Author Calvin Wolf drops by The Bandwagon to talk about his writing process.
What inspired you to start writing?
When I was a child, I saw Jurassic Park, and was inspired to write a similar story. I was, I believe, nine years old and I wrote a twenty-page story on a yellow legal pad. It was essentially a plagiarized version of Jurassic Park, but with prehistoric mammals instead of dinosaurs. It was pretty bad…but I was hooked. Later in elementary school, I wrote an original “novel” in a green spiral notebook. It filled all 70 pages and included dinosaurs and spies. I remember finding it years later and cringing pretty severely. In junior high, I upgraded to a Fastdata 386 with WordPerfect 5.1 and typed a crude novel. I think it was inspired heavily by Mission: Impossible and Goldeneye. Each time I wrote, I improved a little. Seeing that progress has kept me hooked!
What do you wish you’d known about the publishing process?
I wish I had known how important marketing was. As a novice, I was naïve and assumed that writing the novel was most of the battle! After I finished The College in 2013, I discovered that you had to sell your work to agents, publishers, and readers. I had given little thought to how to advertise my work, and it showed! Each time I finish a novel, however, I get a little better about this process.
Which authors do you look to for inspiration?
My writing style is probably closest to Dan Brown, and I have enjoyed his novels. However, I am most inspired by the works of Stephen King, Michael Crichton, John Grisham, and Dean Koontz. King is a master of imagination and character development, Crichton amazes with technology and science, Grisham writes a tight, clean thriller, and Koontz’ imagination and unique characters can sometimes knock it out of the park. Each of these popular authors has something unique to offer, and their works inspired my literary youth.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up. Success may not come quickly, but each seemingly minor accomplishment makes you stronger!
Tell us more about your book.
The Singularity has just been released by Ravenswood Publishing, and is a political thriller that explores the use of nanotechnology to augment the human body. Amid a nationwide political crisis, the protagonists discover that they have been injected with MIST (Microtronic Infrastructural Symbiosis Technology) and that their blood is now worth more than diamonds. Falsely accused of being enemies of the state, the protagonists must save themselves and their families while being hunted from all quarters.
What are you currently reading?
A biography of president Lyndon B. Johnson. I’m an AP Economics and AP Government teacher by day, so I’ve gotten more heavily into biographies of famous politicians. So far, I’ve read Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. I read FDR’s while reading the biographies of all major WWII leaders: FDR, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, Hideki Tojo, and Benito Mussolini.
What’s next for you?
I’m done with my thriller series, and looking to do another standalone novel. I’m thinking a hypothetical siege of Beslan situation at an American high school and exploring the reaction under a Trump presidential administration. I think it will be written in the first person, and include a romantic subplot.