Saturday, January 28, 2017

#MMBBR #Showcase The Magician's Workshop, Volume One (The Magician's Workshop) by Christopher Hansen and @jrfehr

The Magician's Workshop, Volume One by [Hansen, Christopher, Fehr, J.R.]

Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop. 

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.
Christopher HansenThe 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

 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.


The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One
Authors: Christopher Hansen, J.R. Fehr
Published by: Wondertale, California
Ebook Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Paperback Publication Date: April 25, 2017 (estimated)
ebook ISBN: 1-945353-11-2
Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Magic
Ages: 12 and up.
Length: 85,000 words / 290 pages

Q.  What inspires your writing?
Chris: I’m an easily inspired person. I have a long list of books I’d love to write. For this book, I was inspired by creativity. I find it monkey flipping incredible that we have the ability to create things. For me this ability has led to this novel. But it could have been a poem, a drawing, or a video. Creativity led me as a little kid to go out in rainstorms and make little rafts out of sticks that I placed into the stream of water that flowed down my street. My son is building a light saber right now, and my daughter is making Play-doh. Some people express their creativity in business, others with numbers, and still others with clothing. We can design giant skyscrapers or decorate our small dorm room. The expressions of our creativity are endless, and I find it mega inspiring.

Jon:  I guess I’d have to say my writing is inspired by life and the magic that is our existence. All around us is such wonder and beauty. How could all of this exist? It is so inescapably perfect in every way. I’m captivated by the wonder of the universe every time I step outside, interact with someone, or even just use any of my senses. Life is magical. Therefore, I feel inspired just by the very nature of being alive.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
Chris: There are so many, but I will say it's the actual act of writing. To be more specific, one of my favorite things in life is when time disappears while I’m writing. Every so often I discover hours have passed as if they were minutes. In those times, writing is effortless, and words flow without friction. 
A second favorite thing is the ability to create worlds and characters and then to fall in love with them. 

Jon: I love to create new and fascinating worlds and then meet the characters who live in them. There is nothing more entertaining to me than exploring the limits of imagination. Stories are capable of challenging our perceptions of reality, forcing us to deal with difficult questions, and giving us an opportunity to play in the safety of our imagination. Writing is a wonderful gift.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
Chris: There are so many things here as well. I will again say the actual act of writing. Finding the right string of words can be tough.

Jon: The toughest part for me right now is being at a stage where I’m uncertain how to make a living at this. Will I be able to tell stories like this for the rest of my life? I hope so. But it takes time and focus to write, and there are a lot of distractions in the world and demands on my time. 

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
Chris: I’ve been a writing coach and story designer for a long time. It’s always been work that I’ve absolutely loved. 

Jon: If I couldn’t be a writer, my heart would be crushed. I suppose I would want to work with people to some degree, perhaps as a counsellor. It is my hearts desire to make the world a better place through my writing, so in the same way, I want to make the world a better place through my interactions with others.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
Jon: In honor of Bilbo Baggins, I think I’d have to go with: “Fehr and Back Again.”

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
Chris: My favorite book has always been the Bible. And I say that without trying to earn brownie points with God. It’s honestly my favorite book. One reason is that I love people. They absolutely fascinate me. Humans are the most mysterious creatures, and I’ve spent much of my life curious about what makes us tick. I haven’t found any book that does a better job at describing humanity than the Bible. It’s also awesome in all kinds of other ways. I turn to it all the time to help me figure out all manner of things in life. 

Jon: I’ve always been a fan of C.S. Lewis and his fiction, but my favorite book would be without question the Bible. I believe the story found within it is the most powerful and influential love story in human history.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
Jon: When I read Pride and Prejudice, I wanted to be Mr. Darcy, because I had a major book crush on Elizabeth. But I always knew I was more like Mr. Bingley.

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?
Jon: I’d like to say I’m the most like Aaro, or Kalaya’s dad, but I don’t think I’m there yet. On a good day, I’m probably most like Weston. On a bad day, Jaremon.

Chris: Okay. I can answer this one. I’d say most, if not all of the characters I create have some resemblance to me. I don’t know if any one of them can be said to be the most like me. Each one tends to reflect a fairly small sliver of me. In this book, Kai and Talia both represent parts of my personality. Kai is a silly goofball who loves to spend time with his friends. He’s supportive and encouraging to people yet at the same time isolated and cut off from others. He wrestles with a lot of big issues relating to his place in the world. Talia has a big heart. She’s full of emotions that she longs to express. She’s an ambitions dreamer while also being hard working, despite having doubts. She does not know if her dreams are going to work out, as her family history gives no indication of creative/artistic success. But, she’s going to try.

Q.  What is your favorite season?
Chris: Summer. 

Jon: Fall. I love the changing colors of the leaves, the brisk cool air, and the feeling of nearing completion. It’s also very thematic. Halloween, Thanksgiving, the coming of Christmas . . . It’s definitely the best time of year.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
Chris: Two of my favorite covers are on The Hobbit and To Kill a Mockingbird
As for our cover: the round mediallion-like logo on the cover is actually an ancient symbol in the history of O’Ceea (our story world). It’s not described in Volumes One or Two, but the story of it how it came to be will be revealed later on. 

We spent a lot of time designing it. The final image was designed and illustrated by a super talented artist named Sej Baur. We were really lucky to be able to have her work on this project. 

Q.  Are you working on something new?
Chris: I like to alternate writing fiction with non-fiction projects. Before working on The Magician’s Workshop, I wrote a Creative Writing Curriculum for Junior High and High School students. Now, I’m working on a non-fiction project on a subject that I call “Soul Story.” The basic idea is that when you want to learn something about your physical health, you go and see a doctor who can use tools like stethoscopes and x-rays to look inside your body. But, what if you want to take a peek inside of your soul? Are there any tools you can you use for that? I believe there are, and that telling stories is one of the best ones we have. The fictional tales we tell somehow have the ability to let out something of what is going on inside us. In order to understand what our stories are saying about us, all we need to do is understand how stories communicate these soul stories to us.   

Jon: I’m currently working on a short novel for kids 8-12 called “Glandorious the Glorious.” It’s about a very childish man who is transported to a magical land and transformed into a not-so-mighty hero. I’m excited to see what will happen with Glandorious and his mis-adventures.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by? 
Chris: Congratulations on reading all the way to the end of this! I will leave you with an idea that may be new to you. After spending most of my life working with stories and storytellers I have come to understand that stories have a lot more to offer us than most people allow them to. They are much more than amusements to entertain us. Stories speak to us in a powerful way, and they deserve to be heard. Not every story should be listened to. The ones I’ve found best to open my ear to are the ones that move me. A story that affects you is a story that has something to say to you. When you run across one that does this, I encourage you to stop and listen to what it is saying.  

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