An Author Interview during #Mythothon | A conversation about the mystical and dramatic Historical Fiction novel “Wanders Far” by David Fitz-Gerald

Posted Monday, 16 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I am wicked fascinated by the premise and the heart of the novel I am about to reveal a conversation with the author today on Jorie Loves A Story – as previously you might have remembered how moving I found the duology by K.B. Laugheed which fits this same special niche of literature within the Historical sphere of how stories of Native Americans are told? If you missed those reviews – you can kindly read my reflections on behalf of “The Spirit Keeper” and “The Gift of the Seer” – wherein you’ll see how these stories truly leave a strong impression and impact on my readerly soul.

When it came to the questions I wanted to ask Mr Fitz-Gerald, they were similar musings I had whilst I was embarking into the Spirit Keeper duology as whenever you have stories which occupy the same niche of literature you love to read – you oft-times find yourself in the same contemplation’s as you had previously when you read a different story or series. For me, I wanted to know more about this world Wanders Far resides inside – curiously curious about which secondary character the author loved to bring forward into the narrative and there are other story specific bits I felt discussing would be quite lovely on the blog tour as in essence, I wanted to help other readers see what I saw in the premise of a novel I was most eager to be reading!

Happily Mr Fitz-Gerald gives such a warm overview of his novel, the evolution of the series “Wanders Far” is set inside and a bit of himself as he recollects how he first started writing this novel, how the name of his lead character came to him in such a pivotal way and why all of us should find a bit of hope and inspiration through reading this novel. He also gave me a chance to share a note about his audiobook release for readers who are interested in listening to the novel rather than reading it in print.

As you embark on reading this conversation, be sure to have brewed your favourite cuppa and get ready to feel inspired on as we discuss the components of this dramatic Native American Historical Fiction novel which tucks into the Mystical and Mythology of its roots and origins. As I was reading over this interview, I recognised another layer of why it appealled to me – and that would be the fact for a year now I’ve been purposefully seeking out stories which tuck into this other niche of book love I am exploring: Mythologies, Folk stories and Fables wherein stories are passed down through a lens of Mythos re-creating the truths prior generations knew about and/or capitalising on the mythos and origins of a particular class of people of whom have stories to tell which captivate us all.

As promised previously, my post talking about the stories I am reading during #Mythothon is forthcoming this week as it was delayed for the past fortnight. May we all stay ruminatively curious and seek new niches of literature to enrapture of bookish curiosities.

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An Author Interview during #Mythothon | A conversation about the mystical and dramatic Historical Fiction novel “Wanders Far” by David Fitz-GeraldWanders Far (Interview)
by David Fitz-Gerald
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Wanders Far lived in dangerous times and was faced with one difficult challenge after another. He was a skinny, quiet boy who was raised on the banks of a tributary of New York State’s Mohawk River, hundreds of years before colonists arrived. One lifetime was not enough for Wanders Far’s old soul.

From a very young age, his wanderlust compelled him down one path after another. No village could contain him.

He was happy living a simple life in the physical world during challenging times. The spirit world had other plans.

A wise, enigmatic shaman mentored Wanders Far and helped him cultivate the supernatural visions that haunted him. His guide could only help him so far.

He set out to become a runner, carrying important messages across the lands of his people and their enemies. He ended up fulfilling a much greater destiny than he ever imagined.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781977211378

Also by this author: Wanders Far

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy


Published by Outskirts Press

on 11th May, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Published by: Outskirts Press

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
and #AdirondackSpiritSeries

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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What first inspired you to merge Historical Fiction into the mystical world of the paranormal as it evolves into the heart of your story “Wanders Far”?

Fitz-Gerald responds: What a beautifully worded, juicy question! When I started this writing project, I began with the myth of the naming of Whiteface Mountain, “the Olympic Mountain,” near Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state, which is also where my first book, In the Shadow of a Giant, was set. That naming myth would be very hard to rationalize with a physical world kind of explanation, which is why I was drawn to build my story around it.

In that myth, the hero had a special bow that was capable of lifting a deer in the air, and arrows that were able to penetrate rocky cliffs, thus impaling the deer way beyond the reach of its hunter. That myth could be imagined many different ways. The depth of the protagonist’s special gifts evolved as I worked on this project. The scope of the book widened so greatly that the original inspiration became a small part of the story, and the protagonist’s special gifts became a much larger part of the book. As I went along, I found that it was lots of fun to add the mystery to the history, and now as an author, I’m hooked.

I love the name “Wanders Far” – I have read a lot of Native American Historical Fiction, Western Fiction and other genres which genre-bend themselves across both concentrations, which is why I am familiar a bit with how Native Americans receive their names – whilst I also learned a bit about this IRL as well. How did you settle on Wanders Far and how did the choice lead-in to the character’s journey Wanders Far undertakes in your story?

Fitz-Gerald responds: Oh my goodness, thank you so much for saying that. When the name came to me, it was like a light bulb went off. After I thought of it, I don’t think I could have named my character anything else. I was so pleased when my early readers reacted so strongly to the name as well. Some of my very best ideas come to me while I am on very long walks. I love to hike the Adirondack Mountains with my playlist in my earbuds.

Hiking mountains in the Adirondacks generally takes all day, which provides plenty of time to think. As I parked my car early one morning, I saw another car with a bumper sticker that read, “NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST.” That brought a J.R.R. Tolkien quote to mind. As I hiked, I was thinking about the book I wanted to write. The song, “Wherever I May Roam” by Metallica, appeared in my earphones. The word Wanderlust tumbled around in my head. I got lucky when I thought to put the word far after wanders, and I felt like a proud father because I knew my character had his name. I didn’t know until later that my book had its name as well.

As you’re an avid hiker, what do you think helped you being familiar with the natural world which in turn helped develop the setting and the textural feel of “Wanders Far”?

Fitz-Gerald responds: I wanted the reader to feel like they were traveling through the eastern woodlands of the United States with Wanders Far, and I have joked that the book is kind of like the famous “I Love New York” advertising campaign, hundreds of years before New York existed.

People often think only of New York City when they think of New York, and it’s a shame because New York’s natural splendor is amazing too. I am familiar with the flora and fauna of the Adirondacks, so it wasn’t too hard for me to write about that setting. I did check to make sure many of the plants and animals I wrote about existed in New York before colonization. For instance, there are no horses in this book. Many of New York’s lakes were created by damming rivers, so I tried to be careful with waterways as well. Hiking the 46 highest peaks in the Adirondacks was a phenomenal life experience, and I drew heavily on that experience to develop the setting for Wanders Far.

What did you feel was the most challenging aspect of writing “Wanders Far” – maintaining known history as it interweaves into your story’s background or being able to creatively fuse your own vision for the story and your character(s) into what developed into the final draft?

Fitz-Gerald responds: I loved every second of the creative writing process. It’s a blast working on creating a physical setting, emotional depth for the characters, and a spiritual presence as well.

As a kid, I read everything in the genre I could get my hands on. I might have turned out better if I read lots of different things as a child; instead, I tended to stick to stories about Native American heroes and westerns. This book is set so far back in time historians are conflicted on many points of fact. For inspiration, I focused on artifacts and legends. There is some archaeological evidence that was also very helpful in recreating life in the villages. As a new author, the fictional aspects were more challenging than the historical parts. Fortunately, many parts came very easily to me, especially dialog and the spiritual elements. Telling a long story that spans many years was a challenge for me and bridging between the stories within the stories is a skill I would like to improve upon in the future.

Spiritual guides in Native American culture are not oft focused upon in Historical Fiction – with the exception of the duology I read by K.B. Laugheed. How did you approach writing the sections which delve into the spiritual and speculative portions of “Wanders Far” to where readers could take this suspension of reality with you and your characters? How did you approach describing those sequences and scenes?

Fitz-Gerald responds: I wish I had a great answer for this fantastic question. It used to be you could find stories about Native American heroes within the western category, which has declined and has disappeared from many lists of genres.

I’m not sure if the Historical Fiction genre is exactly where these stories belong. I think it’s wonderful for Historical Fiction to include these stories, but I’ll leave the debate about categorization to others. Provable history provides so much information about people who lived long ago. I think fiction brings history to life. For Wanders Far, I tried to focus on the physical world and the more mundane aspects of everyday village life, especially early in the book.

The spiritual and supernatural built as the book went along. My editor and I joked about the foreshadowing in the beginning and middle as “psychic snacks.” My favorite part of the book was the scene where Wanders Far interacted with his mentor on the mountain and learned to harness his powers as a seer. I enjoyed lying awake at night, imagining this story before falling asleep, and thinking about it on the way back and forth to work. I paid a lot of attention to developing the characters and then trying to make sure that their reactions to the supernatural elements were consistent with their characters. Finally, I hope that placing the supernatural climax of the book late in the story helped readers accept the leap of faith that was necessary to appreciate the otherworldly aspects of the book.

As this novel focuses on such a breadth of time in Wanders Far life – from his childhood to his marriage – was there a planned vision of developing this into a series where the missing portions of his life would be re-explored later on? Can you explain why there is a bit of a gap in what is known about Wanders Far life in this first installment?

Fitz-Gerald responds: I am excited to be working on my Adirondack Spirit Series of books. I want to keep my options open as I progress. There are three constants I’d like to include in each installment.

First, at least some of each book will prominently feature the Adirondack mountains of what is now New York state. Second, there will be a spiritual, supernatural, or otherworldly aspect featured in each book. Finally, every installment will include a descendant of Wanders Far as the main character or as a prominent supporting character. I’m about 30,000 words into writing the next installment.

It also focuses on a twenty to twenty-five-year period. In Wanders Far, the massive 50-year leap at the end was meant to give the reader closure, so that they would know what became of Wanders Far after the end of the story. The ending points to my plan for the final installment in the series, which I can’t wait to write. However, it might take me a long time to get there if I continue chronologically.

You have layered a lot of history into how the society of the Iroquois once lived – how did you paint such a vivid picture of their lives and what was your favourite source materials to gain insight into how their lives were lived?

Fitz-Gerald responds: I have numerous books on my shelf that were helpful in different ways. One particular book features first-hand accounts of early contact with the first settlers in the 1600s. As an author, my favorite inspirational source was looking at the prolific artwork of Robert Griffing, Randy Steele, and Dan Nance. Their work focuses more on later periods, but their artistic visions helped me feel like I could empathize with the lives led by my fictional historical characters.

[Here are some links which lead to their work: Paramount Press; Randy Steele and Dan Nance]

Of everything you’ve learnt through writing “Wanders Far” what were some of your favourite takeaways from how the Iroquois lived and how they dealt with everyday concerns?

Fitz-Gerald responds: I believe people are the same, regardless of their circumstance, and yet each person has their own unique set of gifts and challenges. Perhaps some people imagine humans had less intelligence, less emotional capacity, or less spiritual awareness when compared to modern humans. I think the only difference between historical humans and us is the cumulative nature of learning, invention, and technology. However, my takeaway is a conundrum. Humanity has an issue with violence and war, and this was an everyday issue for the characters I wrote about also. Everyday existence was challenging enough without the hardship created by living in a warrior society.

Which of your secondary characters became your favourite to develop and showcase in the story? What made them stand out to you?

Fitz-Gerald responds: Wanders Far’s mother, Bear Fat, was my favorite secondary character. I enjoyed depicting her as the head of household, and matriarch for her village. She was a selfless, servant leader, and her main concern was the physical well-being of her people. Her name came from an important natural resource that her family spent the summer collecting. Naming her wasn’t necessarily easy.

Some early readers asked questions about her name. Ultimately, other early readers convinced me that her name was a good reminder to readers that this book is about people from long ago, and helps place the reader in the book’s setting. It is a strong name that evokes a prominent position. Many believe that the Iroquois founded the longest, most enduring democracy in the world, and I enjoyed developing a character who was an exemplary leader at the dawn of democracy.

When it came to developing the audiobook – did you have a say in choosing the narrator? I was curious how involved you were with the audiobook and what your first reactions were once you heard Bill Buwalda perform his narration?

Fitz-Gerald responds: I found Bill Buwalda on the internet. I hired him to record the narration for the book’s trailer. I loved the sound of his voice, and my collaborator agreed, so I hired him to narrate the audiobook as well.

He sent me every chapter, and I listened to every word. I had a couple of suggestions in the first couple of chapters. After that, I didn’t need to make any suggestions. I love the fact that he refers to himself as “The Voice on the Move.” I can only imagine how he does his work from an RV. It must have been a challenge to fit a sound studio in a house on wheels! As a new author, it took my breath away to hear my words spoken by someone else.

→ Audiobook available for Review consideration by the author: To find out more about this review opportunity please contact the author directly at dave@itsoag.com and ask him about the particulars of what is involved for reviewing the audiobook edition for “Wanders Far”. This is open to readers in the states and the UK.

The cover art for “Wanders Far” is striking as much as it has depth of character and visualisation of what you’re about to be reading – how did your cover designer capture the heart of what you wrote in such a captivating way?

Fitz-Gerald responds: Thank you so much for saying that! I love telling the story of how my book got its cover. I wanted the cover to convey what was inside the book. I wanted it to look like a historical novel. I also wanted it to look like it was written recently. I used the 99designs website, and I must have spelled out what I was looking for very well.

It was amazing that so many talented people competed to design the book cover. Between dozens of designers there were a total of 145 covers submitted. Before choosing the final cover I took my two favorites to PickFU to run a poll. It was very close. I’m sure I would have been proud of either.

Interestingly, the very first designer to submit a cover ended up being the designer I chose. He dropped everything he was doing whenever I asked a question or suggested a change. I hope to work with him again in the future. I fully recommend Juan José Padrón to anyone who needs a book cover.

You might also be interested in the story of the man on the cover of the book. I’m curious about him myself. According to the website where the license for the photo was acquired, it was taken July 4, 2009 at a French and Indian War reenactment at Fort Niagara. Certainly he is a history buff. That’s all I know about him. Hopefully, he would be glad to see himself as the face of Wanders Far, the hero of my book.

What do you hope readers will remember most about reading “Wanders Far” and how many stories do you think you’ll be writing set in this world?

Fitz-Gerald responds: I love this question. The character of Wanders Far is the star of the book. His character is the anchor for my series also. I hope the reader feels a very strong emotional and spiritual connection to Wanders Far that makes them want to follow his descendants through countless books in an open-ended series. I made a conscious decision not to number books in the series and not to make a commitment to how many there would be. I think it will become a generation-skipping family saga series, and the next installment I’m working on features Wanders Far’s great-grandson as the protagonist.

Wanders Far is one of two very important supporting characters in the next book. I have another installment sketched out that is set between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. After that, I hope to write the final book in the series. So I have somewhat immediate plans for four books. Then, the answer to your question might be, it depends on how long I live!

When your not researching and writing your stories what uplifts your spirit the most?

Fitz-Gerald responds: I had to think for a moment because I’ve been so busy at work and as a volunteer lately, that research, writing, and imagining my stories have become my favorite, go-to rejuvenation activities. I’ve mentioned distance hiking already. Standing on the top of an enormous mountain on a beautiful day with an expansive view at your feet is extraordinarily uplifting. Recently I’ve been reading a diverse range of historical fiction by other indie authors. A lot of bad things happen to the characters in these books, yet somehow I am finding that reading more, in addition to just writing has been lifting my spirits as well.

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Thank you, Jorie, for this wonderful interview. I would also like to thank Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour. I really appreciate the chance to talk about my book with all the fans of Jorie Loves A Story. Cheers to the bookish life.

Thank you so much, David Fitz-Gerald

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I would like to thank Mr Fitz-Gerald for his candor and his engaging conversation today about “Wanders Far” – as I personally learnt quite a bit about what has motivated him to write this novel (and the evolving series hereafter) whilst it was lovely finding out about a few hidden bits of trivia about his characters, the ways in which he approached crafting the back-histories & how he laid down the foundation of this series to continue forward as it time jumps through the descendants of Wanders Far himself.

Quite the literary legacy this series will become for readers who discover it and I am thankful I had the chance to dig into the heart of the story whilst helping to open the door for readers to better understand how the story was written before they take this journey with Wanders Far!

A bit lateron in the blog tour, I’ll be sharing my ruminative thoughts and takeaways from reading “Wanders Far” – today, I happily introduced the novel, the characters and the writer’s style which re-affirm why I was dearly curious to be reading this new release.

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About David Fitz-Gerald

David Fitz-Gerald

After a chaotic day as a business person, Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing.

Wanders Far—An Unlikely Hero’s Journey is the first in a series of books in the Adirondack Spirit Series.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTFollow the Virtual Road Map

as you visit others participating:

As this particular one has a bookaway along the route:

Wanders Far blog tour via HFVBTs
 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Be sure to leave notes, takeaways and commentary for the author who would love to hear your thoughts on behalf of this conversation. We look forward to seeing what you felt about the topics discussed.

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers. This also extends to Book Spotlights & Book Blitzes which I choose to highlight which might have content inclusive to the post materials which I did not directly add a contribution but had the choice whether or not to feature those materials on my blog.

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Wanders Far”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of David Fitz-Gerald, the tour host badge and HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Conversations with the Bookish banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 16 September, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Heroic Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Inspired by Stories, Literature for Boys, Men's Fiction, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics




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4 responses to “An Author Interview during #Mythothon | A conversation about the mystical and dramatic Historical Fiction novel “Wanders Far” by David Fitz-Gerald

  1. Thank you, Jorie!

    This interview was such a joy… it is an honor and a pleasure to be featured on your blog. What a beautiful place you have here!

    All the best, David Fitz-Gerald

    • Hallo, Hallo Mr Fitz-Gerald,

      Thank you for stopping by after the interview went live on Jorie Loves A Story; I enjoyed putting this together for the blog tour and being able to discuss the internal heart of “Wanders Far” with my readers inasmuch as the visitors who are swinging through on the tour route itself. It was a joy interviewing you as you were delightfully engaging and thankfully open to discussing key components of the story, the future of the series you’ve set down to begin through Wanders Far (the character) and how everything will start to interconnect therein. I truly loved reading your replies and getting to know a bit more about your style, approach and writerly life. Thank you for your openness and candor.

      I am blessed by your compliments on behalf of my blog – it is something I have loved curating these past six years and have happily celebrated the start of my sixth year as a blogger whose continuing to share her readily life.

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Bruno,

      Isn’t it a joy to read? I truly loved how captivating the author was to dig into the heart of the story, talk about Bear Fat and the progressive arc of the series “Wanders Far” has laid the foundation for to be progressively captivating as we move through the descendants of Wanders Far. I was truly grateful I could host this interview and I look forward to featuring the review a bit lateron in the tour; I’m hoping to reschedule the review for next Monday, the 23rd.

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