Monday, February 24, 2020

Jeff Wheeler Interview - The Killing Fog

Photo Content from Jeff Wheeler

Jeff Wheeler took an early retirement from his career at Intel in 2014 to write full-time. He is a husband, father of five, and a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jeff lives in the Rocky Mountains. His books have been on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list 5 times (for The Thief’s Daughter, The King’s Traitor, The Hollow Crown, The Silent Shield, and Prism Cloud) and have sold more than 4 million copies. His novels have also been published or will be published in many languages: Italian, Chinese, Hungarian, Turkish, Polish, Spanish, Russian, and German.

He is also the founder of Deep Magic: the E-zine of Clean Fantasy and Science Fiction (, a quarterly e-zine featuring amazing short stories, novellas, and sample chapters.

You can usually find Jeff at Emerald City Comic Con, New York Comic Con or at writers conferences.

He welcomes hearing from readers: jgwheels /at/ gmail dot com

If you are interested in purchasing signed copies of his books for friends, family, or your own collection, please e-mail: WOJWbooks /at/ gmail dot com

Print Length: 404 pages
Publisher: 47North (March 1, 2020)
Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Sold by: Services LLC
Language: English


“Wheeler (Broken Veil) opens the Grave Kingdom series with this winding tale of valor and sacrifice, set in a realm where using magic summons a heavy fog that kills every living thing it touches. [T]he threat of the fog looming in the background adds atmosphere and tension…This excellent introduction to the prolific Wheeler’s work will appeal to fans of Asian-influenced fantasy.” —Publishers Weekly

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you? 
I sing tenor in my church choir. I’m pretty sure only a very few fans (in my congregation) know that.

Tell us your latest news. 
I’m a pretty prolific writer and usually crank out three books a year, so I’m excited that my new series, The Grave Kingdom, will all be coming out this year. But while writing it, I felt a strong urge to crank out another book—not fiction, but a memoir. It’s called Your First Million Words and tells the story of my author’s journey. I self-published it recently.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 
It was Terry Brooks’ Shannara series that set me on the journey of being a full-time author. I’ve always loved Fantasy because of him. But Sharon Kay Penman’s historical fiction novels inspired me to major in History in college and that, in turn, led to many of the story ideas I’ve written about. What I love about history is the twists and turns that you just don’t see coming. I try to do that in my writing as well.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
My first thought was being on a panel at Emerald City Comic Con with Terry Brooks and Robin Hobb, two authors I admire so much. But honestly, it’s getting e-mails from fans who say your writing has touched them in a deeply personal way and helped them get through hard times. That’s even more meaningful to me.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I wrote The Killing Fog after taking a month-long trip to China for a writing conference in Beijing. I watched a lot of martial art movies and have practiced Kung Fu myself. Mostly, I want the readers to feel they’re on an adventure story they won’t want to put down.

In your newest book, THE KILLING FOG; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel? 
Sure thing. I was inspired to write this book based on a trip to Alaska and my opportunity to go to China. I wove the geography of one location in with the rich history and culture of the other. I’m struck by how little is known about the ancient history in China. It felt like it deserved a “Lord of the Rings” type mythology to bring some of their history to life. The book is about the return of a long-dead emperor who cursed magic before he died the last time he ruled. When anyone tries to use magic, it summons a deadly fog that kills any creature it touches.

For those who are unfamiliar with Bingmei, how would you introduce her? 
She’s the heroine of this series, an orphan who grew up in a martial arts school in the mountains. Her name means ‘ice rose’ in Chinese. But she’s different than anyone else. She has a form of synesthesia where she can smell people’s emotions. That makes her the only one who can identify the evil emperor when he returns.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I would introduce Brant Fitzroy from my Harbinger series to Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is one of my favorite characters of all-time and I think he and Brant share enough world experience that they’d probably love to hang out and chat for a while.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? 
The love of learning. I’ve read more and learned more since college than I ever did while I studied. I’ve earned two masters degrees (History and Business) and I’ve never wanted to stop learning and being curious about the world and people.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today? 
Getting married. My wife and I met while working at a job while in high school. We didn’t get married until we were in college, but having someone like her in my life (almost 26 years now), I’m reminded what an idiot I was in my 20’s but how grateful I am she said yes anyways.

What's your most missed memory? 
Yosemite national park. I’ve been there many times, but now that I live in the Rocky Mountains, I miss it even more. I love the waterfalls, the huge trees, the giant granite boulders which are everywhere. It’s one of my favorite places on earth.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Travel outside their native country. Seriously, the world is a big place and it’s so easy to get caught up thinking that what you’ve experienced and know is all there is. I got to go to Germany for the first time last month to teach writing to children at a military base. I love going to new places and seeing how different their culture is from my own. 

What was a time in your life when you were really scared? 
When my son cut his leg open jumping into the swimming pool. It was the biggest gash I’d ever seen in my life and I was afraid he was going to bleed to death right in front of me. Thankfully, a little knowledge from my teenage years when I earned the First Aid merit badge came back and I was able to be calm and help get him to the hospital where he got 27 stitches. 

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be? 
When I was a newlywed, I got scammed by a pair of professional con artists just outside my university and ended up handing over our entire savings. It’s a long and weird story that ended with me running after their car, trying to grab the driver, and taking a tumble on the street as they sped away. I’d definitely do that one over again. Don’t get into cars with strangers. Just sayin’.

What song always makes you happy when you hear it? 
Can’t Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon. 

1. Shannara by Terry Brooks – it was the first one that I really fell in love with as a teenager and made me want to write

2. Prydain by Lloyd Alexander – I originally read this one in grade school and just loved the Welsh background to it and the creepy magical things, like the scary Cauldron-Born.

3. The Wizarding World by JK Rowling – as an adult, I’d almost given up hope that I’d find a series that would spark my interest again. I fell in love with the world of wizards and witches and the culture Rowling created

4. Six Duchies by Robin Hobb – I really enjoyed growing up with Fitz at Buckkeep Castle and his training to become an assassin. It’s a great coming of age tale.

5. Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg – even though the setting is more Victorian England, the world has different kinds of magic which are imbued into different materials (glass, metal, and…paper). It was a very creative take on magic and I really enjoyed Charlie’s debut novel

6. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull – another magical story set in our world, except the plot brings with it the knowledge of sanctuaries for magical creatures which prevent them from running amok in the world. Mull’s new series, also set in that world, is called Dragonwatch and it’s about…you know, dragon sanctuaries.

7. Erith by Cecilia Dart-Thornton – if you’ve never read The Ill-Made Mute, you’re in for a treat. It’s a world based on Irish mythology although set in an alternate world. It’s a fairy tale that takes three books to tell and it takes a while to figure out what’s going on because the main character’s memories have been completely wiped away along with the power of speech. 

8. Narnia by C.S. Lewis – I’ve been in love with this world since I was a child and Lewis’ writing has been a big influence on my own. Who wouldn’t want to walk through a wardrobe in an English country manor and find themselves in a fantasy world with talking animals?

9. Ansalon by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman – known as the world of Dragonlance. I loved these stories in high school and they inspired a lot of Dungeons & Dragons adventures that I concocted and inflicted on my friends. Which, in turn, inspired some of the stories I would later tell myself in my own worlds.

10. Middle Earth by JRR Tolkien – what fantasy list would be complete without the Shire, Rivendell, and Minas Tirith? I’ll admit I struggled to get into the books until Peter Jackson did the movies which really brought the setting to life and has made me want to travel to New Zealand to see it in person. I gained a greater appreciation for the novels after the films came out.

The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Kingfountain series conjures an epic, adventurous world of ancient myth and magic as a young woman’s battle with infinite evil begins.

Survivor of a combat school, the orphaned Bingmei belongs to a band of mercenaries employed by a local ruler. Now the nobleman, and collector of rare artifacts, has entrusted Bingmei and the skilled team with a treacherous assignment: brave the wilderness’s dangers to retrieve the treasures of a lost palace buried in a glacier valley. But upsetting its tombs has a price.

Echion, emperor of the Grave Kingdom, ruler of darkness, Dragon of Night, has long been entombed. Now Bingmei has unwittingly awakened him and is answerable to a legendary prophecy. Destroying the dark lord before he reclaims the kingdoms of the living is her inherited mission. Killing Bingmei before she fulfills it is Echion’s.

Thrust unprepared into the role of savior, urged on by a renegade prince, and possessing a magic that is her destiny, Bingmei knows what she must do. But what must she risk to honor her ancestors? Bingmei’s fateful choice is one that neither her friends nor her enemies can foretell, as Echion’s dark war for control unfolds.

You can purchase The Killing Fog at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JEFF WHEELER for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE KILLING FOG by Jeff Wheeler.
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