Starting today and going for the next three weeks, I’ll be sharing some interviews I did with the team behind A Home for Wizards. These folks are super special and the book would not have been possible without them so show some love!
First up is a guy I talk about often. Carl Li is not only a fantastic editor with an eye for story and consistency, but also my fiance and the best partner in life that anyone could ask for. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Jaysen: Carl, why don’t we start by you telling my readers a little bit about yourself. What are the cliffnotes to you?
Carl: I’m old, and young. I like to create and organize. I need to gain weight. Inspiration is everything to me. Ideas are hope. I’m passionate about both. Where am I today? I don’t like for people to suffer. Love as much as you can.
J: How did you get involved in this project?
C: I wasn’t actually asked to edit. Very close to the deadline (of A Love Story for Witches) I figured I wouldn’t mind reading it since other people I knew were, and well, Jaysen wrote it. He gave me a copy, and I added my thoughts and notes to it. Jaysen really liked them, and BAM, I was the senior editor for A Love Story for Witches!
J: For your part in the project, did you need to do any research?
C: I looked up a lot of things like locations, or other things to make descriptions and representations more accurate and clear. I also looked up spelling of words, the meaning of words, and grammar. That kinda stuff.
J: What is your process for editing?
C: Well, ideally I’d like to know the whole story. Get an outline and see if I can get a sense themes, and ideas, as well as through-lines for characters and arcs. Also, I like to discuss these elements with the writer. Then, when I go in, I have a clear vision and the tone the writer is going for. I can look for all the beats, and know what’s missing or why it shouldn’t be missing, and know characters motivations, and where they need to be, emotionally, etc. Ideally I’d also like to be able to read scenes as soon as possible so that any problems can be worked on right away before it gets too far in the story. It’s not ideal to have to change something, but then be limited by there being too much that had already been established. This is important for those who have writing deadlines.
“When I read a scene or a chapter, ideally, I’d like to just read it through as a fan, not with the eye of an editor.”
THEN, I take notes on what really stands out. I go through again to fine comb it for its story and character beats, and clarity. If I can, I’d leave all the grammar related stuff til the end, so that if there are any major changes we can fix those things when the story is all set. Unless, there are just glaring errors in grammar, or I just really want something to sound better. I give it back and the writer goes over my notes, suggestions, etc, and asks me for any clarifications.
Ideally, when it’s all done, I get to read though it again to catch spelling and grammar as story elements should all be cleared up. Then ideally, have another person read through it again to catch anything I missed.
J: In the Spellcaster world, Wizards are able to turn into a single magical beast. Dragons, unicorns, jackalopes, they’re all wizards in their beast form. What magical creature would you become?
C: Oooo,… magical creature. That nue that Kevin turns into is pretty darn cool.
J: Every witch gets a weapon that she channels her magic through. Some get wands and staves, others get spray paint cans and Ipads. What would yours be?
C: Oooo, magical weapons! Definitely something that could double as a regular melee weapon too like a sword, or staff, but they could be non-weapons too right? Like dice, or a tablet!
“[Jasmine] loves and accepts others, and herself, which is something many many people struggle with.”
J: Sure, witches are ladies and wizards are guys, but which one would you be if you could choose?
C: Hmm,.. I do kinda like the idea of having what’s magical within me, like the wizards. That way I won’t have to worry about being without my magical item or losing it. Then again, many of the witches seem to be able to make them appear out of thin air. Witches have the potential to be more powerful as they specialize in casting spells and potions, which at the end of the day makes them more versatile.
J: Do you have a favorite character in this series so far? Who are they and why should people love them as much as you do?
C: Hmm, I’m kinda partial to Kevin. BUT, I really love Eva because she’s a modern, empowered, female witch heroine who kicks ass, BUT she’s also very flawed which makes her relatable. BUT I DO love Miyako’s spray can and red paint abilities! Her powers for me are really fun to play with and write. THEN, there’s a special place in my heart for Jasmine because she’s just the epitome of a beautiful person. She loves and accepts others, and herself, which is something many many people struggle with.
J: Which character in A Love Story for Witches or A Home for Wizards are you most like and why?
C: Oy, let’s see, who’s a big neurotic creative mess? Ha ha. Hmm, I’m equal parts Adam and Eva, but with a bit more foresight and wisdom. OH, and much better communication skills.
J: What is your favorite genre of books to read?
C: The good ones! I guess mostly self-help, psychology and philosophical stuff. I haven’t read a whole lot of fiction outside of scholastic classics, shakespeare, plays, and LOTS AND LOTS of comic books. If comics count as ‘books,’ then modern adult superhero or mixed genre comic books. There are many I love.
J: And your favorite book?
C: I think Shakespeare is brilliant, otherwise I treasure a bunch of self-help and acting books. Again, if we’re including comics…
J: If you had a demon partner in crime, like Eva and her pet Zot, what animal would that demon turn into to disguise itself?
C: Ha ha, lovely. Zot is pretty damn cute. I suppose any animal that wouldn’t be super annoying. It could be a dog like our dog Izzy, or a lemur, or a cute mouse. Whatever it is, so long as I can communicate with it like a human, or close, that’d be ideal. It always sucks when I talk to my dog, and don’t feel very fulfilled. I really want her to be happy, but she just doesn’t communicate well.
“These characters are like real modern day young adults – New Adults! They are complex, flawed, and diverse.”
J: A Home for Wizards comes out January 23, 2016. In your own words, why should people check it out?
C: Gahh! Yes! People should pick it up because it expands the world that began in A Love Story For Witches and Jaysen has an amazing vision and plans beyond this book. There is a rich secret history to all of his characters that readers can look forward to. It brings in new and rich ideas and characters to add to the wonderful world and characters we already have. These characters are like real modern day young adults – New Adults! They are complex, flawed, and diverse. Beyond that, it’s Jaysen Headley, and you can expect fun characters, adventure, genuine laughs, and touching moments. You WILL be immersed in an epic fantastical world based on our own that will grow into a universe you’ll love.
J: Everybody is dying to know, where in the wide world of internets can they learn more about you and how fantastic you are?
That’s all for this week. Make sure to check out Carl’s work and we’ll have a great interview with our cover artist next week!
For more on A Home for Wizards and the upcoming launch, click on these brightly colored words that you see here.