Woelf Dietrich has been conjuring up stories since he was a boy. His adult life has seen him take up different professions. In the end though, he made the decision to go back to doing what he loves the most – writing. We carried out an exclusive interview with Woelf to find out about the man himself, his background and his books, and to learn from his experiences of writing and publishing. Read on to find out what Woelf had to say.
Welcome to e-Books India, Woelf! We’re thrilled to have you join us for this interview. Can you please tell us about you and your background? What is your professional experience? Where do you come from and where are you currently based?
Thanks for having me. I grew up in South Africa and over the years visited numerous countries around the world, including Israel and Zimbabwe. I love different cultures and their legends and lore. I currently live in New Zealand with my family. I’m trained as a barrister and practiced law in South Africa before I moved to New Zealand. About four years ago I decided to turn my back on the law, kinda, and focus on writing.
I have a weekly column “The Art of Fantasy,” over on my blog where I showcase beautiful, awe-inspiring fantasy artworks and their artists. I also have a similar series on Kōsa Press’s blog, featuring science fiction art.
Please tell us about your writing. When did you decide to become an author and what types of books do you write?
I usually write tales of dark fantasy and the supernatural with a focus on mythology. More recently I started venturing into science fiction with three short pieces in These Broken Worlds, a story collection where I share a universe with three other authors.
I started writing at age 12. My teacher asked us to submit a one page short story for class. I handed in eight pages. I discovered I like writing then, which made sense, given that I was reading ferociously at the time. I also got into trouble at school a lot for not paying attention. My mind wandered easily and I would constantly daydream and so I started recording those flights of fancy. Looking back, at the time when I was writing the most in my youth, I had thought writing was the only thing that suited me. Then a whole bunch of life happened and I never took it any further. Now, a few careers later, I am convinced more than ever that writing is my calling, but unlike my young self, I won’t stop writing or change careers again.
You’re the author of The Seals of Abgal: A Guardians of the Seals Tale, which was published in 2013. Can you please tell us a bit about this book? What inspired you to write it?
The Seals of Abgal is a story about a powerfully magical book by the same name. The story involves a bookstore owner, Sebastian Kaine (who may or may not have possession of the book) and an ancient, putrid evil that seeks to own the book at all costs. Sebastian’s only goal is to stay alive… or is it?
Seals introduces The Guardians of the Seals series. The next book is titled The Morrigan and is in the final stages of revision (I hope).
As for the birth of Seals, while working on The Spirit Bow (my epic fantasy that takes place in an antediluvian Sumer), something else brewed in the back of my mind–an idea for a contemporary fantasy tale that weaved things a bit differently than you would find in your standard urban fantasy story. I tapped into various mythologies for this one, leaning heavily on Sumerian and Norse mythologies. That I was neck-deep in Sumerian lore helped grow the idea, of course.
You’ve recently contributed to a book entitled These Broken Worlds, which is a mini-kosalogy. Can you please tell us what a kosalogy is and about your contributions to this particular one?
Kōsa Press specialises in shared universe anthologies, story collections whose distinct stories intersect and contribute to a single world or universe. Our special take on this type of story collection didn’t have a name, so we gave it one: kōsalogy. A kōsalogy is what we call our particular brand of anthology where our stories overlap with certain recurring characters and events popping up in each other’s stories.
For These Broken Worlds I submitted three pieces; all deal with at least one aspect of the created universe. In The Day the Sky Burned I give an eyewitness account of the global war breaking out between humans and aliens and its immediate effect on the ground. In A Tale of Two Moons I tell the story of a female alien and the longing she feels for her destroyed planet. In The Night the Stars Blinked I recount the aliens’ arrival on Earth. Each of the contributing authors’ unique stories enrich the shared, singular vision of a newly birthed science fiction saga. These Broken Worlds introduces readers to Interspecies, our flagship kōsalogy coming later this year.
Are you working on any other book(s)? If so, can you please tell us what we can expect from you in the future?
I have a few active projects right now. First, Interspecies is currently with our editor and will be released this December. We have six authors contributing stories, including my novella The Last Devil. The stories take place in the same universe as These Broken Worlds.
I’m also busy with a novel called, Hameln-13, for The Collective SF that will come out either in December or January next year. This is another shared universe setup, but also with a difference. On The Collective SF’s blog we have log entries from various “scribes” tethered to an entity known only as the God-Machine. Their duty is to record newly created histories and chronicle the past. Only something goes horribly wrong and instead of factual history, fairy tales and lore are mistaken for historical fact. Hameln-13 is my retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin legend, but in this story the setting is a remote alien planet in a star system not yet fully mapped.
Another active project is The Dead God. It’s a failed game proposal I’m adapting for a heroic fantasy novel of the same name. I’ve already written the outline and I’m finalising some research elements. With this book I’m delving deep into Slavic lore and it’s a lot of fun.
Lastly, we have The Morrigan, which is the second book in my Guardians of the Seals series, and which, unfortunately, has been stuck in revision hell for a while. It’s a modern tale about the thin veneer that separates our reality from the unknown beyond. I found inspiration in Nordic and Irish mythology for this instalment.
From your experiences of writing and publishing, can you please give 2-3 top tips with authors who want to write a book and get it published?
Always keep reading. Never stop. You need to read a lot and keep writing a lot. Just keep writing no matter how bad you feel your writing is. Trust me. The first draft must be bad for the final draft to shine.
Also, if you can, start a blog. Do not underestimate the power and function of a blog. It allows you to connect and share with potential readers. And it does not need to take up much of your time. Think of it as a writer’s journal where you have to watch your grammar.
One last point, both Hemingway and Gaiman copied authors they admired to understand them and by having done so, they both discovered their unique voices. Keep that in mind.
How can people find out more about you?
I’m all over the place, really, but the best place to start is probably my blog at www.woelfdietrich.com. People can also visit me at www.kosapress.com, or www.thecollectivescifi.com, or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.
I enjoyed the questions. Thank you so much.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]