Fantasy Author and Fan of Light, Charming Magical Characters Discusses His Work and His Favorites: Ask Me Anything.

Vince Nolan
Aug 3, 2018

Have you ever wished you could just snap your fingers and get exactly what you want when you want it? That's been my lifelong fantasy and the subject of both of my fantasy books, "The Rainbow in the Room" and "Love Happens." If you're a fan of fun charming, light magical characters and love Samantha Stephens, Jeannie, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and YES! even Wonder Woman, let's chat!

Author Bio

The Rainbow in the Room - Amazon

Love Happens - Synergebooks

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Conversation (83)

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What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it to you? It could be about anything, not just writing.
Aug 12, 2:50PM EDT0

I would say the best advice I've ever gotten is from my mother, who always warned me to plan ahead, put aside something for the future and don't just hope for the best later in life. Whether or not I always took my loving mother's advice is another story...lol.

Aug 12, 6:04PM EDT0
You love magical characters but, do you believe in magic? Why or why not?
Aug 12, 12:47PM EDT0

I love the idea of magic, that snap your fingers and get what you want type of magic, but since it's never been shown to me in all its glory it remains but a fantasy in my head.

I believe in certain types of magic, like love, nature, faith, angels, ghosts, the animal kingdom, man...everything we can see, smell, taste, hear, experience with our senses and/or souls....that's magic to me.

Aug 12, 5:51PM EDT0
Since you are a fan or Bewitched, how did you feel about that film remake with Nicole Kidman, where the whole story got changed?
Aug 12, 7:35AM EDT0

I must admit, I was so excited to hear it was in the works, and I even took the day off of work to go and see it, but the whole time I was watching it, I kept wanting to jump up and shout at the screen, "No, that's not how it should be!" "No, Samantha would never act like that!" or "This is a line that Jeannie would say, not Samantha!" But then I had to force myself to calm down and remember that it wasn't supposed to be a duplicate of the original show. It was, like with most all Hollywood reboots, redos, etc...a reinterpretation based on the barest of the original's premise.

But even with that in mind, I never thought I'd see a Bewitched movie that relied so heavily on use of the f-word...and worse. Again, a retelling that aimed at a broad audience relying on broad modern humor, but no real ties to the charm and romance of the original.

I think it's hard for Hollywood to write reboots, and try to keep both new viewers and die-hard fans happy, but in this case I believe more fan input would have helped to try and achieve a better balance, and a more charming story.

Sorry if it sounds like I'm coming down on this film, but listen to the commentary: Nora Ephron spends the whole thing defending why the movie wasn't as bad as people said. If your only topic for discussion is to defend your film, then there's definitely a problem.

Last edited @ Aug 12, 11:58AM EDT.
Aug 12, 11:55AM EDT0
On the days when you don’t want to write, what actually motivates you to get going?
Aug 12, 3:20AM EDT0

Deadlines always help me. If I'm pushed to get the job done, any job, within a certain timeframe, than I know not to sit on my laurels and procrastinate for too long.

It's a hard thing to write, to devote so much time to isolating yourself from the world around you to create your own. But if you were born to a task, a vocation, then time never seems to be my issue. I find the issue is more in what I have to sacrifice to get the job done.

Aug 12, 11:07AM EDT0
What is magical realism? How is it different than fantasy?
Aug 11, 9:04AM EDT0

Magical realism is more related to magic that happens in very realistic settings, like in my first novel The Rainbow in the Room, where the action happens against the realistic backdrop of 9/11. Another example would be the Twilight series, magical characters and super abilities all happening in our real world.

Pure fantasy encompasses imagined worlds and unrealistic narratives, such as in my second novel, Love Happens, which involves genies and witches in very unrealistc situations. Another good example would be Lord of the Rings, complete fantasy set in a completely fantastic, made-up world.

Of course, both forms can be mixed and matched, overlap or stand completely apart depending on the needs of the author and the storyline,

Last edited @ Aug 12, 11:03AM EDT.
Aug 12, 11:00AM EDT0
Why do you think writing and other artistic forms have taken a turn for the dark? Do you think it will go back to lighthearted themes someday?
Aug 10, 11:42PM EDT0

That's a great question and I've been struggling with this trend myself. Seems like my brand of lightheartedness isn't the most popular on the scene these days, but I'm sure hoping that it makes a comeback soon.

As to why things have gotten so dark, I believe art reflects life and with the world being so dark and so tense as of late, constant issues, frustrations on almost every front - political, social, racial, economic - our films, music, literature all reflect what the attitude and overall feeling in the air is. It puts me in mind of the fun, lighthearted shows of the sixties, like "Bewitched," "Jeannie, "The Munsters, " "Addams Family" that completely ignored the current climate in favor of giving their audiences a break from all of the turmoil the sixties entailed.

But when times get to be their darkest, SOME light needs to shine through, so I'm hoping everyone will be ready for a breathe of fresh air very soon. Lightness shines so much brighter against a dark background, so I think when the tide does turn back to it, it'll be something to behold.

Aug 12, 10:36AM EDT0
How did you go about choosing a publishing platform for your books?
Aug 10, 7:49PM EDT0

After a lengthy search for an agent for my first book, without any nibbles, I self-published on Amazon.

My second book received an offer from an online publisher, who I've been working with closely to generate sales.

Sometimes we don't get the choice of platforms when we're determined to get our material out there by hook or by crook. We take the offers we're given and just keep right on plugging away toward success....hopefully!

Last edited @ Aug 12, 10:10AM EDT.
Aug 12, 10:08AM EDT0
If you could have one power, which one would you choose and why?
Aug 8, 3:17AM EDT0

If I could only have one power then I guess it would have to be the ability to conjure whatever I wanted out of thin air. Just think of being able to walk down the streets of my neighborhood and conjure hot meals for the homeless, medicine for the sick or money for the poor, in addition to a car for myself when I don't feel like waiting for the train or walking everywhere...the sky would be the limit with that power...and then I could conjure an airplane to go even farther!

Aug 8, 9:57AM EDT0
Speaking of Archie, did you ever watch the Archie cartoon where Sabrina appeared and if you did, what were your thoughts about it?
Aug 7, 3:32AM EDT0

You must be speaking of the original 1970s Archie cartoons? Those I remember quite fondly and I was very pleased to see that they made her one of the gang, instead of the thorn in their sides that the origin story in the comics depicted. Originally, Sabrina was sent to Riverdale to cast spells on the students and trip them up so they forgot test answers, lost their homework, etc...I like that the cartoon made her an ally of the Archie's while not revealing to them her powers. It made the show much more enjoyable to see her as just one of the gang rather than someone to be shunned, feared or, as every witch dreads, burned at the stake!

I also remember her hanging out with the Groovie Ghoulies, but in that scenario she was just one of the bunch, powerful and on an even keel with all of the other magical/monstrous characters in that show.

Aug 7, 10:11AM EDT0
What do you do before writing, research-wise? What was the hardest thing you have to write?
Aug 7, 12:27AM EDT0

I tend to research the names of my characters first, at least once I have a handle on them, and get a feel for their personalities. Sometimes their names reflect somthing personal to me, like a favorite character, family member or friend. But other times, the name has menaing not only for me, but for the characters themselves. Case in point: In The Rainbow in the Room, the main character was adopted as an infant and his adoptive parents named him Adam McKenna Montgomery. The adoptive parents called him Adam because, to paraphrase the mother, Rose, it was like he was created just for them. His middle name is his adoptive mother's maiden name because, as his adoptive father, Thorne, reasons, Adam will always remember he belongs to both of them, not just the one with the surname.

In that book, the hardest thing I had to write was all of the Senate subcommitte hearing material. I researched Senate hearings all the way back to the 1950s to get a realistic feel for the language and the procedures before I even typed out a single word.

Also, certain other plot points took a long time to figure out as well. For example, I'm dealing with a character in The Rainbow in the Room who can make anything he says in rhyme come true. But he's unable to rhyme up anything if his heart's not in it, like the murder of someone, or money out of thin air which by all rights would either be counterfeit or stolen from somewhere else. I spent weeks trying to justify how he got his money and didn't need to work, while not getting the funds he needed to survive in the real world by illegal means. The answer then came to me as not only a great fix, but also a major plot point in the story that solved any number of financial worries for Adam during the course of the book.

Aug 7, 10:06AM EDT0
Some writers describe themselves as planners, while others plunge right in to the writing. Would you consider yourself a planner or a plunger?
Aug 6, 6:02PM EDT0

LOL. That's a great comparison, by the way. I'm definitely a planner, not just in my novels, but also in life. I tend to like to know every step I'm taking before I take it. Also, when writing, I find planning helps to get a tighter structure on my narrative and avoid endless rewrites to tighten up faulty logic later on in the editing process. 

Aug 7, 9:53AM EDT0
Are you developing any other writing projects in the future?
Aug 5, 7:13AM EDT0

Yes, I'm currently working on the sequel to Love Happens, to be published on Synergebooks.com. After that, who knows? I have a file of ideas that I dip into every now and then when I need some inspiration for a new project.

Aug 5, 12:34PM EDT0
What projects are you working on at the present time?
Aug 5, 7:06AM EDT0

Currently, I'm working on converting my first novel, The Rainbow in the Room, into a screenplay to shop that around. I'm also outlining the sequel for my second novel, Love Happens, to be published again by Synergebooks.com.

Aug 5, 12:32PM EDT0

Fantasy is an amazing thing to write about, how long does it take you to write a full book, while creating such an amazing fantasy story?

Aug 4, 8:02AM EDT0

That depends entirely on the book I'm writing. My first book, The Rainbow in the Room, was more authentic to a historical event, so I needed much more time to research the details to write a believable, albeit fantasy, story.  I also researched survivor reactions to 9/11 and their memories of that horrific day so that my characters could speak as specifically about the tragedy as they could. I'd say it took more than a year of research and then execution of the plot before it was published.

Love Happens, my second novel, didn't take nearly as long to write as it was adapted from a screenplay I had previously written. That book only needed some more narration and a different format to spruce it up for publication, so it went far more smoothly, and quickly, than the first.

Aug 4, 12:26PM EDT0
There were some revisions from when you first published online to when the print book was published. Did you find the editing process difficult?
Aug 4, 5:22AM EDT0

I'm sorry but you must be thinking of another author or book. My enovels are the same content as the paperback versions. But editing, in general, is where the meat of the work happens, I'd say. None of us gets a first draft exactly correct, so the editing process can be difficult, yes. But it's also where can get to rethink, rework and tigten up your storyline. A necessary evil in writing, I'd say. But without it, my work wouldn't be nearly as effective or memorable.

Aug 4, 12:31PM EDT0
Fantasy is such an exciting genre – you can create whole new worlds. Do you have any advice for writers when they’re building these worlds?
Aug 4, 12:28AM EDT0

I would advise any fantasy author to get the rules of the game straight in their heads before they begin to write. Fantasy is a fun genre to write in, but you can't let it get out of control or illogical. A good story, no matter the genre, has to make sense and have a logical narrative the characters can follow. In all of my fantasies, my characters live with almost unlimited powers, but they also have obstacles and provisos to those powers, to keep things interesting for the reader, as well as challenging for the characters.

Aug 4, 12:34PM EDT0
Can you explain the difference between fantasy fiction and creative nonfiction? Are they interchangeable or are there definite differences between the two?
Aug 3, 9:31PM EDT0

Fantasy fictions are made up, although they may be based on real life events, but usually involve things that couldn't possibly happen in our real world. Nonfiction, no matter how creative, has to stick to the facts and the rules of the real world. I prefer writing fantasy, which I usually set in the real world, making me have to adhere to the rules of both.

Aug 4, 12:36PM EDT0
What book are you currently reading and are you enjoying it?
Aug 3, 7:21PM EDT0

I'm currently rereading William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist. Not as light and fun as I like to write, but every now and then I don't mind going darker, especially if it's as good a read as this one is.

Aug 4, 12:38PM EDT0

Where do you find your inspiration from?

Aug 3, 6:29PM EDT0

I have a very furtile imagination, so it only takes a clue here or there in the real world to get me off and running. Unfortunately, my inspiration for my first novel, The Rainbow in the Room, was 9/11 and what would happen if a magical was discovered and held accountable for not helping out more.

My second novel, Love Happens, was a fun idea that stemmed from my crossover screenplay fan fiction, "Bewitched" Meets "I Dream of Jeannie," a labor of love I wrote for Elizabeth Montgomery after her death.

Aug 4, 12:42PM EDT0
If you could write in any fantasy world, which would you choose and why?
Aug 3, 6:03PM EDT0

I don't write in fantasy worlds. I write fantasy characters in the real world. I feel being the only magical being in our real-world setting gives my characters a chance to really pop and stand out. I think it's harder for a magical character to be considered unique in a fantasy world where everyone has the same or similar powers. 

Even within my own books, each of my characters has a different ability and a different set of rules by which they use those abilities. This not only makes them stand out in the real world, bu also up against each other. and you might have just given me an idea for my next book...a crossover of some of my past magicals. Thanks!

Aug 3, 6:18PM EDT0
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