Writing a good story takes a lot of passion, passion in what you’re writing about and passion about the art of writing in and of itself, which isn’t always an easy task. Putting one’s thoughts and ideas down on paper, or in most cases on a computer, can be an incredibly brutal adventure however, if done correctly it can be the most exhilarating thing one can experience.
There are millions of people in the world who believe they are the next great bestselling author when the reality of it is, being a bestseller is incredibly difficult and rare but if you’ve got talent like that of Travis Wester then you’re one step closer to earning that coveted spot on the bestseller’s list.
You might recognize Wester from the 2004 comedy, EuroTrip but more than likely you know him as the lovable yet excitable GhostFacer, Harry Spangler from the hit CW television series, Supernatural. Wester’s comedic genius on the hit series not only brought him thousands of new fans it helped him and AJ Buckley, who played Wester’s GhostFacer partner Ed Zeddmore, develop their own successful web series.
With all of his acting talents one might not have known that his talents go much deeper than just those of bringing life to movie and television characters. Wester is also an incredibly talented writer who helped co-write the GhostFacers web series and now the talented actor/writer is releasing his fantastic novella, Circle of The Keepers. This is the introduction into the full-length novel series, The Legion of Windvale, which will be released in the fall.
As a lover of the art of the written word this writer was thrilled when the opportunity presented itself to speak with Wester about his newest endeavor and believe us when we say this book is a must read.
BECCA ROSE: What inspired you to write, “Circle of the Keepers?”
TRAVIS WESTER: The genesis of the entire “Legion of Windvale Series,” which was a conversation I had with an actress by the name of Alison MacInnis. She and I were hanging out and she had never heard of a game called, Dungeons and Dragons, and I told her a little bit about it and she got really excited and starting talking about what kind of character she would play so then I talked about what kind of conflicts that character would have. She went right into basically what’s in the novel and we started building on that. That conversation became not only the genesis of “Circle of The Keepers,” but also the entire genesis of what would become, “The Legion of Windvale Series,” which I hope to write for a very long time to come. The novel is the first installment of that series. This happened back in 2005 it has been in development for a long time.
BR: What was your writing process? Did you set a word goal for each day or did you just wing it as you went along?
TW: I write 1,000 words a day. If you asked me to write 250 words that a half hour’s work. Some days are shorter some days are longer. Some writers want to write three hours a day but if I don’t set a certain volume amount than there is no guarantee it is going to work. If I say 1,000 words a day I am pretty sure I can hit that. I got the idea from Akira Kurosawa who directed “Ran.” Before he was anybody he decided he was going to write one page of script a day no matter what and if you did that in a year you would have two or three scripts. And he did it and he sold his scripts and he made his movies. Once I heard that I said, “okay it’s time to start setting a goal.” At the same time the volume of work my group and I collected had massed to a point where my wife said, “okay it’s time to start working on the book.” It was a combination of that and the epiphany about Akira Kurosawa. There is no excuse for writer’s block because I always know what is going to come next.
I have this big story I want to tell and now it’s just a question of sitting down and telling it and that’s the gift that I’ve been given and that’s the thing I want to share. The way I approach storytelling is I always want to tell the story that I want to be told, that’s the bottom line and that’s what means everything to me.
BR: How long did it take from developing the idea to having it published?
TW: It took a very long time. Once we had that initial meeting and things seemed like they were ready to move forward I called up all my friends and brought them into the writing circle. We got together on a regular basis to hash things out and it took about six years of talking but what we ended up with was this huge, “bible” of raw information about the lives of these characters and the world they occupied and the stories they told. It got to a point a couple of years ago where I realized that I needed to start writing the book and I did. Circle of The Keepers is the first installment of the first installment. The full novel is “Alter of the Equinox,” and that is going to be released in the fall. The Circle of the Keepers is the introduction to that.
It’s not a prequel because I am releasing it before; it’s more of a prelude or a preface. When I work I always work from the standpoint of as a fan of the genre what would I want to see so in this case what we’re getting into is a little bit of an origin story before we get into a full narrative adventure of the story. I am noticing that the main character, Aryamina Elliathari isn’t entirely accessible. She is very prickly and she is kind of distant and the question that I had was how could we make her more accessible and understandable before we get into the full-length novel. The answer to that was to explain how she ended up being in the town of Windvale and how she wound up being in the circumstances that begin the novel more in depth. In the hopes of humanizing her more than she is in the novel. My plan is to release a free novella before every installment of the series that digs into the origin story of each of the characters.
BR: Are all of the creatures and fantasy beings in the novella based on mythology and research or did you make some of them up in your head?
TW: Honestly, no. The reason is, I helped to co-write the GhostFacers Web series and while we were doing that we were going back and forth with Eric Kripke about what belonged in the web series and what didn’t. We were working with one of the executive producers of Supernatural, Philip Sgriccia and his main rule for us was if you can’t Google it, it doesn’t exist. That seemed really cool to me and I really enjoyed working within the specified confines of reality. The reality that I chose was the one presented by Dungeons and Dragons and I decided that while I was telling the story that I would go outside the boundaries of what was there, what was possible within that world. As limiting as it might seem to some, to me it actually freed me because then I was able to work with an established set of understood reality and thereby unlock a lot of the stories that I wanted to tell.
BR: Had any of your acting experiences helped inspire you to write these stories?
TW: Absolutely because when you’re acting your inhabiting a completely different persona and I think when you’re writing you also want to inhabit a different persona so I used the same techniques and the same process when I am acting as when I’m writing the voice of a different character. At a certain point writing just sort of becomes improvisation with the written work.
I think Supernatural has been as much of an inspiration as Lord of the Rings or any kind of strong visual medium because when you’re writing the kind of visual medium that you’ve been accustom to is invariably going to find itself into the prose of your writing.
BR: What advice do you have for other writers?
TW: Just know where you’re going. The times when I have tried to write something and not have any idea where things are going are total failures. The times when I tried to write something and I know exactly where I need to get the process is so much more enjoyable. Its sort of like if you were put on a plane and there was a bag over your head and no one was telling you where you were going how enjoyable would that journey be? It wouldn’t be. But if you booked the flight and you knew you were going to Las Vegas or Tahiti and you were on that plane and there was no bag on your head how much more enjoyable would that journey be. That’s the analogy I would say.
BR: Where can our readers find out more about the series and keep up with what you’re doing?
TW: I’m on Twitter @westerspace. Right now I’m just trying to get the word out. I am releasing the novella for free to introduce readers to the world and the character and the full novel should be out in the fall. There will be a Twitter account and a Facebook account. It isn’t going to be free forever so people should get it soon. Amazon is going to have an exclusive thing shortly and they will start charging.
Stay tuned to Windvale.net, which will have all the information. I will also be releasing all the information on my Twitter.
Be sure to visit: http://www.windvale.net and download your FREE copy of the Circle of The Keepers today as it will only be free for a limited time.