Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Jeff Whelan Interview!

Jeff Whelan

Jeff Whelan is a fellow 'twitterer' and fellow fiction author that I met recently. He is a fantastic supporter of other independent authors and has a flair for writing amusing and far out speculative fiction. To learn more about this author, proceed with caution!

In what genre do you write for the most part? 
I guess you would call it humorous, young adult speculative fiction.

Give us a brief synopsis of your book(s): 
Space Orville, a young Earthman of 16, is relishing his new life as an independent "grown-up". He has just been accepted as an apprentice with Morphean Gaming Systems and has moved into an Earth-orbiting apartment with his companion, NeutroFuzz, to test holographic video games. As a result of a questionnaire he answered in the back of a magazine, Space Orville finds himself recruited by the Universal Protection Service to rescue a brilliant inventor who has been kidnapped by a group of diseased refugees seeking a cure for their malady. But these exiled aliens may have more nefarious plans for this inventor's device. Initially perplexed, Space Orville becomes thrilled at being recruited for this dangerous mission. He is therefore bummed to find his autonomy stifled when he is partnered with a warrior dwarf.

Meanwhile, two agents from the OmniCosmic Alliance are in pursuit of a dangerously powerful and deranged scientist, Bizmo the Inconceivable, who has escaped from prison with a device that can alter reality and enslave every living mind. When these two missions collide, Space Orville must find a way to work with this new team of real "grown-ups" while maintaining a hold on his new-found independence.

When did you start writing? 
As soon as I could pick up a crayon and print my name.

What inspired you to write? 
Hmmm. I read a lot of comics growing up and quickly came to realize, "Hey, there are people out there who think up this awesome stuff and write it down. I bet I could do that!" I also used to enjoy making up stories and telling them to my friends or my little sister. I found that, after telling them, writing them down helped me build these tales into better stories. Beyond that, I had a middle school librarian, Mrs. Phyllis Horton, who liked my writing way back then and encouraged me to keep at it. These days, my beautiful wife and two phenomenal sons are my biggest inspiration.

If your books were made into a movie, who would play the roles? 
Wow, what a great question! Space Orville is the only book I have out right now and I would love to see what Pixar could do with it. But, if I had to choose actors for either live action or voice over, my dream cast would include Robert Downey, Jr. as General DeKay, Viggo Mortensen as Commander Buffalo, David Tennant as Riff KaBob, maybe Charlize Theron or Emma Stone as Lidweena Sponda, Hugh Laurie as Dr. Lunchwrap, Johnny Depp as Zabooka, Peter Dinklage as Ivan Earlobe, Seth Rogen would make a great Poon Garlik, Morgan Freeman as Miles O'Teeth and Tom Hardy as Bizmo. If NeutroFuzz needed an actor, it would have to be Andy Serkis. For Space Orville, though . . . sheesh. My wife thinks Matthew Broderick still sounds young enough to do a voice over, but I don't know. I'm thinking Andrew Garfield, Nicholas Hoult or Caleb Landry Jones might make a better match.

What would be your choice for a superpower? 
My longstanding desire is the ability to duplicate myself in order to get more stuff done.

Who is your favorite author? 
Yikes. So many! The list includes Douglas Adams, Clive Barker, Patrick Ness, Philip Pullman, Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelutsky, Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins. And I will hereby admit to a fondness for Stephen King when he's on his game.

What are you reading now? 
Right now, I am reading "MEAN" by fellow independent author, Renata Barcelos. A gripping psychological thriller.

Who is your favorite character to write? 
That would have to be NeutroFuzz, Space Orville's constant companion. NeutroFuzz is a magnaradiant, capable of the most amazing things. I love him (I'm still assuming it's a "him") because he's so incredibly versatile and is not limited to any behavioral constraints that plague other species. I had a great time thinking up words to describe all the outlandish things he could do.

Do you have a writing process? 
Lots of caffeine and really late hours. I also write everything longhand initially (my brain just makes a better connection to the paper that way) and do generate a rough outline with work the size of Space Orville. The outline may not be complete before I actually start writing, but it provides me a jumping off point. And I don't adhere rigidly to that outline. I find that a lot of story elements change themselves along the way.

What do you do when you aren't writing? 
Full-time husband and father, half-time high school special education paraprofessional by day, part time remote medical transcriptionist by night.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author? 
Keep writing, which you should know by now. Follow guidelines carefully and don't give up on print publishers. And beware of vanity press predators! Don't trust anyone who wants you to pay them vast sums to publish your work no matter what they promise you. But do not be afraid to self-publish and join the ranks of the Independents. It's remarkably easy to do, it will eat up nearly all of your time as you must market yourself relentlessly (while also vigorously paying it forward to other Indies who are marketing themselves), but it will get your work read.

What sets your books apart from others of the genre?  
I would say the combination of twisted humor, inventive wordplay and a teenage protagonist set Space Orville apart from more traditional science fiction. Incidentally, those qualities also made it a much harder sell leading to a file folder fat with rejection letters.

**What method do you use to publish your books for those of us who might not know how?
Space Orville is currently published exclusively in e-book format. I started that process right here, if I may share a link It told me everything I needed to do. Be very careful to follow all formatting guidelines and, if you're having trouble, seek help. One invaluable resource for me was this free book from Amazon, Building Your Book for Kindle, which is available here, if I may share the link There is also a version available for formatting with a Mac.

Where can we find you on social media? 
I have a Wordpress blog at and love visitors. I have a page at The Independent Author Network,, that likes visitors, too. I have a personal Facebook page as does Space Orville Finally, I have a very active Twitter account at My Twitter handle is @SpaceOrville. Followers welcome!

And, if I may, interested readers can find Space Orville for their Kindle here at Amazon: Nook users can find him at Barnes & Noble: He can also be found in other formats at Smashwords, and Lulu

Thanks so much for this spectacular opportunity, Gary! These were some great questions and it's been a joy to share with you and your readers. Cheers!

 Please join me and the other amazingly talented authors over @ Skulldust Circle where we have formed a Writer's Circle that must be seen--a collection of brilliant, up & coming independently published speculative fiction authors with much to give both now and in the future!

All of my work can be found on AMAZON -- Kindle versions here

See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

Please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience, see direct links to purchase my full length novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights, the short stories: Wothlondia Rising, and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted.


  1. Great interview! Thanks for posting it! Happy Friday! :D

  2. Thanks for stopping by to check it out!

  3. "...those qualities also made it a much harder sell leading to a file folder fat with rejection letters."

    Another indicator suggesting that the rumor is true: Many traditional publishers aren't willing to take a chance on something that's different from whatever is currently selling. Space Orville is definitely "different"... and in a REALLY good way. Just wait. The publishers who sent those rejection letters will be OGDEN gNASHing their teeth when Space Orville becomes a blockbuster animated film in Imax 3-D. (By the way, Jeff, can I get free tickets?)

  4. What inspired you to write?

    "...I had a middle school librarian, Mrs. Phyllis Horton, who liked my writing way back then..."

    Ah! Horton Hears a Whelan!

    Who is your favorite author?

    "Yikes. So many! The list includes Douglas Adams, Clive Barker, Patrick Ness, Philip Pullman, Dr. Seuss..."

    Wait... Dr. Seuss??? Is it just me, or is something weird going on here? Then again, we are talking about Jeff Whelan. So, no, I guess that's probably just normal in Whelan's world. Still...

  5. Great interview with a great author and representative of the independent author community. Advice was spot on, linked and everything.

    I for one totally get the conceptual linkage between authors like Vonnegut, Adams, and Dr. Seuss. Seuss may have written for kids, but his imaginative world-building and wielding of words was no less potent for its size and audience.

    The Seussian influence meshes very well with the Adams-esque characters and situations in Space Orville. I'd like to see it adapted to a 3D animation.

  6. Enjoyed the interview! Loved the cast you chose for your book Jeff, especially Robert Downey Jr...he never disappoints on the screen :)

  7. Nice interview Jeff, thanks for pointing me in this direction, Christine. And Dr Seuss? Love him -- what's odd about that? Good luck with it all.

  8. I enjoyed the interview, Jeff. As a fellow indie author, I can confirm that you 'pay it forward' as well as anyone I know. Speculative fiction is a new genre for me. I've added it to my TBR list to explore. Because of you.