Tell us about your latest novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk.
Johnny Lycan is an urban fantasy detective novel. Think Jack Reacher or Spenser for Hire, if the detective was a werewolf. Johnny is a young guy trying to turn his life around by becoming a PI. He thinks his being a Lycan is the strangest thing there is. As he finds out when chasing down an ancient Egyptian relic, he’s not even close.
Tell us about your other novels, including the one you are currently writing.
Johnny Lycan is a departure for me. My first three novels were historical fiction: One based on a real-lilfe archaeologist and showman, the other two were about a young boy trapped in the Crusades. Then I decided to take a flyer on Urban Fantasy, and now the second book in the series, Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, will be out December 8 (so it’s a great time to read the first book, just saying.)
You have published ten nonfiction books. Tell us about those.
My nonfiction work mostly centers around my work at the Remote Leadership Institute. For 25 years or more I’ve worked with people on their communication and leadership skills. Books like The Long-Distance Leader and The Long-Distance Teammate focus on that. They’re all but one tied to work and help drive the day job, since fiction doesn’t pay the bills.
Are different skill sets used in writing fiction and nonfiction? Which did you start out with? Do you have a preference between writing fiction and nonfiction?
They are very different skills. I started with magazine articles in journals, then supplying chapters to books on training and business, then I put out my first solo book, A Philistine’s Journal, an Average Guy Tackles the Classics, in 2005. Since then everything I’ve written has been business related. I didn’t tackle a novel or short fiction until my mid-life crisis. I prefer writing fiction, but nonfiction pays the bills.
On your website you say that you spent nearly 20 years doing standup comedy. How did you go from that to writing? Does your comedy make it way into your books?
I think it’s a long, linear connection between doing standup (with relative success) then when I had to get a day job, I had skills as a speaker and writer I could leverage. Even the most serious books I’ve written contain humor- it’s part of who I am. My novels certainly contain humor and what I love about Johnny Lycan is that it’s modern-day Chicago. I have fewer restrictions on the jokes and language I can use. It’s very freeing.
You are also a speaker. Who do you speak to and what is your message?
Since 1996 I have worked as a trainer and consultant with hundreds of companies on the subjects of presentations, communication, and leadership. So many people are held back in their careers and lives because they aren’t aware of how they undermine themselves when communicating with others.
What do you enjoy most about writing? The Least?
The most enjoyable thing is when I put something on paper and it makes me smile. The crafting of a good line, whether because it’s funny or clever or well-constructed, (hopefully all of the above) is very satisfying.
The worst is that unlike standup or public speaking, the feedback is very slow if it ever comes. Someone once said that writing a book is like telling a joke and waiting a year for the laugh.
What does success look like for you as an author?
I am nearing the end of my professional work-life. While any author who has been published as much as I have has achieved a level of success, the real dream is for my fiction to fund my retirement. I could retire next week if I died Thursday.
Is there anything additional you want to share with readers?
I am very open to being reached on Twitter (@Wturmel) or through my website. I love interacting with readers.
Book Locations: ON Amazon, of course. They are also in select bookstores but can be ordered at good book stores in the US and UK.
Excerpt: (From Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk)
The Russian tasted like borscht and cheap cigarettes. Well, his blood did. It’s not like I actually ate him—I wasn’t that far gone. But with that much blood flying around, some of it got into my mouth and as nasty as it tasted, I licked my lips and felt it fuel my anger.
It was righteous anger, too. The bastards had the twenty-year-old tethered by her wrist to a bed, and she was screaming her head off. She gawked at me, took a breath to shriek some more and yanked on the leather cuff around her wrist like it would magically let go this time.
Good girl, Meaghan. Scream your butt off. Bring the cops so I can bail out of here and let them get you home.
Of course, she may have been more than a little freaked out by her would-be rescuer. Six feet of shaggy, gore-besmirched, pissed-off Lycan will elicit an emotional reaction.