Updated: Aug 1
Forest Wells is an author with a deep passion for all things wild canine, as well as pro football, hockey, and e-sports. Forest has authored a short story, as well as several poems, in the 2015-2017 editions of the "Wolf Warriors" anthologies, in addition to another short story in the March/April 2019 issue of Kyanite Publishing's collection of dragon stories. His first novel “Luna, The Lone Wolf” was published in April 2019 Forest continues to work on his future stories, including a military sci-fi and a fantasy. He currently lives in his home town of Thermal, California.
First, let me my readers know where you're from.
I’m born and raised in Thermal, California. Don’t worry. No one had heard of it outside of the valley. It’s 30 miles south of Palm Springs.
Do you have siblings?
I have two older brothers.
You have Dysgraphia which makes your path as a writer all the more challenging. What advice can you give someone with the same challenge?
Many of the advice columns, how to’s, and “you must do X” things, won’t apply to you. Dysgraphia messes with why those tricks work, so you’re gonna need to figure out your own list. Not to say you shouldn’t try them anyway, you actually should, but don’t be surprised if they don’t work.
Also, you’ll need a touch of panster mentality. Now hold on, you can absolutely be a plotter. What I mean is you need the panster element of only working on the part you’re working on. Don’t try to plot the entire novel all at once. Plot each plot point one at a time. It can be by event, or chapters, whatever, the point is to tackle it in bite sized bits rather than feeling like you have to tackle the entire project. That will 100% trigger the overload, and then you won’t do anything.
Do you prefer the fantasy genre or do you have multiple ones you read and write?
As far as reading, what matters most is a good story. I do tend toward sci-fi or fantasy, but those genres interest me in general so it’s no surprise. But I can think of a few that were neither that I still enjoyed.
I tend to write more sci-fi fantasy tales because I get to create more. I don’t have to worry about making sure New York city looks and feels like New York. I can make my own city, continent, planet, and shift it to fit the needs of my story rather than trying to make the story fit the setting. I just find it easier that way.
Wolves seem to be are a major part of your life, when did a love for the creature being?
I’m not sure. The first instance I can recall was when The Power Rangers shifted into their first ninja iteration. I’d always liked Billy’s character the most (erm, not that way, for any who were suddenly curious), so naturally anything attached to him I liked. As I grew older, I don’t know, I was always interested in canines. Dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, I loved seeing them. When I started learning about them, I grew interested in how they lived too.
Let's talk about Luna, the Lone Wolf. How long did it take you to write the manuscript?
18 years. First came up with it not long after 9/11. Published April of 2019.
What type of research did you do for it, if any?
I looked into as much about wolves as I could. I even managed to find a sanctuary near me where I could actually go in and touch them. I tried to base as much of their actions in the book on real wolf behavior as I could, though some story elements required going into the purely fictional.
Which scene was the hardest to write?
The first chapters are always the hardest for me. I have this rich world I badly want to share, but I gotta do it in a way that doesn’t slow things down too much. Truth be told, it’s still my biggest weakness when it comes to writing.
Do you plan to make it a series?
Nope. I’ve got a prequel story (plus a couple of shorter side-tales) I hope to release in the next year or two, but that’s it. Though I’m pure panster, so there’s no telling what other idea will spark in the future.
What are you working on now?
Beside the aforementioned prequel, I’ve got a military sci-fi series (yes, series) in the works. Book 1, working title; “Flags of War”, should be out next year, though I don’t know when yet. A lot of moving parts that will move on a schedule all their own.
I’m tinkering with a fantasy that takes a different angle to were-beats. Don’t worry, no sparkling vampires here!
That one is rather new. I don’t even have half of a first draft yet, so it’ll be some time before it’s ready.
What books have inspired you in your life?
All of them. I draw inspiration, insight, and random thoughts from every book I read. Jane Lindskold’s “Firekeeper” series is certainly my favorite though, and not just because it has wolves as a central element.
Out of your friends and family who would you say has been your biggest cheerleader?
My entire family are not only my biggest supporters, but my sounding board and first beta readers. They’re honest though. They never sugar coat anything.
How much time a day do you spend writing? Is it scheduled or just when you can squeeze it in?
It’s less about time and more about mental state. I need to have my thoughts sort of aligned in a row for me to be able to write. Otherwise there’s no hope of fighting past my learning disability. It is THE reason why I can’t “just write” every day. Experience has shown that when I force it, I wind up doing far less work of value, and almost always far less work period. Now it does mean I have the occasional period where I don’t write a word for several days or even a month or two. I just hear writers squirming now, but that’s what I need. It’s the only way I can write effectively. I’ve tried to force it anyway, and it doesn’t work. “You can edit later,” no, I can’t. What I wind up with is so bad it is absolutely unsalvageable. It’s THAT bad. And it’s always completely different than what the story needs. So I write when I can, and don’t when I can’t pretty much that simple.
How do you select the names for your characters?
Depends how much the name matters. Some names are just a random name. Doesn’t have any purpose, so I’ll just pluck some random name out of my head or if I need something “exotic”, I’ll spout complete nonsense until I hit a sound close to a sound I like. You know, “Jules… Jim… Jar… Yar… Yarin, no not quite… Yara… Yarain… perfect!”
Some names have a basic guidance. I wanted “Sun” to be involved in the name somehow, I wound up with “Sundale”. I wanted something quite exotic, yet just a touch refined like a name a noble might have. I got “Xyera”.
Some are very specific. I wanted a name that had “wolf” in it’s meaning, so I went looking for such names and found “Conall” or “strong wolf”. Not quite the meaning I had hoped for, but I like how it sounds. And of course you can guess where “Luna” came from. Not as creative perhaps, but he wouldn’t allow anything else. Believe me I tried. “Estrella” was so named for a very specific reason, though that would be telling.
In all cases, it has to feel right for the character. It rarely takes much effort to find it, though some can be trickyer than others.
What advice would you pass on to another aspiring writer that you wish had been given to you?
The spirit of the story must be your focus. I had to learn the hard way that even when it’s against the grain, I need to stay true to the story. I’ve yet to see it go wrong when I focus only on what the story wants to be, nothing else.
Also, I’ll never be Stephen King, or David Weber, or any other author you can name, nor will they ever be me. I need to write like me, my way, my methods, my “discipline”. There are probably millions of tips, tricks, methods, and angles when it comes to writing, and not a one works for everyone. Listen to them, think about them, give them an honest, actual, real try, but stick only to what works for YOU. Don’t let anyone tell you your story needs to be something, or you need to write a certain way.
I don’t mean reject suggested changes to your story to make it better. But just because someone thinks it would be better done in third person, does not mean that’s the best thing for your story. So don’t take feedback as law. Consider it carefully, let it trigger hard questions from your story, but in the end trust the story. Most of the time it knows the best path, even if it doesn’t always tell you what that path is.
Find Forest at these links;
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