About the Author:
When Eric Wynn is not travelling, he calls Melbourne, Florida home, where he has lived for forty-seven years watching rockets and space shuttles lifting off from Cape Canaveral for as long as he can remember. Eric Wynn is a graduate of the University of Central Florida where he majored in history and is currently finishing a graduate degree in nonprofit management.
Writing comes natural for Eric Wynn. He has spent all his adult years writing professionally. From criminal reports when he was a member of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department to extensive technical reports for a major government organization. Writing has always held a unique place in Eric’s heart. However, writing for the pleasure writing is something different and a relatively new experience for Eric. He finds writing for others to be much more challenging, and more enjoyable than government bureaucracies.
Eric Wynn is a professional traveler, traveling on average over 300 days a year across America. This extensive travelling schedule has resulted in Eric staying over 2800 days in the Marriott Hotel chain alone. Eric continues to enjoy travelling both here and abroad, discovering the uniqueness of America and the world, and telling the stories of the people and places that he visits.
In Eric’s spare time, you can find him in Melbourne, at the local cinema with is nephew Connor, catching the latest and greatest movie.
MF: Your first fiction novel, The Chronicles of Connor: Zombie Rising, is at its heart about heroes. Tell us about the inspiration behind the book and the character of Conner.
EW: I was concerned that my nephew, Connor, was not reading enough and was watching too much television. I started this project so that my nephew would read more, and by making the central character named Connor, I found that he became intensely interested in reading the project and would ask me for more chapters while at the same time I found him wanting to become more involved with characters and plot development. I thought this was a great academic exercise for him and it just kept growing into the expanding universe that it has become.
The character of Connor is a young adult, who has lost his parents in a mysterious incident. Connor’s focus in life is finding his missing parents, and the central theme of the book is about a young man searching for his lost parents who he loves very much. It is about putting family first. However, to capture the imagination of a twelve year old, I threw in zombies, werewolves, vampires and few other creatures from the world of fantasy.
However, as the plot develops Connor discovers that he has developed a unique ability to heal himself when he becomes injured. This unique regenerative ability makes Connor the objective of the antagonist, Count Vlad, a vampire who seeks to upset the world balance in favor of evil and sees Connor as a unique source of nourishment for the vampire nation.
MF: Amazon reviewers are anxiously awaiting a follow-up to The Chronicles of Connor: Zombie Rising. Can we expect one soon? If so, what will be the next challenge for Connor?
EW: Absolutely! I am currently revising the next book “The Chronicles of Connor: Zombie Smash” and hope to go to eprint within the next 90-120 days. In the second book, Connor learns that his ability to regenerate can be used to thwart evil; however, for every action there is a reaction and Connor discovers there is price to be paid in the process of healing. Connor’s relationship with Isabella the werewolf becomes more involved and complex and the zombie battles become more epic as Count Vlad unleashes his hordes.
MF: When we first discussed this interview, you told me you wanted young adults to find characters that they can relate to. Do you feel you’ve accomplished this?
EW: My nephew Connor contracted diabetes when he was 6 years old. Compounding that disease, he has severe food allergies. Every day for him is a struggle to balance his dietary intake along with his physical exertion in order to keep his blood sugar within an acceptable range. Watching my nephew struggle every day with his medical issues, while keeping a positive attitude and always trying to make me laugh, made me realize that he is what a true hero really is.
When Connor watches Hollywood’s superhero movies, he never sees those characters suffering from personal difficulties – they have unlimited resources, powers, and they never seem to suffer. I wanted heroes in my story that know pain and understand what it is like to agonize from physical pain, depression, abuse and other difficulties. So, I made each main character in the story a victim. Each character has their own sad story, and some of these stories come out in this book. Others will come out in later books.
MF: The screenplay version of The Chronicles of Connor: Zombie Rising is the 2013 Louisiana Science Fiction Film and Costume Festival winner for short movie. Tell us a bit about that experience.
EW: It was very exciting! While I knew the premise of the story was a winner, to start receiving positive feedback from neutral parties was electrifying! I was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for work, and saw the convention being held at a nearby hotel. I wandered in, thinking I was just going to write an article or two for Yahoo! Contributor Network when I came across the screenwriting seminar.
I attended the class on screenwriting hoping to get a few pointers for my writing, and on a lark decided to enter the screenwriting contest. I decided to build on the novel premises and I hurriedly developed a script based on the guidelines of the judges in less than two hours. I turned it in thinking it was a good exercise in writing under pressure, but, when I was told I won, I was literally speechless.
MF: You’re a technical writer for a major organization. Is it difficult to switch gears from technical to fiction writing?
EW: Yes! The original edition of the Chronicles of Connor: Zombie Rising was very dense, as I put as much detail into the story as possible, causing it to read more like a textbook, than a novel. Which for technical writing is critical for the subject matter and the client, but for recreation reading, can bore the reader very quickly. Working with my editor, Laura Carlson, we tightened up the story so that it reads much faster, flows better, and leaves more to the imagination of the readers.
MF: Among your interests are traveling, volunteering and museums. You’ve used this to your advantage by writing articles for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Tell us about turning your adventures into articles.
EW: My work requires that I travel all over the country and I have been doing so for over nine years. This gives me a unique perspective of America that many people will never get to experience. I decided two years ago, that I would use my time constructively and I began to write every day about my travels around the country, my experiences, and the fascinating people that I meet.
While working in Pennsylvania, I learned about the town of Centralia and its fascinating history with its coalmine. While I have embellished to a certain degree about the disaster, in order to make it more nefarious in nature, the ecological disaster there is quite real and all manmade. To this day, the coalmine continues to burn out of control for up to a thousand years. The area around the town is now a wasteland.
I thought to myself, that the abandoned mine in Centralia would make a great lair for something evil and would also help keep the story of this manmade disaster alive for the next generation of readers. If I did not travel the country as I do, I would never have discovered Centralia Pennsylvania.
MF: You have a BA in History. Has this helped you in writing science fiction and fantasy?
EW: Absolutely! You study history to learn the past in order that we do not repeat the mistakes of our fathers. But, while studying history you are learning how to research your subject matter, how to find and use source documents, and how to tell your story to a group of readers. These are the building blocks for any writer and they must be mastered in order to tell a good story.
For those who aspire to become writers and do not want to study literature or English, I would recommend studying history. Every history lesson opens you up to world of writing ideas, genres, and source materials that are just begging to be explored and built upon. Every writer, at some point or another, has had to use their knowledge of the past to build on their works now and in the future.
What’s more, public fascination with history seems to be reaching a new high and we have seen many successful interpretations of historical events (Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code series), epochs (the History Channel’s “Vikings,”) and individuals (Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”) brought to life within the last few years through print, television, and movies. I would predict that we are going to continue to see the public clamoring for more historical work as their appetite for the past has just become wetted.
MF: What is your favorite writing tip or quote?
EW Winston Churchill gave the best advice ever on life and I find it works wonderful for writing as well as life. Churchill said, “Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” This quote is often shortened to simply, “never give up, never, never, never.”
MF: Do you have any advice for other writers?
EW: Once you accept the fact that not everyone will read your work, and of those who read your work, not everyone will like your work, and yet you still endure to put your thoughts to paper, you have taken the first step of many to becoming a great writer.
MF: If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which would it be?
EW: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, “where not everyone who wanders is lost.”
In an effort to prevent the zombie apocalypse, the government has formed a secret organization to combat the threat. Connor accidentally encounters the leader of this organization and when the kindly Professor Saint Graham saves Connor’s life, Connor decides to enlist in this secret organization.
Connor soon discovers that the world is much different than he ever knew it to be. Not only do zombies exist in the world, but many other creatures both good and bad. Connor soon embarks on a series of adventures with his new friends and the world as he knows it will never be the same!