The Pen & The Sword

The Pen & The Sword by
Jonathon Wolfer

Today we have with us, Jonathon Wolfer and his YA Paranormal Romance, “The Pen & The Sword”. This book is the third installment in the “The Ballad of Nick & Mina” series.

Tell Us About Jonathon Wolfer:

What inspired you to start writing? What inspires you to keep writing?

I have always loved telling stories, but what truly inspired me was my friend Nick. He is an amazing writer but doesn’t write much sadly. I had hoped that if I finished writing a book I could trigger his competitive side and get him to write more. So far I have failed, but I keep wiring and now run a a creative writing group at the Henry Carter Hull Library in Clinton also in the hope that this will inspire him to write again.

Something specific that keeps me writing came from another friend I made through the writing group name Scott. He and I hit it off from the start and he took me up on my offer to read work from any member outside of the meeting at the library. That is something I stress heavily in the group. If you want to do a deeper dive into your work ask others in the group if they will workshop with you one on one or in small groups where you can get more attention paid to your writing. Scott and I have been workshopping a time travel story I have been working on here and there for years. At our last library meeting, he told me he had a dream about my story, and that the ideas it gave him may help clean up and focus the story better (it suffers from what most time travel stories do – it’s bloated and convoluted). This man read my story and it stuck with him to the point he dreamt about it! That makes me want to work that much harder at writing. 

What is your writing process? Any rituals or must-haves (must not haves?) when you write?

Honestly, my process is mostly “fits & spurts” these days. I would love to be able to dedicate time to writing everyday, but I have to fit it in whenever I can. Part of why I started the writing group at the Clinton Library is to make sure I write so that I have someone to read and discuss at the meeting. What I like to have when I write is coffee and music. I typically listen to one band while writing a book, and use that sound to give a tone to my work. I also use song titles to focus each title, often using those titles as chapter titles. The lyrics and tone of the song most often set the pace and elements of the chapter. 

What I can’t have while writing is silence. That coupled with a blank white page is death to that creative session.

 Are you a “pantser” or a plotter?  Why? Which works best for you?

For this book I was a pantser. I spent most nights scribbling away in a leather bound notebook I had been gifted, so fracking hipster but an awesome way to write a first draft! The next two books in the trilogy were heavily plotted using note cards for each chapter. I lean toward the note card method over an outline as i like to be able to spread them out on a table or hang them up and move them around as needed to best serve the flow of the story. It’s a great way to visually see the story folding out and the different arcs.

Being an Indie Author is tough, are there any things you’ve learned along the way that surprised you: Perhaps about writing, publishing, promotion, or yourself?

Its ridiculously hard. The whole process. You have to want to write, work, hustle and sell yourself at every turn, hill, intersection and straightaway. And I’m terrible at all of that!

I also learned that I love the ability to control so much of the process from  editing to the cover. My day job is in graphic design and my first gig out of collage was working for Penguin doing covers and interior layout. So this is kind of a dream to make my own. But to be honest, if i could sell out on the next book and collect a healthy advance and even get some support marketing wise, I would!

What’s on the horizon for you?

I am working on a few new writing projects while finishing up a fictional memoir of the Werepig Hank Kelsey from the Ballad of Nick & Mina. Hank is almost 400 years old and wants to tell Nick (the main character of The Pen & the Sword series) as many of the terrible things he has done in his life that he can remember. It’s what if Forest Gump were a 400 year old Werepig? 

I am also working with the Henry Carter Hull Library on some projects and events based on writing and storytelling. On Thursday October 28th at 6pm we are doing a Spooky Mic Night of scary stories. The hope is to make this even into a regular occurrence if possible!

Tell Us About “The Pen & The Sword”

The Pen & the Sword, book one in the Ballad of Nick & Mina trilogy, revolves around Nick and Mina who are sophomores in high school. Nick is the new kid in town and in his first class at his new school he sits next to Mina, a unique young woman who doesn’t fit in very well with the small white bread town. She’s six feet tall with Mediterranean skin with streaks of red dyed in her jet-black hair and henna covering both of her arms most days. They are partnered up on a science project to observe Halley’s Comet when it last made a visit to our part of the Solar System back in 1986.

Mina suggests that they go to Chatfield Hollow State Park to get a good view of the comet. While working on the project, they are startled by a naked man that tells them to run. They hesitate and discover that the man is in fact a Werepig! So, if you haven’t guessed this series is YA Paranormal Romance.

As this Werepig is chasing the teenagers through the woods they try hiding in the remnants of a chimney that stands on one of the trails in the park. Their weight causes the wood covering the hole under the fireplace to give way and they fall. In this cavern they discover the Pen & the Sword.

This Werepig, who’s name is Hank Kelsey, is being assisted in this endeavor by Gertrude, a nonagenarian black woman who happens to be super strong, super fast and nearly invincible. She comes to the aid of Nick and Mina, knocking the Werepig unconscious and helping Nick and Mina out of the hole in the ground.

Gertrude recognizes what Nick and Mina are holding. She then proceeds to explain what they are and why the two of them have found these items. Nick is actually the heir to the Pen which gives him the ability to interact, explore and document the supernatural world. Mina gets the Sword and super powers to protect the pair while investigating all things that go bump in the night. Nick is not a fan of this arrangement. Gertrude knew the previous owners of the pen and the sword, Nick’s uncle John and his life partner Lauren. They had been killed by a creature named Frank Stone who was after the power that comes with wielding the pen and the sword. Lauren was able to hide the items from Stone before being murdered. 

Nick and Mina begin the process of learning how to harness their new powers. Which in turns draws the attention of those that wish to steal it from them.

When did you start writing “The Pen & The Sword”? Finish?

In 2009 I had made the move from LA to Las Vegas and decided it was time to write a book. I had the idea for this story for a while and my move gave me the time to concentrate on writing which was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Where did you get the idea from?

I grew up in Clinton, CT and my home town has its fair share of ghost stories – like all of Connecticut/New England. When I moved to LA, I would tell people about these stories. The reaction was always similar, “You should write those down and make a book out of them.” At the time I was working at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica and was part of a writer’s group there. And when I wrote a story about Gillette’s Castle, one of the 

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled or where it just flowed like a waterfall?

The first draft flowed like a waterfall that lasted a bout a month. I planned for it to be a single book, but once I reached around 60,000 words I realized this needed to be book one in a trilogy. So I capped it off at the logical point in the arc of that part of the story. The struggle came with editing. Editing is where the real work is done and I am not as well suited for real work as I am for the part where I just get to play with words, ideas, characters and setting in my imagination.

What type of person do you believe will get the most out of your story? Why?

Fans of ghost stories, those who have a deep love for the book Frankenstein, those that enjoy a new spin on old monsters, and those that are familiar with the Connecticut shoreline will recognize many of the settings used in this story.

This all sounds so fascinating! Thank you for being with us today, Jonathon. We wish you much good fortune.

“The Pen & The Sword

is the first installment in “The Ballad of Nick & Mina” series of exciting and imaginative YA Paranormal Romance. Get it now for just $2.99 on Amazon.

Jonathon Wolfer

I grew up on the shoreline of Connecticut, but I’ve lived in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. I am also a huge Harley enthusiast. I love the great outdoors, I love telling stories and would love to know what you think of my work or even just about llamas.

Favorite Books
Stranger In a Strange Land, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, The Illustrated Man, Golden Apples of the Sun, Stardust, American Gods, The Graveyard Book, A Wrinkle In Time, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion, Choke, Diary, Pygmy, Lisey’s Story, The Stand, Dune.

Favorite Music
Dropkick Murphy’s, The Cure, The Beastie Boys, Depeche Mode, Mumford & Sons, Flogging Molly, Clutch, Kilswitch Engage, Skynard, Frank Turner, We were Promised Jetpacks to name a few.

Favorite Artists
Van Gogh, Monet, Seurat, Dali, Derek Hess, Chuck Close.

Keep up with Jonathon on his website and on Facebook.

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