Friday, November 9, 2018

W.L. Goodwater Interview - Breach

Photo Content from W.L. Goodwater

Walter was born in northern California, in a small (and often miserably hot) town called Red Bluff. He started writing at a young age, writing often about magic, history, detectives, and swords. He went to college to study Computer Science at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and fell in love with the mild climate and decided to stay. While in college, he competed with the Cal Poly fencing team, who won league titles nearly every season. He currently coaches the high school fencing team for the Dunn School in Los Olivos, which has won multiple championship titles.

While he loves to read and write fantasy, he especially enjoys books that span genres. His debut novel, BREACH, takes the chocolate + peanut butter approach of merging fantasy with a Cold War spy thriller, to create a world that benefits from the power of both kinds of stories.

When he isn't writing, Walter is a software engineer specializing in user interface design. He has a passion for creating enjoyable user experiences even out of mundane tasks, and applies the principles of good UX even when writing novels.

Walter loves books, the beach, and Birkenstocks. Root beer floats are also pretty great.

For more insight into the mysteries of Walter, check out the Journal.


What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
It might be disqualifying as a fantasy author, but I must admit that I’ve never read Harry Potter. I’ve seen the movies and been to the theme park; that is close enough, right?

How did the idea for BREACH come about?
I literally rolled out of bed one morning with the words “Cold War fantasy” rattling around in my head. This was after a long binge of reading John le Carré and watching Agent Carter. The idea of replacing the Berlin Wall with magic came shortly thereafter.

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby?
My goal has always been to get published, but a particular moment that tested my resolve was a writing conference I went to years ago. The book I took for critique (not Breach) was roundly dismissed by the editors and agents there as unpublishable. I felt terrible, like all the effort I spent on my writing was a waste. It took some time, but eventually I got back on the horse and started a new novel (that also didn’t get published).

For those who are unfamiliar with the Cold War Magic series, how would you introduce it?
Take the turmoil of the Cold War – spies, secrets, and nuclear-armed superpowers – and throw magic into the mix just to see what happens. One of our early reviews really nailed it: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy meets The Magicians.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The whole process has been a lot of fun, but my favorite part so far has been the blurbs offered by other writers. Blurbs are those pithy positive quotes from successful authors the publisher puts on the book cover. To have successful writers not only compliment my work but be willing to attach their name to it was humbling and very rewarding.

What book would you recommend for others to read?
I love Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. The characters are so vivid and the plot so perfectly laid out and heartbreaking. Her other books get a lot of attention, but I think this one is her best.

Were you ever distracted from writing, and what distracts you?
I have a son who is just under two years old who is quite distracting (in a very cute / sometimes loud sort of way). I wrote Breach before he was born, but I had to write the sequel in the few moments of silence after he fell asleep each night before I passed out from exhaustion. Despite that, I’m happy with how both book and baby have turned out so far.

Choose a unique item from your wallet and explain why you carry it around.
I recently retired my Blockbuster Video card from my wallet. I’d rented a lot of great movies with that card, and was sad to see it go. If you don’t know what a Blockbuster Video card is, well…ask your parents.

What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
I worked as a dishwasher at my college’s cafeteria. That was an experience. Let’s just say that bored college students with an unlimited supply of plates and mashed potatoes can assemble some memorable creations.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Time to get a haircut. I always wait until I just can’t stand it anymore before going in.

If you could live in any period in history, where would it be and why?
All the terribly interesting periods in history suffer from the same problem: lack of proper toilet facilities. So I’m actually fairly comfortable with the tiny chunk of time I’ve been born into.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
SpaceX recently announced they are going to send tourists for a trip around the moon. Seeing Earth from orbit would be so cool that it might be worth the terror of sitting on top of an explosive device pointed at space. If Breach is a big enough success, maybe I’ll give Elon Musk a call.

Have you had an incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
It’s a cliché, but for good reason: the birth of my son has certainly rewired my brain in many ways. Not only do I cry more easily, I feel consumed by wondering about the world we’re going to leave for him. I hope he is generous when he looks back after we’re gone.

Where can readers find you?
I’m on Twitter at @wlgoodwater and my website is


When Soviet magicians conjured an arcane Wall to blockade occupied Berlin, the world was outraged but let it stand for the sake of peace. Now after 10 years of fighting with spies instead of spells, the CIA has discovered the unthinkable:


While refugees and soldiers mass along the border, operatives from East and West converge on the most dangerous city in the world to stop or take advantage of the crisis.

Karen, a young magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment, is sent to investigate the breach in the Wall and see if it can be reversed. Instead she will discover that the truth is elusive in this divided city, and that even magic itself has its own agenda.



“Magic has never felt so real. W.L. Goodwater’s debut Breach presents an alternate world that feels as authentic as true history, even when steeped in spellcraft and magic. It reminded me of the best of Jim Butcher, but charts a path all its own.” —James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestseller of The Demon Crown

“Breach is a Cold War fantasy that nails the period flavor of a divided Berlin haunted by the horrors of the past, with a great cast and plenty of magic. Fans of Tim Powers’ Declare or Charles Stross’ The Atrocity Archives will like this one!” —Django Wexler, author of The Infernal Battalion

“W. L. Goodwater delivers one surprise after another in his high-octane magical spy thriller Breach. It’s like Lev Grossman’s The Magicians meets John Le Carré’s classic The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, but with more action and better one-liners. Goodwater is a kick-ass new voice in the modern-fantasy arena!” —David Mack, New York Times bestselling author of the Dark Arts series

"Breach is a galloping, cutthroat thrill ride with characters you can root for, even if you sometimes want to slap them." —Lara Elena Donnelly, author of Amberlough

"With a vintage vibe and modern magic, Breach is a perfectly unique spy thriller, with an exceptional cast and a killer setting that's colder than the Cold War ever dreamed of being. It's one hell of a mystery, yes. But it's also a whole lot of fun." —Cherie Priest, author of Brimstone

“Goodwater sprinkles powerful truths about the nature of power into this entertaining tale of magic and espionage…[a] well constructed world and thrilling vibe.” —Publishers Weekly

You can purchase Breach (Cold War Magic #1) at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you W.L. GOODWATER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Breach (Cold War Magic #1) by W.L. Goodwater. 


  1. "What's the worst summer job you've ever had?" Working in corn fields, getting my hands and gloves covered in a black butter made of the gnats that cover ears of corn.

  2. My worst job was making minimum wage working as a cashier. When customers aren't happy, they blame it on you.

  3. The worst summer job was picking strawberries and raspberries in the fields. Had to get up very early, catch a bus, and then pick all day. Then repeat.

  4. I would say bagging ice, when I was 13.

  5. packing houses for my dads moving company.