wants to protect her. So, he allows her to stay inside the park for a few more days while an investigation is done to find out who she is. Disney instructs some construction workers to remodel a dark and dirty storage room up at the very top of Cinderella’s Castle into a bedroom. The story then follows the relationships that are formed between this girl and the variety of people she gets to know inside Disneyland. The title I’m considering for it is The Princess of Disneyland.

JF: I’m currently working on a children’s novel (for ages 8-12) and for the child at heart. It’s called Glandorious the Glorious. It’s a story about an average New Yorker named Gary who finds a genie in a lamp and is then transported to a magical land where he struggles to become a great hero. It’s a fun and silly story that I’m excited about. And, of course, we plan to work on Volume Three of the Magician’s Workshop as we continue to promote and build a readership for the series.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
CH: It was after my first book was published and I started hearing reports that the people who were buying it were recommending it to others. That to me communicated that I had written something that people found valuable.

JF: For me, it was around the time that I started to pursue writing several hours every day. Up to that point, I’d only called myself a writer. But it wasn’t until I was actually ‘writing’ regularly that I felt I could call myself a writer in truth.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
CH: Yes, I write full time. I get started between eight and nine in the morning and stop around five to six in the evening. I’m generally writing or editing six to seven hours of this time.

JF: Currently, no, I’m not writing full-time. I work three days a week with a guy who has a disability and help him do activities in the community. I’ve also started doing some background acting work in movies/tv shows as a way to pay my bills. But whenever I’m not doing those things, I’m writing. I try to spend at least three hours a day writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
CH: Someone watching me write would find it rather boring. I’m just typing at my computer. I don’t listen to music or do anything. I suppose the most unique thing is that I spend time preparing to write before I begin. I want to be in the right place physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So I exercise each morning and during this time I try to work out any emotional issues I may have. Then I spent time in prayer. This is a time when I let go of problems and focus on my relationship with God, where my true value comes from. Writing requires me to be very active internally, thus I find that if I’m all stirred up on the inside it’s difficult to think or create. It also makes it difficult for me to focus on the characters and tell their story. My time in prayer is a time where my needs are being taken care of so that I can then care for others. It’s kind of like how on an airplane the safety instructions tell you to place your own oxygen mask on before putting one on your kids.

JF: I don’t think I have any writer quirks, unless you consider the fact that I’ve been able to sit down and write for hours and hours at a time without wanting to jump off a cliff. I should say, though, that often the writing process for me requires a long walk, laying on the floor in strange places, or doing mindstorming exercises to unlock my thoughts. Like Chris, I also try to spend time working on my mental, emotional, and spiritual health, as the things I write and create are highly affected by imbalances in those areas.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
CH: I wanted to be a homeowner. I didn’t know this wasn’t a job.

JF: I wanted to be a movie director. I loved the idea of making movies for a living and telling stories. I also had a dream of owning a big production studio, where people I loved and vouched for could work for me and together we could create great content for the world.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
JF: I really hope you’ll be able to take some time to read our series, The Magician’s Workshop. I know it can be difficult to start a new series (I’m terrible at it.) But Chris and I have worked really hard to make this a story that we hope will be an engaging and meaningful story for you, our readers.



Chris Hansen said...

Thanks for hosting us Lisa. If any reader has anything to ask us, feel free to do so. Chris

Anonymous said...

When is the 3rd book coming out? And how many books will the series have?

Thank you

J.R. Fehr said...

We took a break after writing Volume One and Two, but we've been working on Volume Three for a little while now. I can't say for sure when it'll come out, but we haven't forgotten! We planned for this to be a six volume series.

You can follow me on social media to keep up to date.
Instagram: @jrfehr and @themagiciansworkshop